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Stanzas Composed During A Thunderstorm

George Gordon Lord Byron 1788 (London) – 1824 (Missolonghi, Aetolia)

Chill and mirk is the nightly blast,
  Where Pindus' mountains rise,
And angry clouds are pouring fast
  The vengeance of the skies.

Our guides are gone, our hope is lost,
  And lightnings, as they play,
But show where rocks our path have crost,
  Or gild the torrent's spray.

Is yon a cot I saw, though low?
  When lightning broke the gloom---
How welcome were its shade!---ah, no!
  'Tis but a Turkish tomb.

Through sounds of foaming waterfalls,
  I hear a voice exclaim---
My way-worn countryman, who calls
  On distant England's name.

A shot is fired---by foe or friend?
  Another---'tis to tell
The mountain-peasants to descend,
  And lead us where they dwell.

Oh! who in such a night will dare
  To tempt the wilderness?
And who 'mid thunder-peals can hear
  Our signal of distress?

And who that heard our shouts would rise
  To try the dubious road?
Nor rather deem from nightly cries
  That outlaws were abroad.

Clouds burst, skies flash, oh, dreadful hour!
  More fiercely pours the storm!
Yet here one thought has still the power
  To keep my bosom warm.

While wandering through each broken path,
  O'er brake and craggy brow;
While elements exhaust their wrath,
  Sweet Florence, where art thou?

Not on the sea, not on the sea---
  Thy bark hath long been gone:
Oh, may the storm that pours on me,
  Bow down my head alone!

Full swiftly blew the swift Siroc,
  When last I pressed thy lip;
And long ere now, with foaming shock,
  Impelled thy gallant ship.

Now thou art safe; nay, long ere now
  Hast trod the shore of Spain;
'Twere hard if aught so fair as thou
  Should linger on the main.

And since I now remember thee
  In darkness and in dread,
As in those hours of revelry
  Which Mirth and Music sped;

Do thou, amid the fair white walls,
  If Cadiz yet be free,
At times from out her latticed halls
  Look o'er the dark blue sea;

Then think upon Calypso's isles,
  Endeared by days gone by;
To others give a thousand smiles,
  To me a single sigh.

And when the admiring circle mark
  The paleness of thy face,
A half-formed tear, a transient spark
  Of melancholy grace,

Again thou'lt smile, and blushing shun
  Some coxcomb's raillery;
Nor own for once thou thought'st on one,
  Who ever thinks on thee.

Though smile and sigh alike are vain,
  When severed hearts repine
My spirit flies o'er Mount and Main
  And mourns in search of thine.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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George Gordon Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet, peer and politician who became a revolutionary in the Greek War of Independence, and is considered one of the leading figures of the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest English poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; many of his shorter lyrics in Hebrew Melodies also became popular. He travelled extensively across Europe, especially in Italy, where he lived for seven years in the cities of Venice, Ravenna, and Pisa. During his stay in Italy he frequently visited his friend and fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Later in life Byron joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire and died of disease leading a campaign during that war, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died in 1824 at the age of 36 from a fever contracted after the First and Second Siege of Missolonghi. His only legitimate child, Ada Lovelace, is regarded as a foundational figure in the field of computer programming based on her notes for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Byron's illegitimate children include Allegra Byron, who died in childhood, and possibly Elizabeth Medora Leigh.  more…

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