Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
II. Light: Day: Night
Night
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
From “Childe Harold,” Canto II.

  ’T IS night, when Meditation bids us feel
  We once have loved, though love is at an end:
  The heart, lone mourner of its baffled zeal,
  Though friendless now, will dream it had a friend.
  Who with the weight of years would wish to bend,        5
  When Youth itself survives young Love and joy?
  Alas! when mingling souls forget to blend,
  Death hath but little left him to destroy!
Ah! happy years! once more who would not be a boy?
 
  Thus bending o’er the vessel’s laving side,        10
  To gaze on Dian’s wave-reflected sphere,
  The soul forgets her schemes of Hope and Pride,
  And flies unconscious o’er each backward year.
  None are so desolate but something dear,
  Dearer than self, possesses or possessed        15
  A thought, and claims the homage of a tear;
  A flashing pang! of which the weary breast
Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
 
  To sit on rocks, to muse o’er flood and fell,
  To slowly trace the forest’s shady scene,        20
  Where things that own not man’s dominion dwell,
  And mortal foot hath ne’er or rarely been;
  To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
  With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
  Alone o’er steeps and foaming falls to lean,—        25
  This is not solitude; ’t is but to hold
Converse with Nature’s charms, and view her stores unrolled.
 
  But midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men
  To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
  And roam along, the world’s tired denizen,        30
  With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
  Minions of splendor shrinking from distress!
  None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
  If we were not, would seem to smile the less
  Of all that flattered, followed, sought, and sued;        35
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
 
 
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