Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BYRON, by CINCINNATUS HEINE MILLER



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BYRON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In men whom men condemn as ill
Last Line: And england does not fear the shame.
Alternate Author Name(s): Miller, Joaquin
Variant Title(s): Judge Not
Subject(s): Byron, George Gordon, Lord (1788-1824); Poetry & Poets; Byron, George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron


In men whom men condemn as ill
I find so much of goodness still,
In men whom men pronounce divine
I find so much of sin and blot,
I do not dare to draw a line
Between the two, where God has not.

O cold and cruel Nottingham!
In disappointment and in tears,
Sad, lost, and lonely, here I am
To question, "Is this Nottingham
Of which I dream'd for years and years?"
I seek in vain for name or sign
Of him who made this mold a shrine,
A Mecca to the fair and fond
Beyond the seas, and still beyond.

Where white clouds crush their drooping wings
Against my snow-crown'd battlements,
And peaks that flash like silver tents;
Where Sacramento's fountain springs,
And proud Columbia frets his shore
Of somber, boundless wood and wold,
And lifts his yellow sands of gold
In plaintive murmurs evermore;
Where snowy dimpled Tahoe smiles,
And where white breakers from the sea,
In solid phalanx knee to knee,
Surround the calm Pacific Isles,
Then run and reach unto the land
And spread their thin palms on the sand, --
Is he supreme -- there understood:
The free can understand the free;
The brave and good the brave and good.

Yea, he did sin; who hath reveal'd
That he was more than man, or less?
Yet sinn'd no more; but less conceal'd
Than they who cloak'd their follies o'er,
And then cast stones in his distress.
He scorn'd to make the good seem more,
Or make the bitter sin seem less.
And so his very manliness
The seeds of persecution bore.

When all his songs and fervid love
Brought back no olive branch or dove,
Or love or trust from any one,
Proud, all unpitied and alone
He lived to make himself unknown,
Disdaining love and yielding none.
Like some high-lifted sea-girt stone
That could not stoop, but all the days,
With proud brow fronted to the breeze,
Felt seas blown from the south, and seas
Blown from the north, and many ways,
He stood -- a solitary light
In stormy seas and settled night --
Then fell, but stirr'd the seas as far
As winds and waves and waters are.

The meek-eyed stars are cold and white
And steady, fix'd for all the years;
The comet burns the wings of night,
And dazzles elements and spheres,
Then dies in beauty and a blaze
Of light, blown far through other days.

The poet's passion, sense of pride,
His boundless love, the wooing throng
Of sweet temptations that betide
The warm and wayward child of song,
The world knows not: I lift a hand
To ye who know, who understand.

The ancient Abbey's breast is broad,
And stout her massive walls of stone;
But let him lie, repose alone
Ungather'd with the great of God,
In dust, by his fierce fellow man.
Some one, some day, loud voiced will speak
And say the broad breast was not broad,
The walls of stone were all too weak
To hold his proud dust, in their plan;
The hollow of God's great right hand
Receives it; let it rest with God.

In sad but beautiful decay
Gray Hucknall kneels into the dust,
And, cherishing her sacred trust,
Does blend her clay with lordly clay.

No sign or cryptic stone or cross
Unto the passing world has said,
"He died, and we deplore his loss."
No sound of sandall'd pilgrim's tread
Disturbs the pilgrim's peaceful rest,
Or frets the proud, impatient breast,
The bat flits through the broken pane.
The black swift swallow gathers moss,
And builds in peace above his head,
Then goes, then comes, and builds again.

And it is well; not otherwise
Would he, the grand sad singer, will.
The serene peace of paradise
He sought -- 'tis his -- the storm is still.
Secure in his eternal fame,
And blended pity and respect,
He does not feel the cold neglect, --
And England does not fear the shame.





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