Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO TIME, by GEORGE GORDON BYRON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO TIME, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Time! On whose arbitrary wing
Last Line: Must fall upon -- a nameless stone.
Alternate Author Name(s): Byron, Lord; Byron, 6th Baron
Subject(s): Time

TIME! on whose arbitrary wing
The varying hours must flag or fly,
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring,
But drag or drive us on to die --

Hail thou! who on my birth bestow'd
Those boons to all that know thee known
Yet better I sustain thy load,
For now I bear the weight alone.

I would not one fond heart should share
The bitter moments thou hast given;
And pardon thee, since thou couldst spare
All that I loved, to peace or heaven.

To them be joy or rest, on me
Thy future ills shall press in vain:
I nothing owe but years to thee,
A debt already paid in pain.

Yet even that pain was some relief;
It felt, but still forgot thy power:
The active agony of grief
Retards, but never counts the hour.

In joy I've sigh'd to think thy flight
Would soon subside from swift to slow;
Thy cloud could overcast the light,
But could not add a night to woe;

For then, however drear and dark,
My soul was suited to thy sky;
One star alone shot forth a spark
To prove thee -- not Eternity.

That beam hath sunk, and now thou art
A blank; a thing to count and curse
Through each dull tedious trifling part,
Which all regret, yet all rehearse.

One scene even thou canst not deform;
The limit of thy sloth or speed
When future wanderers bear the storm
Which we shall sleep too sound to heed:

And I can smile to think how weak
Thine efforts shortly shall be shown,
When all the vengeance thou canst wreak
Must fall upon -- a nameless stone.

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