Poem of the Week #10: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Byron)

My departure draws near, and it is time for Byron, for three reasons. One, he was a great European traveller. Two, he is venerated as a national hero in Greece (my final destination). And three, because I wish to be more Byronic in my own life. This essentially means that I want to be eccentric and characterful in conversation, brilliant and prolific in my writing, and to sleep with everyone. This does not seem like too much to ask.

from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

The waters heave around me, and on high
the winds lift up their voices. I depart
Whither I know not, but the hour’s gone by
When Albion’s lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye.

Once more upon the waters, yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider – welcome to their roar!
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe’er it lead!
Though the strained mast should quiver as a reed
And the rent canvas fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on – for I am as a weed
Flung from the rock on ocean’s foam, to sail
Where’er the surge may sweep, the tempest’s breath prevail.


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