To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture

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

This faint resemblance of thy charms,
  (Though strong as mortal art could give,)
My constant heart of fear disarms,
  Revives my hopes, and bids me live.

Here, I can trace the locks of gold
  Which round thy snowy forehead wave;
The cheeks which sprung from Beauty's mould,
  The lips, which made me Beauty's slave.

Here I can trace---ah, no! that eye,
  Whose azure floats in liquid fire,
Must all the painter's art defy,
  And bid him from the task retire.

Here, I behold its beauteous hue;
  But where's the beam so sweetly straying,
Which gave a lustre to its blue,
  Like Luna o'er the ocean playing?

Sweet copy! far more dear to me,
  Lifeless, unfeeling as thou art,
Than all the living forms could be,
  Save her who plac'd thee next my heart.

She plac'd it, sad, with needless fear,
  Lest time might shake my wavering soul,
Unconscious that her image there
  Held every sense in fast control.

Thro' hours, thro' years, thro' time, 'twill cheer---
  My hope, in gloomy moments, raise;
In life's last conflict 'twill appear,
  And meet my fond, expiring gaze.

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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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