Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: Egotism, a Letter J.T. Becher

Greek: Heauton bur'on aeidei.


If Fate should seal my Death to-morrow,

(Though much 'I' hope she will 'postpone' it,)

I've held a share 'Joy' and 'Sorrow',

Enough for 'Ten'; and 'here' I 'own' it.


I've lived, as many others live,

And yet, I think, with more enjoyment;

For could I through my days again live,

I'd pass them in the 'same' employment.


That 'is' to say, with 'some exception',

For though I will not make confession,

I've seen too much of man's deception

Ever again to trust profession.


Some sage 'Mammas' with gesture haughty,

Pronounce me quite a youthful Sinner -

But 'Daughters' say, "although he's naughty,

You must not check a 'Young Beginner'!"


I've loved, and many damsels know it -

But whom I don't intend to mention,

As 'certain stanzas' also show it,

'Some' say 'deserving Reprehension'.


Some ancient Dames, of virtue fiery,

(Unless Report does much belie them,)

Have lately made a sharp Enquiry,

And much it 'grieves' me to 'deny' them.


Two whom I lov'd had 'eyes' of 'Blue',

To which I hope you've no objection;

The 'Rest' had eyes of 'darker Hue' -

Each Nymph, of course, was 'all perfection'.


But here I'll close my 'chaste' Description,

Nor say the deeds of animosity;

For 'silence' is the best prescription,

To 'physic' idle curiosity.


Of 'Friends' I've known a 'goodly Hundred' -

For finding 'one' in each acquaintance,

By 'some deceived', by others plunder'd,

'Friendship', to me, was not 'Repentance'.


At 'School' I thought like other 'Children';

Instead of 'Brains', a fine Ingredient,

'Romance', my 'youthful Head bewildering',

To 'Sense' had made me disobedient.


A victim, 'nearly' from affection,

To certain 'very precious scheming',

The still remaining recollection

Has 'cured' my 'boyish soul' of 'Dreaming'.


By Heaven! I rather would forswear

The Earth, and all the joys reserved me,

Than dare again the 'specious Snare',

From which 'my Fate' and 'Heaven preserved' me.


Still I possess some Friends who love me -

In each a much esteemed and true one;

The Wealth of Worlds shall never move me

To quit their Friendship, for a new one.


But Becher! you're a 'reverend pastor',

Now take it in consideration,

Whether for penance I should fast, or

Pray for my 'sins' in expiation.


I own myself the child of 'Folly',

But not so wicked as they make me -

I soon must die of melancholy,

If 'Female' smiles should e'er forsake me.


'Philosophers' have 'never doubted',

That 'Ladies' Lips' were made for 'kisses!'

For 'Love!' I could not live without it,

For such a 'cursed' place as 'This is'.


Say, Becher, I shall be forgiven!

If you don't warrant my salvation,

I must resign all 'Hopes' of 'Heaven'!

For, 'Faith', I can't withstand Temptation.

P.S. - These were written between one and two, after 'midnight'. I

have not 'corrected', or 'revised'. Yours, BYRON.

Footnote 1: From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.