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.