Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: Ossian's Address To the Sun in "Carthon"

1 Oh! thou that roll'st above thy glorious Fire,

Round as the shield which grac'd my godlike Sire,

Whence are the beams, O Sun! thy endless blaze,

Which far eclipse each minor Glory's rays?

Forth in thy Beauty here thou deign'st to shine!

Night quits her car, the twinkling stars decline;

Pallid and cold the Moon descends to cave

Her sinking beams beneath the Western wave;

But thou still mov'st alone, of light the Source -

Who can o'ertake thee in thy fiery course?

Oaks of the mountains fall, the rocks decay,

Weighed down with years the hills dissolve away.

A certain space to yonder Moon is given,

She rises, smiles, and then is lost in Heaven.

Ocean in sullen murmurs ebbs and flows,

But thy bright beam unchanged for ever glows!

When Earth is darkened with tempestuous skies,

When Thunder shakes the sphere and Lightning flies,

Thy face, O Sun, no rolling blasts deform,

Thou look'st from clouds and laughest at the Storm.

To Ossian, Orb of Light! thou look'st in vain,

Nor cans't thou glad his aged eyes again,

Whether thy locks in Orient Beauty stream,

Or glimmer through the West with fainter gleam -

But thou, perhaps, like me with age must bend;

Thy season o'er, thy days will find their end,

No more yon azure vault with rays adorn,

Lull'd in the clouds, nor hear the voice of Morn.

Exult, O Sun, in all thy youthful strength!

Age, dark unlovely Age, appears at length,

As gleams the moonbeam through the broken cloud

While mountain vapours spread their misty shroud -

The Northern tempest howls along at last,

And wayworn strangers shrink amid the blast.

Thou rolling Sun who gild'st those rising towers,

Fair didst thou shine upon my earlier hours!

I hail'd with smiles the cheering rays of Morn,

My breast by no tumultuous Passion torn -

Now hateful are thy beams which wake no more

The sense of joy which thrill'd my breast before;

Welcome thou cloudy veil of nightly skies,

To thy bright canopy the mourner flies:

Once bright, thy Silence lull'd my frame to rest,

And Sleep my soul with gentle visions blest;

Now wakeful Grief disdains her mild controul,

Dark is the night, but darker is my Soul.

Ye warring Winds of Heav'n your fury urge,

To me congenial sounds your wintry Dirge:

Swift as your wings my happier days have past,

Keen as your storms is Sorrow's chilling blast;

To Tempests thus expos'd my Fate has been,

Piercing like yours, like yours, alas! unseen.


Footnote 1: From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed. (See 'Ossian's Poems', London, 1819, pp. xvii. 119.)