Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: To Mary On Receiving Her Picture


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, i.

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 controul.


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.

Footnote 1: This "Mary" is not to be confounded with the heiress of Annesley, or "Mary" of Aberdeen. She was of humble station in life. Byron used to show a lock of her light golden hair, as well as her picture, among his friends. (See 'Life', p. 41, 'note'.)

Footnote i.:

'But Where's the beam of soft desire?

Which gave a lustre to its blue,

Love, only love, could e'er inspire. - '

. 'P. on V, Occasions