Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: Pignus Amoris


As by the fix'd decrees of Heaven,

'Tis vain to hope that Joy can last;

The dearest boon that Life has given,

To me is - visions of the past.


For these this toy of blushing hue

I prize with zeal before unknown,

It tells me of a Friend I knew,

Who loved me for myself alone.


It tells me what how few can say

Though all the social tie commend;

Recorded in my heart 'twill lay, 2

It tells me mine was once a Friend.


Through many a weary day gone by,

With time the gift is dearer grown;

And still I view in Memory's eye

That teardrop sparkle through my own.


And heartless Age perhaps will smile,

Or wonder whence those feelings sprung;

Yet let not sterner souls revile,

For Both were open, Both were young.


And Youth is sure the only time,

When Pleasure blends no base alloy;

When Life is blest without a crime,

And Innocence resides with Joy.


Let those reprove my feeble Soul,

Who laugh to scorn Affection's name;

While these impose a harsh controul,

All will forgive who feel the same.


Then still I wear my simple toy,

With pious care from wreck I'll save it;

And this will form a dear employ

For dear I was to him who gave it.

? 1806.

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

Footnote 2: For the irregular use of "lay" for "lie," compare "The Adieu" (st. 10, 1. 4, p. 241), and the much-disputed line, "And dashest him to earth - there let him lay" ('Childe Harold', canto iv. st. 180).