Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: To Marion

MARION! why that pensive brow? i

What disgust to life hast thou?

Change that discontented air;

Frowns become not one so fair.

'Tis not Love disturbs thy rest,

Love's a stranger to thy breast:

'He', in dimpling smiles, appears,

Or mourns in sweetly timid tears;

Or bends the languid eyelid down,

But 'shuns' the cold forbidding 'frown'.

Then resume thy former fire,

Some will 'love', and all admire!

While that icy aspect chills us,

Nought but cool Indiff'rence thrills us.

Would'st thou wand'ring hearts beguile,

Smile, at least, or 'seem' to 'smile';

Eyes like 'thine' were never meant

To hide their orbs in dark restraint;

Spite of all thou fain wouldst say,

Still in 'truant' beams they play.

Thy lips - but here my 'modest' Muse

Her impulse 'chaste' must needs refuse:

She 'blushes, curtsies, frowns,' - in short She

Dreads lest the 'Subject' should transport me;

And flying off, in search of 'Reason',

Brings Prudence back in proper season.

'All' I shall, therefore, say (whate'er ii

I think, is neither here nor there,)

Is, that such 'lips', of looks endearing,

Were form'd for 'better things' than 'sneering'.

Of soothing compliments divested,

Advice at least's disinterested;

Such is my artless song to thee,

From all the flow of Flatt'ry free;

Counsel like 'mine' is as a brother's,

'My' heart is given to some others;

That is to say, unskill'd to cozen,

It shares itself among a dozen.

Marion, adieu! oh, pr'ythee slight not

This warning, though it may delight not;

And, lest my precepts be displeasing, iii

To those who think remonstrance teazing,

At once I'll tell thee our opinion,

Concerning Woman's soft Dominion:

Howe'er we gaze, with admiration,

On eyes of blue or lips carnation;

Howe'er the flowing locks attract us,

Howe'er those beauties may distract us;

Still fickle, we are prone to rove,

'These' cannot fix our souls to love;

It is not too 'severe' a stricture,

To say they form a 'pretty picture';

But would'st thou see the secret chain,

Which binds us in your humble train,

To hail you Queens of all Creation,

Know, in a 'word, 'tis Animation'.

BYRON, 'January' 10, 1807.

Footnote 1: The MS. of this Poem is preserved at Newstead. "This was to Harriet Maltby, afterwards Mrs. Nichols, written upon her meeting Byron, and, 'being 'cold, silent', and 'reserved' to him,' by the advice of a Lady with whom she was staying; quite foreign to her 'usual' manner, which was gay, lively, and full of flirtation." - Note by Miss E. Pigot. (See p. 130, var. ii.)

Footnote a:


'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote b:

'All I shall therefore say of these',

('Thy pardon if my words displease').

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote c:

'And lest my precepts be found fault, by

Those who approved the frown of M - lt-by'.

'MS. Newstead'.