Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: To Romance


Parent of golden dreams, Romance!

Auspicious Queen of childish joys,

Who lead'st along, in airy dance,

Thy votive train of girls and boys;

At length, in spells no longer bound,

I break the fetters of my youth;

No more I tread thy mystic round,

But leave thy realms for those of Truth.


And yet 'tis hard to quit the dreams

Which haunt the unsuspicious soul,

Where every nymph a goddess seems, i

Whose eyes through rays immortal roll;

While Fancy holds her boundless reign,

And all assume a varied hue;

When Virgins seem no longer vain,

And even Woman's smiles are true.


And must we own thee, but a name,

And from thy hall of clouds descend?

Nor find a Sylph in every dame,

A Pylades 1 in every friend?

But leave, at once, thy realms of air ii

To mingling bands of fairy elves;

Confess that woman's false as fair,

And friends have feeling for - themselves?


With shame, I own, I've felt thy sway;

Repentant, now thy reign is o'er;

No more thy precepts I obey,

No more on fancied pinions soar;

Fond fool! to love a sparkling eye,

And think that eye to truth was dear;

To trust a passing wanton's sigh,

And melt beneath a wanton's tear!


Romance! disgusted with deceit,

Far from thy motley court I fly,

Where Affectation holds her seat,

And sickly Sensibility;

Whose silly tears can never flow

For any pangs excepting thine;

Who turns aside from real woe,

To steep in dew thy gaudy shrine.


Now join with sable Sympathy,

With cypress crown'd, array'd in weeds,

Who heaves with thee her simple sigh,

Whose breast for every bosom bleeds;

And call thy sylvan female choir,

To mourn a Swain for ever gone,

Who once could glow with equal fire,

But bends not now before thy throne.


Ye genial Nymphs, whose ready tears iii

On all occasions swiftly flow;

Whose bosoms heave with fancied fears,

With fancied flames and phrenzy glow

Say, will you mourn my absent name,

Apostate from your gentle train?

An infant Bard, at least, may claim

From you a sympathetic strain.


Adieu, fond race! a long adieu!

The hour of fate is hovering nigh;

E'en now the gulf appears in view,

Where unlamented you must lie: iv

Oblivion's blackening lake is seen,

Convuls'd by gales you cannot weather,

Where you, and eke your gentle queen,

Alas! must perish altogether.

Footnote 1: It is hardly necessary to add, that Pylades was the companion of Orestes, and a partner in one of those friendships which, with those of Achilles and Patroclus, Nisus and Euryalus, Damon and Pythias, have been handed down to posterity as remarkable instances of attachments, which in all probability never existed beyond the imagination of the poet, or the page of an historian, or modern novelist.

Footnote i:

'Where every girl - .'

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote ii:

'But quit at once thy realms of air

Thy mingling - .'

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote iii:

'Auspicious bards - .'

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote iv:

'Where you are doomed in death to lie.'

'MS. Newstead'.