Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: To the Sighing Strephon


Your pardon, my friend,

If my rhymes did offend,

Your pardon, a thousand times o'er;

From friendship I strove,

Your pangs to remove,

But, I swear, I will do so no more.


Since your 'beautiful' maid,

Your flame has repaid,

No more I your folly regret;

She's now most divine,

And I bow at the shrine,

Of this quickly reformed coquette.


Yet still, I must own, i

I should never have known,

From 'your verses', what else she deserv'd;

Your pain seem'd so great,

I pitied your fate,

As your fair was so dev'lish reserv'd.


Since the balm-breathing kiss ii

Of this magical Miss,

Can such wonderful transports produce; iii

Since the '"world you forget,

When your lips once have met,"'

My counsel will get but abuse.


You say, "When I rove,"

"I know nothing of love;"

Tis true, I am given to range;

If I rightly remember,

'I've lov'd' a good number; iv

Yet there's pleasure, at least, in a change.


I will not advance, v

By the rules of romance,

To humour a whimsical fair;

Though a smile may delight,

Yet a 'frown' will 'affright,' vi

Or drive me to dreadful despair.


While my blood is thus warm,

I ne'er shall reform,

To mix in the Platonists' school;

Of this I am sure,

Was my Passion so pure,

Thy 'Mistress' would think me a fool. vii

8 viii

And if I should shun,

Every 'woman' for 'one,'

Whose 'image' must fill my whole breast;

Whom I must 'prefer,'

And 'sigh' but for 'her,'

What an 'insult' 'twould be to the 'rest!'


Now Strephon, good-bye;

I cannot deny,

Your 'passion' appears most 'absurd;'

Such 'love' as you plead,

Is 'pure' love, indeed,

For it 'only' consists in the 'word'.

Footnote 1: The letters "J. M. B. P." are added, in a lady's hand, in the annotated copy of 'P. on V. Occasions', p. 17 (British Museum).

Footnote i: 'But still'.

Footnote ii: 'But since the chaste kiss.'

Footnote iii: 'Such wonderful.'

Footnote iv:

'I've kiss'd a good number.

But -- -'

Footnote v:

'I ne'er will advance.'

Footnote vi:

'Yet a frown won't affright.'

. 'P. on V. Occasions.'

Footnote vii:

'My mistress must think me.'

. 'P. on V. Occasions.'

Footnote viii:

'Though the kisses are sweet,

Which voluptuously meet,

Of kissing I ne'er was so fond,

As to make me forget,

Though our lips oft have met,

That still there was something beyond.'