15 Best Lord Byron Poems: Exclusive Selection

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron FRS, known simply as Lord Byron, is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and is best known for his amorous lifestyle and his brilliant use of the English language. Passionate Lord Byron poems will fascinate you and give you a glimpse of enlightenment.

If you’re searching for best poems ever that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of William Blake poems, greatest poems by Robert Browning, and famous Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems.

Lord Byron’s Most Famous Poems

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Darkness

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,
And men were gather’d round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguish’d with a crash—and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil’d;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look’d up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash’d their teeth and howl’d: the wild birds shriek’d
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl’d
And twin’d themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again: a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought—and that was death
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails—men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour’d,
Even dogs assail’d their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish’d men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur’d their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer’d not with a caress—he died.
The crowd was famish’d by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap’d a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they rak’d up,
And shivering scrap’d with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other’s aspects—saw, and shriek’d, and died—
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless—
A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr’d within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp’d
They slept on the abyss without a surge—
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir’d before;
The winds were wither’d in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them—She was the Universe.

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow–
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me–
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well–
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met–
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?–
With silence and tears.

So we’ll go no more a roving

So, we’ll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

The Destruction of Sennacherib

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

The Isles of Greece

THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet, 5
But all, except their sun, is set.

The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse:
Their place of birth alone is mute 10
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires’ ‘Islands of the Blest.

The mountains look on Marathon—
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone, 15
I dream’d that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persians’ grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

A king sate on the rocky brow
Which looks o’er sea-born Salamis; 20
And ships, by thousands, lay below,
And men in nations;—all were his!
He counted them at break of day—
And when the sun set, where were they?

And where are they? and where art thou, 25
My country? On thy voiceless shore
The heroic lay is tuneless now—
The heroic bosom beats no more!
And must thy lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine? 30

‘Tis something in the dearth of fame,
Though link’d among a fetter’d race,
To feel at least a patriot’s shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here? 35
For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.

Must we but weep o’er days more blest?
Must we but blush?—Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead! 40
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylæ!

What, silent still? and silent all?
Ah! no;—the voices of the dead
Sound like a distant torrent’s fall, 45
And answer, ‘Let one living head,
But one, arise,—we come, we come!’
‘Tis but the living who are dumb.

In vain—in vain: strike other chords;
Fill high the cup with Samian wine! 50
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
And shed the blood of Scio’s vine:
Hark! rising to the ignoble call—
How answers each bold Bacchanal!

You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet; 55
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one?
You have the letters Cadmus gave—
Think ye he meant them for a slave? 60

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
We will not think of themes like these!
It made Anacreon’s song divine:
He served—but served Polycrates—
A tyrant; but our masters then 65
Were still, at least, our countrymen.

The tyrant of the Chersonese
Was freedom’s best and bravest friend;
That tyrant was Miltiades!
O that the present hour would lend 70
Another despot of the kind!
Such chains as his were sure to bind.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
On Suli’s rock, and Parga’s shore,
Exists the remnant of a line 75
Such as the Doric mothers bore;
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,
The Heracleidan blood might own.

Trust not for freedom to the Franks—
They have a king who buys and sells; 80
In native swords and native ranks
The only hope of courage dwells:
But Turkish force and Latin fraud
Would break your shield, however broad.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! 85
Our virgins dance beneath the shade—
I see their glorious black eyes shine;
But gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves. 90

Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep,
Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
There, swan-like, let me sing and die:
A land of slaves shall ne’er be mine— 95
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

Stanzas for Music

There be none of Beauty’s daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charmed ocean’s pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull’d winds seem dreaming:

And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o’er the deep;
Whose breast is gently heaving,
As an infant’s asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee,
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer’s ocean.

I Speak Not, I Trace Not, I Breathe Not Thy Name

I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours – can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain, –
We will part, we will fly to – unite it again!
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one! – forsake if thou wilt;
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it – whatever thou may’st.
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove.
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign –
Thy lips shall reply, not to them, but to mine.

To Caroline

Think’st thou I saw thy beauteous eyes,
Suffus’d in tears, implore to stay;
And heard unmov’d thy plenteous sighs,
Which said far more than words can say?

Though keen the grief thy tears exprest,
When love and hope lay both o’erthrown;
Yet still, my girl, this bleeding breast
Throbb’d, with deep sorrow, as thine own.

But, when our cheeks with anguish glow’d,
When thy sweet lips were join’d to mine;
The tears that from my eyelids flow’d
Were lost in those which fell from thine.

Thou could’st not feel my burning cheek,
Thy gushing tears had quench’d its flame,
And, as thy tongue essay’d to speak,
In sighs alone it breath’d my name.

And yet, my girl, we weep in vain,
In vain our fate in sighs deplore;
Remembrance only can remain,
But that, will make us weep the more.

Again, thou best belov’d, adieu!
Ah! if thou canst, o’ercome regret,
Nor let thy mind past joys review,
Our only hope is, to forget!

There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

To Florence

Oh Lady! when I left the shore,
The distant shore which gave me birth,
I hardly thought to grieve once more
To quit another spot on earth:

Yet here, amidst this barren isle,
Where panting Nature droops the head,
Where only thou art seen to smile,
I view my parting hour with dread.

Though far from Albin’s craggy shore,
Divided by the dark?blue main;
A few, brief, rolling seasons o’er,
Perchance I view her cliffs again:

But wheresoe’er I now may roam,
Through scorching clime, and varied sea,
Though Time restore me to my home,
I ne’er shall bend mine eyes on thee:

On thee, in whom at once conspire
All charms which heedless hearts can move,
Whom but to see is to admire,
And, oh! forgive the word – to love.

Forgive the word, in one who ne’er
With such a word can more offend;
And since thy heart I cannot share,
Believe me, what I am, thy friend.

And who so cold as look on thee,
Thou lovely wand’rer, and be less?
Nor be, what man should ever be,
The friend of Beauty in distress?

Ah! who would think that form had past
Through Danger’s most destructive path
Had braved the death?wing’d tempest’s blast,
And ‘scaped a tyrant’s fiercer wrath?

Lady! when I shall view the walls
Where free Byzantium once arose,
And Stamboul’s Oriental halls
The Turkish tyrants now enclose;

Though mightiest in the lists of fame,
That glorious city still shall be;
On me ’twill hold a dearer claim,
As spot of thy nativity:

And though I bid thee now farewell,
When I behold that wondrous scene,
Since where thou art I may not dwell,
‘Twill soothe to be where thou hast been.

September 1809.

To My Son

Those flaxen locks, those eyes of blue
Bright as thy mother’s in their hue;
Those rosy lips, whose dimples play
And smile to steal the heart away,
Recall a scene of former joy,
And touch thy fathers heart, my Boy!

And thou canst lisp a father’s name–
Ah, William, were thine own the same,­
No self‑reproach–but, let me cease–
My care for thee shall purchase peace;
Thy mother’s shade shall smile in joy,
And pardon all the past, my Boy!

Her lowly grave the turf has prest,
And thou hast known a stranger’s breast;
Derision sneers upon thy birth,
And yields thee scarce a name on earth;
Yet shall not these one hops destroy,–
A Father’s heart is throe, my Boy!

Why, let the world unfeeling frown,
Must I fond Nature’s claim disown?
Ah, no–though moralists reprove,
I hail thee, dearest child of love,
Fair cherub, pledge of youth and joy­
A Father guards thy birth, my Boy!

Oh, ’twill be sweet in thee to trace,
Ere age has wrinkled o’er my face,
Ere half my glass of life is run,
At once a brother and a son;
And all my wane of years employ
In justice done to thee, my Boy!

Although so young thy heedless sire,
Youth will not damp parental fire;
And, wert thou still less dear to me,
While Helen’s form revives in thee,
The breast which beat to former joy,
Will ne’er desert its pledge, my Boy!

Apostrophe To The Ocean

CLXXVIII.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
CLXXIX.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
CLXXX.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.
CLXXXI.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals.
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada’s pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
CLXXXII.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee—
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free
And many a tyrant since: their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves’ play—
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow—
Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
CLXXXIII.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving;—boundless, endless, and sublime—
The image of Eternity—the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
CLXXXIV.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—’twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.

Translation From The Medea Of Euripides

When fierce conflicting urge
The breast where love is wont to glow,
What mind can stem the stormy surge
Which rolls the tide of human woe?
The hope of praise, the dread of shame,
Can rouse the tortured breast no more;
The wild desire, the guilty flame,
Absorbs each wish it felt before.

But if affection gently thrills
The soul by purer dreams possest,
The pleasing balm of mortal ills
In love can soothe the aching breast:
If thus thou comest in disguise,
Fair Venus! from thy native heaven,
What heart unfeeling would despise
The sweetest boon the gods have given?

But never from thy golden bow
May I beneath the shaft expire!
Whose creeping venom, sure and slow,
Awakes an all-consuming fire:
Ye racking doubts! ye jealous fears!
With others wage internal war;
Repentance, source of future tears,
From me be ever distant far!

May no distracting thoughts destroy
The holy calm of sacred love!
May all the hours be wing’d with joy,
Which hover faithful hearts above!
Fair Venus, on thy myrtle shrine
May I with some fair lover sigh,
Whose heart may mingle pure with mine —
With me to live, with me to die!

My native soil! beloved before,
Now dearer as my peaceful home,
Ne’er may I quit thy rocky shore,
A hapless banish’d wretch to roam!
This very day, this very hour,
May I resign this fleeting breath;
Nor quit my silent humble bower,
A doom to me far worse than death.

Have I not heard the exile’s sigh?
And seen the exile’s silent tear,
Through distant climes condemn’d to fly,
A pensive, weary wanderer here?
Ah, hapless dame! no sire bewails,
No friend thy wretched fate deplores,
No kindred voice with rapture hails
Thy steps within a stranger’s doors.

Perish the fiend whose iron heart,
To fair affection’s truth unknown,
Bids her he fondly loved depart,
Unpitied, helpless, and alone;
Who ne’er unlocks with silver key
The milder treasures of his soul,–
May such a friend be far from me,
And ocean’s storms between us roll!

When fierce conflicting urge
The breast where love is wont to glow,
What mind can stem the stormy surge
Which rolls the tide of human woe?
The hope of praise, the dread of shame,
Can rouse the tortured breast no more;
The wild desire, the guilty flame,
Absorbs each wish it felt before.

But if affection gently thrills
The soul by purer dreams possest,
The pleasing balm of mortal ills
In love can soothe the aching breast:
If thus thou comest in disguise,
Fair Venus! from thy native heaven,
What heart unfeeling would despise
The sweetest boon the gods have given?

But never from thy golden bow
May I beneath the shaft expire!
Whose creeping venom, sure and slow,
Awakes an all-consuming fire:
Ye racking doubts! ye jealous fears!
With others wage internal war;
Repentance, source of future tears,
From me be ever distant far!

May no distracting thoughts destroy
The holy calm of sacred love!
May all the hours be wing’d with joy,
Which hover faithful hearts above!
Fair Venus, on thy myrtle shrine
May I with some fair lover sigh,
Whose heart may mingle pure with mine —
With me to live, with me to die!

My native soil! beloved before,
Now dearer as my peaceful home,
Ne’er may I quit thy rocky shore,
A hapless banish’d wretch to roam!
This very day, this very hour,
May I resign this fleeting breath;
Nor quit my silent humble bower,
A doom to me far worse than death.

Have I not heard the exile’s sigh?
And seen the exile’s silent tear,
Through distant climes condemn’d to fly,
A pensive, weary wanderer here?
Ah, hapless dame! no sire bewails,
No friend thy wretched fate deplores,
No kindred voice with rapture hails
Thy steps within a stranger’s doors.

Perish the fiend whose iron heart,
To fair affection’s truth unknown,
Bids her he fondly loved depart,
Unpitied, helpless, and alone;
Who ne’er unlocks with silver key
The milder treasures of his soul,–
May such a friend be far from me,
And ocean’s storms between us roll!

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 should never have known
From your verses what else she deserved;
Your pain seem’d so great, I pitied your fate,
As your fair was so devilish reserved.

Since the baim-br’eathing kiss of this magical miss
Can such wonderful transports produce;
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 loved a good number,
Yet there’s pleasure, at least, in a change

I will not advance, by the rules of romance,
To humour a whimsical fair;
Though a smile may delight, yet a frown won’t affright,
Or drlve me to dreadful despair.

While my blood is thus warm I ne’er shall reform,
To mix in the Platonists’ school;
Of this l am sure, was my passion so pure,
Thy mistress would think me a fool.

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!

ow, 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.

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