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George Gordon Byron (Джордж Гордон Байрон)

Lines Addressed to a Young Lady

As the Author was discharging his Pistols in a Garden, Two Ladies passing near the spot were alarmed by the sound of a Bullet hissing near them, to one of whom the following stanzas were addressed the next morning


Doubtless, sweet girl! the hissing lead,
⁠   Wafting destruction o'er thy charms
And hurtling o'er thy lovely head,
⁠   Has fill'd that breast with fond alarms.


Surely some envious Demon's force,
   ⁠Vex'd to behold such beauty here,
Impell'd the bullet's viewless course,
⁠   Diverted from its first career.


Yes! in that nearly fatal hour,
⁠   The ball obey'd some hell-born guide;
But Heaven, with interposing power,
⁠   In pity turn'd the death aside.


Yet, as perchance one trembling tear
⁠   Upon that thrilling bosom fell;
Which I, th' unconscious cause of fear,
⁠   Extracted from its glistening cell;—


Say, what dire penance can atone
⁠   For such an outrage, done to thee?
Arraign'd before thy beauty's throne,
⁠   What punishment wilt thou decree?


Might I perform the Judge's part,
   ⁠The sentence I should scarce deplore;
It only would restore a heart,
⁠   Which but belong'd to thee before.


The least atonement I can make
⁠   Is to become no longer free;
Henceforth, I breathe but for thy sake,
   ⁠Thou shalt be all in all to me.


But thou, perhaps, may'st now reject
   ⁠Such expiation of my guilt;
Come then—some other mode elect?
   ⁠Let it be death—or what thou wilt.


Choose, then, relentless! and I swear
⁠   Nought shall thy dread decree prevent;
Yet hold—one little word forbear!
⁠   Let it be aught but banishment.

George Gordon Byron's other poems:
  1. Churchill’s Grave
  2. On a Change of Masters at a Great Public School
  3. To the Earl of Clare
  4. To Edward Noel Long, Esq.
  5. To Caroline (Oh! when shall the grave hide for ever my sorrow?)

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