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George Gordon Byron (Джордж Гордон Байрон)


Egotism. A Letter to J. T. Becher


         Ἑαυτὸν Βύρων αἔιδει.

1.

If Fate should seal my Death to-morrow,
⁠   (Though much I hope she will postpone it,)
I've held a share of Joy and Sorrow,
   ⁠Enough for Ten; and here I own it.

2.

I've lived as many other men live,
   ⁠And yet, I think, with more enjoyment;
For could I through my days again live,
⁠   I'd pass them in the same employment.

3.

That is to say, with some exception,
⁠   For though I will not make confession,
I've seen too much of man's deception
⁠   Ever again to trust profession.

4.

Some sage Mammas with gesture haughty,
⁠   Pronounce me quite a youthful Sinner—
But Daughters say, "although he's naughty,
   ⁠You must not check a Young Beginner!"

5.

I've loved, and many damsels know it—
   ⁠But whom I don't intend to mention,
As certain stanzas also show it,
⁠   Some say deserving Reprehension.

6.

Some ancient Dames, of virtue fiery,
⁠   (Unless Report does much belie them,)
Have lately made a sharp Enquiry,
   And much it grieves me to deny them.

7.

Two whom I lov'd had eyes of Blue,
⁠   To which I hope you've no objection;
The Rest had eyes of darker Hue—
⁠   Each Nymph, of course, was all perfection,

8.

But here I'll close my chaste Description,
   ⁠Nor say the deeds of animosity;
For silence is the best prescription,
⁠   To physic idle curiosity.

9.

Of Friends I've known a goodly Hundred—
⁠   For finding one in each acquaintance,
By some deceived by others plunder'd,
⁠   Friendship, to me, was not Repentance.

10.

At School I thought like other Children;
   ⁠Instead of Brains, a fine Ingredient,
Romance, my youthful Head bewildering,
⁠   To Sense had made me disobedient.

11.

A victim, nearly from affection,
   ⁠To certain very precious scheming,
The still remaining recollection
⁠   Has cured my boyish soul of Dreaming.

12.

By Heaven! I rather would forswear
⁠   The Earth, and all the joys reserved me,
Than dare again the specious Snare,
⁠   From which my Fate and Heaven preserved me.

13.

Still I possess some Friends who love me—
   ⁠In each a much esteemed and true one;
The Wealth of Worlds shall never move me
   ⁠To quit their Friendship, for a new one.

14.

But Becher! you're a reverend pastor,
⁠   Now take it in consideration,
Whether for penance I should fast, or
⁠   Pray for my sins in expiation.

15.

I own myself the child of Folly,
⁠   But not so wicked as they make me—
I soon must die of melancholy,
⁠   If Female smiles should e'er forsake me.

16.

Philosophers have never doubted,
⁠   That Ladies' Lips were made for kisses!
For Love! I could not live without it,
⁠   For such a cursed place as This is.

17.

Say, Becher, I shall be forgiven!
⁠   If you don't warrant my salvation,
I must resign all Hopes of Heaven!
⁠   For, Faith, I can't withstand Temptation.

P.S.—These were written between one and two, after midnight. I have not corrected, or revised.
⁠Yours, Byron.



George Gordon Byron's other poems:
  1. To a Lady who Presented to the Author a Lock of Hair Braided with his own, and appointed a Night in December to meet him in the Garden
  2. Lines Addressed to a Young Lady
  3. On the Eyes of Miss A—— H——
  4. To Anne (Oh say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed)
  5. To a Youthful Friend


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