Lord George Gordon Byron Poems >>
The Tear

'O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Ducentium ortus ex animo; quater
Felix! in imo qui scatentem
Pectore te, pia Nympha, sensit.'~GRAY


When Friendship or Love our sympathies move,
 When Truth, in a glance, should appear,
The lips may beguile with a dimple or smile,
 But the test of affection's a Tear:

Too oft is a smile but the hypocrite's wile,
 To mask detestation, or fear;
Give me the soft sigh, whilst the soultelling eye
 Is dimm'd, for a time, with a Tear:

Mild Charity's glow, to us mortals below,
 Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
Compassion will melt, where this virtue is felt,
 And its dew is diffused in a Tear:

The man, doom'd to sail with the blast of the gale,
 Through billows Atlantic to steer,
As he bends o'er the wave which may soon be his grave,
 The green sparkles bright with a Tear;

The Soldier braves death for a fanciful wreath
 In Glory's romantic career;
But he raises the foe when in battle laid low,
 And bathes every wound with a Tear.

If, with high-bounding pride he return to his bride!
 Renouncing the gore-crimson'd spear;
All his toils are repaid when, embracing the maid,
 From her eyelid he kisses the Tear.

Sweet scene of my youth! seat of Friendship and Truth,
 Where Love chas'd each fast-fleeting year
Loth to leave thee, I mourn'd, for a last look I turn'd,
 But thy spire was scarce seen through a Tear:

Though my vows I can pour, to my Mary no more,
 My Mary, to Love once so dear,
In the shade of her bow'r I remember the hour,
 She rewarded those vows with a Tear.

By another possest, may she live ever blest!
 Her name still my heart must revere:
With a sigh I resign what I once thought was mine,
 And forgive her deceit with a Tear.

Ye friends of my heart, ere from you I depart,
 This hope to my breast is most near:
If again we shall meet in this rural retreat,
 May we meet, as we part, with a Tear.

When my soul wings her flight to the regions of night,
 And my corse shall recline on its bier;
As ye pass by the tomb where my ashes consume,
 Oh! moisten their dust with a Tear.

May no marble bestow the splendour of woe
 Which the children of vanity rear;
No fiction of fame shall blazon my name.
 All I ask -- all I wish -- is a Tear.

October 26, 1806