The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Hebrew Melodies/My Soul is Dark

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The Works of Lord Byron by George Gordon Byron
My Soul is Dark
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MY SOUL IS DARK.

I.

My soul is dark—Oh! quickly string[1]
 The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
 Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
 That sound shall charm it forth again:
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
 'Twill flow, and cease to burn my brain.


II.

But bid the strain be wild and deep,
 Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
 Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
 And ached in sleepless silence long;
And now 'tis doomed to know the worst,
 And break at once—or yield to song.[2]


  1. [Compare "My soul is dark."—Ossian, "Oina-Morul," The Works of Ossian, 1765, ii. 279.]
  2. ["It was generally conceived that Lord Byron's reported singularities approached on some occasions to derangement; and at one period, indeed, it was very currently asserted that his intellects were actually impaired. The report only served to amuse his Lordship. He referred to the circumstance, and declared that he would try how a Madman could write: seizing the pen with eagerness, he for a moment fixed his eyes in majestic wildess on vacancy; when, like a flash of inspiration, without erasing a single word, the above verses were the result."—Fugitive Pieces, 1829, p. 37.]