The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 4/Prometheus
Titan! to whose immortal eyes
Titan! to thee the strife was given
Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
Diodati, July, 1816.
- [Byron was a lover and worshipper of Prometheus as a boy. His first English exercise at Harrow was a paraphrase of a chorus of the Prometheus Vinctus of Æschylus, line 528, sq., (see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 14). Referring to a criticism on Manfred (Edinburgh Review, vol. xxviii p. 431), he writes (October 12, 1817, Letters, 1900, iv. 174): "The Prometheus, if not exactly in my plan, has always been so much in my head, that I can easily conceive its influence over all or any thing that I have written." The conception of an immortal sufferer at once beneficent and defiant, appealed alike to his passions and his convictions, and awoke a peculiar enthusiasm. His poems abound with allusions to the hero and the legend. Compare the first draft of stanza xvi. of the Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte [Poetical Works, 1900, iii. 312, var. ii.); The Prophecy of Dante, iv. 10, seq.; the Irish Avatar, stanza xii. line 2, etc.]
Τοιαῦτ' ἐπηύρου τοῦ φιλανθρώπου τρόπου.
P. V., line 28.
Θνητὸυς δ' ἐν οἴκτῳ προθέμενος, τούτου τυχεῖν
Οὐκ ἠξιώθην αὐτὸς.
Ibid., lines 241, 242.]
Διὸς γὰρ δυσπαραίτητοι φρένες.
Ibid., line 34.
Τὸ τῆς ἀνάγκης ἐστ' ἀδήριτον σθένος.
Ibid., line 105.]
"The maker—call him
Which name thou wilt; he makes but to destroy."
Cain, act i. sc. 1.
"And the Omnipotent, who makes and crushes."
Heaven and Earth, Part I. sc 3.]
Ὅτῳ θανεῖν μέν ἐστιν οὐ πεπρωμένον.
P. V., line 754.]
Σκεθρῶς τά μέλλοντα.
Ibid., lines 101, 102.]
Θνητοῖς δ' ἀρήγων αὐτὸς εὑρόμην πόνους.
Ibid., line 269.]
"But we, who name ourselves its sovereigns, we,
Half dust, half deity."
Manfred, act i. sc. 2, lines 39, 40, vide post, p. 95.]
- —— and equal to all woes.—[Editions 1832, etc.]
- [The edition of 1833 and subsequent issues read "and equal." It is clear that the earlier reading, "an equal," is correct. The spirit opposed by the spirit is an equal, etc. The spirit can also oppose to "its own funereal destiny" a firm will, etc.]