The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Hebrew Melodies/When Coldness wraps this Suffering Clay

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The Works of Lord Byron by George Gordon Byron
When Coldness wraps this Suffering Clay

WHEN COLDNESS WRAPS THIS SUFFERING CLAY.

I.

When coldness wraps this suffering clay,[1]
 Ah! whither strays the immortal mind?
It cannot die, it cannot stay,
 But leaves its darkened dust behind.
Then, unembodied, doth it trace
 By steps each planet's heavenly way?[2]


Or fill at once the realms of space,
 A thing of eyes, that all survey?


II.

Eternal—boundless,—undecayed,
 A thought unseen, but seeing all,
All, all in earth, or skies displayed,[3]
 Shall it survey, shall it recall:
Each fainter trace that Memory holds
 So darkly of departed years,
In one broad glance the Soul beholds,
 And all, that was, at once appears.


III.

Before Creation peopled earth,
 Its eye shall roll through chaos back;
And where the farthest heaven had birth,
 The Spirit trace its rising track.
And where the future mars or makes,
 Its glance dilate o'er all to be,
While Sun is quenched—or System breaks,
 Fixed in its own Eternity.


IV.

Above or Love—Hope—Hate—or Fear,
 It lives all passionless and pure:
An age shall fleet like earthly year;
 Its years as moments shall endure.
Away—away—without a wing,
 O'er all—through all—its thought shall fly,
A nameless and eternal thing,
 Forgetting what it was to die.

Seaham, 1815.

  1. When this corroding clay is gone.—[MS. erased.]
  2. The stars in their eternal way.—[MS. L. erased.]
  3. A conscious light thtat can pervade.—[MS. erased.]