Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/58

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18
HOURS OF IDLENESS.

EPITAPH ON A BELOVED FRIEND.[1]

Ἀστὴρ πρὶν μὲν ἔλαμπες ἐνὶ ζωοῖσιν ἑῷοσ.

[Plato's Epitaph (Epig. Græe., Jacobs, 1826, p, 309), quoted by Diog. Laertius.]

Oh, Friend! for ever lov'd, for ever dear![2]
What fruitless tears have bathed thy honour'd bier!

  1. [The heading which appears in the Quarto and P. on V. Occasions was subsequently changed to "Epitaph on a
  2. EPITAPH ON A BELOVED FRIEND.

    Oh Boy! for ever lov'd for ever dear!
    What fruitless tears have wash'd thy honour'd bier;[i]
    What sighs re-echoed to thy parting breath,
    Whilst thou wert struggling in the pangs of death.
    Could tears have turn'd the tyrant in his course,
    Could sighs have check'd his dart's relentless force;[ii]
    Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,
    Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey,
    Thou still had'st liv'd to bless my aching sight,
    Thy comrades honour, and thy friend's delight:
    Though low thy lot since in a cottage born,
    No titles did thy humble name adorn,
    To me, far dearer, was thy artless love,
    Than all the joys, wealth, fame, and friends could prove.
    For thee alone I liv'd, or wish'd to live,
    (Oh God! if impious, this rash word forgive,)
    Heart-broken now, I wait an equal doom,
    Content to join thee in thy turf-clad tomb;
    Where this frail form compos'd in endless rest,
    I'll make my last, cold, pillow on thy breast;
    That breast where oft in life, I've laid my head,
    Will yet receive me mouldering with the dead;
    This life resign'd, without one parting sigh,
    Together in one bed of earth we'll lie!
    Together share the fate to mortals given,
    Together mix our dust, and hope for Heaven.

    Harrow, 1803.— [4to. P. on V. Occasions.]


    ^  i. —— have bath'd thy honoured bier.—[P. on V. Occasions.]
    ^  ii. Could tears retard.—[P. on V. Occasions.]
    Could sighs avert.—[P. on V. Occasions.]