The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/The First Kiss of Love

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1395146The Works of Lord Byron — The First Kiss of LoveGeorge Gordon Byron


Ἁ βάρβιτος δὲ χορδαῖς
Ἔρωτα μοῦνον ἠχεῖ.[1]

Anacreon [Ode 1].


Away with your fictions of flimsy romance,
Those tissues of falsehood which Folly has wove;[2]
Give me the mild beam of the soul-breathing glance,
Or the rapture which dwells on the first kiss of love.


Ye rhymers, whose bosoms with fantasy glow,[3]
Whose pastoral passions are made for the grove;
From what blest inspiration[4] your sonnets would flow,
Could you ever have tasted the first kiss of love.


If Apollo should e'er his assistance refuse,
Or the Nine be dispos'd from your service to rove,
Invoke them no more, bid adieu to the Muse,
And try the effect, of the first kiss of love.


I hate you, ye cold compositions of art,
Though prudes may condemn me, and bigots reprove;
I court the effusions that spring from the heart,
Which throbs, with delight, to the first kiss of love.[5]


Your shepherds, your flocks, those fantastical themes,[6]
Perhaps may amuse, yet they never can move:
Arcadia displays but a region of dreams;[7]
What are visions like these, to the first kiss of love?


Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth,[8]
From Adam, till now, has with wretchedness strove;
Some portion of Paradise still is on earth,
And Eden revives, in the first kiss of love.


When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past—
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove—
The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial, the first kiss of love.

December 23, 1806.
  1. [The motto was prefixed in Hours of Idleness.]
  2. Moriah[1] those air dreams and types has o'er wove.—[MS. Newstead.]
    Those tissues of fancy Moriah has wove.—[P. on V. Occasions.]
      1. Moriah is the "Goddess of Folly."
  3. Ye rhymers, who sing as if seated on snow.—[P. on V. Occasions.]
  4. With what blest inspiration.—[MS. P. on V. Occasions.]
  5. Which glows with delight at.—[MS.]
  6. Your shepherds, your pipes.—[MS. P. on V. Occasions.]
  7. Arcadia yields but a legion of dreams.—[MS.]
  8. —— that man from his birth.—[MS. P. on V. Occasions.]