The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Stanzas. "Thou art not false, but thou art fickle"

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For works with similar titles, see Stanzas (Byron).



Thou art not false, but thou art fickle,
To those thyself so fondly sought;
The tears that thou hast forced to trickle
Are doubly bitter from that thought:
'Tis this which breaks the heart thou grievest,
Too well thou lov'st—too soon thou leavest.


The wholly false the heart despises,
And spurns deceiver and deceit;
But she who not a thought disguises,[3]
Whose love is as sincere as sweet,—
When she can change who loved so truly,
It feels what mine has felt so newly.


To dream of joy and wake to sorrow
Is doomed to all who love or live;
And if, when conscious on the morrow,
We scarce our Fancy can forgive,
That cheated us in slumber only,
To leave the waking soul more lonely,


What must they feel whom no false vision
But truest, tenderest Passion warmed?
Sincere, but swift in sad transition:
As if a dream alone had charmed?
Ah! sure such grief is Fancy's scheming,
And all thy Change can be but dreaming!

[First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).]

  1. Song.—[Childe Harold, 1814.]
  2. ["I send you some lines which may as well be called 'A Song' as anything else, and will do for your new edition."—B.—(MS. M.)]
  3. But her who not ——.—[MS. M.]