The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/Stanzas
When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,
Let him combat for that of his neighbours;
Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome,
And get knocked on the head for his labours.
To do good to Mankind is the chivalrous plan,
And is always as nobly requited;
Then battle for Freedom wherever you can,
And, if not shot or hanged, you'll get knighted.
November 5, 1820.
[First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 377.]
- [The lines were sent in a letter to Moore (November 5, 1820) by way of Autoepitaphium, "if 'honour should come unlooked for' to any of your acquaintance;" i.e. if Byron should fall in the cause of Italian revolution, and Moore should not think him worthy of commemoration, here was a threnody "ready at hand."]