L’Amitié, Est L’Amour Sans Ailes

Why should my anxious breast repine,
Because my youth is fled?
Days of delight may still be mine;
Affection is not dead.
In tracing back the years of youth,
One firm record, one lasting truth
Celestial consolation brings;
Bear it, ye breezes, to the seat,
Where first my heart responsive beat,—
“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

Through few, but deeply chequer’d years,
What moments have been mine!
Now half obscured by clouds of tears,
Now bright in rays divine;
Howe’er my future doom be cast,
My soul, enraptured with the past,
To one idea fondly clings;
Friendship! that thought is all thine own,
Worth worlds of bliss, that thought alone—
“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

Where yonder yew-trees lightly wave
Their branches on the gale,
Unheeded heaves a simple grave,
Which tells the common tale;
Round this unconscious schoolboys stray,
Till the dull knell of childish play
From yonder studious mansion rings;
But here, whene’er my footsteps move,
My silent tears too plainly prove,
“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

Oh, Love! before thy glowing shrine,
My early vows were paid;
My hopes, my dreams, my heart was thine,
But these are now decay’d;
For thine are pinions like the wind,
No trace of thee remains behind,
Except, alas! thy jealous stings.
Away, away! delusive power,
Thou shall not haunt my coming hour;
Unless, indeed, without thy wings.

Seat of my youth! thy distant spire
Recalls each scene of joy;
My bosom glows with former fire,—
In mind again a boy.
Thy grove of elms, thy verdant hill,
Thy every path delights me still,
Each flower a double fragrance flings;
Again, as once, in converse gay,
Each dear associate seems to say,
“Friendship is Love without his wings!

My Lycus! wherefore dost thou weep?
Thy falling tears restrain;
Affection for a time may sleep,
But, oh, ’twill wake again.
Think, think, my friend, when next we meet,
Our long-wished interview, how sweet!
From this my hope of rapture springs;
While youthful hearts thus fondly swell,
Absence my friend, can only tell,
“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

In one, and one alone deceiv’d,
Did I my error mourn?
No—from oppressive bonds reliev’d,
I left the wretch to scorn.
I turn’d to those my childhood knew,
With feelings warm, with bosoms true,
Twin’d with my heart’s according strings;
And till those vital chords shall break,
For none but these my breast shall wake
Friendship, the power deprived of wings!

Ye few! my soul, my life is yours,
My memory and my hope;
Your worth a lasting love insures,
Unfetter’d in its scope;
From smooth deceit and terror sprung,
With aspect fair and honey’d tongue,
Let Adulation wait on kings;
With joy elate, by snares beset,
We, we, my friends, can ne’er forget,
“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

Fictions and dreams inspire the bard,
Who rolls the epic song;
Friendship and truth be my reward—
To me no bays belong;
If laurell’d Fame but dwells with lies,
Me the enchantress ever flies,
Whose heart and not whose fancy sings;
Simple and young, I dare not feign;
Mine be the rude yet heartfelt strain,
“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

George Gordon Lord Byron


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2010 Selected Poetry
The Poets Garret
Tir Na nOg Poetry Community