Lord Byron

Answer To A Beautiful Poem, Entitled ‘The Common Lot’

MONTGOMERY! true, the common lot Of mortals lies in Lethe’s wave; Yet some shall never be forgot, Some shall exist beyond the grave. ‘Unknown the region of his birth,’ The hero rolls the tide of war; Yet not unknown his martial worth, Which glares a meteor from afar. His joy or grief; his weal or woe, Perchance may ‘scape the page of fame; Yet nations now unborn will know The record of his deathless name. The patriot’s and the poet’s frame Must share the common tomb of all: Their glory will not sleep the same; That will arise, though empires fail. The lustre of a beauty’s eye Assumes the ghastly stare of death; The fair, the brave, the good must die, And sink the yawning grave beneath Once more the speaking eye revive, Still beaming through the lover’s strain; For Petrarch’s Laura still survives: She died, but ne’er will die again. The rolling seasons pass away, And Time, untiring, waves his wing; Whilst honour’s laurel ne’er decay, But bloom in fresh, unfading spring. All, all must sleep in grim repose, Collected in the silent tomb; The old and young, with friends and foes, Fest’ring alike in shrouds, consume. The mouldering marble lasts its day, Yet falls at length an useless fane; To ruin’s ruthless fangs a prey, The wrecks of pillar’d pride remain. What, though the sculpture he destroy’d, From dark oblivion meant to ward; A bright renown shall he enjoy’d By those whose virtues claim reward Then do not say the common lot Of all lies deep in Lethe’s wave; Some few who ne’er will be forgot Shall burst the bondage of the grave.

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