Lord Byron

From Anacreon: ‘Twas Now The Hour When Night Had Driven

‘Twas now the hour when Night had driven Her car half round yon sable heaven; Boötes, only, seem’d to roll His arctic charge around the pole; While mortals, lost in gentle sleep, Forgot to smile, or ceased to weep: At this lone hour the Paphian boy, Descending from the realms of joy, Quick to my gate directs his course, And knocks with all his little force. My visions fled, alarm’d I rose,– ‘What stranger breaks my blest repose?’ ‘Alas!’ replies the wily child, In faltering accents sweetly mild, ‘A hapless infant here I roam, Far from my dear maternal home. Oh! shield me from the wintry blast! The nightly storm is pouring fast. No prowling robber lingers here. A wandering baby who can fear?’ I heard his seeming artless tale, I heard his sighs upon the gale: My breast was never pity’s foe, But felt for all the baby’s woe. I drew the bar, and by the light Young Love, the infant, met my sight; His bow across his shoulders flung, And thence his fatal quiver hung (Ah! little did I think the dart Would rankle soon within my heart). With care I tend my weary guest, His little fingers chill my breast; His glossy curls, his azure wing, Which droop with nightly showers, I wring; His shivering limbs the embers warm; And now reviving from the storm, Scarce had he felt his wonted glow, Than swift he seized his slender bow:- ‘I fain would know, my gentle host,’ He cried, ‘if this its strength has lost; I fear, relax’d with midnight dews, The strings their former aid refuse.’ With poison tipt, his arrow flies, Deep in my tortured heart it lies: Then loud the joyous urchin laugh’d:- ‘My bow can still impel the shaft: ‘Tis firmly fix’d, thy sighs reveal it; Say, courteous host, canst thou not feel it?’

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