Elegy on Thyrza

Written by Lord Byron, this funeral poem is an ode to a loved one gone too soon, ideal for religious and non-religious services.

Elegy on Thyrza

And thou art dead, as young and fair

 As aught of mortal birth;

 And forms so soft and charms so rare

 Too soon return'd to Earth!

 Though Earth received them in her bed,

 And o'er the spot the crowd may tread

 In carelessness or mirth,

 There is an eye which could not brook

 A moment on that grave to look.

 I will not ask where thou liest low

 Nor gaze upon the spot;

 There flowers and weeds at will may grow

 So I behold them not:

 It is enough for me to prove

 That what I loved and long must love

 Like common earth can rot;

 To me there needs no stone to tell

 'Tis Nothing that I loved so well.

 Yet did I love thee to the last,

 As fervently as thou

 Who didst not change through all the past

 And canst not alter now.

 The love where Death has set his seal

 Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,

 Nor falsehood disavow:

 And, what were worse, thou canst not see

 Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.

 The better days of life were ours;

 The worst can be but mine:

 The sun that cheers, the storm that lours

 Shall never more be thine.

 The silence of that dreamless sleep

 I envy now too much to weep;

 Nor need I to repine

 That all those charms have pass'd away

 I might have watch'd through long decay.

 The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd

 Must fall the earliest prey;

 Though by no hand untimely snatch'd,

 The leaves must drop away.

 And yet it were a greater grief

 To watch it withering, leaf by leaf,

 Than see it pluck'd to-day;

 Since earthly eye but ill can bear

 To trace the change from foul to fair.

 I know not if I could have borne

 To see thy beauties fade;

 The night that follow'd such a morn

 Had worn a deeper shade:

 Thy day without a cloud hath past,

 And thou wert lovely to the last,

 Extinguish'd, not decay'd;

 As stars that shoot along the sky

 Shine brightest as they fall from high.

 As once I wept if I could weep,

 My tears might well be shed

 To think I was not near, to keep

 One vigil o'er thy bed:

 To gaze, how fondly! on thy face,

 To fold thee in a faint embrace,

 Uphold thy drooping head;

 And show that love, however vain,

 Nor thou nor I can feel again.

 Yet how much less it were to gain,

 Though thou hast left me free,

 The loveliest things that still remain

 Than thus remember thee!

 The all of thine that cannot die

 Through dark and dread Eternity

 Returns again to me,

 And more thy buried love endears

 Than aught except its living years.


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