A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poem of the Day: George Gordon, Lord Byron

Written After Swimming From Sestos to Abydos 

If, in the month of dark December, 
     Leander, who was nightly wont 
(What maid will not the tale remember?) 
     To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont!
If, when the wintry tempest roared, 
     He sped to Hero, nothing loath, 
And thus of old thy current poured, 
     Fair Venus! how I pity both!

3
For me, degenerate modern wretch, 
     Though in the genial month of May, 
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch, 
     And think I've done a feat today.

But since he crossed the rapid tide, 
     According to the doubtful story, 
To woo -- and -- Lord knows what beside, 
     And swam for Love, as I for Glory; 

5
'Twere hard to say who fared the best:
     Sad mortals! thus the gods still plague you!
He lost his labor, I my jest; 
     For he was drowned, and I've the ague.
--George Gordon, Lord Byron

Byron may have been the first postmodern poet: the first to achieve self-glorification through ironic self-deprecation.