Home  »  Every Day in the Year A Poetical Epitome of the World’s History  »  On My Thirty-seventh Birthday

James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

January 22

On My Thirty-seventh Birthday

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(Lord Byron was born Jan. 22, 1788.)

’TIS time this heart should be unmoved,

Since others it has ceased to move;

Yet, though I cannot be beloved,

Still let me love!

My days are in the yellow leaf;

The flowers and fruits of love are gone;

The worm, the canker, and the grief

Are mine alone!

The fire that on my bosom preys

Is lone as some volcanic isle;

No torch is kindled at its blaze,—

A funeral pile!

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,

The exalted portion of the pain

And power of love, I cannot share,

But wear the chain.

But ’tis not thus—and ’tis not here

Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now

Where glory decks the hero’s bier,

Or binds his brow.

The sword, the banner, and the field,

Glory and Greece, around me see!

The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

Was not more free.

Awake! (not Greece—she is awake!)

Awake my spirit! Think through whom

Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,

And then strike home!

Tread those reviving passions down,

Unworthy manhood! unto thee

Indifferent should the smile or frown

Of beauty be.

If thou regrett’st thy youth, Why live?

The land of honorable death

Is here:—up to the field, and give

Away thy breath!

Seek out—less often sought than found—

A soldier’s grave, for thee the best;

Then look around, and choose thy ground,

And take thy rest.