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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed. The English Poets. 1880–1918.rnVol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti

Lord Byron (1788–1824)

Invocation to the Spirit of Achilles (from The Deformed Transformed)


Of Thetis’s boy!

Who sleeps in the meadow

Whose grass grows o’er Troy:

From the red earth, like Adam,

Thy likeness I shape,

As the being who made him,

Whose actions I ape.

Thou clay, be all glowing,

Till the rose in his cheek

Be as fair as, when blowing,

It wears its first streak!

Ye violets, I scatter,

Now turn into eyes!

And thou, sunshiny water,

Of blood take the guise!

Let these hyacinth boughs

Be his long flowing hair,

And wave o’er his brows

As thou wavest in air!

Let his heart be this marble

I tear from the rock!

But his voice as the warble

Of birds on yon oak!

Let his flesh be the purest

Of mould, in which grew

The lily-root surest,

And drank the best dew!

Let his limbs be the lightest

Which clay can compound,

And his aspect the brightest

On earth to be found!

Elements, near me,

Be mingled and stirr’d,

Know me, and hear me,

And leap to my word!

Sunbeams, awaken

This earth’s animation!

’Tis done! He hath taken

His stand in creation!