Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Lord Byron: Lines Addressed To A Young Lady

"Next time, don't walk where I'm shooting!"

It's time again for Lord Byron poetry analysis, when we dissect the beautiful verses of great Romantic poets, and find they're actually about alcohol-fueled misbehavior.

As before, my analysis and translation is the italics.


Doubtless, sweet girl! the hissing lead,
Wafting destruction o'er thy charms
And hurtling o'er thy lovely head,
Has fill'd that breast with fond alarms.

This poem is an apology. Byron was drunk, as was his usual habit, and, in that state, was discharging firearms in his garden. The lady was walking nearby, and Byron almost shot her.

So this stanza basically means: "I guess you were probably frightened when I shot at you."


Surely some envious Demon's force,
Vex'd to behold such beauty here,
Impell'd the bullet's viewless course,
Diverted from its first career.

Flattery, in Byron's time as now, helped to gloss over social faux pas, such as drunkenly shooting at people.

Surely, Lord Byron writes, some demon was so jealous of your beauty that he sent the bullets in your direction.


Yes! in that nearly fatal hour,
The ball obey'd some hell-born guide;
But Heaven, with interposing power,
In pity turn'd the death aside.

It is by the intervention of Divine Providence, dear Lady, that you weren't killed by my drunken antics!


Yet, as perchance one trembling tear
Upon that thrilling bosom fell;
Which _I_, th' unconscious cause of fear,
Extracted from its glistening cell;--

I didn't mean to scare you.


Say, what dire penance can atone
For such an outrage, done to thee?
Arraign'd before thy beauty's throne,
What punishment wilt thou decree?

Seriously, baby, what can I do to make this right? Backrub? Footrub? Whatever you got, I'll rub it.


Might I perform the Judge's part,
The sentence I should scarce deplore;
It only would restore a heart,
Which but belong'd to _thee_ before.

Even though I got hammered and shot at you, you know I love you, Baby.


The least atonement I can make
Is to become no longer free;
Henceforth, I breathe but for thy sake,
Thou shalt be _all in all_ to me.

If any students reading this are wondering what English class is good for, take note: when you can write apologies like this, you can pretty much get away with staggering around drunk and shooting guns at people.


But thou, perhaps, may'st now reject
Such expiation of my guilt;
Come then--some other mode elect?
Let it be death--or what thou wilt.

He's really laying it on here. But when you do the kind of crazy shit Lord Byron did, you really learn how to crush an apology.


Choose, then, relentless! and I swear
Nought shall thy dread decree prevent;
Yet hold--one little word forbear!
Let it be aught but banishment

No comments:

Post a Comment