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So We’ll Go No More a Roving


by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824). British Romantic Poet.

So, we’ll go no more a roving

So late into the night,

Though the heart be still as loving,

And the moon be still as bright.

 

For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must pause to breathe,

And love itself have rest.

 

Though the night was made for loving,

And the day returns too soon,

Yet we’ll go no more a roving

By the light of the moon.

Lord_Byron_on_his_Death-bed_c._1826

The biggest rock star poet of the 19th century, Lord Byron lived fast, loved hard, partied with other famous literary friends like Percy and Mary Shelley, fought for revolutionary politics and, of course, died young. He pioneered and popularized many of the love tropes from the Romantic Era that we now take for granted. In this poem, Byron seems to lament growing old… or at least not having the energy to stay out all night partying “by the light of the moon” as he wasn’t even 30 when he wrote it. [The poem was published after his death at the age of 36.] Yet even in a poem about aging, Byron creates an association between youth and passionate romantic love that persists today. Perhaps inspired by a Scottish folk song, Byron’s elegy to his younger years has been set to music by legendary folk rockers Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen.

Image Credits

Lord Byron in Albanian dress circa 1835. Painting by Thomas Phillips. 

Moon and Aurora in Scotland [Background]. Image by mcbeaner via Pixabay.

Lord Byron on his Death-bed. Painting by Joseph Denis Odevaere. 

All paintings in the public domain. 


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