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by George Gordon Byron, 1881

(Childe Harold, Canto iv. Stanzas 8–10.)

  I’VE taught me other tongues—and in strange eyes
  Have made me not a stranger; to the mind
  Which is itself, no changes bring surprise;
  Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find
  A country with—ay, or without mankind;
  Yet was I born where men are proud to be,
  Not without cause; and should I leave behind
  The inviolate island of the sage and free,
And seek me out a home by a remoter sea,

  Perhaps I loved it well; and should I lay
  My ashes in a soil which is not mine,
  My spirit shall resume it—if we may
  Unbodied choose a sanctuary. I twine
  My hopes of being remember’d in my line
  With my land’s language: if too fond and far
  These aspirations in their scope incline,—
  If my fame should be, as my fortunes are,
Of hasty growth and blight, and dull Oblivion bar

  My name from out the temple where the dead
  Are honour’d by the nations—let it be—
  And light the laurels on a loftier head!
  And be the Spartan’s epitaph on me—
  “Sparta hath many a worthier son than he.”
  Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor need;
  The thorns which I have reap’d are of the tree
  I planted,—they have torn me,—and I bleed:
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.

Published in Poetry of Byron

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