by: George Gordon (Lord) Byron (1788-1824)

      ITAN! to whose immortal eyes
      The sufferings of mortality,
      Seen in their sad reality,
      Were not as things that gods despise;
      What was thy pity's recompense?
      A silent suffering, and intense;
      The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
      All that the proud can feel of pain,
      The agony they do not show,
      The suffocating sense of woe,
      Which speaks but in its loneliness,
      And then is jealous lest the sky
      Should have a listener, nor will sigh
      Until its voice is echoless.
      Titan! to thee the strife was given
      Between the suffering and the will,
      Which torture where they cannot kill;
      And the inexorable Heaven,
      And the deaf tyranny of Fate,
      The ruling principle of Hate,
      Which for its pleasure doth create
      The things it may annihilate,
      Refus'd thee even the boon to die:
      The wretched gift Eternity
      Was thine--and thou hast borne it well.
      All that the Thunderer wrung from thee
      Was but the menace which flung back
      On him the torments of thy rack;
      The fate thou didst so well foresee,
      But would not to appease him tell;
      And in thy Silence was his Sentence,
      And in his Soul a vain repentance,
      And evil dread so ill dissembled,
      That in his hand the lightnings trembled.
      Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
      To render with thy precepts less
      The sum of human wretchedness,
      And strengthen Man with his own mind;
      But baffled as thou wert from high,
      Still in thy patient energy,
      In the endurance, and repulse
      Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
      Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
      A mighty lesson we inherit:
      Thou art a symbol and a sign
      To Mortals of their fate and force;
      Like thee, Man is in part divine,
      A troubled stream from a pure source;
      And Man in portions can foresee
      His own funereal destiny;
      His wretchedness, and his resistance,
      And his sad unallied existence:
      To which his Spirit may oppose
      Itself--and equal to all woes,
      And a firm will, and a deep sense,
      Which even in torture can descry
      Its own concenter'd recompense,
      Triumphant where it dares defy,
      And making Death a Victory.

"Prometheus" is reprinted from Works. George Gordon Byron. London: John Murray, 1832.




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