Byron: Debate on the Frame-Work Bill

Quotations from the Debate on the Frame-Work Bill, In the House of Lords, 27 Feb. 1812

Now, though, in a free country, it were to be wished that our military should never be too formidable, at least to ourselves, I cannot see the policy of placing them in situations where they can only be made ridiculous. As the sword is the worst argument that can be used, so should it be the last.

“You call these men a mob, desperate, dangerous, and ignorant; and seem to think that the only way to quiet the ‘Bellua multorum capitum’ is to lop off a few of its superfluous heads. But even a mob may be better reduced to reason by a mixture of conciliation and firmness, than by additional irritation and redoubled penalties. Are we of our obligations to a mob? It is the mob that labour in your fields and serve in your houses,—that man your navy, and recruit your army,—that have enabled you to defy all the world, and can also defy you when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair! You may call the people a mob; but do not forget that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people.”

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Byron On…

Literature: “But I hate things all fiction . . . there should always be some foundation of fact for the most airy fabric—and pure invention is but the talent of a liar.” (2 Apr. 1817, to John Murray)

Jame Henry Leigh Hunt: “I cannot describe to you the despairing sensation of trying to do something for a man who seems incapable or unwilling to do any thing further for himself,—at least, to the purpose. It is like pulling a man out of a river who directly throws himself in again.” (2 Apr. 1823, to John Murray)

‎Poetry: “I can never get people to understand that poetry is the expression of excited passion, and that there is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave themselves in such a state?” (5 July 1821, to Thomas Moore)

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Byron’s Prometheus


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;


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So We’ll Go No More A-Roving

Byron’s So We’ll Go No More A-Roving

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.

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Byron: Stanzas

When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,

Let him combat for that of his neighbours;

Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome,

And get knock’d on the head for his labours.


To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,

And is always as nobly requited;

Then battle for Freedom wherever you can,

And, if not shot or hang’d, you’ll get knighted.

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Rilke: Summer 1909

Are not the nights fashioned from the sorrowful

space of all the open arms a lover suddenly lost.

Eternal lover, who desires to endure: exhaust

yourself like a spring, enclose yourself like a laurel.

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Rilke: May 1924

We are not to know why

this and that masters us;

real life makes no reply,

only that it enraptures us


makes us familiar with it.

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Rilke: August 1924

That which offers itself to us with starlight,

that which offers itself to us,

hold it like world in your face with might,

take it seriously.

Show night that you received silently

what it bestowed on you.

Not until you go over to it entirely

will night know you.

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Rilke: October 1915

The rose-gatherer grasps suddenly

the full bud of his vitality,

and, at fright at the difference,

the gentle garden within her shrinks.

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Rilke: January 1924

Being-silent. Who keeps innerly

silent, touches the roots of speech.

Once for him becomes then each

growing syllable victory:

over what in silence keeps not silent,

over the insulting evil;

to dissolve itself to nil,

was the word to him made evident.

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