Lord Byron (1788-1824) sent his poem ‘So, we’ll go no more a roving’ to his friend Thomas Moore in a letter of 1817. Byron prefaced the poem with a few words: ‘At present, I am on the invalid regimen myself. The Carnival – that is, the latter part of it, and sitting up late o’ nights – had knocked me up a little. But it is over – and it is now Lent, with all its abstinence and sacred music… Though I did not dissipate much upon the whole, yet I find “the sword wearing out the scabbard,” though I have but just turned the corner of twenty nine.’ ‘So, we’ll go no more a roving’ is about world-weariness and disillusionment: a quintessential theme of Byron’s poetry.
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.
If you enjoyed ‘So, we’ll go no more a roving’, you might also enjoy Byron’s classic poem ‘She Walks in Beauty’.
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I liked this one better. You are a gem, dear editor.
I can almost hear Byron’s heartbeat in this masterpiece , there is no refined contemplation here.
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Byron must have been inspired by the chorus of a folk-song, ‘The Jolly Beggar-man’ which goes:
“We’ll go no more a rovin’, a rovin’ in the night
we’ll go no more a rovin’ lad, the moon it shines so bright
we’ll go no more a rovin'”
although that is cheerfully bawdy and his lyric aches with romantic regret.