Johanna Drucker reads "Stanzas" ["Could Love for ever"] by George Gordon, Lord Byron

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In this installment, Johanna Drucker reads “Stanzas" [“Could Love for ever”] by George Gordon, Lord Byron. Drucker is an artist and writer known for her experimental books of visual poetry and typography. She has written and published widely on topics related to the aesthetics of visual language, contemporary art, digital humanities, and the history of design and typography. Her creative publications are in special collections in libraries and museums in the United States and Europe. Her most recent titles include A Girl's Life (with Susan Bee, Granary), Quantum (Druckwerk), Emerging Sentience (with Brad Freeman), and From Now (Cuneiform Press, due in Fall 2005). She recently published Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity (University of Chicago Press). She is the Robertson Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia.

George Gordon, Lord Byron, "Stanzas"
Could Love for ever
Run like a river
And Time's Endeavour
Be tried in vain,
No other Pleasure
With this could measure
And like a Treasure
We'd hug the chain.
But since our sighing
Ends not in dying
And formed for flying
Love plumes his wing,
Then for this reason
Let's love a Season,
But let that Season be only Spring.--

When lovers parted
Feel broken-hearted,
And all hopes thwarted
Expect to die,
A few years older
Ah! how much colder
They might behold her
For whom they sigh;
When linked together
Through every weather
We pluck Love's feather
From out his wing;
He'll sadly shiver
And droop forever
Without the plumage that sped his Spring. --

Like Chiefs of Faction
His Life is Action,
A formal paction,
Which curbs his reign,
Obscures his Glory,
Despot no more, he
Such Territory
Quits with disdain.
With banners glancing
His power enhancing
He must march on;
Repose but cloys him,
Retreat destroys him,
Love brooks not a degraded throne!--

Wait not, fond Lover!
Till years are over,
And then recover
As from a dream.
While each bewailing
The other's failing
With wrath and railing
All hideous seem;
While first decreasing
Yet not quite ceasing,
Pause not--till teazing
All passion blight;
If once diminished
His reign is finished,
One last embrace then, and bid Good Night!

So shall Affection
To recollection
The dear connection
Bring back with joy,
You have not waited
Till tired and hated
All passions sated
Began to cloy.
Your last embraces
Leave no cold traces,
The same fond faces
As through the past,
And Eyes the Mirrors
Of your sweet Errors
Reflect but Rapture not least though last.

True! Separations
Ask more than patience--
What desperations
From such have risen!
And yet remaining,
What is't but chaining
Hearts, which once waning
Beat 'gainst their prison;
Time can but cloy Love,
And Use destroy Love,
The winged Boy Love
Is but for boys.
You'll find it torture
Though sharper, shorter,
To wean and not wear out your Joys.

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Poets on Poets