There is a paradox about this best and best-known of Byron’s lyrics, which is that it is really not very Byronic, that it bears so little imprint of the entertainingly dodgy character who pervades poems like ‘Don Juan’. Instead, it attains to the kind of anonymous purity and freshness one normally associates with folksong, in the way that Burns or chameleonic Shakespeare sometimes managed.
So, We’ll Go No More a-Roving
So, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be 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.
Lord Byron (George Gordon)