History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page

faces of children

Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear,
Ages and realms are crowded in this span


There is the moral of all human tales;”
“Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First Freedom, and then Glory — when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption, — barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page
, — ’tis better written here,
Where gorgeous Tyranny hath thus amass’d
All treasures, all delights, that eye or ear,
Heart, soul could seek, tongue ask — Away with words! draw near,


Admire, exult, despise, laugh, weep, — for here
There is such matter for all feeling: — Man!
Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear,
Ages and realms are crowded in this span,
This mountain, whose obliterated plan
The pyramid of empires pinnacled,
Of Glory’s gewgaws shining in the van
Till the sun’s rays with added flame were fill’d!
Where are its golden roofs? where those who dared to build?

by Lord Byron (January 22, 1788 – April 19, 1824)
from Canto the Fourth – Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812)
image – Meagan Fisher

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2 Responses to “History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page”

  1. clarissa mcfairy Says:

    Divine, and so perennial. And the image, once again so poignantly depicting the words. This one is a keeper.

  2. E. A. Able Says:

    West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd liked to quote this one. He died on June 28th, at the ripe old age of 92, having been in the Senate since 1958. I didn’t have time to write about him, but I didn’t want the night to go by without posting something in his honor. He was an interesting person —

    I have had the privilege, not only to witness, but also to participate, in the great panorama of history, from the apex of the Cold War to the collapse — the collapse of the Soviet Union, from my opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act to my part in securing the funds for the building of the memorial to Martin Luther King, from my support for the war in Vietnam to my opposition to President George W. Bush’s war with Iraq.

    I have served with so many fine senators in the Congress, and I have loved every precious minute of it.
    by Sen Robert Byrd
    Constitutional Scholar, Senate Elder Statesman Robert Byrd Remembered