From Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: IV, cxxix
Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven,
Floats o’er this vast and wondrous monument,
And shadows forth its glory. There is given
Unto the things of earth, which Time hath bent,
A spirit’s feeling, and where he hath leant
His hand, but broke his scythe, there is a power
And magic in the ruin’d battlement,
For which the palace of the present hour
Must yield its pomp, and wait till ages are its dower.
A broken scythe – an implement with a long handle and a long curved single-edged blade, used to cut grass – well time has bent – due to the work at hand broken, with broken tools (broken by humanity)
But, but, but – there is power and magic in the ruin’d battlement … well thank goodness for that – we must have faith
The palace of the present hour … the present hour is a palace despite being a ruin’d battlement
Ages as a dower – a gift that will be given by time – perhaps an evolving gift, from one who is an optimist … perhaps inherent in the creation of time is an inevitability of positive evolution
So have faith and time will be the saviour … and enjoy the palace of the present hour!
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to “Ianthe”. The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholyand disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.