Poem of the day

Stanzas on Daniel Boone (from Don Juan, Canto VIII)
by Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Of all men, saving Sylla the man-slayer,
   Who passes for in life and death most lucky,
Of the great names which in our faces stare,
   The General Boon, back-woodsman of Kentucky,
Was happiest amongst mortals anywhere;
   For killing nothing but a bear or buck, he
Enjoy’d the lonely, vigorous, harmless days
Of his old age in wilds of deepest maze.

Crime came not near him—she is not the child
   Of solitude; Health shrank not from him—for
Her home is in the rarely trodden wild,
   Where if men seek her not, and death be more
Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguiled
   By habit to what their own hearts abhor—
In cities caged. The present case in point I
Cite is, that Boon lived hunting up to ninety;

And what’s still stranger, left behind a name
   For which men vainly decimate the throng,
Not only famous, but of that good fame,
   Without which glory’s but a tavern song—
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
   Which hate nor envy e’er could tinge with wrong;
An active hermit, even in age the child
Of Nature, or the man of Ross run wild.

’T is true he shrank from men even of his nation,
   When they built up unto his darling trees, —
He moved some hundred miles off, for a station
   Where there were fewer houses and more ease;
The inconvenience of civilisation
   Is, that you neither can be pleased nor please;
But where he met the individual man,
He show’d himself as kind as mortal can.

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