It's simplicity, pure expression, and weight of pent up emotion is captured in one single, little, wet tear. To Byron it symbolizes human suffering, compassion, joy, love and sorrow.
George Gordon Noel Byron (1788-1824), one of the most famous of the English Romantic poets was born in London with a clubfoot. He was extremely sensitive about his lameness, which, no doubt left a huge effect on his character.
While he lived a meager existence with his mother until the age of ten, he then inherited the title and estates of his great-uncle, the "wicked" Lord Byron.
In 1816, amongst rumors of incest and piling debt, he went abroad leaving England never to return.
Lord Byron was a contemporary of Percy and Mary Shelley and John Keats. As well as being a poet, he was a satirist whose wit, charm and personality captured the imaginations of everyone he met. His major works include Childe, Harold's Pilgrimage (1812-18) and Don Juan (1819-24).
In a letter to Thomas Moore in 1821 Lord Byron wrote the following interesting passage:
"I can never get people to understand
that poetry is the expression of excited passion, and that there
is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous
earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave
themselves in such a state?"
When Friendship or Love
Our sympathies move;
When Truth, in a glance, should appear,
The lips may beguile,
With a dimple or smile,
But the test of affection's a Tear:
Too oft is a smile
But the hypocrite's wile,
To mask detestation, or fear;
Give me the soft sigh,
Whilst the soultelling eye
Is dimm'd, for a time, with a Tear:
Mild Charity's glow,
To us mortals below,
Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
Compassion will melt,
Where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a Tear:
The man, doom'd to sail
With the blast of the gale,
Through billows Atlantic to steer,
As he bends o'er the wave
Which may soon be his grave,
The green sparkles bright with a Tear;
The Soldier braves death
For a fanciful wreath
In Glory's romantic career;
But he raises the foe
When in battle laid low,
And bathes every wound with a Tear.
If, with high-bounding pride,
He return to his bride!
Renouncing the gore-crimson'd spear;
All his toils are repaid
When, embracing the maid,
From her eyelid he kisses the Tear.
Sweet scene of my youth!
Seat of Friendship and Truth,
Where Love chas'd each fast-fleeting year
Loth to leave thee, I mourn'd,
For a last look I turn'd,
But thy spire was scarce seen through a Tear:
Though my vows I can pour,
To my Mary no more,
My Mary, to Love once so dear,
In the shade of her bow'r,
I remember the hour,
She rewarded those vows with a Tear.
By another possest,
May she live ever blest!
Her name still my heart must revere:
With a sigh I resign,
What I once thought was mine,
And forgive her deceit with a Tear.
Ye friends of my heart,
Ere from you I depart,
This hope to my breast is most near:
If again we shall meet,
In this rural retreat,
May we meet, as we part, with a Tear.
When my soul wings her flight
To the regions of night,
And my corse shall recline on its bier;
As ye pass by the tomb,
Where my ashes consume,
Oh! moisten their dust with a Tear.