So, we`ll go no more a-roving

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So, we’ll go no more a-roving
By Lord Byron
Background Knowledge
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George Gordon Byron, (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), commonly known as Lord Byron,
was a British poet and a leading figure in Romanticism.
Lord Byron’s talents for poetry were not only thing he was well known for. He was also
widely know for his extravagant lifestyle, numerous love affairs , debts, separations and
allegations of incest with his half sister.
When the rumours started to rise of his incest and debts were accumulating, Byron left
England in 1816, to live in exile. He travelled through Europe writing many poems and settled
in Venice and in February 1917 he wrote this poem.
1817 Byron was living in Venice, in one of the palaces. It was described by one of his friends
as a cross between a brothel and a zoo, since, as well as numerous prostitutes, Byron also
kept many exotic animals.
While staying in Venice Byron proudly claimed he had different woman on 200 consecutive
evenings He used to go almost everyday at night just to drink, dance, have fun and stay late
with girls.
It was during the famous Carnivale of Venice, when people roam the streets in masks and
party for four days, that Byron wrote this poem and sent it to a friend of his, Thomas Moore
who published it in the “Letters and Journals of Lord Byron”, in 1830
There are two different interpretations of this poem-one more literal of wearing his body out
and one more abstract of mourning his loss on breaking a relationship
Stanza 1
So, we’ll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
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We’ll-personalises the poem and is ambiguous on who he is addressing, it could be a
plea to Thomas for them to stop their life style or a reference to a love that he could
not see any more.
So, we’ll go no more a roving-the slow o sounds is an example of assonance.
Complements the feelings of the poet as it produces a moaning effect. The poet either
longs to be with his lover, or is complaining about his physical body.
So late into the night-suggests that Byron’s regret on not being able to love his lover,
and has been pondering about it through the night.
However despite his sadness, in the next line Byron claims that he will still love “her” in
his heart, even without her physical presence.
The last line “And the moon be still as bright” adds to his self-comfort as he notices that
this is not the end of the world and that the loss will have no lasting effect on him and
there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The last two lines can also be also interpreted as showing his regret that although he
still wants to party his body can no longer keep up with him.
Stanza 2
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.
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“For the sword outwears its sheath, and the soul wears out the breast,” suggest further the
idea of the body not being able keep up with the mind and he has lived so wildly and abused
his body so much that his body is getting old before its time.
“And the heart must pause to breathe, and love itself have rest.” says that although his mind
wants to go out and party but for the sake of his body he has to take a rest.
The soft sounds of “sword”, “sheath” and “rest”, portrays Byron’s weariness.
For the sword outwears its sheath, and the soul wears out the breast, can also mean that his
love for her is fading as he cannot love someone without physically being with them.
in “And the heart must pause to breathe, and love itself have rest.” he acknowledges that his
love for her cannot last forever and it will eventually end some day.
Stanza 3
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.
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The last stanza can be interpreted as a last good bye from Lord Byron.
Though the night was made for loving- shows his regret that she is not here for him to love
and that the night symbolises his love for her.
This is contrasted with the next line “and the day returns too soon,” which day which
symbolises the end of his love is soon approaching.
Yet we’ll go no more a roving By the light of the moon. the “yet” and the restating of the first
line of the poem shows his acknowledgement that he must move on and the moon is
repeated to show that he also knows that he cannot go back to the nights of loving her.
The poem ends with a reversal of the beginning. The end-rhymes of lines one and three in
the first stanza — a-roving/loving — are flipped and become, in the first and third lines of the
third and last stanza, loving/a-roving. Each line from the first undergoes some transformation
in the third. The moon/bright in line four of the first stanza becomes light/moon in the last
line of the last stanza, night in the second line of the first stanza becomes day in the third and
so in the first line of the first stanza because yet in the third line of the last stanza. The many
reversals and inversions, all can be read as stand-ins for the reversal of fortune for the poet
and his relationship, or the final retirement of the once active rovers.
Themes
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Age/mortality- poet regrets having spent his youth partying so hard and now his body is
paying the price. He can no longer go out to party as his body can not keep up with him
which is reflected in the lines "for the sword outwears its sheath, and the soul wears out the
breast," Although he still wants to party which is shown in the lines “Though the heart be still
as loving, And the moon be still as bright.” He acknowledges for the sake of his health he
must rest and he can rove “no more”
Moving on-in the poems other the interpretation of the poem there is a clear theme of
moving on after breaking a relationship. It is shown that the poet is struggling to move on
and is thinking about her “late into the night” in the 1st stanza but as progresses in the 2nd
stanza as he begins to acknowledge that his love for her won’t last forever and he will
eventually move on when he says “love itself have rest”. In third stanza while he still wants
to return to the nights loving her he remarks “the day returns too soon” showing that he is
beginning to move on with his life.
Exam Questions
• Comment on the writer’s feelings on the
passage of time
• Comment on the writer’s feelings on love in
the poem
• Explore how the writer vividly creates the
tone and mood of the poem

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