"Surely Nothing Dies But Something Mourns"

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Last Updated on June 3, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 169

Context: Don Juan is a long narrative poem with more digressions than narrative (see "All comedies are ended by a marriage"). The quoted line is part of one of these digressions. Here, Byron, speaking in his own person and forgetting the libertine Juan, devotes five stanzas to praising the "Sweet hour of twilight." He describes his evening rides through the pine forests of Ravenna–"haunted ground" (105), where the strident voices of the cicadas and the tolling of the vesper bell "Were the sole echoes, save my steed's and mine" (106). He apostrophizes Hesperus (Venus, the Evening Star) as bringing "all good things" to birds, beasts, and human beings (107). In Stanza 108, he describes twilight as "Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart/ Of those who sail the seas. . . ." or which "fills with love the pilgrim on his way. . . ." The vesper bell seems to mourn the dying day. The stanza ends with the lines:

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Is this a fancy which our reason scorns?
Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns!

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