We’ll Go No More A-Roving, Lord Byron an Analysis


Oh….. no more adventures? Where’s the fun in that?!

Gut Reaction
Don’t know. Still stuck on the sulk of being deprived of adventure.

What does it all mean?
So, we’ll go no more a-roving

So late into the night,
…so…. we can still have… daytime adventures?

Though the heart be still as loving,
Well there’s no need to get romantic about it…

And the moon be still as bright.
Naturally. Unless it’s cloudy out. But still.
Or. Are we talking about the honeymoon period of a relationship being over? All the friskiness and bright eyes and daringness has been worked through and now there is the acceptance of a more ‘normal’ pace of companionship? Possibly. It’s enough to make you shudder…
Or… let’s have a think about this. Are we talking about aging? As in, we still seek adventure but in a much different way than we did in our youth?

For the sword outwears its sheath,
..excuse me? Are we talking about… um… you know. Things…things… not working as they used to? Worn out or overused?
If we’re thinking explicitness, are we saying that a man will tire of a woman before she will of him? That his, um…. sword… will still be strong and ready for action but her.. sheath… will not? Or he’ll go looking for another…sheath?
This is… all a little bit rude for a Tuesday evening, I’m sorry!
Or. Attempting to be sensible. If we’re thinking in terms of getting older, the excitement of battle may be what drives a young soldier but as he grows older and wearies, the excitement fades. And that battle doesn’t have to be during war. If you’ve ever been to Headingley on a Saturday night, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say there are many, many kinds of battles to be had.

And the soul wears out the breast,
So the deeper essence of ‘being’ remains even after the flesh has grown weary? Or are we saying that love becomes more than just the physical? Possibly.

And the heart must pause to breathe,
Since when does the heart have lungs?! Learn your anatomy, Lord Byron!
Or. Love can be bloody hard work. So taking a breather, taking a rest, but not, necessarily, a break, is a good, healthy thing.
Or. That love isn’t the be all and end all of everything, and eventually we give up the chasing and… shudder… ‘settle’?

And love itself have rest.
See? You can still love someone without being all up in their face.

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.

This still feels like the early passion of a relationship being replaced by something more hardy and enduring. It’s no longer about clandestine meetings and yearnings for nights and pining through days. There will still be adventures of sorts, but it doesn’t have to be just at night any more. Perhaps we’ve gone all domestic and this is our characters talking a year or so after being married.
Or. We still smile at memories of our youthful exuberance, we still yearn for adventure, but of a more quiet kind as we grow older. We’ll still do the things we like, but perhaps we won’t stay up so late to do them.

Form – the vaguely technical stuff
Division and order
Three quatrains of regular abab rhyming.

It all feels a bit… resigned. Or relieved. Or both.

Suggested rhyme scheme
cd(c)d (the third line of this stanza is a half/almost rhyme)
ef(e)f (the third line of this stanza rhymes only the final syllable and is an eye rhyme).

Similes and metaphors
A-roving – adventure/romance
Sword – lust for adventure (or the regular kind of lust, depending on how you interpret it).

Author’s relationship with their subject
Well, if the subject is aging, the author is resigned to the natural progression of things but still seems to be saying, hey, just because we’re older does not mean we don’t seek adventure. Just…different adventure.

Other points of view (ideas from other sources)

Apparently the poem may have been inspired by The Jolly Beggar.

Another interpretation is that the author is happily hanging up his party shoes and accepting growing old. I can almost see him in his pipe and slippers…

And another still, that the poem was penned to Byron’s many lovers to say that he’s worn himself out of love-making and can no longer participate.

Signing off
Byron apparently wrote his poem at the ripe old age of 29 after a short period of revelry that had no doubt left him tired. We’ve all been there. I suppose we have to take into consideration that 29 years old today is a lot different to 29 years old then, which would have been in 1817. He would have been considered what, middle aged? Sounds awful.

However, Byron is certainly noted in history as being quite an, um, character, so perhaps this stacks up well.

But. The gist of it is this.
Either. You are of the persuasion that this poem is about acceptance of ageing and ‘giving up’ the frivolities of youth. Not quite pipe and slippers; we still want adventure, just of a different kind. But we accept that gone are the days of all night and day partying and drinking and general debaucherous behaviour.

Or. This poem is about a relationship. When the couple first got together they were, like all new couples, all over each other like custard on apple crumble. They could not get enough of each other. Potentially meeting only at night in the first instance – dating after work, progressing to first weekends together and so on – and then, over time, their lust has dulled to love, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They still love and desire each other but are able to be in the same room without ripping each other’s clothes off. The ‘roving’ is no longer at night, they do that in the daytime too – perhaps because they live together, have got married, or have just adapted to a more all-round routine.

Either way. It’s a nice poem now that I’ve gotten over sulking about being deprived of adventure. Someone has issues about settling down, now don’t they?!





When I read this I think of the song… Summer of 69… it made sense to me…!


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