Hours of Idleness
and other early poems


Byron

Text, notes and introduction are taken from The works of Lord Byron, edited by Ernest Hartley Coleridge, volume 1. John Murray, 1898.

This edition published by eBooks@Adelaide.

Last updated Sun Nov 15 14:30:24 2015.

To the best of our knowledge, the text of this
work is in the “Public Domain” in Australia.
HOWEVER, copyright law varies in other countries, and the work may still be under copyright in the country from which you are accessing this website. It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country before downloading this work.

eBooks@Adelaide
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Table of Contents

Bibliographical Note.

Fugitive Pieces

  1. On Leaving Newstead Abbey.
  2. To E——
  3. On the Death of a Young Lady, Cousin To The Author, And Very Dear To Him.
  4. To D——
  5. To Caroline.
  6. To Caroline.
  7. To Emma.
  8. Fragments of School Exercises: From the “Prometheus Vinctus” of Aeschylus,
  9. Lines Written in “Letters of an Italian Nun and an English Gentleman, By J. J. Rousseau; Founded on facts.”
  10. Answer to the Foregoing, Addressed to Miss——.
  11. On a Change of Masters at a great Public School.
  12. Epitaph on a Beloved Friend.
  13. Adrian’s Address To His Soul When Dying.
  14. A Fragment.
  15. To Caroline.
  16. To Caroline.
  17. On A Distant View Of The Village And School Of Harrow On The Hill, 1806.
  18. Thoughts Suggested By A College Examination.
  19. To Mary, On Receiving her Picture.
  20. On the Death of Mr. Fox,
  21. To a Lady who presented to the Author a Lock of Hair Braided with his Own, and Appointed a Night in December to Meet him in the Garden.
  22. To a Beautiful Quaker.
  23. To Lesbia!
  24. To Woman.
  25. An Occasional Prologue, Delivered by the Author Previous to the Performance of “The Wheel of Fortune” at a Private Theatre.
  26. To Eliza.
  27. The Tear.
  28. Reply to some Verses of J. M. B. Pigot, Esq., On the Cruelty of his Mistress.
  29. Granta. A Medley.
  30. To the Sighing Strephon.
  31. The Cornelian.
  32. To M——.
  33. Lines Addressed to a young Lady.
  34. Translation From Catullus. Ad Lesbiam.
  35. Translation of the Epitaph on Virgil and Tibullus, By Domitius Marsus.
  36. Imitation Of Tibullus. Sulpicia Ad Cerinthum (lib. Quart.).
  37. Translation From Catullus. Lugete Veneres Cupidinesque (Carm. III.)
  38. Imitated from Catullus. To Ellen.

Poems on Various Occasions

  1. To M. S. G.
  2. Stanzas to a Lady, with the Poems of Camoëns.
  3. To M. S. G.
  4. Translation From Horace.
  5. The First Kiss Of Love.
  6. Childish Recollections.
  7. Answer to a Beautiful Poem, Written by Montgomery, Author of “the Wanderer of Switzerland,” etc., Entitled “the Common Lot.”
  8. Love’s Last Adieu.
  9. Lines. Addressed to the Rev. J. T. Becher, On His Advising The Author To Mix More With Society.
  10. Answer to some Elegant Verses sent by a Friend to the Author, Complaining that one of his Descriptions Was Rather Too Warmly Drawn.
  11. Elegy on Newstead Abbey.

Hours of Idleness

  1. To George, Earl Delawarr.
  2. Damætas.
  3. To Marion.
  4. Oscar of Alva.
  5. Translation From Anacreon. Ode 1. To His Lyre.
  6. From Anacreon. Ode 3.
  7. The Episode of Nisus and Euryalus. A Paraphrase From The “Æneid,” Lib. 9.
  8. Translation from the “Medea” of Euripides [Ll. 627–660].
  9. Lachin y Gair.
  10. To Romance.
  11. The Death of Calmar and Orla. An Imitation of Macpherson’s “Ossian”.
  12. To Edward Noel Long, Esq.
  13. To a Lady.

Poems Original and Translated

  1. When I Roved A Young Highlander.
  2. To the Duke of Dorset.
  3. To the Earl of Clare.
  4. Would I were a careless child.
  5. Lines Written Beneath an Elm in the Churchyard of Harrow.

Early Poems from Various Sources

  1. Fragment, Written Shortly after the Marriage of Miss Chaworth.
  2. Remembrance.
  3. To a Lady Who Presented The Author With The Velvet Band Which Bound Her Tresses.
  4. To a Knot of Ungenerous Critics.
  5. Soliloquy of a Bard in the Country.
  6. L’Amitié, est l’amour sans ailes.
  7. The Prayer of Nature.
  8. Translation from Anacreon.
  9. [Ossian’s Address to the Sun in “Carthon.”]
  10. Pignus Amoris.
  11. A Woman’s Hair.
  12. Stanzas to Jessy.
  13. The Adieu. Written Under The Impression That The Author Would Soon Die.
  14. To——
  15. On the Eyes of Miss A——h——
  16. To a Vain Lady.
  17. To Anne.
  18. Egotism. A Letter to J. T. Becher.
  19. To Anne.
  20. To the Author of a Sonnet Beginning “‘Sad is my verse,’ you say, ‘and yet no tear.’”
  21. On Finding a Fan.
  22. Farewell to the Muse.
  23. To an Oak at Newstead.
  24. On Revisiting Harrow.
  25. To my Son.
  26. Queries to Casuists.
  27. Song.
  28. To Harriet.
  29. There was a time, I need not name.
  30. And wilt thou weep when I am low?
  31. Remind me not, remind me not.
  32. To A Youthful Friend.
  33. Lines Inscribed upon a Cup Formed from a Skull.
  34. Well! Thou Art Happy.
  35. Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog.
  36. To a Lady, on being asked my reason for quitting England in the Spring.
  37. Fill the Goblet Again.
  38. Stanzas to a Lady, on leaving England.

Bibliographical Note to ‘Hours of Idleness and other early poems’.

There were four distinct issues of Byron’s Juvenilia. The first collection, entitled ‘Fugitive Pieces’, was printed in quarto by S. and J. Ridge of Newark. Two of the poems, “The Tear” and the “Reply to Some Verses of J. M. B. Pigot, Esq.,” were signed “BYRON;” but the volume itself, which is without a title-page, was anonymous. It numbers sixty-six pages, and consists of thirty-eight distinct pieces. The last piece, “Imitated from Catullus. To Anna,” is dated November 16, 1806. The whole of this issue, with the exception of two or three copies, was destroyed. An imperfect copy, lacking pp. 17–20 and pp. 58–66, is preserved at Newstead. A perfect copy, which had been retained by the Rev. J. T. Becher, at whose instance the issue was suppressed, was preserved by his family (see ‘Life’, by Karl Elze, 1872, p. 450), and is now in the possession of Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B. A facsimile reprint of this unique volume, limited to one hundred copies, was issued, for private circulation only, from the Chiswick Press in 1886.

Of the thirty-eight ‘Fugitive Pieces’, two poems, viz. “To Caroline” and “To Mary,” together with the last six stanzas of the lines, “To Miss E. P. [To Eliza],” have never been republished in any edition of Byron’s Poetical Works.

A second edition, small octavo, of ‘Fugitive Pieces’, entitled ‘Poems on Various Occasions’, was printed by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and distributed in January, 1807. This volume was issued anonymously. It numbers 144 pages, and consists of a reproduction of thirty-six ‘Fugitive Pieces’, and of twelve hitherto unprinted poems—forty-eight in all. For references to the distribution of this issue—limited, says Moore, to one hundred copies—see letters to Mr. Pigot and the Earl of Clare, dated January 16, February 6, 1807, and undated letters of the same period to Mr. William Bankes and Mr. Falkner (‘Life’, pp. 41, 42). The annotated copy of ‘Poems on Various Occasions’, referred to in the present edition, is in the British Museum.

Early in the summer (June—July) of 1807, a volume, small octavo, named ‘Hours of Idleness’—a title henceforth associated with Byron’s early poems—was printed and published by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and was sold by the following London booksellers: Crosby and Co.; Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; F. and C. Rivington; and J, Mawman. The full title is, ‘Hours of Idleness; a Series of Poems Original and Translated’. By George Gordon, Lord Byron, a Minor. It numbers 187 pages, and consists of thirty-nine poems. Of these, nineteen belonged to the original ‘Fugitive Pieces’, eight had first appeared in ‘Poems on Various Occasions’, and twelve were published for the first time. The “Fragment of a Translation from the 9th Book of Virgil’s Æneid” (‘sic’), numbering sixteen lines, reappears as “The Episode of Nisus and Euryalus, A Paraphrase from the Æneid, Lib. 9,” numbering 406 lines.

The final collection, also in small octavo, bearing the title ‘Poems Original and Translated’, by George Gordon, Lord Byron, second edition, was printed and published in 1808 by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and sold by the same London booksellers as ‘Hours of Idleness’. It numbers 174 pages, and consists of seventeen of the original ‘Fugitive Pieces’, four of those first published in ‘Poems on Various Occasions’, a reprint of the twelve poems first published in ‘Hours of Idleness’, and five poems which now appeared for the first time—thirty-eight poems in all. Neither the title nor the contents of this so-called second edition corresponds exactly with the previous issue.

Of the thirty-eight ‘Fugitive Pieces’ which constitute the suppressed quarto, only seventeen appear in all three subsequent issues. Of the twelve additions to ‘Poems on Various Occasions’, four were excluded from ‘Hours of Idleness’, and four more from ‘Poems Original and Translated’.

The collection of minor poems entitled ‘Hours of Idleness’, which has been included in every edition of Byron’s Poetical Works issued by John Murray since 1831, consists of seventy pieces, being the aggregate of the poems published in the three issues, ‘Poems on Various Occasions’, ‘Hours of Idleness’, and ‘Poems Original and Translated’, together with five other poems of the same period derived from other sources.

In the present issue a general heading, “Hours of Idleness, and other Early Poems,” has been applied to the entire collection of Early Poems, 1802–1809. The quarto has been reprinted (excepting the lines “To Mary,” which Byron himself deliberately suppressed) in its entirety, and in the original order. The successive additions to the ‘Poems on Various Occasions’, ‘Hours of Idleness’, and ‘Poems Original and Translated’, follow in order of publication. The remainder of the series, viz. poems first published in Moore’s ‘Life and Journals of Lord Byron’ (1830); poems hitherto unpublished; poems first published in the ‘Works of Lord Byron’ (1832), and poems contributed to J. C. Hobhouse’s ‘Imitations and Translations’ (1809), have been arranged in chronological order. (For an important contribution to the bibliography of the quarto of 1806, and of the other issues of Byron’s Juvenilia, see papers by Mr. R. Edgcumbe, Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B., and others, in the ‘Athenaeum’, 1885, vol. ii. pp. 731–733, 769; and 1886, vol. i. p. 101, etc. For a collation of the contents of the four first issues and of certain large-paper copies of ‘Hours of Idleness’, etc., see ‘The Bibliography of the Poetical Works of Lord Byron’, vol. vi. of the present edition.)

Fugitive Pieces

On Leaving Newstead Abbey.

Why dost thou build the hall, Son of the winged days? Thou lookest from thy tower today: yet a few years, and the blast of the desart comes: it howls in thy empty court.—Ossian.1

Through thy battlements, Newstead, 2 the hollow winds whistle:

Thou, the hall of my Fathers, art gone to decay;

In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle

Have choak’d up the rose, which late bloom’d in the way.

Of the mail-cover’d Barons, who, proudly, to battle,

Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine’s plain, 3

The escutcheon and shield, which with ev’ry blast rattle,

Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.

No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing numbers,

Raise a flame, in the breast, for the war-laurell’d wreath;

Near Askalon’s towers, John of Horistan 4 slumbers,

Unnerv’d is the hand of his minstrel, by death.

Paul and Hubert too sleep in the valley of Cressy;

For the safety of Edward and England they fell:

My Fathers! the tears of your country redress ye:

How you fought! how you died! still her annals can tell.

On Marston, 5 with Rupert, 6 ‘gainst traitors contending,

Four brothers enrich’d, with their blood, the bleak field;

For the rights of a monarch their country defending,

Till death their attachment to royalty seal’d. 7

Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant departing

From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu!

Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting

New courage, he’ll think upon glory and you.

Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation,

’Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret;

Far distant he goes, with the same emulation,

The fame of his Fathers he ne’er can forget.

That fame, and that memory, still will he cherish;

He vows that he ne’er will disgrace your renown:

Like you will he live, or like you will he perish;

When decay’d, may he mingle his dust with your own!

1803.

1 The motto was prefixed in Hours of Idleness.]

2 The priory of Newstead, or de Novo Loco, in Sherwood, was founded about the year 1170, by Henry II. On the dissolution of the monasteries it was granted (in 1540) by Henry VIII. to “Sir John Byron the Little, with the great beard.” His portrait is still preserved at Newstead.]

3 No record of any crusading ancestors in the Byron family can be found. Moore conjectures that the legend was suggested by some groups of heads on the old panel-work at Newstead, which appear to represent Christian soldiers and Saracens, and were, most probably, put up before the Abbey came into the possession of the family.]

4 Horistan Castle, in Derbyshire, an ancient seat of the B—R—N family [4to]. (Horiston.—4to.)]

5 The battle of Marston Moor, where the adherents of Charles I. were defeated.]

6 Son of the Elector Palatine, and related to Charles I. He afterwards commanded the Fleet, in the reign of Charles II.]

7 Sir Nicholas Byron, the great-grandson of Sir John Byron the Little, distinguished himself in the Civil Wars. He is described by Clarendon (Hist, of the Rebellion, 1807, i. 216) as “a person of great affability and dexterity, as well as martial knowledge.” He was Governor of Carlisle, and afterwards Governor of Chester. His nephew and heir-at-law, Sir John Byron, of Clayton, K.B. (1599–1652), was raised to the peerage as Baron Byron of Rochdale, after the Battle of Newbury, October 26, 1643. He held successively the posts of Lieutenant of the Tower, Governor of Chester, and, after the expulsion of the Royal Family from England, Governor to the Duke of York. He died childless, and was succeeded by his brother Richard, the second lord, from whom the poet was descended. Five younger brothers, as Richard’s monument in the chancel of Hucknall Torkard Church records, “faithfully served King Charles the First in the Civil Wars, suffered much for their loyalty, and lost all their present fortunes.” (See Life of Lord Byron, by Karl Elze: Appendix, Note (A), p. 436.)]

To E——1

Let Folly smile, to view the names

Of thee and me, in Friendship twin’d;

Yet Virtue will have greater claims

To love, than rank with vice combin’d.

And though unequal is thy fate,

Since title deck’d my higher birth;

Yet envy not this gaudy state,

Thine is the pride of modest worth.

Our souls at least congenial meet,

Nor can thy lot my rank disgrace;

Our intercourse is not less sweet,

Since worth of rank supplies the place.

November, 1802.

1 E——was, according to Moore, a boy of Byron’s own age, the son of one of the tenants at Newstead.]

On the Death of a Young Lady, 1

Cousin To The Author, And Very Dear To Him.

1.

Hush’d are the winds, and still the evening gloom,

Not e’en a zephyr wanders through the grove,

Whilst I return to view my Margaret’s tomb,

And scatter flowers on the dust I love.

2.

Within this narrow cell reclines her clay,

That clay, where once such animation beam’d;

The King of Terrors seiz’d her as his prey;

Not worth, nor beauty, have her life redeem’d.

3.

Oh! could that King of Terrors pity feel,

Or Heaven reverse the dread decree of fate,

Not here the mourner would his grief reveal,

Not here the Muse her virtues would relate.

4.

But wherefore weep? Her matchless spirit soars

Beyond where splendid shines the orb of day;

And weeping angels lead her to those bowers,

Where endless pleasures virtuous deeds repay.

5.

And shall presumptuous mortals Heaven arraign!

And, madly, Godlike Providence accuse!

Ah! no, far fly from me attempts so vain;—

I’ll ne’er submission to my God refuse.

6.

Yet is remembrance of those virtues dear,

Yet fresh the memory of that beauteous face;

Still they call forth my warm affection’s tear,

Still in my heart retain their wonted place.

1802.

1 The author claims the indulgence of the reader more for this piece than, perhaps, any other in the collection; but as it was written at an earlier period than the rest (being composed at the age of fourteen), and his first essay, he preferred submitting it to the indulgence of his friends in its present state, to making either addition or alteration.—[4to]

“My first dash into poetry was as early as 1800. It was the ebullition of a passion for—my first cousin, Margaret Parker (daughter and granddaughter of the two Admirals Parker), one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings. I have long forgotten the verse; but it would be difficult for me to forget her—her dark eyes—her long eye-lashes—her completely Greek cast of face and figure! I was then about twelve—she rather older, perhaps a year. She died about a year or two afterwards, in consequence of a fall, which injured her spine, and induced consumption ... I knew nothing of her illness, being at Harrow and in the country till she was gone. Some years after, I made an attempt at an elegy—a very dull one.”—Byron Diary, 1821; Life, p. 17.

[Margaret Parker was the sister of Sir Peter Parker, whose death at Baltimore, in 1814, Byron celebrated in the “Elegiac Stanzas,” which were first published in the poems attached to the seventh edition of Childe Harold.]

To D——1

1.

In thee, I fondly hop’d to clasp

A friend, whom death alone could sever;

Till envy, with malignant grasp,

Detach’d thee from my breast for ever.

2.

True, she has forc’d thee from my breast,

Yet, in my heart, thou keep’st thy seat;

There, there, thine image still must rest,

Until that heart shall cease to beat.

3.

And, when the grave restores her dead,

When life again to dust is given,

On thy dear breast I’ll lay my head—

Without thee! where would be my Heaven?

February, 1803.

1 George John, 5th Earl Delawarr (1791–1869). (See note 2, p. 100; see also lines “To George, Earl Delawarr,” pp. 126–128.)]

To Caroline.

1.

Think’st thou I saw thy beauteous eyes,

Suffus’d in tears, implore to stay;

And heard unmov’d thy plenteous sighs,

Which said far more than words can say?

2.

Though keen the grief thy tears exprest,

When love and hope lay both o’erthrown;

Yet still, my girl, this bleeding breast

Throbb’d, with deep sorrow, as thine own.

3.

But, when our cheeks with anguish glow’d,

When thy sweet lips were join’d to mine;

The tears that from my eyelids flow’d

Were lost in those which fell from thine.

4.

Thou could’st not feel my burning cheek,

Thy gushing tears had quench’d its flame,

And, as thy tongue essay’d to speak,

In sighs alone it breath’d my name.

5.

And yet, my girl, we weep in vain,

In vain our fate in sighs deplore;

Remembrance only can remain,

But that, will make us weep the more.

6.

Again, thou best belov’d, adieu!

Ah! if thou canst, o’ercome regret,

Nor let thy mind past joys review,

Our only hope is, to forget!

1805.

To Caroline. 1

1.

You say you love, and yet your eye

No symptom of that love conveys,

You say you love, yet know not why,

Your cheek no sign of love betrays.

2.

Ah! did that breast with ardour glow,

With me alone it joy could know,

Or feel with me the listless woe,

Which racks my heart when far from thee.

3.

Whene’er we meet my blushes rise,

And mantle through my purpled cheek,

But yet no blush to mine replies,

Nor e’en your eyes your love bespeak.

4.

Your voice alone declares your flame,

And though so sweet it breathes my name,

Our passions still are not the same;

Alas! you cannot love like me.

5.

For e’en your lip seems steep’d in snow,

And though so oft it meets my kiss,

It burns with no responsive glow,

Nor melts like mine in dewy bliss.

6.

Ah! what are words to love like mine,

Though uttered by a voice like thine,

I still in murmurs must repine,

And think that love can ne’er be true,

7.

Which meets me with no joyous sign,

Without a sigh which bids adieu;

How different is my love from thine,

How keen my grief when leaving you.

8.

Your image fills my anxious breast,

Till day declines adown the West,

And when at night, I sink to rest,

In dreams your fancied form I view.

9.

’Tis then your breast, no longer cold,

With equal ardour seems to burn,

While close your arms around me fold,

Your lips my kiss with warmth return.

10.

Ah! would these joyous moments last;

Vain HOPE! the gay delusion’s past,

That voice!—ah! no, ’tis but the blast,

Which echoes through the neighbouring grove.

11.

But when awake, your lips I seek,

And clasp enraptur’d all your charms,

So chill’s the pressure of your cheek,

I fold a statue in my arms.

12.

If thus, when to my heart embrac’d,

No pleasure in your eyes is trac’d,

You may be prudent, fair, and chaste,

But ah! my girl, you do not love.

1 These lines, which appear in the Quarto, were never republished.]

To Emma. 1

1.

Since now the hour is come at last,

When you must quit your anxious lover;

Since now, our dream of bliss is past,

One pang, my girl, and all is over.

2.

Alas! that pang will be severe,

Which bids us part to meet no more;

Which tears me far from one so dear,

Departing for a distant shore.

3.

Well! we have pass’d some happy hours,

And joy will mingle with our tears;

When thinking on these ancient towers,

The shelter of our infant years;

4.

Where from this Gothic casement’s height,

We view’d the lake, the park, the dell,

And still, though tears obstruct our sight,

We lingering look a last farewell,

5.

O’er fields through which we us’d to run,

And spend the hours in childish play;

O’er shades where, when our race was done,

Reposing on my breast you lay;

6.

Whilst I, admiring, too remiss,

Forgot to scare the hovering flies,

Yet envied every fly the kiss,

It dar’d to give your slumbering eyes:

7.

See still the little painted bark,

In which I row’d you o’er the lake;

See there, high waving o’er the park,

The elm I clamber’d for your sake.

8.

These times are past, our joys are gone,

You leave me, leave this happy vale;

These scenes, I must retrace alone;

Without thee, what will they avail?

9.

Who can conceive, who has not prov’d,

The anguish of a last embrace?

When, torn from all you fondly lov’d,

You bid a long adieu to peace.

10.

This is the deepest of our woes,

For this these tears our cheeks bedew;

This is of love the final close,

Oh, God! the fondest, last adieu!

1805.

1 To Maria—[4to]]

Fragments of School Exercises:

From the “Prometheus Vinctus” of Aeschylus,

[Greek: Maedam o panta nemon, K.T.L] 1

Great Jove! to whose Almighty Throne

Both Gods and mortals homage pay,

Ne’er may my soul thy power disown,

Thy dread behests ne’er disobey.

Oft shall the sacred victim fall,

In sea-girt Ocean’s mossy hall;

My voice shall raise no impious strain,

‘Gainst him who rules the sky and azure main.

...

How different now thy joyless fate,

Since first Hesione thy bride,

When plac’d aloft in godlike state,

The blushing beauty by thy side,

Thou sat’st, while reverend Ocean smil’d,

And mirthful strains the hours beguil’d;

The Nymphs and Tritons danc’d around,

Nor yet thy doom was fix’d, nor Jove relentless frown’d, 2

Harrow, December 1, 1804.

1 The Greek heading does not appear in the Quarto, nor in the three first Editions.]

2 “My first Harrow verses (that is, English, as exercises), a translation of a chorus from the ‘Prometheus’ of Æschylus, were received by Dr. Drury, my grand patron (our headmaster), but coolly. No one had, at that time, the least notion that I should subside into poetry.”—‘Life’, p. 20. The lines are not a translation but a loose adaptation or paraphrase of part of a chorus of the ‘Prometheus Vinctus’, I, 528, ‘sq.’]

Lines

Written in “Letters of an Italian Nun and an English Gentleman,

By J. J. Rousseau; 1 Founded on facts.”

“Away, away,—your flattering arts

May now betray some simpler hearts;

And you will smile at their believing,

And they shall weep at your deceiving.”

1 A second edition of this work, of which the title is, Letters, etc., translated from the French of Jean Jacques Rousseau, was published in London, in 1784. It is, probably, a literary forgery.]

Answer to the Foregoing, Addressed to Miss——.

Dear simple girl, those flattering arts,

(From which thou’dst guard frail female hearts,)

Exist but in imagination,

Mere phantoms of thine own creation;

For he who views that witching grace,

That perfect form, that lovely face,

With eyes admiring, oh! believe me,

He never wishes to deceive thee:

Once in thy polish’d mirror glance

Thou’lt there descry that elegance

Which from our sex demands such praises,

But envy in the other raises.—

Then he who tells thee of thy beauty,

Believe me, only does his duty:

Ah! fly not from the candid youth;

It is not flattery,—’tis truth.

July, 1804.

On a Change of Masters at a great Public School. 1

Where are those honours, IDA! once your own,

When Probus fill’d your magisterial throne?

As ancient Rome, fast falling to disgrace,

Hail’d a Barbarian in her Cæsar’s place,

So you, degenerate, share as hard a fate,

And seat Pomposus where your Probus sate.

Of narrow brain, yet of a narrower soul,

Pomposus holds you in his harsh controul;

Pomposus, by no social virtue sway’d,

With florid jargon, and with vain parade;

With noisy nonsense, and new-fangled rules,

(Such as were ne’er before enforc’d in schools.)

Mistaking pedantry for learning’s laws,

He governs, sanction’d but by self-applause;

With him the same dire fate, attending Rome,

Ill-fated Ida! soon must stamp your doom:

Like her o’erthrown, for ever lost to fame,

No trace of science left you, but the name,

Harrow, July, 1805.

1 In March, 1805, Dr. Drury, the Probus of the piece, retired from the Head-mastership of Harrow School, and was succeeded by Dr. Butler, the Pomposus. “Dr. Drury,” said Byron, in one of his note-books, “was the best, the kindest (and yet strict, too) friend I ever had; and I look upon him still as a father.” Out of affection to his late preceptor, Byron advocated the election of Mark Drury to the vacant post, and hence his dislike of the successful candidate. He was reconciled to Dr. Butler before departing for Greece, in 1809, and in his diary he says, “I treated him rebelliously, and have been sorry ever since.” (See allusions in and notes to “Childish Recollections,” pp. 84–106, and especially note I, p. 88, notes I and 2, p. 89, and note I, p. 91.)] ]

Epitaph on a Beloved Friend.1

Ασταερ πριν μεν ελαμπες ενι τσυοισιν ηεψος.

[Plato’s Epitaph (Epig. Græc., Jacobs, 1826, p. 309), quoted by Diog. Laertins.]

Oh, Friend! for ever lov’d, for ever dear!

What fruitless tears have bathed thy honour’d bier!

What sighs reecho’d to thy parting breath,

Whilst thou wast struggling in the pangs of death!

Could tears retard the tyrant in his course;

Could sighs avert his dart’s relentless force;

Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,

Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey;

Thou still hadst liv’d to bless my aching sight,

Thy comrade’s honour and thy friend’s delight.

If yet thy gentle spirit hover nigh

The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie,

Here wilt thou read, recorded on my heart,

A grief too deep to trust the sculptor’s art.

No marble marks thy couch of lowly sleep,

But living statues there are seen to weep;

Affliction’s semblance bends not o’er thy tomb,

Affliction’s self deplores thy youthful doom.

What though thy sire lament his failing line,

A father’s sorrows cannot equal mine!

Though none, like thee, his dying hour will cheer,

Yet other offspring soothe his anguish here:

But, who with me shall hold thy former place?

Thine image, what new friendship can efface?

Ah, none!—a father’s tears will cease to flow,

Time will assuage an infant brother’s woe;

To all, save one, is consolation known,

While solitary Friendship sighs alone.

Harrow, 1803. 2

1 The heading which appears in the Quarto and P. on V. Occasions was subsequently changed to “Epitaph on a Friend.” The motto was prefixed in ‘Hours of Idleness’. The epigram which Bergk leaves under Plato’s name was translated by Shelley (‘Poems’, 1895, iii. 361)—

“Thou wert the morning star

Among the living,

Ere thy fair light had fled;

Now having died, thou art as

Hesperus, giving

New splendour to the dead.”

There is an echo of the Greek distich in Byron’s exquisite line, “The Morning–Star of Memory.”

2 The words, “Southwell, March 17,” are added, in a lady’s hand, on p. 9 of the annotated copy of P. ‘on’ V. ‘Occasions’ in the British Museum. The conjecture that the “‘beloved’ friend,” who is of humble origin, is identical with “E——” of the verses on p. 4, remains uncertain.]

Adrian’s Address To His Soul When Dying.

Animula! vagula, Blandula,

Hospes, comesque corporis,

Quæ nunc abibis in Loca—

Pallidula, rigida, nudula,

Nec, ut soles, dabis Jocos?

Translation.

Ah! gentle, fleeting, wav’ring Sprite,

Friend and associate of this clay!

To what unknown region borne,

Wilt thou, now, wing thy distant flight?

No more with wonted humour gay,

But pallid, cheerless, and forlorn.

1806.

A Fragment. 1

When, to their airy hall, my Fathers’ voice

Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice;

When, pois’d upon the gale, my form shall ride,

Or, dark in mist, descend the mountain’s side;

Oh! may my shade behold no sculptur’d urns,

To mark the spot where earth to earth returns!

No lengthen’d scroll, no praise-encumber’d stone;

My epitaph shall be my name alone: 2

If that with honour fail to crown my clay,

Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay!

That, only that, shall single out the spot;

By that remember’d, or with that forgot.

1803.

1 There is no heading in the Quarto.]

2 In his will, drawn up in 1811, Byron gave directions that “no inscription, save his name and age, should be written on his tomb.” June, 1819, he wrote to Murray: “Some of the epitaphs at the Certosa cemetery, at Ferrara, pleased me more than the more splendid monuments at Bologna; for instance, ‘Martini Luigi Implora pace.’ Can anything be more full of pathos? I hope whoever may survive me will see those two words, and no more, put over me.”—‘Life’, pp. 131, 398.]

To Caroline. 1

1.

Oh! when shall the grave hide for ever my sorrow?

Oh! when shall my soul wing her flight from this clay?

The present is hell! and the coming tomorrow

But brings, with new torture, the curse of today.

2.

From my eye flows no tear, from my lips flow no curses,

I blast not the fiends who have hurl’d me from bliss;

For poor is the soul which, bewailing, rehearses

Its querulous grief, when in anguish like this—

3.

Was my eye, ‘stead of tears, with red fury flakes bright’ning,

Would my lips breathe a flame which no stream could assuage,

On our foes should my glance launch in vengeance its lightning,

With transport my tongue give a loose to its rage.

4.

But now tears and curses, alike unavailing,

Would add to the souls of our tyrants delight;

Could they view us our sad separation bewailing,

Their merciless hearts would rejoice at the sight.

5.

Yet, still, though we bend with a feign’d resignation,

Life beams not for us with one ray that can cheer;

Love and Hope upon earth bring no more consolation,

In the grave is our hope, for in life is our fear.

6.

Oh! when, my ador’d, in the tomb will they place me,

Since, in life, love and friendship for ever are fled?

If again in the mansion of death I embrace thee,

Perhaps they will leave unmolested—the dead.

1805.

1 [To———.—[4to].]]

To Caroline. 1

When I hear you express an affection so warm,

Ne’er think, my belov’d, that I do not believe;

For your lip would the soul of suspicion disarm,

And your eye beams a ray which can never deceive.

Yet still, this fond bosom regrets, while adoring,

That love, like the leaf, must fall into the sear,

That Age will come on, when Remembrance, deploring,

Contemplates the scenes of her youth, with a tear;

That the time must arrive, when, no longer retaining

Their auburn, those locks must wave thin to the breeze,

When a few silver hairs of those tresses remaining,

Prove nature a prey to decay and disease.

Tis this, my belov’d, which spreads gloom o’er my features,

Though I ne’er shall presume to arraign the decree

Which God has proclaim’d as the fate of his creatures,

In the death which one day will deprive you of me.

Mistake not, sweet sceptic, the cause of emotion,

No doubt can the mind of your lover invade;

He worships each look with such faithful devotion,

A smile can enchant, or a tear can dissuade.

But as death, my belov’d, soon or late shall o’ertake us,

And our breasts, which alive with such sympathy glow,

Will sleep in the grave, till the blast shall awake us,

When calling the dead, in Earth’s bosom laid low.

Oh! then let us drain, while we may, draughts of pleasure,

Which from passion, like ours, must unceasingly flow;

Let us pass round the cup of Love’s bliss in full measure,

And quaff the contents as our nectar below.

1805.

1 [There is no heading in the Quarto.]]

On A Distant View Of The Village And School Of Harrow On The Hill, 1806.

Oh! mihi præteritos referat si Jupiter annos.1

Virgil.

Ye scenes of my childhood, whose lov’d recollection

Embitters the present, compar’d with the past;

Where science first dawn’d on the powers of reflection,

And friendships were form’d, too romantic to last; 2

Where fancy, yet, joys to retrace the resemblance

Of comrades, in friendship and mischief allied; 3

How welcome to me your ne’er fading remembrance,

Which rests in the bosom, though hope is deny’d!

Again I revisit the hills where we sported,

The streams where we swam, and the fields where we fought; 4

The school where, loud warn’d by the bell, we resorted,

To pore o’er the precepts by Pedagogues taught.

Again I behold where for hours I have ponder’d,

As reclining, at eve, on yon tombstone 5 I lay;

Or round the steep brow of the churchyard I wander’d,

To catch the last gleam of the sun’s setting ray.

I once more view the room, with spectators surrounded,

Where, as Zanga, 6 I trod on Alonzo o’erthrown;

While, to swell my young pride, such applauses resounded,

I fancied that Mossop 7 himself was outshone.

Or, as Lear, I pour’d forth the deep imprecation,

By my daughters, of kingdom and reason depriv’d;

Till, fir’d by loud plaudits and self-adulation,

I regarded myself as a Garrick reviv’d.

Ye dreams of my boyhood, how much I regret you!

Unfaded your memory dwells in my breast;

Though sad and deserted, I ne’er can forget you:

Your pleasures may still be in fancy possest.

To Ida full oft may remembrance restore me,

While Fate shall the shades of the future unroll!

Since Darkness o’ershadows the prospect before me,

More dear is the beam of the past to my soul!

But if, through the course of the years which await me,

Some new scene of pleasure should open to view,

I will say, while with rapture the thought shall elate me,

“Oh! such were the days which my infancy knew.” 8

1806.

1 The motto was prefixed in ‘Hours of Idleness’.]

2 “My school-friendships were with me passions (for I was always violent), but I do not know that there is one which has endured (to be sure, some have been cut short by death) till now.”

‘Diary’, 1821; ‘Life’, p. 21.]

3 Byron was at first placed in the house of Mr. Henry Drury, but in 1803 was removed to that of Mr. Evans.

“The reason why Lord Byron wishes for the change, arises from the repeated complaints of Mr. Henry Drury respecting his inattention to business, and his propensity to make others laugh and disregard their employment as much as himself.”

Dr. Joseph Drury to Mr. John Hanson.]

4 “At Harrow I fought my way very fairly. I think I lost but one battle out of seven.”

‘Diary’, 1821; ‘Life’, p. 21.]

5 A tomb in the churchyard at Harrow was so well known to be his favourite resting-place, that the boys called it “Byron’s Tomb:” and here, they say, he used to sit for hours, wrapt up in thought.—‘Life’, p. 26.]

6 For the display of his declamatory powers, on the speech-days, he selected always the most vehement passages; such as the speech of Zanga over the body of Alonzo, and Lear’s address to the storm.—‘Life’, p. 20, ‘note’; and ‘post’, p. 103, ‘var’. i.]

7 Henry Mossop (1729–1773), a contemporary of Garrick, famous for his performance of “Zanga” in Young’s tragedy of ‘The Revenge’.]

8 Stanzas 8 and 9 first appeared in ‘Hours of Idleness’.]

Thoughts Suggested By A College Examination.

High in the midst, surrounded by his peers,

Magnus 1 his ample front sublime uprears:

Plac’d on his chair of state, he seems a God,

While Sophs 2 and Freshmen tremble at his nod;

As all around sit wrapt in speechless gloom,

His voice, in thunder, shakes the sounding dome;

Denouncing dire reproach to luckless fools,

Unskill’d to plod in mathematic rules.

Happy the youth! in Euclid’s axioms tried,

Though little vers’d in any art beside; 10

Who, scarcely skill’d an English line to pen,

Scans Attic metres with a critic’s ken.

What! though he knows not how his fathers bled,

When civil discord pil’d the fields with dead,

When Edward bade his conquering bands advance,

Or Henry trampled on the crest of France:

Though marvelling at the name of Magna Charta,

Yet well he recollects the laws of Sparta;

Can tell, what edicts sage Lycurgus made,

While Blackstone’s on the shelf, neglected laid; 20

Of Grecian dramas vaunts the deathless fame,

Of Avon’s bard, rememb’ring scarce the name.

Such is the youth whose scientific pate

Class-honours, medals, fellowships, await;

Or even, perhaps, the declamation prize,

If to such glorious height, he lifts his eyes.

But lo! no common orator can hope

The envied silver cup within his scope:

Not that our heads much eloquence require,

Th’ ATHENIAN’S 3 glowing style, or TULLY’S fire. 30

A manner clear or warm is useless, since

We do not try by speaking to convince;

Be other orators of pleasing proud,—

We speak to please ourselves, not move the crowd:

Our gravity prefers the muttering tone,

A proper mixture of the squeak and groan:

No borrow’d grace of action must be seen,

The slightest motion would displease the Dean;

Whilst every staring Graduate would prate,

Against what—he could never imitate. 40

The man, who hopes t’ obtain the promis’d cup,

Must in one posture stand, and ne’er look up;

Nor stop, but rattle over every word—

No matter what, so it can not be heard:

Thus let him hurry on, nor think to rest:

Who speaks the fastest’s sure to speak the best;

Who utters most within the shortest space,

May, safely, hope to win the wordy race.

The Sons of Science these, who, thus repaid,

Linger in ease in Granta’s sluggish shade; 50

Where on Cam’s sedgy banks, supine, they lie,

Unknown, unhonour’d live—unwept for die:

Dull as the pictures, which adorn their halls,

They think all learning fix’d within their walls:

In manners rude, in foolish forms precise,

All modern arts affecting to despise;

Yet prizing Bentley’s, Brunck’s, or Porson’s 4 note,

More than the verse on which the critic wrote:

Vain as their honours, heavy as their Ale, 5

Sad as their wit, and tedious as their tale; 60

To friendship dead, though not untaught to feel,

When Self and Church demand a Bigot zeal.

With eager haste they court the lord of power,

(Whether ’tis PITT or PETTY 6 rules the hour;)

To him, with suppliant smiles, they bend the head,

While distant mitres to their eyes are spread;

But should a storm o’erwhelm him with disgrace,

They’d fly to seek the next, who fill’d his place.

Such are the men who learning’s treasures guard!

Such is their practice, such is their reward! 70

This much, at least, we may presume to say—

The premium can’t exceed the price they pay.

1806.

1

No reflection is here intended against the person mentioned under the name of Magnus. He is merely represented as performing an unavoidable function of his office. Indeed, such an attempt could only recoil upon myself; as that gentleman is now as much distinguished by his eloquence, and the dignified propriety with which he fills his situation, as he was in his younger days for wit and conviviality.

[Dr. William Lort Mansel (1753–1820) was, in 1798, appointed Master of Trinity College, by Pitt. He obtained the bishopric of Bristol, through the influence of his pupil, Spencer Perceval, in 1808. He died in 1820.]

2 Undergraduates of the second and third year.]

3 Demosthenes.]

4 The present Greek professor at Trinity College, Cambridge; a man whose powers of mind and writings may, perhaps, justify their preference. [Richard Porson (1759–1808). For Byron’s description of him, see letter to Murray, of February 20, 1818. Byron says (‘Diary’, December 17, 18, 1813) that he wrote the ‘Devil’s Drive’ in imitation of Porson’s ‘Devil’s Walk’. This was a common misapprehension at the time. The ‘Devil’s Thoughts’ was the joint composition of Coleridge and Southey, but it was generally attributed to Porson, who took no trouble to disclaim it. It was originally published in the ‘Morning Post’, Sept. 6, 1799, and Stuart, the editor, said that it raised the circulation of the paper for several days after. (See Coleridge’s Poems (1893), pp. 147, 621.)]

5 Lines 59–62 are not in the Quarto. They first appeared in ‘Poems Original and Translated’]

6 Since this was written, Lord Henry Petty has lost his place, and subsequently (I had almost said consequently) the honour of representing the University. A fact so glaring requires no comment. (Lord Henry Petty, M.P. for the University of Cambridge, was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1805; but in 1807 he lost his seat. In 1809 he succeeded his brother as Marquis of Lansdowne. He died in 1863.)]

To Mary,

On Receiving her Picture. 1

1.

This faint resemblance of thy charms,

(Though strong as mortal art could give,)

My constant heart of fear disarms,

Revives my hopes, and bids me live.

2.

Here, I can trace the locks of gold

Which round thy snowy forehead wave;

The cheeks which sprung from Beauty’s mould,

The lips, which made me ‘Beauty’s’ slave.

3.

Here I can trace—ah, no! that eye,

Whose azure floats in liquid fire,

Must all the painter’s art defy,

And bid him from the task retire.

4.

Here, I behold its beauteous hue;

But where’s the beam so sweetly straying,

Which gave a lustre to its blue,

Like Luna o’er the ocean playing?

5.

Sweet copy! far more dear to me,

Lifeless, unfeeling as thou art,

Than all the living forms could be,

Save her who plac’d thee next my heart.

6.

She plac’d it, sad, with needless fear,

Lest time might shake my wavering soul,

Unconscious that her image there

Held every sense in fast controul.

7.

Thro’ hours, thro’ years, thro’ time,’twill cheer—

My hope, in gloomy moments, raise;

In life’s last conflict ’twill appear,

And meet my fond, expiring gaze.

1 This “Mary” is not to be confounded with the heiress of Annesley, or “Mary” of Aberdeen. She was of humble station in life. Byron used to show a lock of her light golden hair, as well as her picture, among his friends. (See ‘Life’, p. 41, ‘note’.)]

On the Death of Mr. Fox,1

The Following Illiberal Impromptu Appeared in the “Morning Post.”

“Our Nation’s foes lament on Fox’s death,

But bless the hour, when PITT resign’d his breath:

These feelings wide, let Sense and Truth unclue,

We give the palm, where Justice points its due.”

To which the Author of these pieces sent the following reply for insertion in the “Morning Chronicle.”

Oh, factious viper! whose envenom’d tooth

Would mangle, still, the dead, perverting truth;

What, though our “nation’s foes” lament the fate,

With generous feeling, of the good and great;

Shall dastard tongues essay to blast the name

Of him, whose meed exists in endless fame?

When PITT expir’d in plenitude of power,

Though ill success obscur’d his dying hour,

Pity her dewy wings before him spread,

For noble spirits “war not with the dead:”

His friends in tears, a last sad requiem gave,

As all his errors slumber’d in the grave;

He sunk, an Atlas bending “‘neath the weight”

Of cares o’erwhelming our conflicting state.

When, lo! a Hercules, in Fox, appear’d,

Who for a time the ruin’d fabric rear’d:

He, too, is fall’n, who Britain’s loss supplied,

With him, our fast reviving hopes have died;

Not one great people, only, raise his urn,

All Europe’s far-extended regions mourn.

“These feelings wide, let Sense and Truth undue,

To give the palm where Justice points its due;”

Yet, let not canker’d Calumny assail,

Or round her statesman wind her gloomy veil.

FOX! o’er whose corse a mourning world must weep,

Whose dear remains in honour’d marble sleep;

For whom, at last, e’en hostile nations groan,

While friends and foes, alike, his talents own.—

Fox! shall, in Britain’s future annals, shine,

Nor e’en to PITT, the patriot’s ‘palm’ resign;

Which Envy, wearing Candour’s sacred mask,

For PITT, and PITT alone, has dar’d to ask.

(Southwell, Oct., 1806. 2)

1 The stanza on the death of Fox appeared in the Morning Post, September 26, 1806.]

2 This MS. is preserved at Newstead.]

To a Lady who presented to the Author a Lock of Hair Braided with his Own, and Appointed a Night in December to Meet him in the Garden. 1

These locks, which fondly thus entwine,

In firmer chains our hearts confine,

Than all th’ unmeaning protestations

Which swell with nonsense, love orations.

Our love is fix’d, I think we’ve prov’d it;

Nor time, nor place, nor art have mov’d it;

Then wherefore should we sigh and whine,

With groundless jealousy repine;

With silly whims, and fancies frantic,

Merely to make our love romantic?

Why should you weep, like Lydia Languish,

And fret with self-created anguish?

Or doom the lover you have chosen,

On winter nights to sigh half frozen;

In leafless shades, to sue for pardon,

Only because the scene’s a garden?

For gardens seem, by one consent,

(Since Shakespeare set the precedent;

Since Juliet first declar’d her passion)

To form the place of assignation.

Oh! would some modern muse inspire,

And seat her by a sea-coal fire;

Or had the bard at Christmas written,

And laid the scene of love in Britain;

He surely, in commiseration,

Had chang’d the place of declaration.

In Italy, I’ve no objection,

Warm nights are proper for reflection;

But here our climate is so rigid,

That love itself, is rather frigid:

Think on our chilly situation,

And curb this rage for imitation.

Then let us meet, as oft we’ve done,

Beneath the influence of the sun;

Or, if at midnight I must meet you,

Within your mansion let me greet you: [i.]

‘There’, we can love for hours together,

Much better, in such snowy weather,

Than plac’d in all th’ Arcadian groves,

That ever witness’d rural loves;

‘Then’, if my passion fail to please, [ii.]

Next night I’ll be content to freeze;

No more I’ll give a loose to laughter,

But curse my fate, for ever after. 2

1 These lines are addressed to the same Mary referred to in the lines beginning, “This faint resemblance of thy charms.” (‘Vide ante’, p. 32.)]

2 In the above little piece the author has been accused by some ‘candid readers’ of introducing the name of a lady [Julia Leacroft] from whom he was some hundred miles distant at the time this was written; and poor Juliet, who has slept so long in “the tomb of all the Capulets,” has been converted, with a trifling alteration of her name, into an English damsel, walking in a garden of their own creation, during the month of ‘December’, in a village where the author never passed a winter. Such has been the candour of some ingenious critics. We would advise these ‘liberal’ commentators on taste and arbiters of decorum to read ‘Shakespeare’.

Having heard that a very severe and indelicate censure has been passed on the above poem, I beg leave to reply in a quotation from an admired work, ‘Carr’s Stranger in France’.—“As we were contemplating a painting on a large scale, in which, among other figures, is the uncovered whole length of a warrior, a prudish-looking lady, who seemed to have touched the age of desperation, after having attentively surveyed it through her glass, observed to her party that there was a great deal of indecorum in that picture. Madame S. shrewdly whispered in my ear ‘that the indecorum was in the remark.’"—[Ed. 1803, cap. xvi, p. 171. Compare the note on verses addressed “To a Knot of Ungenerous Critics,” p. 213.]]

To a Beautiful Quaker. 1

Sweet girl! though only once we met,

That meeting I shall ne’er forget;

And though we ne’er may meet again,

Remembrance will thy form retain;

I would not say, “I love,” but still,

My senses struggle with my will:

In vain to drive thee from my breast,

My thoughts are more and more represt;

In vain I check the rising sighs,

Another to the last replies:

Perhaps, this is not love, but yet,

Our meeting I can ne’er forget.

What, though we never silence broke,

Our eyes a sweeter language spoke;

The tongue in flattering falsehood deals,

And tells a tale it never feels:

Deceit, the guilty lips impart,

And hush the mandates of the heart;

But soul’s interpreters, the eyes,

Spurn such restraint, and scorn disguise.

As thus our glances oft convers’d,

And all our bosoms felt rehears’d,

No spirit, from within, reprov’d us,

Say rather, “’twas the spirit mov’d us.”

Though, what they utter’d, I repress,

Yet I conceive thou’lt partly guess;

For as on thee, my memory ponders,

Perchance to me, thine also wanders.

This, for myself, at least, I’ll say,

Thy form appears through night, through day;

Awake, with it my fancy teems,

In sleep, it smiles in fleeting dreams;

The vision charms the hours away,

And bids me curse Aurora’s ray

For breaking slumbers of delight,

Which make me wish for endless night.

Since, oh! whate’er my future fate,

Shall joy or woe my steps await;

Tempted by love, by storms beset,

Thine image, I can ne’er forget.

Alas! again no more we meet,

No more our former looks repeat;

Then, let me breathe this parting prayer,

The dictate of my bosom’s care:

“May Heaven so guard my lovely quaker,

That anguish never can o’ertake her;

That peace and virtue ne’er forsake her,

But bliss be aye her heart’s partaker!

Oh! may the happy mortal, fated

To be, by dearest ties, related,

For her, each hour, new joys discover,

And lose the husband in the lover!

May that fair bosom never know

What ’tis to feel the restless woe,

Which stings the soul, with vain regret,

Of him, who never can forget!”

1806.

1 Whom the author saw at Harrowgate.

Annotated copy of ‘P. on V. Occasions’, p. 64 (British Museum).]

To Lesbia! 1

1.

LESBIA! since far from you I’ve rang’d,

Our souls with fond affection glow not;

You say, ’tis I, not you, have chang’d,

I’d tell you why,—but yet I know not.

2.

Your polish’d brow no cares have crost;

And Lesbia! we are not much older,

Since, trembling, first my heart I lost,

Or told my love, with hope grown bolder.

3.

Sixteen was then our utmost age,

Two years have lingering pass’d away, love!

And now new thoughts our minds engage,

At least, I feel disposed to stray, love!

4.

“Tis I that am alone to blame,

I, that am guilty of love’s treason;

Since your sweet breast is still the same,

Caprice must be my only reason.

5.

I do not, love! suspect your truth,

With jealous doubt my bosom heaves not;

Warm was the passion of my youth,

One trace of dark deceit it leaves not.

6.

No, no, my flame was not pretended;

For, oh! I lov’d you most sincerely;

And though our dream at last is ended

My bosom still esteems you dearly.

7.

No more we meet in yonder bowers;

Absence has made me prone to roving;

But older, firmer hearts than ours

Have found monotony in loving.

8.

Your cheek’s soft bloom is unimpair’d,

New beauties, still, are daily bright’ning,

Your eye, for conquest beams prepar’d,

The forge of love’s resistless lightning.

9.

Arm’d thus, to make their bosoms bleed,

Many will throng, to sigh like me, love!

More constant they may prove, indeed;

Fonder, alas! they ne’er can be, love!

1806.

1 “The lady’s name was Julia Leacroft” (‘Note by Miss E. Pigot’). The word “Julia” (?) is added, in a lady’s hand, in the annotated copy of ‘P. on V. Occasions’, p. 52 (British Museum)]

To Woman.

Woman! experience might have told me

That all must love thee, who behold thee:

Surely experience might have taught

Thy firmest promises are nought;

But, plac’d in all thy charms before me,

All I forget, but to adore thee.

Oh memory! thou choicest blessing,

When join’d with hope, when still possessing;

But how much curst by every lover

When hope is fled, and passion’s over.

Woman, that fair and fond deceiver,

How prompt are striplings to believe her!

How throbs the pulse, when first we view

The eye that rolls in glossy blue,

Or sparkles black, or mildly throws

A beam from under hazel brows!

How quick we credit every oath,

And hear her plight the willing troth!

Fondly we hope ’twill last for ay,

When, lo! she changes in a day.

This record will for ever stand,’

“Woman, thy vows are trac’d in sand.” 1

1 The last line is almost a literal translation from a Spanish proverb.

(The last line is not “almost a literal translation from a Spanish proverb,” but an adaptation of part of a stanza from the ‘Diana’ of Jorge de Montemajor—

“Mirà, el Amor, lo que ordena;

Que os viene a hazer creer

Cosas dichas por muger,

Y escriptas en el arena.”

Southey, in his ‘Letters from Spain’, 1797, pp. 87–91, gives a specimen of the ‘Diana’, and renders the lines in question thus—

“And Love beheld us from his secret stand,

And mark’d his triumph, laughing, to behold me,

To see me trust a writing traced in sand,

To see me credit what a woman told me.”

Byron, who at this time had little or no knowledge of Spanish literature, seems to have been struck with Southey’s paraphrase, and compressed the quatrain into an epigram.]

An Occasional Prologue,

Delivered by the Author Previous to the Performance of “The Wheel of Fortune” at a Private Theatre. 1

Since the refinement of this polish’d age

Has swept immoral raillery from the stage;

Since taste has now expung’d licentious wit,

Which stamp’d disgrace on all an author writ;

Since, now, to please with purer scenes we seek,

Nor dare to call the blush from Beauty’s cheek;

Oh! let the modest Muse some pity claim,

And meet indulgence—though she find not fame.

Still, not for her alone, we wish respect,

Others appear more conscious of defect:

To-night no vet’ran Roscii you behold,

In all the arts of scenic action old;

No COOKE, no KEMBLE, can salute you here,

No SIDDONS draw the sympathetic tear;

To-night you throng to witness the début

Of embryo Actors, to the Drama new:

Here, then, our almost unfledg’d wings we try;

Clip not our pinions, ere the birds can fly:

Failing in this our first attempt to soar,

Drooping, alas! we fall to rise no more.

Not one poor trembler, only, fear betrays,

Who hopes, yet almost dreads to meet your praise;

But all our Dramatis Personæ wait,

In fond suspense this crisis of their fate.

No venal views our progress can retard,

Your generous plaudits are our sole reward;

For these, each Hero all his power displays,

Each timid Heroine shrinks before your gaze:

Surely the last will some protection find?

None, to the softer sex, can prove unkind:

While Youth and Beauty form the female shield,

The sternest Censor to the fair must yield.

Yet, should our feeble efforts nought avail,

Should, after all, our best endeavours fail;

Still, let some mercy in your bosoms live,

And, if you can’t applaud, at least forgive.

1 “I enacted Penruddock, in ‘The Wheel of Fortune’, and Tristram Fickle, in the farce of ‘The Weathercock’, for three nights, in some private theatricals at Southwell, in 1806, with great applause. The occasional prologue for our volunteer play was also of my composition.”—‘Diary; Life’, p. 38. The prologue was written by him, between stages, on his way from Harrogate. On getting into the carriage at Chesterfield, he said to his companion, “Now, Pigot, I’ll spin a prologue for our play;” and before they reached Mansfield he had completed his task,—interrupting only once his rhyming reverie, to ask the proper pronunciation of the French word ‘début’; and, on being told it, exclaiming, “Aye, that will do for rhyme to ”new’.’"—‘Life’, p. 39. “The Prologue was spoken by G. Wylde, Esq.”—Note by Miss E. PIGOT.]

To Eliza.

1.

Eliza! 1 what fools are the Mussulman sect,

Who, to woman, deny the soul’s future existence;

Could they see thee, Eliza! they’d own their defect,

And this doctrine would meet with a general resistance.

2.

Had their Prophet possess’d half an atom of sense,

He ne’er would have woman from Paradise driven;

Instead of his Houris, a flimsy pretence,

With woman alone he had peopled his Heaven.

3.

Yet, still, to increase your calamities more,

Not content with depriving your bodies of spirit,

He allots one poor husband to share amongst four! —

With souls you’d dispense; but, this last, who could bear it?

4.

His religion to please neither party is made;

On husbands ’tis hard, to the wives most uncivil;

Still I can’t contradict, what so oft has been said,

“Though women are angels, yet wedlock’s the devil.”

5.

This terrible truth, even Scripture has told, 2

Ye Benedicks! hear me, and listen with rapture;

If a glimpse of redemption you wish to behold,

Of ST. MATT.—read the second and twentieth chapter.

6.

’Tis surely enough upon earth to be vex’d,

With wives who eternal confusion are spreading;

“But in Heaven” (so runs the Evangelists’ Text)

“We neither have giving in marriage, or wedding.”

7.

From this we suppose, (as indeed well we may,)

That should Saints after death, with their spouses put up more,

And wives, as in life, aim at absolute sway,

All Heaven would ring with the conjugal uproar.

8.

Distraction and Discord would follow in course,

Nor MATTHEW, nor MARK, nor ST. PAUL, can deny it,

The only expedient is general divorce,

To prevent universal disturbance and riot.

9.

But though husband and wife, shall at length be disjoin’d,

Yet woman and man ne’er were meant to dissever,

Our chains once dissolv’d, and our hearts unconfin’d,

We’ll love without bonds, but we’ll love you for ever.

10.

Though souls are denied you by fools and by rakes,

Should you own it yourselves, I would even then doubt you,

Your nature so much of celestial partakes,

The Garden of Eden would wither without you.

Southwell, October 9, 1806.

1 The letters “E. B. P.” are added, in a lady’s hand, in the annotated copy of P. on V. Occasions, p. 26 (British Museum). The initials stand for Miss Elizabeth Pigot.]

2 Stanzas 5–10, which appear in the Quarto, were never reprinted.]

The Tear.

O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros

Ducentium ortus ex animo; quater

Felix! in imo qui scatentem

Pectore te, pia Nympha, sensit. 1

GRAY, ‘Alcaic Fragment’.

1.

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.

2.

Too oft is a smile

But the hypocrite’s wile,

To mask detestation, or fear;

Give me the soft sigh,

Whilst the soul-telling eye

Is dimm’d, for a time, with a Tear.

3.

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.

4.

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.

5.

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.

6.

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.

7.

Sweet scene of my youth! 2

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.

8.

Though my vows I can pour,

To my Mary no more, 3

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.

9.

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.

10.

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.

11.

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.

12.

May no marble bestow

The splendour of woe,

Which the children of Vanity rear;

No fiction of fame

Shall blazon my name,

All I ask, all I wish, is a Tear.

October 26, 1806.

1 The motto was prefixed in ‘Hours of Idleness’.]

2 Harrow.]

3 Miss Chaworth was married in 1805.]

Reply to some Verses of J. M. B. Pigot, Esq.,

On the Cruelty of his Mistress. 1

1.

Why, Pigot, complain

Of this damsel’s disdain,

Why thus in despair do you fret?

For months you may try,

Yet, believe me, a sigh

Will never obtain a coquette.

2.

Would you teach her to love?

For a time seem to rove;

At first she may frown in a pet;

But leave her awhile,

She shortly will smile,

And then you may kiss your coquette.

3.

For such are the airs

Of these fanciful fairs,

They think all our homage a debt:

Yet a partial neglect

Soon takes an effect,

And humbles the proudest coquette.

4.

Dissemble your pain,

And lengthen your chain,

And seem her hauteur to regret;

If again you shall sigh,

She no more will deny,

That yours is the rosy coquette.

5.

If still, from false pride,

Your pangs she deride,

This whimsical virgin forget;

Some other admire,

Who will melt with your fire,

And laugh at the little coquette.

6.

For me, I adore

Some twenty or more,

And love them most dearly; but yet,

Though my heart they enthral,

I’d abandon them all,

Did they act like your blooming coquette.

7.

No longer repine,

Adopt this design,

And break through her slight-woven net!

Away with despair,

No longer forbear

To fly from the captious coquette.

8.

Then quit her, my friend!

Your bosom defend,

Ere quite with her snares you’re beset:

Lest your deep-wounded heart,

When incens’d by the smart,

Should lead you to curse the coquette.

October 27, 1806.

1 The letters “C. B. F. J. B. M.” are added, in a lady’s hand, in the annotated copy of ‘P. on V. Occasions’, p. 14 (British Museum).]

Granta. A Medley.

[Greek: Argureais logchaisi machou kai panta krataeseo.] 1

(Reply of the Pythian Oracle to Philip of Macedon.)

1.

Oh! could LE SAGE’S 2 demon’s gift

Be realis’d at my desire,

This night my trembling form he’d lift

To place it on St. Mary’s spire.

2.

Then would, unroof’d, old Granta’s halls,

Pedantic inmates full display;

Fellows who dream on lawn or stalls,

The price of venal votes to pay.

3.

Then would I view each rival wight,

PETTY and PALMERSTON survey;

Who canvass there, with all their might,

Against the next elective day. 3

4.

Lo! candidates and voters lie

All lull’d in sleep, a goodly number!

A race renown’d for piety,

Whose conscience won’t disturb their slumber.

5.

Lord H——4 indeed, may not demur;

Fellows are sage, reflecting men:

They know preferment can occur,

But very seldom,—now and then.

6.

They know the Chancellor has got

Some pretty livings in disposal:

Each hopes that one may be his lot,

And, therefore, smiles on his proposal.

7.

Now from the soporific scene

I’ll turn mine eye, as night grows later,

To view, unheeded and unseen,

The studious sons of Alma Mater.

8.

There, in apartments small and damp,

The candidate for college prizes,

Sits poring by the midnight lamp;

Goes late to bed, yet early rises.

9.

He surely well deserves to gain them,

With all the honours of his college,

Who, striving hardly to obtain them,

Thus seeks unprofitable knowledge:

10.

Who sacrifices hours of rest,

To scan precisely metres Attic;

Or agitates his anxious breast,

In solving problems mathematic:

11.

Who reads false quantities in Seale, 5

Or puzzles o’er the deep triangle;

Depriv’d of many a wholesome meal;

In barbarous Latin 6 doom’d to wrangle:

12.

Renouncing every pleasing page,

From authors of historic use;

Preferring to the letter’d sage,

The square of the hypothenuse. 7

13.

Still, harmless are these occupations,

That hurt none but the hapless student,

Compar’d with other recreations,

Which bring together the imprudent;

14.

Whose daring revels shock the sight,

When vice and infamy combine,

When Drunkenness and dice invite,

As every sense is steep’d in wine.

15.

Not so the methodistic crew,

Who plans of reformation lay:

In humble attitude they sue,

And for the sins of others pray:

16.

Forgetting that their pride of spirit,

Their exultation in their trial,

Detracts most largely from the merit

Of all their boasted self-denial.

17.

’Tis morn:—from these I turn my sight:

What scene is this which meets the eye?

A numerous crowd array’d in white, 8

Across the green in numbers fly.

18.

Loud rings in air the chapel bell;

’Tis hush’d:—what sounds are these I hear?

The organ’s soft celestial swell

Rolls deeply on the listening ear.

19.

To this is join’d the sacred song,

The royal minstrel’s hallow’d strain;

Though he who hears the music long,

Will never wish to hear again.

20.

Our choir would scarcely be excus’d,

E’en as a band of raw beginners;

All mercy, now, must be refus’d

To such a set of croaking sinners.

21.

If David, when his toils were ended,

Had heard these blockheads sing before him,

To us his psalms had ne’er descended,—

In furious mood he would have tore ’em.

22.

The luckless Israelites, when taken

By some inhuman tyrant’s order,

Were ask’d to sing, by joy forsaken,

On Babylonian river’s border.

23.

Oh! had they sung in notes like these

Inspir’d by stratagem or fear,

They might have set their hearts at ease,

The devil a soul had stay’d to hear.

24.

But if I scribble longer now,

The deuce a soul will stay to read;

My pen is blunt, my ink is low;

’Tis almost time to stop, indeed.

25.

Therefore, farewell, old Granta’s spires!

No more, like Cleofas, I fly;

No more thy theme my Muse inspires:

The reader’s tir’d, and so am I.

October 28, 1806.

1 The motto was prefixed in ‘Hours of Idleness’.

“Fight with silver spears” (‘i.e’. with bribes), “and them shall prevail in all things.”]

2 The ‘Diable Boiteux’ of Le Sage, where Asmodeus, the demon, places Don Cleofas on an elevated situation, and unroofs the houses for inspection. [Don Cleofas, clinging to the cloak of Asmodeus, is carried through the air to the summit of S. Salvador.]

3 On the death of Pitt, in January, 1806, Lord Henry Petty beat Lord Palmerston in the contest for the representation of the University of Cambridge in Parliament.]

4 Probably Lord Henry Petty. See variant iii.]

5 Scale’s publication on Greek Metres displays considerable talent and ingenuity, but, as might be expected in so difficult a work, is not remarkable for accuracy. (‘An Analysis of the Greek Metres; for the use of students at the University of Cambridge’. By John Barlow Seale (1764), 8vo. A fifth edition was issued in 1807.)]

6 The Latin of the schools is of the ‘canine species’, and not very intelligible.]

7 The discovery of Pythagoras, that the square of the hypothenuse is equal to the squares of the other two sides of a right-angled triangle.]

8 On a saint’s day the students wear surplices in chapel.]

To the Sighing Strephon. 1

1.

Your pardon, my friend,

If my rhymes did offend,

Your pardon, a thousand times o’er;

From friendship I strove,

Your pangs to remove,

But, I swear, I will do so no more.

2.

Since your beautiful maid,

Your flame has repaid,

No more I your folly regret;

She’s now most divine,

And I bow at the shrine,

Of this quickly reformèd coquette.

3.

Yet still, I must own,

I should never have known,

From your verses, what else she deserv’d;

Your pain seem’d so great,

I pitied your fate,

As your fair was so dev’lish reserv’d.

4.

Since the balm-breathing kiss

Of this magical Miss,

Can such wonderful transports produce;

Since the “world you forget,

When your lips once have met,“

My counsel will get but abuse.

5.

You say, “When I rove,”

“I know nothing of love;”

Tis true, I am given to range;

If I rightly remember,

I’ve lov’d a good number;

Yet there’s pleasure, at least, in a change.

6.

I will not advance,

By the rules of romance,

To humour a whimsical fair;

Though a smile may delight,

Yet a frown will affright,

Or drive me to dreadful despair.

7.

While my blood is thus warm,

I ne’er shall reform,

To mix in the Platonists’ school;

Of this I am sure,

Was my Passion so pure,

Thy Mistress would think me a fool.

8.

And if I should shun,

Every woman for one,

Whose image must fill my whole breast;

Whom I must prefer,

And sigh but for her,

What an insult ’twould be to the rest!

9.

Now Strephon, good-bye;

I cannot deny,

Your passion appears most absurd;

Such love as you plead,

Is pure love, indeed,

For it only consists in the word.

1 The letters “J. M. B. P.” are added, in a lady’s hand, in the annotated copy of ‘P. on V. Occasions’, p. 17 (British Museum).]

The Cornelian. 1

1.

No specious splendour of this stone

Endears it to my memory ever;

With lustre only once it shone,

And blushes modest as the giver.

2.

Some, who can sneer at friendship’s ties,

Have, for my weakness, oft reprov’d me;

Yet still the simple gift I prize,

For I am sure, the giver lov’d me.

3.

He offer’d it with downcast look,

As fearful that I might refuse it;

I told him, when the gift I took,

My only fear should be, to lose it.

4.

This pledge attentively I view’d,

And sparkling as I held it near,

Methought one drop the stone bedew’d,

And, ever since, I’ve lov’d a tear.

5.

Still, to adorn his humble youth,

Nor wealth nor birth their treasures yield;

But he, who seeks the flowers of truth,

Must quit the garden, for the field.

6.

’Tis not the plant uprear’d in sloth,

Which beauty shews, and sheds perfume;

The flowers, which yield the most of both,

In Nature’s wild luxuriance bloom.

7.

Had Fortune aided Nature’s care,

For once forgetting to be blind,

His would have been an ample share,

If well proportioned to his mind.

8.

But had the Goddess clearly seen,

His form had fix’d her fickle breast;

Her countless hoards would his have been,

And none remain’d to give the rest.

1 The cornelian was a present from his friend Edleston, a Cambridge chorister, afterwards a clerk in a mercantile house in London. Edleston died of consumption, May 11, 1811. (See letter from Byron to Miss Pigot, October 28, 1811.) Their acquaintance began by Byron saving him from drowning. (MS. note by the Rev. W. Harness.)]

To M——

1.

Oh! did those eyes, instead of fire,

With bright, but mild affection shine:

Though they might kindle less desire,

Love, more than mortal, would be thine.

2.

For thou art form’d so heavenly fair,

Howe’er those orbs may wildly beam,

We must admire, but still despair;

That fatal glance forbids esteem.

3.

When Nature stamp’d thy beauteous birth,

So much perfection in thee shone,

She fear’d that, too divine for earth,

The skies might claim thee for their own.

4.

Therefore, to guard her dearest work,

Lest angels might dispute the prize,

She bade a secret lightning lurk,

Within those once celestial eyes.

5.

These might the boldest Sylph appall,

When gleaming with meridian blaze;

Thy beauty must enrapture all;

But who can dare thine ardent gaze?

6.

’Tis said that Berenice’s hair,

In stars adorns the vault of heaven;

But they would ne’er permit thee there,

Thou wouldst so far outshine the seven.

7.

For did those eyes as planets roll,

Thy sister-lights would scarce appear:

E’en suns, which systems now controul,

Would twinkle dimly through their sphere. 1

Friday, November 7, 1806

1

“Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do intreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.”

Shakespeare.]

Lines Addressed to a young Lady.1

[As the Author was discharging his Pistols in a Garden, two Ladies passing near the spot were alarmed by the sound of a Bullet hissing near them, to one of whom the following stanzas were addressed the next morning.] 2

1.

Doubtless, sweet girl! the hissing lead,

Wafting destruction o’er thy charms

And hurtling o’er 3 thy lovely head,

Has fill’d that breast with fond alarms.

2.

Surely some envious Demon’s force,

Vex’d to behold such beauty here,

Impell’d the bullet’s viewless course,

Diverted from its first career.

3.

Yes! in that nearly fatal hour,

The ball obey’d some hell-born guide;

But Heaven, with interposing power,

In pity turn’d the death aside.

4.

Yet, as perchance one trembling tear

Upon that thrilling bosom fell;

Which I, th’ unconscious cause of fear,

Extracted from its glistening cell;—

5.

Say, what dire penance can atone

For such an outrage, done to thee?

Arraign’d before thy beauty’s throne,

What punishment wilt thou decree?

6.

Might I perform the Judge’s part,

The sentence I should scarce deplore;

It only would restore a heart,

Which but belong’d to thee before.

7.

The least atonement I can make

Is to become no longer free;

Henceforth, I breathe but for thy sake,

Thou shalt be all in all to me.

8.

But thou, perhaps, may’st now reject

Such expiation of my guilt;

Come then—some other mode elect?

Let it be death—or what thou wilt.

9.

Choose, then, relentless! and I swear

Nought shall thy dread decree prevent;

Yet hold—one little word forbear!

Let it be aught but banishment.

1 This title first appeared in “Contents” to ‘P. on V. Occasions’.]

2 The occurrence took place at Southwell, and the beautiful lady to whom the lines were addressed was Miss Houson, who is also commemorated in the verses “To a Vain Lady” and “To Anne.” She was the daughter of the Rev. Henry Houson of Southwell, and married the Rev. Luke Jackson. She died on Christmas Day, 1821, and her monument may be seen in Hucknall Torkard Church.]

3 This word is used by Gray in his poem to the Fatal Sisters:—

“Iron-sleet of arrowy shower

Hurtles in the darken’d air.”]

Translation From Catullus.

Ad Lesbiam.

Equal to Jove that youth must be-

Greater than Jove he seems to me—

Who, free from Jealousy’s alarms,

Securely views thy matchless charms;

That cheek, which ever dimpling glows,

That mouth, from whence such music flows,

To him, alike, are always known,

Reserv’d for him, and him alone.

Ah! Lesbia! though ’tis death to me,

I cannot choose but look on thee;

But, at the sight, my senses fly,

I needs must gaze, but, gazing, die;

Whilst trembling with a thousand fears,

Parch’d to the throat my tongue adheres,

My pulse beats quick, my breath heaves short,

My limbs deny their slight support;

Cold dews my pallid face o’erspread,

With deadly languor droops my head,

My ears with tingling echoes ring,

And Life itself is on the wing;

My eyes refuse the cheering light,

Their orbs are veil’d in starless night:

Such pangs my nature sinks beneath,

And feels a temporary death.

Translation of the Epitaph on Virgil and Tibullus, By Domitius Marsus.

He who, sublime, in epic numbers roll’d,

And he who struck the softer lyre of Love,

By Death’s unequal1 hand alike controul’d,

Fit comrades in Elysian regions move!

1 The hand of Death is said to be unjust or unequal, as Virgil was considerably older than Tibullus at his decease.]

Imitation Of Tibullus.

Sulpicia Ad Cerinthum (lib. Quart.).

Cruel Cerinthus! does the fell disease

Which racks my breast your fickle bosom please?

Alas! I wish’d but to o’ercome the pain,

That I might live for Love and you again;

But, now, I scarcely shall bewail my fate:

By Death alone I can avoid your hate.

Translation From Catullus.

Lugete Veneres Cupidinesque (Carm. III.)

Ye Cupids, droop each little head,

Nor let your wings with joy be spread,

My Lesbia’s favourite bird is dead,

Whom dearer than her eyes she lov’d:

For he was gentle, and so true,

Obedient to her call he flew,

No fear, no wild alarm he knew,

But lightly o’er her bosom mov’d:

And softly fluttering here and there,

He never sought to cleave the air,

He chirrup’d oft, and, free from care,

Tun’d to her ear his grateful strain.

Now having pass’d the gloomy bourn,

From whence he never can return,

His death, and Lesbia’s grief I mourn,

Who sighs, alas! but sighs in vain.

Oh! curst be thou, devouring grave!

Whose jaws eternal victims crave,

From whom no earthly power can save,

For thou hast ta’en the bird away:

From thee my Lesbia’s eyes o’erflow,

Her swollen cheeks with weeping glow;

Thou art the cause of all her woe,

Receptacle of life’s decay.

Imitated from Catullus. 1

To Ellen.

Oh! might I kiss those eyes of fire,

A million scarce would quench desire;

Still would I steep my lips in bliss,

And dwell an age on every kiss;

Nor then my soul should sated be,

Still would I kiss and cling to thee:

Nought should my kiss from thine dissever,

Still would we kiss and kiss for ever;

E’en though the numbers did exceed

The yellow harvest’s countless seed;

To part would be a vain endeavour:

Could I desist?—ah! never—never.

November 16, 1806.

1 From a note in Byron’s copy of Catullus (now in the possession of Mr. Murray), it is evident that these lines are based on Carm. xlviii., ‘Mellitos oculos tuos, Juventi’.]

Poems on Various Occasions

To M. S. G.

1.

Whene’er I view those lips of thine,

Their hue invites my fervent kiss;

Yet, I forego that bliss divine,

Alas! it were—unhallow’d bliss.

2.

Whene’er I dream of that pure breast,

How could I dwell upon its snows!

Yet, is the daring wish represt,

For that,—would banish its repose.

3.

A glance from thy soul-searching eye

Can raise with hope, depress with fear;

Yet, I conceal my love,—and why?

I would not force a painful tear.

4.

I ne’er have told my love, yet thou

Hast seen my ardent flame too well;

And shall I plead my passion now,

To make thy bosom’s heaven a hell?

5.

No! for thou never canst be mine,

United by the priest’s decree:

By any ties but those divine,

Mine, my belov’d, thou ne’er shalt be.

6.

Then let the secret fire consume,

Let it consume, thou shalt not know:

With joy I court a certain doom,

Rather than spread its guilty glow.

7.

I will not ease my tortur’d heart,

By driving dove-ey’d peace from thine;

Rather than such a sting impart,

Each thought presumptuous I resign.

8.

Yes! yield those lips, for which I’d brave

More than I here shall dare to tell;

Thy innocence and mine to save,—

I bid thee now a last farewell.

9.

Yes! yield that breast, to seek despair

And hope no more thy soft embrace;

Which to obtain, my soul would dare,

All, all reproach, but thy disgrace.

10.

At least from guilt shall thou be free,

No matron shall thy shame reprove;

Though cureless pangs may prey on me,

No martyr shall thou be to love.

Stanzas to a Lady, with the Poems of Camoëns. 1

1.

This votive pledge of fond esteem,

Perhaps, dear girl! for me thou’lt prize;

It sings of Love’s enchanting dream,

A theme we never can despise.

2.

Who blames it but the envious fool,

The old and disappointed maid?

Or pupil of the prudish school,

In single sorrow doom’d to fade?

3.

Then read, dear Girl! with feeling read,

For thou wilt ne’er be one of those;

To thee, in vain, I shall not plead

In pity for the Poet’s woes.

4.

He was, in sooth, a genuine Bard;

His was no faint, fictitious flame:

Like his, may Love be thy reward,

But not thy hapless fate the same.

1 Lord Strangford’s ‘Poems from the Portuguese by Luis de Camoëns’ and “Little’s” Poems are mentioned by Moore as having been Byron’s favourite study at this time (‘Life’, P—39).]

To M. S. G. 1

1.

When I dream that you love me, you’ll surely forgive;

Extend not your anger to sleep;

For in visions alone your affection can live,—

I rise, and it leaves me to weep.

2.

Then, Morpheus! envelop my faculties fast,

Shed o’er me your languor benign;

Should the dream of to-night but resemble the last,

What rapture celestial is mine!

3.

They tell us that slumber, the sister of death,

Mortality’s emblem is given;

To fate how I long to resign my frail breath,

If this be a foretaste of Heaven!

4.

Ah! frown not, sweet Lady, unbend your soft brow,

Nor deem me too happy in this;

If I sin in my dream, I atone for it now,

Thus doom’d, but to gaze upon bliss.

5.

Though in visions, sweet Lady, perhaps you may smile,

Oh! think not my penance deficient!

When dreams of your presence my slumbers beguile,

To awake, will be torture sufficient.

1 “C. G. B. to E. P.” ‘MS. Newstead’.]

Translation From Horace.

Justum et tenacem propositi virum.

HOR. ‘Odes’, iii. 3. I.

1.

The man of firm and noble soul

No factious clamours can controul;

No threat’ning tyrant’s darkling brow

Can swerve him from his just intent:

Gales the warring waves which plough,

By Auster on the billows spent,

To curb the Adriatic main, Would awe his fix’d determined mind in vain.

2.

Aye, and the red right arm of Jove,

Hurtling his lightnings from above,

With all his terrors there unfurl’d,

He would, unmov’d, unaw’d, behold;

The flames of an expiring world,

Again in crashing chaos roll’d,

In vast promiscuous ruin hurl’d,

Might light his glorious funeral pile: Still dauntless ‘midst the wreck of earth he’d smile.

The First Kiss Of Love.

Ha barbitos de chordais

Erota mounon aechei. 1

Anacreon [‘Ode’ 1].

1.

Away with your fictions of flimsy romance,

Those tissues of falsehood which Folly has wove;

Give me the mild beam of the soul-breathing glance,

Or the rapture which dwells on the first kiss of love.

2.

Ye rhymers, whose bosoms with fantasy glow,

Whose pastoral passions are made for the grove;

From what blest inspiration your sonnets would flow,

Could you ever have tasted the first kiss of love.

3.

If Apollo should e’er his assistance refuse,

Or the Nine be dispos’d from your service to rove,

Invoke them no more, bid adieu to the Muse,

And try the effect, of the first kiss of love.

4.

I hate you, ye cold compositions of art,

Though prudes may condemn me, and bigots reprove;

I court the effusions that spring from the heart,

Which throbs, with delight, to the first kiss of love.

5.

Your shepherds, your flocks, those fantastical themes,

Perhaps may amuse, yet they never can move:

Arcadia displays but a region of dreams;

What are visions like these, to the first kiss of love?

6.

Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth,

From Adam, till now, has with wretchedness strove;

Some portion of Paradise still is on earth,

And Eden revives, in the first kiss of love.

7.

When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past—

For years fleet away with the wings of the dove—

The dearest remembrance will still be the last,

Our sweetest memorial, the first kiss of love.

December 23, 1806.

1 The motto was prefixed in ‘Hours of Idleness’.]

Childish Recollections. 1

“I cannot but remember such things were,

And were most dear to me.”

‘Macbeth’ 2

[“That were most precious to me.”

‘Macbeth’, act iv, sc. 3.]

When slow Disease, with all her host of Pains,

Chills the warm tide, which flows along the veins;

When Health, affrighted, spreads her rosy wing,

And flies with every changing gale of spring;

Not to the aching frame alone confin’d,

Unyielding pangs assail the drooping mind:

What grisly forms, the spectre-train of woe,

Bid shuddering Nature shrink beneath the blow,

With Resignation wage relentless strife,

While Hope retires appall’d, and clings to life. 10

Yet less the pang when, through the tedious hour,

Remembrance sheds around her genial power,

Calls back the vanish’d days to rapture given,

When Love was bliss, and Beauty form’d our heaven;

Or, dear to youth, pourtrays each childish scene,

Those fairy bowers, where all in turn have been.

As when, through clouds that pour the summer storm,

The orb of day unveils his distant form,

Gilds with faint beams the crystal dews of rain

And dimly twinkles o’er the watery plain; 20

Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams,

The Sun of Memory, glowing through my dreams,

Though sunk the radiance of his former blaze,

To scenes far distant points his paler rays,

Still rules my senses with unbounded sway,

The past confounding with the present day.

Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought,

Which still recurs, unlook’d for and unsought;

My soul to Fancy’s fond suggestion yields,

And roams romantic o’er her airy fields. 30

Scenes of my youth, develop’d, crowd to view,

To which I long have bade a last adieu!

Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes;

Friends lost to me, for aye, except in dreams;

Some, who in marble prematurely sleep,

Whose forms I now remember, but to weep;

Some, who yet urge the same scholastic course

Of early science, future fame the source;

Who, still contending in the studious race,

In quick rotation, fill the senior place! 40

These, with a thousand visions, now unite,

To dazzle, though they please, my aching sight. 3

IDA! blest spot, where Science holds her reign,

How joyous, once, I join’d thy youthful train!

Bright, in idea, gleams thy lofty spire,

Again, I mingle with thy playful quire;

Our tricks of mischief, 4 every childish game,

Unchang’d by time or distance, seem the same;

Through winding paths, along the glade I trace

The social smile of every welcome face; 50

My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy or woe,

Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe,

Our feuds dissolv’d, but not my friendship past,—

I bless the former, and forgive the last.

Hours of my youth! when, nurtur’d in my breast,

To Love a stranger, Friendship made me blest,—

Friendship, the dear peculiar bond of youth,

When every artless bosom throbs with truth;

Untaught by worldly wisdom how to feign,

And check each impulse with prudential rein; 60

When, all we feel, our honest souls disclose,

In love to friends, in open hate to foes;

No varnish’d tales the lips of youth repeat,

No dear-bought knowledge purchased by deceit;

Hypocrisy, the gift of lengthen’d years,

Matured by age, the garb of Prudence wears:

When, now, the Boy is ripen’d into Man,

His careful Sire chalks forth some wary plan;

Instructs his Son from Candour’s path to shrink,

Smoothly to speak, and cautiously to think; 70

Still to assent, and never to deny—

A patron’s praise can well reward the lie:

And who, when Fortune’s warning voice is heard,

Would lose his opening prospects for a word?

Although, against that word, his heart rebel,

And Truth, indignant, all his bosom swell.

Away with themes like this! not mine the task,

From flattering friends to tear the hateful mask;

Let keener bards delight in Satire’s sting,

My Fancy soars not on Detraction’s wing: 80

Once, and but once, she aim’d a deadly blow,

To hurl Defiance on a secret Foe;

But when that foe, from feeling or from shame,

The cause unknown, yet still to me the same,

Warn’d by some friendly hint, perchance, retir’d,

With this submission all her rage expired.

From dreaded pangs that feeble Foe to save,

She hush’d her young resentment, and forgave.

Or, if my Muse a Pedant’s portrait drew,

POMPOSUS’ 5 virtues are but known to few: 90

I never fear’d the young usurper’s nod,

And he who wields must, sometimes, feel the rod.

If since on Granta’s failings, known to all

Who share the converse of a college hall,

She sometimes trifled in a lighter strain,

’Tis past, and thus she will not sin again:

Soon must her early song for ever cease,

And, all may rail, when I shall rest in peace.

Here, first remember’d be the joyous band,

Who hail’d me chief, 6 obedient to command; 100

Who join’d with me, in every boyish sport,

Their first adviser, and their last resort;

Nor shrunk beneath the upstart pedant’s frown,

Or all the sable glories of his gown;

Who, thus, transplanted from his father’s school,

Unfit to govern, ignorant of rule—

Succeeded him, whom all unite to praise,

The dear preceptor of my early days,

PROBUS, 7 the pride of science, and the boast—

To IDA now, alas! for ever lost! 110

With him, for years, we search’d the classic page,

And fear’d the Master, though we lov’d the Sage:

Retir’d at last, his small yet peaceful seat

From learning’s labour is the blest retreat.

POMPOSUS fills his magisterial chair;

POMPOSUS governs,—but, my Muse, forbear:

Contempt, in silence, be the pedant’s lot,

His name and precepts be alike forgot;

No more his mention shall my verse degrade,—

To him my tribute is already paid. 8 120

High, through those elms with hoary branches crown’d 9

Fair IDA’S bower adorns the landscape round;

There Science, from her favour’d seat, surveys

The vale where rural Nature claims her praise;

To her awhile resigns her youthful train,

Who move in joy, and dance along the plain;

In scatter’d groups, each favour’d haunt pursue,

Repeat old pastimes, and discover new;

Flush’d with his rays, beneath the noontide Sun,

In rival bands, between the wickets run, 130

Drive o’er the sward the ball with active force,

Or chase with nimble feet its rapid course.

But these with slower steps direct their way,

Where Brent’s cool waves in limpid currents stray,

While yonder few search out some green retreat,

And arbours shade them from the summer heat:

Others, again, a pert and lively crew,

Some rough and thoughtless stranger plac’d in view,

With frolic quaint their antic jests expose,

And tease the grumbling rustic as he goes; 140

Nor rest with this, but many a passing fray

Tradition treasures for a future day:

“’Twas here the gather’d swains for vengeance fought,

And here we earn’d the conquest dearly bought:

Here have we fled before superior might,

And here renew’d the wild tumultuous fight.”

While thus our souls with early passions swell,

In lingering tones resounds the distant bell;

Th’ allotted hour of daily sport is o’er,

And Learning beckons from her temple’s door. 150

No splendid tablets grace her simple hall,

But ruder records fill the dusky wall:

There, deeply carv’d, behold! each Tyro’s name

Secures its owner’s academic fame;

Here mingling view the names of Sire and Son,

The one long grav’d, the other just begun:

These shall survive alike when Son and Sire,

Beneath one common stroke of fate expire; 10

Perhaps, their last memorial these alone,

Denied, in death, a monumental stone, 160

Whilst to the gale in mournful cadence wave

The sighing weeds, that hide their nameless grave.

And, here, my name, and many an early friend’s,

Along the wall in lengthen’d line extends.

Though, still, our deeds amuse the youthful race,

Who tread our steps, and fill our former place,

Who young obeyed their lords in silent awe,

Whose nod commanded, and whose voice was law;

And now, in turn, possess the reins of power,

To rule, the little Tyrants of an hour; 170

Though sometimes, with the Tales of ancient day,

They pass the dreary Winter’s eve away;

“And, thus, our former rulers stemm’d the tide,

And, thus, they dealt the combat, side by side;

Just in this place, the mouldering walls they scaled,

Nor bolts, nor bars, against their strength avail’d;

Here PROBUS came, the rising fray to quell,

And, here, he falter’d forth his last farewell;

And, here, one night abroad they dared to roam,

While bold POMPOSUS bravely staid at home;” 180

While thus they speak, the hour must soon arrive,

When names of these, like ours, alone survive:

Yet a few years, one general wreck will whelm

The faint remembrance of our fairy realm.

Dear honest race! though now we meet no more,

One last long look on what we were before—

Our first kind greetings, and our last adieu—

Drew tears from eyes unus’d to weep with you.

Through splendid circles, Fashion’s gaudy world,

Where Folly’s glaring standard waves unfurl’d, 190

I plung’d to drown in noise my fond regret,

And all I sought or hop’d was to forget:

Vain wish! if, chance, some well-remember’d face,

Some old companion of my early race,

Advanc’d to claim his friend with honest joy,

My eyes, my heart, proclaim’d me still a boy;

The glittering scene, the fluttering groups around,

Were quite forgotten when my friend was found;

The smiles of Beauty, (for, alas! I’ve known

What ’tis to bend before Love’s mighty throne;) 200

The smiles of Beauty, though those smiles were dear,

Could hardly charm me, when that friend was near:

My thoughts bewilder’d in the fond surprise,

The woods of IDA danc’d before my eyes;

I saw the sprightly wand’rers pour along,

I saw, and join’d again the joyous throng;

Panting, again I trac’d her lofty grove,

And Friendship’s feelings triumph’d over Love.

Yet, why should I alone with such delight

Retrace the circuit of my former flight? 210

Is there no cause beyond the common claim,

Endear’d to all in childhood’s very name?

Ah! sure some stronger impulse vibrates here,

Which whispers friendship will be doubly dear

To one, who thus for kindred hearts must roam,

And seek abroad, the love denied at home.

Those hearts, dear IDA, have I found in thee,

A home, a world, a paradise to me.

Stern Death forbade my orphan youth to share

The tender guidance of a Father’s care; 220

Can Rank, or e’en a Guardian’s name supply

The love, which glistens in a Father’s eye?

For this, can Wealth, or Title’s sound atone,

Made, by a Parent’s early loss, my own?

What Brother springs a Brother’s love to seek?

What Sister’s gentle kiss has prest my cheek?

For me, how dull the vacant moments rise,

To no fond bosom link’d by kindred ties!

Oft, in the progress of some fleeting dream,

Fraternal smiles, collected round me seem; 230

While still the visions to my heart are prest,

The voice of Love will murmur in my rest:

I hear—I wake—and in the sound rejoice!

I hear again,—but, ah! no Brother’s voice.

A Hermit, ‘midst of crowds, I fain must stray

Alone, though thousand pilgrims fill the way;

While these a thousand kindred wreaths entwine,

I cannot call one single blossom mine:

What then remains? in solitude to groan,

To mix in friendship, or to sigh alone? 240

Thus, must I cling to some endearing hand,

And none more dear, than IDA’S social band.

Alonzo! 11 best and dearest of my friends,

Thy name ennobles him, who thus commends:

From this fond tribute thou canst gain no praise;

The praise is his, who now that tribute pays.

Oh! in the promise of thy early youth,

If Hope anticipate the words of Truth!

Some loftier bard shall sing thy glorious name,

To build his own, upon thy deathless fame: 250

Friend of my heart, and foremost of the list

Of those with whom I lived supremely blest;

Oft have we drain’d the font of ancient lore,

Though drinking deeply, thirsting still the more;

Yet, when Confinement’s lingering hour was done,

Our sports, our studies, and our souls were one:

Together we impell’d the flying ball,

Together waited in our tutor’s hall;

Together join’d in cricket’s manly toil,

Or shar’d the produce of the river’s spoil; 260

Or plunging from the green declining shore,

Our pliant limbs the buoyant billows bore:

In every element, unchang’d, the same,

All, all that brothers should be, but the name.

Nor, yet, are you forgot, my jocund Boy!

DAVUS, 12 the harbinger of childish joy;

For ever foremost in the ranks of fun,

The laughing herald of the harmless pun;

Yet, with a breast of such materials made,

Anxious to please, of pleasing half afraid; 270

Candid and liberal, with a heart of steel

In Danger’s path, though not untaught to feel.

Still, I remember, in the factious strife,

The rustic’s musket aim’d against my life: 13

High pois’d in air the massy weapon hung,

A cry of horror burst from every tongue:

Whilst I, in combat with another foe,

Fought on, unconscious of th’ impending blow;

Your arm, brave Boy, arrested his career—

Forward you sprung, insensible to fear; 280

Disarm’d, and baffled by your conquering hand,

The grovelling Savage roll’d upon the sand:

An act like this, can simple thanks repay?

Or all the labours of a grateful lay?

Oh no! whene’er my breast forgets the deed,

That instant, DAVUS, it deserves to bleed.

LYCUS! 14 on me thy claims are justly great:

Thy milder virtues could my Muse relate,

To thee, alone, unrivall’d, would belong

The feeble efforts of my lengthen’d song. 290

Well canst thou boast, to lead in senates fit,

A Spartan firmness, with Athenian wit:

Though yet, in embryo, these perfections shine,

LYCUS! thy father’s fame 15 will soon be thine.

Where Learning nurtures the superior mind,

What may we hope, from genius thus refin’d;

When Time, at length, matures thy growing years,

How wilt thou tower, above thy fellow peers!

Prudence and sense, a spirit bold and free,

With Honour’s soul, united beam in thee. 300

Shall fair EURYALUS,16 pass by unsung?

From ancient lineage, not unworthy, sprung:

What, though one sad dissension bade us part,

That name is yet embalm’d within my heart,

Yet, at the mention, does that heart rebound,

And palpitate, responsive to the sound;

Envy dissolved our ties, and not our will:

We once were friends,—I’ll think, we are so still.

A form unmatch’d in Nature’s partial mould,

A heart untainted, we, in thee, behold: 310

Yet, not the Senate’s thunder thou shall wield,

Nor seek for glory, in the tented field:

To minds of ruder texture, these be given—

Thy soul shall nearer soar its native heaven.

Haply, in polish’d courts might be thy seat,

But, that thy tongue could never forge deceit:

The courtier’s supple bow, and sneering smile,

The flow of compliment, the slippery wile,

Would make that breast, with indignation, burn,

And, all the glittering snares, to tempt thee, spurn. 320

Domestic happiness will stamp thy fate;

Sacred to love, unclouded e’er by hate;

The world admire thee, and thy friends adore;—

Ambition’s slave, alone, would toil for more.

Now last, but nearest, of the social band,

See honest, open, generous CLEON 17 stand;

With scarce one speck, to cloud the pleasing scene,

No vice degrades that purest soul serene.

On the same day, our studious race begun,

On the same day, our studious race was run; 330

Thus, side by side, we pass’d our first career,

Thus, side by side, we strove for many a year:

At last, concluded our scholastic life,

We neither conquer’d in the classic strife:

As Speakers, 18 each supports an equal name,

And crowds allow to both a partial fame:

To soothe a youthful Rival’s early pride,

Though Cleon’s candour would the palm divide,

Yet Candour’s self compels me now to own,

Justice awards it to my Friend alone. 340

Oh! Friends regretted, Scenes for ever dear,

Remembrance hails you with her warmest tear!

Drooping, she bends o’er pensive Fancy’s urn,

To trace the hours, which never can return;

Yet, with the retrospection loves to dwell,

And soothe the sorrows of her last farewell!

Yet greets the triumph of my boyish mind,

As infant laurels round my head were twin’d;

When PROBUS’ praise repaid my lyric song,

Or plac’d me higher in the studious throng; 350

Or when my first harangue receiv’d applause, 19

His sage instruction the primeval cause,

What gratitude, to him, my soul possest,

While hope of dawning honours fill’d my breast!

For all my humble fame, to him alone,

The praise is due, who made that fame my own.

Oh! could I soar above these feeble lays,

These young effusions of my early days,

To him my Muse her noblest strain would give,

The song might perish, but the theme might live. 360

Yet, why for him the needless verse essay?

His honour’d name requires no vain display:

By every son of grateful IDA blest,

It finds an echo in each youthful breast;

A fame beyond the glories of the proud,

Or all the plaudits of the venal crowd.

IDA! not yet exhausted is the theme,

Nor clos’d the progress of my youthful dream.

How many a friend deserves the grateful strain!

What scenes of childhood still unsung remain! 370

Yet let me hush this echo of the past,

This parting song, the dearest and the last;

And brood in secret o’er those hours of joy,

To me a silent and a sweet employ,

While, future hope and fear alike unknown,

I think with pleasure on the past alone;

Yes, to the past alone, my heart confine,

And chase the phantom of what once was mine.

IDA! still o’er thy hills in joy preside,

And proudly steer through Time’s eventful tide: 380

Still may thy blooming Sons thy name revere,

Smile in thy bower, but quit thee with a tear;—

That tear, perhaps, the fondest which will flow,

O’er their last scene of happiness below:

Tell me, ye hoary few, who glide along,

The feeble Veterans of some former throng,

Whose friends, like Autumn leaves by tempests whirl’d,

Are swept for ever from this busy world;

Revolve the fleeting moments of your youth,

While Care has yet withheld her venom’d tooth; 390

Say, if Remembrance days like these endears,

Beyond the rapture of succeeding years?

Say, can Ambition’s fever’d dream bestow

So sweet a balm to soothe your hours of woe?

Can Treasures hoarded for some thankless Son,

Can Royal Smiles, or Wreaths by slaughter won,

Can Stars or Ermine, Man’s maturer Toys,

(For glittering baubles are not left to Boys,)

Recall one scene so much belov’d to view,

As those where Youth her garland twin’d for you? 400

Ah, no! amid the gloomy calm of age

You turn with faltering hand life’s varied page,

Peruse the record of your days on earth,

Unsullied only where it marks your birth;

Still, lingering, pause above each chequer’d leaf,

And blot with Tears the sable lines of Grief;

Where Passion o’er the theme her mantle threw,

Or weeping Virtue sigh’d a faint adieu;

But bless the scroll which fairer words adorn,

Trac’d by the rosy finger of the Morn; 410

When Friendship bow’d before the shrine of truth,

And Love, without his pinion, 20 smil’d on Youth.

1 The words, “that schoolboy thing,” etc. (see letter to H. Drury, Jan. 8, 1808), evidently apply, not as Moore intimates, to this period, but to the lines “On a Change of Masters,” etc., July, 1805 (see letter to W. Bankes, March 6, 1807).]

2 The motto was prefixed in ‘Hours of Idleness’.]

3 Lines 43–98 were added in ‘Hours of Idleness’]

4 Newton Hanson relates that on one occasion he accompanied his father to Harrow on Speech Day to see his brother Hargreaves Hanson and Byron.

“On our arrival at Harrow, we set out in search of Hargreaves and Byron, but the latter was not at his tutor’s. Three or four lads, hearing my father’s inquiries, set off at full speed to find him. They soon discovered him, and, laughing most heartily, called out, ‘Hallo, Byron! here’s a gentleman wants you.’ And what do you think? He had got on Drury’s hat. I can still remember the arch cock of Byron’s eye at the hat and then at my father, and the fun and merriment it caused him and all of us whilst, during the day, he was perambulating the highways and byeways of Ida with the hat on. ‘Harrow Speech Day and the Governor’s Hat’ was one of the standing rallying-points for Lord Byron ever after.”

5 Dr. Butler, then Head-master of Harrow. Had Byron published another edition of these poems, it was his intention to replace these four lines by the four which follow:—

“‘If once my muse a harsher portrait drew,

Warm with her wrongs, and deemed the likeness true,

By cooler judgment taught, her fault she owns,—

With noble minds a fault confess’d, atones’.”

[‘MS. M.’]

See also allusion in letter to Mr. Henry Drury, June 25, 1809. —Moore’s ‘Note’.]

6 On the retirement of Dr. Drury, three candidates for the vacant chair presented themselves—Messrs. Drury, Evans, and Butler. On the first movement to which this contest gave rise in the school, young Wildman was at the head of the party for Mark Drury, while Byron held himself aloof from any. Anxious, however, to have him as an ally, one of the Drury faction said to Wildman, “Byron, I know, will not join, because he does not choose to act second to any one, but, by giving up the leadership to him, you may at once secure him.” This Wildman did, and Byron took the command.—‘Life’, p. 29.]

7 Dr. Drury. This most able and excellent man retired from his situation in March, 1805, after having resided thirty-five years at Harrow; the last twenty as head-master; an office he held with equal honour to himself and advantage to the very extensive school over which he presided. Panegyric would here be superfluous: it would be useless to enumerate qualifications which were never doubted. A considerable contest took place between three rival candidates for his vacant chair: of this I can only say—

‘Si mea cum vestris valuissent vota, Pelasgi!

Non foret ambiguus tanti certaminis hares.’

[Byron’s letters from Harrow contain the same high praise of Dr. Drury. In one, of November 2, 1804, he says,

“There is so much of the gentleman, so much mildness, and nothing of pedantry in his character, that I cannot help liking him, and will remember his instructions with gratitude as long as I live.”

A week after, he adds,

“I revere Dr. Drury. I dread offending him; not, however, through fear, but the respect I bear him makes me unhappy when I am under his displeasure.”

Dr. Drury has related the secret of the influence he obtained: the glance which told him that the lad was “a wild mountain colt,” told him also that he could be “led with a silken string.”]]

8 This alludes to a character printed in a former private edition [‘P. on V. Occasions’] for the perusal of some friends, which, with many other pieces, is withheld from the present volume. To draw the attention of the public to insignificance would be deservedly reprobated; and another reason, though not of equal consequence, may be given in the following couplet:—

“Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?

Who breaks a Butterfly upon a wheel?”

‘Prologue to the Satires’: POPE.

[‘Hours of Idleness’, p. 154, ‘note’] [(See the lines “On a Change of Masters at a Great Public School,” ‘ante’, p. 16.)

The following lines, attached to the Newstead MS. draft of “Childish Recollections,” are aimed at Pomposus:—

“Just half a Pedagogue, and half a Fop,

Not formed to grace the pulpit, but the Shop;

The ‘Counter’, not the ‘Desk’, should be his place,

Who deals out precepts, as if dealing Lace;

Servile in mind, from Elevation proud,

In argument, less sensible than loud,

Through half the continent, the Coxcomb’s been,

And stuns you with the Wonders he has seen:

”How’ in Pompeii’s vault he found the page,

Of some long lost, and long lamented Sage,

And doubtless he the Letters would have trac’d,

Had they not been by age and dust effac’d:

This single specimen will serve to shew,

The weighty lessons of this reverend Beau,

Bombast in vain would want of Genius cloke,

For feeble fires evaporate in smoke;

A Boy, o’er Boys he holds a trembling reign,

More fit than they to seek some School again.”]]

9 Lines 121–243 were added in ‘Hours of Idleness’.]

10 During a rebellion at Harrow, the poet prevented the school-room from being burnt down, by pointing out to the boys the names of their fathers and grandfathers on the walls.—(Medwin’s ‘Conversations’ (1824), p. 85.)

Byron elsewhere thus describes his usual course of life while at Harrow: “always cricketing, rebelling, ‘rowing’, and in all manner of mischiefs.” One day he tore down the gratings from the window of the hall; and when asked by Dr. Butler his reason for the outrage, coolly answered, “because they darkened the room.”—‘Life’, p. 29.]

11 “Lord Clare.” (Annotated copy of ‘P. on V. Occasions’ in the British Museum.)

[Lines 243–264, as the note in Byron’s handwriting explains, were originally intended to apply to Lord Clare. In ‘Hours of Idleness’ “Joannes” became “Alonzo,” and the same lines were employed to celebrate the memory of his friend the Hon. John Wingfield, of the Coldstream Guards, brother to Richard, fourth Viscount Powerscourt. He died at Coimbra in 1811, in his twentieth year. Byron at one time gave him the preference over all other friends.]]

12 The Rev. John Cecil Tattersall, B.A., of Christ Church, Oxford, who died December 8, 1812, at Hall’s Place, Kent, aged twenty-three.]

13 The “factious strife” was brought on by the breaking up of school, and the dismissal of some volunteers from drill, both happening at the same hour. The butt-end of a musket was aimed at Byron’s head, and would have felled him to the ground, but for the interposition of Tattersall.—‘Life’, p. 25.]

14 John Fitzgibbon, second Earl of Clare (1792–1851), afterwards Governor of Bombay, of whom Byron said, in 1822,

“I have always loved him better than any ‘male’ thing in the world.” “I never,” was his language in 1821, “hear the word ”Clare” without a beating of the heart even ‘now’; and I write it with the feelings of 1803–4-5, ad infinitum.”]

A remonstrance which Lord Clare addressed to him at school; was found among his papers (as were most of the notes of his early favourites), and on the back of it was an endorsement which is a fresh testimony of his affection:—

“This and another letter were written at Harrow, by my ‘then’ and, I hope, ‘ever’ beloved friend, Lord Clare, when we were both schoolboys; and sent to my study in consequence of some ‘childish’ misunderstanding,—the only one which ever arose between us. It was of short duration, and I retain this note solely for the purpose of submitting it to his perusal, that we may smile over the recollection of the insignificance of our first and last quarrel.”

See, also, Byron’s account of his accidental meeting with Lord Clare in Italy in 1821, as recorded in ‘Detached Thoughts’, Nov. 5, 1821; in letters to Moore, March 1 and June 8, 1822; and Mme. Guiccioli’s description of his emotion on seeing Clare (‘My Recollections of Lord Byron’, ed. 1869, p. 156).]

15 John Fitzgibbon, first Earl of Clare (1749–1802), became Attorney–General and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. In the latter years of the independent Irish Parliament, he took an active part in politics in opposition to Grattan and the national party, and was distinguished as a powerful, if bitter, speaker. He was made Earl of Clare in 1795.]

16 George John, fifth Earl of Delawarr.—

“I am happy enough, and comfortable here,” says Byron, in a letter from Harrow of Oct. 25, 1804. “My friends are not numerous, but select. Among the principal, I rank Lord Delawarr, who is very amiable, and my particular friend.”—

“Nov. 2, 1804. Lord Delawarr is considerably younger than me, but the most good-tempered, amiable, clever fellow in the universe. To all which he adds the quality (a good one in the eyes of women) of being remarkably handsome. Delawarr and myself are, in a manner, connected; for one of my forefathers, in Charles I’s time, married into their family.”

The allusion in the text to their subsequent quarrel, receives further light from a letter which the poet addressed to Lord Clare under date, February 6, 1807. (See, too, lines “To George, Earl Delawarr,” p. 126.) The first Lord Byron was twice married. His first wife was Cecilie, widow of Sir Francis Bindlose, and daughter of Thomas, third Lord Delawarr. He died childless, and was succeeded by his brother Richard, the poet’s ancestor. His younger brother, Sir Robert Byron, married Lucy, another daughter of the third Lord Delawarr.]

17 Edward Noel Long, who was drowned by the foundering of a transport on the voyage to Lisbon with his regiment, in 1809. (See lines “To Edward Noel Long, Esq.,” ‘post’, p. 184.)]

18 This alludes to the public speeches delivered at the school where the author was educated.]

19 “My qualities were much more oratorical than poetical, and Dr. Drury, my grand patron, had a great notion that I should turn out an orator from my fluency, my turbulence, my voice, my copiousness of declamation, and my action. I remember that my first declamation astonished Dr. Drury into some unwonted (for he was economical of such) and sudden compliments, before the declaimers at our first rehearsal.” ‘Byron Diary’. “I certainly was much pleased with Lord Byron’s attitude, gesture, and delivery, as well as with his composition. To my surprise, he suddenly diverged from the written composition, with a boldness and rapidity sufficient to alarm me, lest he should fail in memory as to the conclusion. I questioned him, why he had altered his declamation? He declared he had made no alteration, and did not know, in speaking, that he had deviated from it one letter. I believed him, and from a knowledge of his temperament, am convinced that he was hurried on to expressions and colourings more striking than what his pen had expressed.” Dr. Drury, ‘Life’, p. 20.]

20 “L’Amitié est l’Amour sans ailes,” is a French proverb. (See the lines so entitled, p. 220.)]

Answer to a Beautiful Poem, Written by Montgomery, Author of “the Wanderer of Switzerland,” etc., Entitled “the Common Lot.” 1

1.

Montgomery! true, the common lot

Of mortals lies in Lethe’s wave;

Yet some shall never be forgot,

Some shall exist beyond the grave.

2.

“Unknown the region of his birth,”

The hero 2 rolls the tide of war;

Yet not unknown his martial worth,

Which glares a meteor from afar.

3.

His joy or grief, his weal or woe,

Perchance may ‘scape the page of fame;

Yet nations, now unborn, will know

The record of his deathless name.

4.

The Patriot’s and the Poet’s frame

Must share the common tomb of all:

Their glory will not sleep the same;

‘That’ will arise, though Empires fall.

5.

The lustre of a Beauty’s eye

Assumes the ghastly stare of death;

The fair, the brave, the good must die,

And sink the yawning grave beneath.

6.

Once more, the speaking eye revives,

Still beaming through the lover’s strain;

For Petrarch’s Laura still survives:

She died, but ne’er will die again.

7.

The rolling seasons pass away,

And Time, untiring, waves his wing;

Whilst honour’s laurels ne’er decay,

But bloom in fresh, unfading spring.

8.

All, all must sleep in grim repose,

Collected in the silent tomb;

The old, the young, with friends and foes,

Fest’ring alike in shrouds, consume.

9.

The mouldering marble lasts its day,

Yet falls at length an useless fane;

To Ruin’s ruthless fangs a prey,

The wrecks of pillar’d Pride remain.

10.

What, though the sculpture be destroy’d,

From dark Oblivion meant to guard;

A bright renown shall be enjoy’d,

By those, whose virtues claim reward.

11.

Then do not say the common lot

Of all lies deep in Lethe’s wave;

Some few who ne’er will be forgot

Shall burst the bondage of the grave.

1806.

1 Montgomery (James), 1771–1854, poet and hymn-writer, published:

‘Prison Amusements’ (1797),

‘The Ocean; a Poem’ (1805),

‘The Wanderer of Switzerland, and other Poems’ (1806),

‘The West Indies, and other Poems’ (1810),

‘Songs of Sion’ (1822),

‘The Christian Psalmist’ (1825),

‘The Pelican Island, and other Poems’ (1827),

‘etc.’ (‘vide post’), ‘English Bards’,

‘etc.’, line 418, and ‘note’.]

2 No particular hero is here alluded to. The exploits of Bayard, Nemours, Edward the Black Prince, and, in more modern times, the fame of Marlborough, Frederick the Great, Count Saxe, Charles of Sweden, etc., are familiar to every historical reader, but the exact places of their birth are known to a very small proportion of their admirers.]

Love’s Last Adieu.

Αεì δ’ αεí με φευγει. —[Pseud.] ANACREON, Εις χρυσον.

1.

The roses of Love glad the garden of life,

Though nurtur’d ‘mid weeds dropping pestilent dew,

Till Time crops the leaves with unmerciful knife,

Or prunes them for ever, in Love’s last adieu!

2.

In vain, with endearments, we soothe the sad heart,

In vain do we vow for an age to be true;

The chance of an hour may command us to part,

Or Death disunite us, in Love’s last adieu!

3.

Still Hope, breathing peace, through the grief-swollen breast,

Will whisper, “Our meeting we yet may renew:”

With this dream of deceit, half our sorrow’s represt,

Nor taste we the poison, of Love’s last adieu!

4.

Oh! mark you yon pair, in the sunshine of youth,

Love twin’d round their childhood his flow’rs as they grew;

They flourish awhile, in the season of truth,

Till chill’d by the winter of Love’s last adieu!

5.

Sweet lady! why thus doth a tear steal its way,

Down a cheek which outrivals thy bosom in hue?

Yet why do I ask?—to distraction a prey,

Thy reason has perish’d, with Love’s last adieu!

6.

Oh! who is yon Misanthrope, shunning mankind?

From cities to caves of the forest he flew:

There, raving, he howls his complaint to the wind;

The mountains reverberate Love’s last adieu!

7.

Now Hate rules a heart which in Love’s easy chains,

Once Passion’s tumultuous blandishments knew;

Despair now inflames the dark tide of his veins,

He ponders, in frenzy, on Love’s last adieu!

8.

How he envies the wretch, with a soul wrapt in steel!

His pleasures are scarce, yet his troubles are few,

Who laughs at the pang that he never can feel,

And dreads not the anguish of Love’s last adieu!

9.

Youth flies, life decays, even hope is o’ercast;

No more, with Love’s former devotion, we sue:

He spreads his young wing, he retires with the blast;

The shroud of affection is Love’s last adieu!

10.

In this life of probation, for rapture divine,

Astrea1 declares that some penance is due;

From him, who has worshipp’d at Love’s gentle shrine,

The atonement is ample, in Love’s last adieu!

11.

Who kneels to the God, on his altar of light

Must myrtle and cypress alternately strew:

His myrtle, an emblem of purest delight,

His cypress, the garland of Love’s last adieu!

1 The Goddess of Justice.]

Lines.
Addressed to the Rev. J. T. Becher, 1 On His Advising The Author To Mix More With Society.

1.

Dear BECHER, you tell me to mix with mankind;

I cannot deny such a precept is wise;

But retirement accords with the tone of my mind:

I will not descend to a world I despise.

2.

Did the Senate or Camp my exertions require,

Ambition might prompt me, at once, to go forth;

When Infancy’s years of probation expire,

Perchance, I may strive to distinguish my birth.

3.

The fire, in the cavern of Etna, conceal’d,

Still mantles unseen in its secret recess;

At length, in a volume terrific, reveal’d,

No torrent can quench it, no bounds can repress.

4.

Oh! thus, the desire, in my bosom, for fame

Bids me live, but to hope for Posterity’s praise.

Could I soar with the Phoenix on pinions of flame,

With him I would wish to expire in the blaze.

5.

For the life of a Fox, of a Chatham the death,

What censure, what danger, what woe would I brave!

Their lives did not end, when they yielded their breath,

Their glory illumines the gloom of their grave.

6.

Yet why should I mingle in Fashion’s full herd?

Why crouch to her leaders, or cringe to her rules?

Why bend to the proud, or applaud the absurd?

Why search for delight, in the friendship of fools?

7.

I have tasted the sweets, and the bitters, of love,

In friendship I early was taught to believe;

My passion the matrons of prudence reprove,

I have found that a friend may profess, yet deceive.

8.

To me what is wealth?—it may pass in an hour,

If Tyrants prevail, or if Fortune should frown:

To me what is title?—the phantom of power;

To me what is fashion?—I seek but renown.

9.

Deceit is a stranger, as yet, to my soul;

I, still, am unpractised to varnish the truth:

Then, why should I live in a hateful controul?

Why waste, upon folly, the days of my youth?

1806.

1 The Rev. John Thomas Becher (1770–1848) was Vicar of Rumpton and Midsomer Norton, Notts., and made the acquaintance of Byron when he was living at Southwell. To him was submitted an early copy of the ‘Quarto’, and on his remonstrance at the tone of some of the verses, the whole edition (save one or two copies) was burnt. Becher assisted in the revision of ‘P. on V. Occasions’, published in 1807. He was in 1818 appointed Prebendary of Southwell, and, all his life, took an active interest and prominent part in the administration of the poor laws and the welfare of the poor. (See Byron’s letters to him of February 26 and March 28, 1808.)]

Answer to some Elegant Verses sent by a Friend to the Author, Complaining that one of his Descriptions Was Rather Too Warmly Drawn.

“But if any old Lady, Knight, Priest, or Physician,

Should condemn me for printing a second edition;

If good Madam Squintum my work should abuse,

May I venture to give her a smack of my muse?”

Anstey’s ‘New Bath Guide’, p. 169.

Candour compels me, BECHER! to commend

The verse, which blends the censor with the friend;

Your strong yet just reproof extorts applause

From me, the heedless and imprudent cause;

For this wild error, which pervades my strain,

I sue for pardon,—must I sue in vain?

The wise sometimes from Wisdom’s ways depart;

Can youth then hush the dictates of the heart?

Precepts of prudence curb, but can’t controul,

The fierce emotions of the flowing soul.

When Love’s delirium haunts the glowing mind,

Limping Decorum lingers far behind;

Vainly the dotard mends her prudish pace,

Outstript and vanquish’d in the mental chase.

The young, the old, have worn the chains of love;

Let those, they ne’er confined, my lay reprove;

Let those, whose souls contemn the pleasing power,

Their censures on the hapless victim shower.

Oh! how I hate the nerveless, frigid song,

The ceaseless echo of the rhyming throng,

Whose labour’d lines, in chilling numbers flow,

To paint a pang the author ne’er can know!

The artless Helicon, I boast, is youth;—

My Lyre, the Heart—my Muse, the simple Truth.

Far be’t from me the “virgin’s mind” to “taint:”

Seduction’s dread is here no slight restraint:

The maid whose virgin breast is void of guile,

Whose wishes dimple in a modest smile,

Whose downcast eye disdains the wanton leer,

Firm in her virtue’s strength, yet not severe;

She, whom a conscious grace shall thus refine,

Will ne’er be “tainted” by a strain of mine.

But, for the nymph whose premature desires

Torment her bosom with unholy fires,

No net to snare her willing heart is spread;

She would have fallen, though she ne’er had read.

For me, I fain would please the chosen few,

Whose souls, to feeling and to nature true,

Will spare the childish verse, and not destroy

The light effusions of a heedless boy.

I seek not glory from the senseless crowd;

Of fancied laurels, I shall ne’er be proud;

Their warmest plaudits I would scarcely prize,

Their sneers or censures, I alike despise.

November 26, 1806.

Elegy on Newstead Abbey. 1

“It is the voice of years, that are gone! they roll before me, with all their deeds.”

Ossian.

1.

NEWSTEAD! fast-falling, once-resplendent dome!

Religion’s shrine! repentant HENRY’S 2 pride!

Of Warriors, Monks, and Dames the cloister’d tomb,

Whose pensive shades around thy ruins glide,

2.

Hail to thy pile! more honour’d in thy fall,

Than modern mansions, in their pillar’d state;

Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall,

Scowling defiance on the blasts of fate.

3.

No mail-clad Serfs, 3 obedient to their Lord,

In grim array, the crimson cross 4 demand;

Or gay assemble round the festive board,

Their chief’s retainers, an immortal band.

4.

Else might inspiring Fancy’s magic eye

Retrace their progress, through the lapse of time;

Marking each ardent youth, ordain’d to die,

A votive pilgrim, in Judea’s clime.

5.

But not from thee, dark pile! departs the Chief;

His feudal realm in other regions lay:

In thee the wounded conscience courts relief,

Retiring from the garish blaze of day.

6.

Yes! in thy gloomy cells and shades profound,

The monk abjur’d a world, he ne’er could view;

Or blood-stain’d Guilt repenting, solace found,

Or Innocence, from stern Oppression, flew.

7.

A Monarch bade thee from that wild arise,

Where Sherwood’s outlaws, once, were wont to prowl;

And Superstition’s crimes, of various dyes,

Sought shelter in the Priest’s protecting cowl.

8.

Where, now, the grass exhales a murky dew,

The humid pall of life-extinguish’d clay,

In sainted fame, the sacred Fathers grew,

Nor raised their pious voices, but to pray.

9.

Where, now, the bats their wavering wings extend,

Soon as the gloaming 5 spreads her waning shade;

The choir did, oft, their mingling vespers blend,

Or matin orisons to Mary 6 paid.

10.

Years roll on years; to ages, ages yield;

Abbots to Abbots, in a line, succeed:

Religion’s charter, their protecting shield,

Till royal sacrilege their doom decreed.

11.

One holy HENRY rear’d the Gothic walls,

And bade the pious inmates rest in peace;

Another HENRY 7 the kind gift recalls,

And bids devotion’s hallow’d echoes cease.

12.

Vain is each threat, or supplicating prayer;

He drives them exiles from their blest abode,

To roam a dreary world, in deep despair—

No friend, no home, no refuge, but their God. 8

13.

Hark! how the hall, resounding to the strain,

Shakes with the martial music’s novel din!

The heralds of a warrior’s haughty reign,

High crested banners wave thy walls within.

14.

Of changing sentinels the distant hum,

The mirth of feasts, the clang of burnish’d arms,

The braying trumpet, and the hoarser drum,

Unite in concert with increas’d alarms.

15.

An abbey once, a regal fortress 9 now,

Encircled by insulting rebel powers;

War’s dread machines o’erhang thy threat’ning brow,

And dart destruction, in sulphureous showers.

16.

Ah! vain defence! the hostile traitor’s siege,

Though oft repuls’d, by guile o’ercomes the brave;

His thronging foes oppress the faithful Liege,

Rebellion’s reeking standards o’er him wave.

17.

Not unaveng’d the raging Baron yields;

The blood of traitors smears the purple plain;

Unconquer’d still, his falchion there he wields,

And days of glory, yet, for him remain.

18.

Still, in that hour, the warrior wish’d to strew

Self-gather’d laurels on a self-sought grave;

But Charles’ protecting genius hither flew,

The monarch’s friend, the monarch’s hope, to save.

19.

Trembling, she snatch’d him 10 from th’ unequal strife,

In other fields the torrent to repel;

For nobler combats, here, reserv’d his life,

To lead the band, where godlike FALKLAND 11 fell.

20.

From thee, poor pile! to lawless plunder given,

While dying groans their painful requiem sound,

Far different incense, now, ascends to Heaven,

Such victims wallow on the gory ground.

21.

There many a pale and ruthless Robber’s corse,

Noisome and ghast, defiles thy sacred sod;

O’er mingling man, and horse commix’d with horse,

Corruption’s heap, the savage spoilers trod.

22.

Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o’erspread,

Ransack’d resign, perforce, their mortal mould:

From ruffian fangs, escape not e’en the dead,

Racked from repose, in search for buried gold.

23.

Hush’d is the harp, unstrung the warlike lyre,

The minstrel’s palsied hand reclines in death;

No more he strikes the quivering chords with fire,

Or sings the glories of the martial wreath.

24.

At length the sated murderers, gorged with prey,

Retire: the clamour of the fight is o’er;

Silence again resumes her awful sway,

And sable Horror guards the massy door.

25.

Here, Desolation holds her dreary court:

What satellites declare her dismal reign!

Shrieking their dirge, ill-omen’d birds resort,

To flit their vigils, in the hoary fane.

26.

Soon a new Morn’s restoring beams dispel

The clouds of Anarchy from Britain’s skies;

The fierce Usurper seeks his native hell,

And Nature triumphs, as the Tyrant dies.

27.

With storms she welcomes his expiring groans;

Whirlwinds, responsive, greet his labouring breath;

Earth shudders, as her caves receive his bones,

Loathing 12 the offering of so dark a death.

28.

The legal Ruler 13 now resumes the helm,

He guides through gentle seas, the prow of state;

Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm,

And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied Hate.

29.

The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,

Howling, resign their violated nest;

Again, the Master on his tenure dwells,

Enjoy’d, from absence, with enraptured zest.

30.

Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,

Loudly carousing, bless their Lord’s return;

Culture, again, adorns the gladdening vale,

And matrons, once lamenting, cease to mourn.

31.

A thousand songs, on tuneful echo, float,

Unwonted foliage mantles o’er the trees;

And, hark! the horns proclaim a mellow note,

The hunters’ cry hangs lengthening on the breeze.

32.

Beneath their coursers’ hoofs the valleys shake;

What fears! what anxious hopes! attend the chase!

The dying stag seeks refuge in the lake;

Exulting shouts announce the finish’d race.

33.

Ah happy days! too happy to endure!

Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew:

No splendid vices glitter’d to allure;

Their joys were many, as their cares were few.

34.

From these descending, Sons to Sires succeed;

Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart;

Another Chief impels the foaming steed,

Another Crowd pursue the panting hart.

35.

Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!

Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay;

The last and youngest of a noble line,

Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway.

36.

Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;

Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep;

Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers;

These, these he views, and views them but to weep.

37.

Yet are his tears no emblem of regret:

Cherish’d Affection only bids them flow;

Pride, Hope, and Love, forbid him to forget,

But warm his bosom, with impassion’d glow.

38.

Yet he prefers thee, to the gilded domes, 14

Or gewgaw grottos, of the vainly great;

Yet lingers ‘mid thy damp and mossy tombs,

Nor breathes a murmur ‘gainst the will of Fate.

39.

Haply thy sun, emerging, yet, may shine,

Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;

Hours, splendid as the past, may still be thine,

And bless thy future, as thy former day.

1 As one poem on this subject is already printed, the author had, originally, no intention of inserting the following. It is now added at the particular request of some friends.]

2 Henry II. founded Newstead soon after the murder of Thomas à Becket.]

3 This word is used by Walter Scott, in his poem, ‘The Wild Huntsman’, as synonymous with “vassal.”]

4 The red cross was the badge of the Crusaders.]

5 As “gloaming,” the Scottish word for twilight, is far more poetical, and has been recommended by many eminent literary men, particularly by Dr. Moore in his Letters to Burns, I have ventured to use it on account of its harmony.]

6 The priory was dedicated to the Virgin.—[‘Hours of Idleness’.]]

7 At the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII. bestowed Newstead Abbey on Sir John Byron.]

8 During the lifetime of Lord Byron’s predecessor in the title there was found in the lake a large brass eagle, in the body of which were concealed a number of ancient deeds and documents. This eagle is supposed to have been thrown into the lake by the retreating monks.—‘Life’, p. 2, note. It is now a lectern in Southwell Minster.]

9 Newstead sustained a considerable siege in the war between Charles I. and his parliament.]

10 Lord Byron and his brother Sir William held high commands in the royal army. The former was general-inchief in Ireland, lieutenant of the Tower, and governor to James, Duke of York, afterwards the unhappy James II; the latter had a principal share in many actions. [‘Vide ante’, p. 3, ‘note’ 1.]]

11 Lucius Cary, Lord Viscount Falkland, the most accomplished man of his age, was killed at the Battle of Newbury, charging in the ranks of Lord Byron’s regiment of cavalry.]

12 This is an historical fact. A violent tempest occurred immediately subsequent to the death or interment of Cromwell, which occasioned many disputes between his partisans and the cavaliers: both interpreted the circumstance into divine interposition; but whether as approbation or condemnation, we leave to the casuists of that age to decide. I have made such use of the occurrence as suited the subject of my poem.]

13 Charles II.]

14 An indication of Byron’s feelings towards Newstead in his younger days will be found in his letter to his mother of March 6, 1809.]

Hours of Idleness

To George, Earl Delawarr.

1.

Oh! yes, I will own we were dear to each other;

The friendships of childhood, though fleeting, are true;

The love which you felt was the love of a brother,

Nor less the affection I cherish’d for you.

2.

But Friendship can vary her gentle dominion;

The attachment of years, in a moment expires:

Like Love, too, she moves on a swift-waving pinion,

But glows not, like Love, with unquenchable fires.

3.

Full oft have we wander’d through Ida together,

And blest were the scenes of our youth, I allow:

In the spring of our life, how serene is the weather!

But Winter’s rude tempests are gathering now.

4.

No more with Affection shall Memory blending,

The wonted delights of our childhood retrace:

When Pride steels the bosom, the heart is unbending,

And what would be Justice appears a disgrace.

5.

However, dear George, for I still must esteem you—

The few, whom I love, I can never upbraid;

The chance, which has lost, may in future redeem you,

Repentance will cancel the vow you have made.

6.

I will not complain, and though chill’d is affection,

With me no corroding resentment shall live:

My bosom is calm’d by the simple reflection,

That both may be wrong, and that both should forgive.

7.

You knew, that my soul, that my heart, my existence,

If danger demanded, were wholly your own;

You knew me unalter’d, by years or by distance,

Devoted to love and to friendship alone.

8.

You knew,—but away with the vain retrospection!

The bond of affection no longer endures;

Too late you may droop o’er the fond recollection,

And sigh for the friend, who was formerly yours.

9.

For the present, we part,—I will hope not for ever; 1

For time and regret will restore you at last:

To forget our dissension we both should endeavour,

I ask no atonement, but days like the past.

1 See Byron’s Letter to Lord Clare of February 6, 1807, referred to in ‘note’ 2, p. 100.]

Damætas. 1

In law an infant, 2 and in years a boy,

In mind a slave to every vicious joy;

From every sense of shame and virtue wean’d,

In lies an adept, in deceit a fiend;

Vers’d in hypocrisy, while yet a child;

Fickle as wind, of inclinations wild;

Woman his dupe, his heedless friend a tool;

Old in the world, though scarcely broke from school;

Damætas ran through all the maze of sin,

And found the goal, when others just begin:

Ev’n still conflicting passions shake his soul,

And bid him drain the dregs of Pleasure’s bowl;

But, pall’d with vice, he breaks his former chain,

And what was once his bliss appears his bane.

1 Moore appears to have regarded these lines as applying to Byron himself. It is, however, very unlikely that, with all his passion for painting himself in the darkest colours, he would have written himself down “a hypocrite.” Damætas is, probably, a satirical sketch of a friend or acquaintance. (Compare the solemn denunciation of Lord Falkland in ‘English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers’, lines 668–686.)]]

2 In law, every person is an infant who has not attained the age of twenty-one.]

To Marion. 1

MARION! why that pensive brow?

What disgust to life hast thou?

Change that discontented air;

Frowns become not one so fair.

’Tis not Love disturbs thy rest,

Love’s a stranger to thy breast:

He, in dimpling smiles, appears,

Or mourns in sweetly timid tears;

Or bends the languid eyelid down,

But shuns the cold forbidding ‘frown’.

Then resume thy former fire,

Some will love, and all admire!

While that icy aspect chills us,

Nought but cool Indiff’rence thrills us.

Would’st thou wand’ring hearts beguile,

Smile, at least, or seem to smile;

Eyes like thine were never meant

To hide their orbs in dark restraint;

Spite of all thou fain wouldst say,

Still in truant beams they play.

Thy lips—but here my modest Muse

Her impulse chaste must needs refuse:

She blushes, curtsies, frowns,—in short She

Dreads lest the Subject should transport me;

And flying off, in search of Reason,

Brings Prudence back in proper season.

All I shall, therefore, say (whate’er

I think, is neither here nor there,)

Is, that such lips, of looks endearing,

Were form’d for better things than sneering.

Of soothing compliments divested,

Advice at least’s disinterested;

Such is my artless song to thee,

From all the flow of Flatt’ry free;

Counsel like mine is as a brother’s,

My heart is given to some others;

That is to say, unskill’d to cozen,

It shares itself among a dozen.

Marion, adieu! oh, pr’ythee slight not

This warning, though it may delight not;

And, lest my precepts be displeasing,

To those who think remonstrance teazing,

At once I’ll tell thee our opinion,

Concerning Woman’s soft Dominion:

Howe’er we gaze, with admiration,

On eyes of blue or lips carnation;

Howe’er the flowing locks attract us,

Howe’er those beauties may distract us;

Still fickle, we are prone to rove,

These cannot fix our souls to love;

It is not too severe a stricture,

To say they form a pretty picture;

But would’st thou see the secret chain,

Which binds us in your humble train,

To hail you Queens of all Creation,

Know, in a word, ’tis Animation.

BYRON, January 10, 1807.

1 The MS. of this Poem is preserved at Newstead. “This was to Harriet Maltby, afterwards Mrs. Nichols, written upon her meeting Byron, and, ‘being ‘cold, silent’, and ‘reserved’ to him,’ by the advice of a Lady with whom she was staying; quite foreign to her ‘usual’ manner, which was gay, lively, and full of flirtation.”—Note by Miss E. Pigot. (See p. 130, var. ii.)]

Oscar of Alva. 1

1.

How sweetly shines, through azure skies,

The lamp of Heaven on Lora’s shore;

Where Alva’s hoary turrets rise,

And hear the din of arms no more!

2.

But often has yon rolling moon,

On Alva’s casques of silver play’d;

And view’d, at midnight’s silent noon,

Her chiefs in gleaming mail array’d:

3.

And, on the crimson’d rocks beneath,

Which scowl o’er ocean’s sullen flow,

Pale in the scatter’d ranks of death,

She saw the gasping warrior low;

4.

While many an eye, which ne’er again

Could mark the rising orb of day,

Turn’d feebly from the gory plain,

Beheld in death her fading ray.

5.

Once, to those eyes the lamp of Love,

They blest her dear propitious light;

But, now, she glimmer’d from above,

A sad, funereal torch of night.

6.

Faded is Alva’s noble race,

And grey her towers are seen afar;

No more her heroes urge the chase,

Or roll the crimson tide of war.

7.

But, who was last of Alva’s clan?

Why grows the moss on Alva’s stone?

Her towers resound no steps of man,

They echo to the gale alone.

8.

And, when that gale is fierce and high,

A sound is heard in yonder hall;

It rises hoarsely through the sky,

And vibrates o’er the mould’ring wall.

9.

Yes, when the eddying tempest sighs,

It shakes the shield of Oscar brave;

But, there, no more his banners rise,

No more his plumes of sable wave.

10.

Fair shone the sun on Oscar’s birth,

When Angus hail’d his eldest born;

The vassals round their chieftain’s hearth

Crowd to applaud the happy morn.

11.

They feast upon the mountain deer,

The Pibroch rais’d its piercing note, 2

To gladden more their Highland cheer,

The strains in martial numbers float.

12.

And they who heard the war-notes wild,

Hop’d that, one day, the Pibroch’s strain

Should play before the Hero’s child,

While he should lead the Tartan train.

13.

Another year is quickly past,

And Angus hails another son;

His natal day is like the last,

Nor soon the jocund feast was done.

14.

Taught by their sire to bend the bow,

On Alva’s dusky hills of wind,

The boys in childhood chas’d the roe,

And left their hounds in speed behind.

15.

But ere their years of youth are o’er,

They mingle in the ranks of war;

They lightly wheel the bright claymore,

And send the whistling arrow far.

16.

Dark was the flow of Oscar’s hair,

Wildly it stream’d along the gale;

But Allan’s locks were bright and fair,

And pensive seem’d his cheek, and pale.

17.

But Oscar own’d a hero’s soul,

His dark eye shone through beams of truth;

Allan had early learn’d controul,

And smooth his words had been from youth.

18.

Both, both were brave; the Saxon spear

Was shiver’d oft beneath their steel;

And Oscar’s bosom scorn’d to fear,

But Oscar’s bosom knew to feel;

19.

While Allan’s soul belied his form,

Unworthy with such charms to dwell:

Keen as the lightning of the storm,

On foes his deadly vengeance fell.

20.

From high Southannon’s distant tower

Arrived a young and noble dame;

With Kenneth’s lands to form her dower,

Glenalvon’s blue-eyed daughter came;

21.

And Oscar claim’d the beauteous bride,

And Angus on his Oscar smil’d:

It soothed the father’s feudal pride

Thus to obtain Glenalvon’s child.

22.

Hark! to the Pibroch’s pleasing note,

Hark! to the swelling nuptial song,

In joyous strains the voices float,

And, still, the choral peal prolong.

23.

See how the Heroes’ blood-red plumes

Assembled wave in Alva’s hall;

Each youth his varied plaid assumes,

Attending on their chieftain’s call.

24.

It is not war their aid demands,

The Pibroch plays the song of peace;

To Oscar’s nuptials throng the bands

Nor yet the sounds of pleasure cease.

25.

But where is Oscar? sure ’tis late:

Is this a bridegroom’s ardent flame?

While thronging guests and ladies wait,

Nor Oscar nor his brother came.

26.

At length young Allan join’d the bride;

“Why comes not Oscar?” Angus said:

“Is he not here?” the Youth replied;

“With me he rov’d not o’er the glade:

27.

“Perchance, forgetful of the day,

’Tis his to chase the bounding roe;

Or Ocean’s waves prolong his stay:

Yet, Oscar’s bark is seldom slow.”

28.

“Oh, no!” the anguish’d Sire rejoin’d,

“Nor chase, nor wave, my Boy delay;

Would he to Mora seem unkind?

Would aught to her impede his way?

29.

“Oh, search, ye Chiefs! oh, search around!

Allan, with these, through Alva fly;

Till Oscar, till my son is found,

Haste, haste, nor dare attempt reply.”

30.

All is confusion—through the vale,

The name of Oscar hoarsely rings,

It rises on the murm’ring gale,

Till night expands her dusky wings.

31.

It breaks the stillness of the night,

But echoes through her shades in vain;

It sounds through morning’s misty light,

But Oscar comes not o’er the plain.

32.

Three days, three sleepless nights, the Chief

For Oscar search’d each mountain cave;

Then hope is lost; in boundless grief,

His locks in grey-torn ringlets wave.

33.

“Oscar! my son!—thou God of Heav’n,

Restore the prop of sinking age!

Or, if that hope no more is given,

Yield his assassin to my rage.

34.

“Yes, on some desert rocky shore

My Oscar’s whiten’d bones must lie;

Then grant, thou God! I ask no more,

With him his frantic Sire may die!

35.

“Yet, he may live,—away, despair!

Be calm, my soul! he yet may live;

T’ arraign my fate, my voice forbear!

O God! my impious prayer forgive.

36.

“What, if he live for me no more,

I sink forgotten in the dust,

The hope of Alva’s age is o’er:

Alas! can pangs like these be just?”

37.

Thus did the hapless Parent mourn,

Till Time, who soothes severest woe,

Had bade serenity return,

And made the tear-drop cease to flow.

38.

For, still, some latent hope surviv’d

That Oscar might once more appear;

His hope now droop’d and now revived,

Till Time had told a tedious year.

39.

Days roll’d along, the orb of light

Again had run his destined race;

No Oscar bless’d his father’s sight,

And sorrow left a fainter trace.

40.

For youthful Allan still remain’d,

And, now, his father’s only joy:

And Mora’s heart was quickly gain’d,

For beauty crown’d the fair-hair’d boy.

41.

She thought that Oscar low was laid,

And Allan’s face was wondrous fair;

If Oscar liv’d, some other maid

Had claim’d his faithless bosom’s care.

42.

And Angus said, if one year more

In fruitless hope was pass’d away,

His fondest scruples should be o’er,

And he would name their nuptial day.

43.

Slow roll’d the moons, but blest at last

Arriv’d the dearly destin’d morn:

The year of anxious trembling past,

What smiles the lovers’ cheeks adorn!

44.

Hark to the Pibroch’s pleasing note!

Hark to the swelling nuptial song!

In joyous strains the voices float,

And, still, the choral peal prolong.

45.

Again the clan, in festive crowd,

Throng through the gate of Alva’s hall;

The sounds of mirth reecho loud,

And all their former joy recall.

46.

But who is he, whose darken’d brow

Glooms in the midst of general mirth?

Before his eyes’ far fiercer glow

The blue flames curdle o’er the hearth.

47.

Dark is the robe which wraps his form,

And tall his plume of gory red;

His voice is like the rising storm,

But light and trackless is his tread.

48.

’Tis noon of night, the pledge goes round,

The bridegroom’s health is deeply quaff’d;

With shouts the vaulted roofs resound,

And all combine to hail the draught.

49.

Sudden the stranger-chief arose,

And all the clamorous crowd are hush’d;

And Angus’ cheek with wonder glows,

And Mora’s tender bosom blush’d.

50.

“Old man!” he cried, “this pledge is done,

Thou saw’st ’twas truly drunk by me;

It hail’d the nuptials of thy son:

Now will I claim a pledge from thee.

51.

“While all around is mirth and joy,

To bless thy Allan’s happy lot,

Say, hadst thou ne’er another boy?

Say, why should Oscar be forgot?”

52.

“Alas!” the hapless Sire replied,

The big tear starting as he spoke,

“When Oscar left my hall, or died,

This aged heart was almost broke.

53.

“Thrice has the earth revolv’d her course

Since Oscar’s form has bless’d my sight;

And Allan is my last resource,

Since martial Oscar’s death, or flight.”

54.

“’Tis well,” replied the stranger stern,

And fiercely flash’d his rolling eye;

“Thy Oscar’s fate, I fain would learn;

Perhaps the Hero did not die.

55.

“Perchance, if those, whom most he lov’d,

Would call, thy Oscar might return;

Perchance, the chief has only rov’d;

For him thy Beltane, yet, may burn. 3

56.

“Fill high the bowl the table round,

We will not claim the pledge by stealth;

With wine let every cup be crown’d;

Pledge me departed Oscar’s health.”

57.

“With all my soul,” old Angus said,

And fill’d his goblet to the brim:

“Here’s to my boy! alive or dead,

I ne’er shall find a son like him.”

58.

“Bravely, old man, this health has sped;

But why does Allan trembling stand?

Come, drink remembrance of the dead,

And raise thy cup with firmer hand.”

59.

The crimson glow of Allan’s face

Was turn’d at once to ghastly hue;

The drops of death each other chace,

Adown in agonizing dew.

60.

Thrice did he raise the goblet high,

And thrice his lips refused to taste;

For thrice he caught the stranger’s eye

On his with deadly fury plac’d.

61.

“And is it thus a brother hails

A brother’s fond remembrance here?

If thus affection’s strength prevails,

What might we not expect from fear?”

62.

Roused by the sneer, he rais’d the bowl,

“Would Oscar now could share our mirth!”

Internal fear appall’d his soul;

He said, and dash’d the cup to earth.

63.

“’Tis he! I hear my murderer’s voice!”

Loud shrieks a darkly gleaming Form.

“A murderer’s voice!” the roof replies,

And deeply swells the bursting storm.

64.

The tapers wink, the chieftains shrink,

The stranger’s gone,—amidst the crew,

A Form was seen, in tartan green,

And tall the shade terrific grew.

65.

His waist was bound with a broad belt round,

His plume of sable stream’d on high;

But his breast was bare, with the red wounds there,

And fix’d was the glare of his glassy eye.

66.

And thrice he smil’d, with his eye so wild

On Angus bending low the knee;

And thrice he frown’d, on a Chief on the ground,

Whom shivering crowds with horror see.

67.

The bolts loud roll from pole to pole,

And thunders through the welkin ring,

And the gleaming form, through the mist of the storm,

Was borne on high by the whirlwind’s wing.

68.

Cold was the feast, the revel ceas’d.

Who lies upon the stony floor?

Oblivion press’d old Angus’ breast,

At length his life-pulse throbs once more.

69.

“Away, away! let the leech essay

To pour the light on Allan’s eyes:”

His sand is done,—his race is run;

Oh! never more shall Allan rise!

70.

But Oscar’s breast is cold as clay,

His locks are lifted by the gale;

And Allan’s barbèd arrow lay

With him in dark Glentanar’s vale.

71.

And whence the dreadful stranger came,

Or who, no mortal wight can tell;

But no one doubts the form of flame,

For Alva’s sons knew Oscar well.

72.

Ambition nerv’d young Allan’s hand,

Exulting demons wing’d his dart;

While Envy wav’d her burning brand,

And pour’d her venom round his heart.

73.

Swift is the shaft from Allan’s bow;

Whose streaming life-blood stains his side?

Dark Oscar’s sable crest is low,

The dart has drunk his vital tide.

74.

And Mora’s eye could Allan move,

She bade his wounded pride rebel:

Alas! that eyes, which beam’d with love,

Should urge the soul to deeds of Hell.

75.

Lo! see’st thou not a lonely tomb,

Which rises o’er a warrior dead?

It glimmers through the twilight gloom;

Oh! that is Allan’s nuptial bed.

76.

Far, distant far, the noble grave

Which held his clan’s great ashes stood;

And o’er his corse no banners wave,

For they were stain’d with kindred blood.

77.

What minstrel grey, what hoary bard,

Shall Allan’s deeds on harp-strings raise?

The song is glory’s chief reward,

But who can strike a murd’rer’s praise?

78.

Unstrung, untouch’d, the harp must stand,

No minstrel dare the theme awake;

Guilt would benumb his palsied hand,

His harp in shuddering chords would break.

79.

No lyre of fame, no hallow’d verse,

Shall sound his glories high in air:

A dying father’s bitter curse,

A brother’s death-groan echoes there.

1 The catastrophe of this tale was suggested by the story of “Jeronymo and Lorenzo,” in the first volume of Schiller’s ‘Armenian, or the Ghost–Seer’. It also bears some resemblance to a scene in the third act of ‘Macbeth’.—[‘Der Geisterseher’, Schiller’s ‘Werke’ (1819), x. 97, ‘sq’.]

2 It is evident that Byron here confused the ‘pibroch’, the air, with the ‘bagpipe’, the instrument.]

3 Beltane Tree, a Highland festival on the first of May, held near fires lighted for the occasion.]

Translation From Anacreon.

[Greek: Thelo legein Atpeidas, k.t.l.] 1

Ode 1.
To His Lyre.

I wish to tune my quivering lyre,

To deeds of fame, and notes of fire;

To echo, from its rising swell,

How heroes fought and nations fell,

When Atreus’ sons advanc’d to war,

Or Tyrian Cadmus rov’d afar;

But still, to martial strains unknown,

My lyre recurs to Love alone.

Fir’d with the hope of future fame,

I seek some nobler Hero’s name;

The dying chords are strung anew,

To war, to war, my harp is due:

With glowing strings, the Epic strain

To Jove’s great son I raise again;

Alcides and his glorious deeds,

Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds;

All, all in vain; my wayward lyre

Wakes silver notes of soft Desire.

Adieu, ye Chiefs renown’d in arms!

Adieu the clang of War’s alarms!

To other deeds my soul is strung,

And sweeter notes shall now be sung;

My harp shall all its powers reveal,

To tell the tale my heart must feel;

Love, Love alone, my lyre shall claim,

In songs of bliss and sighs of flame.

1 The motto does not appear in ‘Hours of Idleness’ or ‘Poems O. and T.’]

From Anacreon.

[Greek: Mesonuktiois poth hopais, k.t.l.] 1

Ode 3.

’Twas now the hour when Night had driven

Her car half round yon sable heaven;

Boötes, only, seem’d to roll

His Arctic charge around the Pole;

While mortals, lost in gentle sleep,

Forgot to smile, or ceas’d to weep:

At this lone hour the Paphian boy,

Descending from the realms of joy,

Quick to my gate directs his course,

And knocks with all his little force;

My visions fled, alarm’d I rose,—

“What stranger breaks my blest repose?”

“Alas!” replies the wily child

In faltering accents sweetly mild;

“A hapless Infant here I roam,

Far from my dear maternal home.

Oh! shield me from the wintry blast!

The nightly storm is pouring fast.

No prowling robber lingers here;

A wandering baby who can fear?”

I heard his seeming artless tale,

I heard his sighs upon the gale:

My breast was never pity’s foe,

But felt for all the baby’s woe.

I drew the bar, and by the light

Young Love, the infant, met my sight;

His bow across his shoulders flung,

And thence his fatal quiver hung

(Ah! little did I think the dart

Would rankle soon within my heart).

With care I tend my weary guest,

His little fingers chill my breast;

His glossy curls, his azure wing,

Which droop with nightly showers, I wring;

His shivering limbs the embers warm;

And now reviving from the storm,

Scarce had he felt his wonted glow,

Than swift he seized his slender bow:—

“I fain would know, my gentle host,”

He cried, “if this its strength has lost;

I fear, relax’d with midnight dews,

The strings their former aid refuse.”

With poison tipt, his arrow flies,

Deep in my tortur’d heart it lies:

Then loud the joyous Urchin laugh’d:—

“My bow can still impel the shaft:

’Tis firmly fix’d, thy sighs reveal it;

Say, courteous host, canst thou not feel it?”

1 The motto does not appear in ‘Hours of Idleness’ or ‘Poems O. and T.’]

The Episode of Nisus and Euryalus. 1

A Paraphrase From The “Æneid,” Lib. 9.

Nisus, the guardian of the portal, stood,

Eager to gild his arms with hostile blood;

Well skill’d, in fight, the quivering lance to wield,

Or pour his arrows thro’ th’ embattled field:

From Ida torn, he left his sylvan cave,

And sought a foreign home, a distant grave.

To watch the movements of the Daunian host,

With him Euryalus sustains the post;

No lovelier mien adorn’d the ranks of Troy,

And beardless bloom yet grac’d the gallant boy; 10

Though few the seasons of his youthful life,

As yet a novice in the martial strife,

’Twas his, with beauty, Valour’s gifts to share—

A soul heroic, as his form was fair:

These burn with one pure flame of generous love;

In peace, in war, united still they move;

Friendship and Glory form their joint reward;

And, now, combin’d they hold their nightly guard.

“What God,” exclaim’d the first, “instils this fire?

Or, in itself a God, what great desire? 20

My lab’ring soul, with anxious thought oppress’d,

Abhors this station of inglorious rest;

The love of fame with this can ill accord,

Be’t mine to seek for glory with my sword.

See’st thou yon camp, with torches twinkling dim,

Where drunken slumbers wrap each lazy limb?

Where confidence and ease the watch disdain,

And drowsy Silence holds her sable reign?

Then hear my thought:—In deep and sullen grief

Our troops and leaders mourn their absent chief: 30

Now could the gifts and promised prize be thine,

(The deed, the danger, and the fame be mine,)

Were this decreed, beneath yon rising mound,

Methinks, an easy path, perchance, were found;

Which past, I speed my way to Pallas’ walls,

And lead Æneas from Evander’s halls.”

With equal ardour fir’d, and warlike joy,

His glowing friend address’d the Dardan boy:—

“These deeds, my Nisus, shalt thou dare alone?

Must all the fame, the peril, be thine own? 40

Am I by thee despis’d, and left afar,

As one unfit to share the toils of war?

Not thus his son the great Opheltes taught:

Not thus my sire in Argive combats fought;

Not thus, when Ilion fell by heavenly hate,

I track’d Æneas through the walks of fate:

Thou know’st my deeds, my breast devoid of fear,

And hostile life-drops dim my gory spear.

Here is a soul with hope immortal burns,

And life, ignoble life, for Glory spurns. 50

Fame, fame is cheaply earn’d by fleeting breath:

The price of honour, is the sleep of death.”

Then Nisus:—“Calm thy bosom’s fond alarms:

Thy heart beats fiercely to the din of arms.

More dear thy worth, and valour than my own,

I swear by him, who fills Olympus’ throne!

So may I triumph, as I speak the truth,

And clasp again the comrade of my youth!

But should I fall,—and he, who dares advance

Through hostile legions, must abide by chance,— 60

If some Rutulian arm, with adverse blow,

Should lay the friend, who ever lov’d thee, low,

Live thou—such beauties I would fain preserve—

Thy budding years a lengthen’d term deserve;

When humbled in the dust, let some one be,

Whose gentle eyes will shed one tear for me;

Whose manly arm may snatch me back by force,

Or wealth redeem, from foes, my captive corse;

Or, if my destiny these last deny,

If, in the spoiler’s power, my ashes lie; 70

Thy pious care may raise a simple tomb,

To mark thy love, and signalise my doom.

Why should thy doating wretched mother weep

Her only boy, reclin’d in endless sleep?

Who, for thy sake, the tempest’s fury dar’d,

Who, for thy sake, war’s deadly peril shar’d;

Who brav’d what woman never brav’d before,

And left her native, for the Latian shore.”

“In vain you damp the ardour of my soul,”

Replied Euryalus; “it scorns controul; 80

Hence, let us haste!”—their brother guards arose,

Rous’d by their call, nor court again repose;

The pair, buoy’d up on Hope’s exulting wing,

Their stations leave, and speed to seek the king.

Now, o’er the earth a solemn stillness ran,

And lull’d alike the cares of brute and man;

Save where the Dardan leaders, nightly, hold

Alternate converse, and their plans unfold.

On one great point the council are agreed,

An instant message to their prince decreed; 90

Each lean’d upon the lance he well could wield,

And pois’d with easy arm his ancient shield;

When Nisus and his friend their leave request,

To offer something to their high behest.

With anxious tremors, yet unaw’d by fear,

The faithful pair before the throne appear;

Iulus greets them; at his kind command,

The elder, first, address’d the hoary band.

“With patience” (thus Hyrtacides began)

“Attend, nor judge, from youth, our humble plan. 100

Where yonder beacons half-expiring beam,

Our slumbering foes of future conquest dream,

Nor heed that we a secret path have trac’d,

Between the ocean and the portal plac’d;

Beneath the covert of the blackening smoke,

Whose shade, securely, our design will cloak!

If you, ye Chiefs, and Fortune will allow,

We’ll bend our course to yonder mountain’s brow,

Where Pallas’ walls, at distance, meet the sight,

Seen o’er the glade, when not obscur’d by night: 110

Then shall Æneas in his pride return,

While hostile matrons raise their offspring’s urn;

And Latian spoils, and purpled heaps of dead

Shall mark the havoc of our Hero’s tread;

Such is our purpose, not unknown the way,

Where yonder torrent’s devious waters stray;

Oft have we seen, when hunting by the stream,

The distant spires above the valleys gleam.”

Mature in years, for sober wisdom fam’d,

Mov’d by the speech, Alethes here exclaim’d,— 120

“Ye parent gods! who rule the fate of Troy,

Still dwells the Dardan spirit in the boy;

When minds, like these, in striplings thus ye raise,

Yours is the godlike act, be yours the praise;

In gallant youth, my fainting hopes revive,

And Ilion’s wonted glories still survive.”

Then in his warm embrace the boys he press’d,

And, quivering, strain’d them to his agéd breast;

With tears the burning cheek of each bedew’d,

And, sobbing, thus his first discourse renew’d:— 130

“What gift, my countrymen, what martial prize,

Can we bestow, which you may not despise?

Our Deities the first best boon have given—

Internal virtues are the gift of Heaven.

What poor rewards can bless your deeds on earth,

Doubtless await such young, exalted worth;

Æneas and Ascanius shall combine

To yield applause far, far surpassing mine.”

Iulus then:—“By all the powers above!

By those Penates, who my country love! 140

By hoary Vesta’s sacred Fane, I swear,

My hopes are all in you, ye generous pair!

Restore my father, to my grateful sight,

And all my sorrows, yield to one delight.

Nisus! two silver goblets are thine own,

Sav’d from Arisba’s stately domes o’erthrown;

My sire secured them on that fatal day,

Nor left such bowls an Argive robber’s prey.

Two massy tripods, also, shall be thine,

Two talents polish’d from the glittering mine; 150

An ancient cup, which Tyrian Dido gave,

While yet our vessels press’d the Punic wave:

But when the hostile chiefs at length bow down,

When great Æneas wears Hesperia’s crown,

The casque, the buckler, and the fiery steed

Which Turnus guides with more than mortal speed,

Are thine; no envious lot shall then be cast,

I pledge my word, irrevocably past:

Nay more, twelve slaves, and twice six captive dames,

To soothe thy softer hours with amorous flames, 160

And all the realms, which now the Latins sway,

The labours of to-night shall well repay.

But thou, my generous youth, whose tender years

Are near my own, whose worth my heart reveres,

Henceforth, affection, sweetly thus begun,

Shall join our bosoms and our souls in one;

Without thy aid, no glory shall be mine,

Without thy dear advice, no great design;

Alike, through life, esteem’d, thou godlike boy,

In war my bulwark, and in peace my joy.” 170

To him Euryalus:—“No day shall shame

The rising glories which from this I claim.

Fortune may favour, or the skies may frown,

But valour, spite of fate, obtains renown.

Yet, ere from hence our eager steps depart,

One boon I beg, the nearest to my heart:

My mother, sprung from Priam’s royal line,

Like thine ennobled, hardly less divine,

Nor Troy nor king Acestes’ realms restrain

Her feeble age from dangers of the main; 180

Alone she came, all selfish fears above,

A bright example of maternal love.

Unknown, the secret enterprise I brave,

Lest grief should bend my parent to the grave;

From this alone no fond adieus I seek,

No fainting mother’s lips have press’d my cheek;

By gloomy Night and thy right hand I vow,

Her parting tears would shake my purpose now:

Do thou, my prince, her failing age sustain,

In thee her much-lov’d child may live again; 190

Her dying hours with pious conduct bless,

Assist her wants, relieve her fond distress:

So dear a hope must all my soul enflame,

To rise in glory, or to fall in fame.”

Struck with a filial care so deeply felt,

In tears at once the Trojan warriors melt;

Faster than all, Iulus’ eyes o’erflow!

Such love was his, and such had been his woe.

“All thou hast ask’d, receive,” the Prince replied;

“Nor this alone, but many a gift beside. 200

To cheer thy mother’s years shall be my aim,

Creusa’s 2 style but wanting to the dame;

Fortune an adverse wayward course may run,

But bless’d thy mother in so dear a son.

Now, by my life!—my Sire’s most sacred oath—

To thee I pledge my full, my firmest troth,

All the rewards which once to thee were vow’d,

If thou should’st fall, on her shall be bestow’d.”

Thus spoke the weeping Prince, then forth to view

A gleaming falchion from the sheath he drew; 210

Lycaon’s utmost skill had grac’d the steel,

For friends to envy and for foes to feel:

A tawny hide, the Moorish lion’s spoil,

Slain ‘midst the forest in the hunter’s toil,

Mnestheus to guard the elder youth bestows,

And old Alethes’ casque defends his brows;

Arm’d, thence they go, while all th’ assembl’d train,

To aid their cause, implore the gods in vain.

More than a boy, in wisdom and in grace,

Iulus holds amidst the chiefs his place: 220

His prayer he sends; but what can prayers avail,

Lost in the murmurs of the sighing gale?

The trench is pass’d, and favour’d by the night,

Through sleeping foes, they wheel their wary flight.

When shall the sleep of many a foe be o’er?

Alas! some slumber, who shall wake no more!

Chariots and bridles, mix’d with arms, are seen,

And flowing flasks, and scatter’d troops between:

Bacchus and Mars, to rule the camp, combine;

A mingled Chaos this of war and wine. 230

“Now,” cries the first, “for deeds of blood prepare,

With me the conquest and the labour share:

Here lies our path; lest any hand arise,

Watch thou, while many a dreaming chieftain dies;

I’ll carve our passage, through the heedless foe,

And clear thy road, with many a deadly blow.”

His whispering accents then the youth repress’d,

And pierced proud Rhamnes through his panting breast:

Stretch’d at his ease, th’ incautious king repos’d;

Debauch, and not fatigue, his eyes had clos’d; 240

To Turnus dear, a prophet and a prince,

His omens more than augur’s skill evince;

But he, who thus foretold the fate of all,

Could not avert his own untimely fall.

Next Remus’ armour-bearer, hapless, fell,

And three unhappy slaves the carnage swell;

The charioteer along his courser’s sides

Expires, the steel his sever’d neck divides;

And, last, his Lord is number’d with the dead:

Bounding convulsive, flies the gasping head; 250

From the swol’n veins the blackening torrents pour;

Stain’d is the couch and earth with clotting gore.

Young Lamyrus and Lamus next expire,

And gay Serranus, fill’d with youthful fire;

Half the long night in childish games was pass’d;

Lull’d by the potent grape, he slept at last:

Ah! happier far, had he the morn survey’d,

And, till Aurora’s dawn, his skill display’d.

In slaughter’d folds, the keepers lost in sleep,

His hungry fangs a lion thus may steep; 260

‘Mid the sad flock, at dead of night he prowls,

With murder glutted, and in carnage rolls

Insatiate still, through teeming herds he roams;

In seas of gore, the lordly tyrant foams.

Nor less the other’s deadly vengeance came,

But falls on feeble crowds without a name;

His wound unconscious Fadus scarce can feel,

Yet wakeful Rhæsus sees the threatening steel;

His coward breast behind a jar he hides,

And, vainly, in the weak defence confides; 270

Full in his heart, the falchion search’d his veins,

The reeking weapon bears alternate stains;

Through wine and blood, commingling as they flow,

One feeble spirit seeks the shades below.

Now where Messapus dwelt they bend their way,

Whose fires emit a faint and trembling ray;

There, unconfin’d, behold each grazing steed,

Unwatch’d, unheeded, on the herbage feed:

Brave Nisus here arrests his comrade’s arm,

Too flush’d with carnage, and with conquest warm: 280

“Hence let us haste, the dangerous path is pass’d;

Full foes enough, to-night, have breath’d their last:

Soon will the Day those Eastern clouds adorn;

Now let us speed, nor tempt the rising morn.”

What silver arms, with various art emboss’d,

What bowls and mantles, in confusion toss’d,

They leave regardless! yet one glittering prize

Attracts the younger Hero’s wandering eyes;

The gilded harness Rhamnes’ coursers felt,

The gems which stud the monarch’s golden belt: 290

This from the pallid corse was quickly torn,

Once by a line of former chieftains worn.

Th’ exulting boy the studded girdle wears,

Messapus’ helm his head, in triumph, bears;

Then from the tents their cautious steps they bend,

To seek the vale, where safer paths extend.

Just at this hour, a band of Latian horse

To Turnus’ camp pursue their destin’d course:

While the slow foot their tardy march delay,

The knights, impatient, spur along the way: 300

Three hundred mail-clad men, by Volscens led,

To Turnus with their master’s promise sped:

Now they approach the trench, and view the walls,

When, on the left, a light reflection falls;

The plunder’d helmet, through the waning night,

Sheds forth a silver radiance, glancing bright;

Volscens, with question loud, the pair alarms:—

“Stand, Stragglers! stand! why early thus in arms?

From whence? to whom?”—He meets with no reply;

Trusting the covert of the night, they fly: 310

The thicket’s depth, with hurried pace, they tread,

While round the wood the hostile squadron spread.

With brakes entangled, scarce a path between,

Dreary and dark appears the sylvan scene:

Euryalus his heavy spoils impede,

The boughs and winding turns his steps mislead;

But Nisus scours along the forest’s maze,

To where Latinus’ steeds in safety graze,

Then backward o’er the plain his eyes extend,

On every side they seek his absent friend. 320

“O God! my boy,” he cries, “of me bereft,

In what impending perils art thou left!”

Listening he runs—above the waving trees,

Tumultuous voices swell the passing breeze;

The war-cry rises, thundering hoofs around

Wake the dark echoes of the trembling ground.

Again he turns—of footsteps hears the noise—

The sound elates—the sight his hope destroys:

The hapless boy a ruffian train surround,

While lengthening shades his weary way confound; 330

Him, with loud shouts, the furious knights pursue,

Struggling in vain, a captive to the crew.

What can his friend ‘gainst thronging numbers dare?

Ah! must he rush, his comrade’s fate to share?

What force, what aid, what stratagem essay,

Back to redeem the Latian spoiler’s prey?

His life a votive ransom nobly give,

Or die with him, for whom he wish’d to live?

Poising with strength his lifted lance on high,

On Luna’s orb he cast his frenzied eye:— 340

“Goddess serene, transcending every star!

Queen of the sky, whose beams are seen afar!

By night Heaven owns thy sway, by day the grove,

When, as chaste Dian, here thou deign’st to rove;

If e’er myself, or Sire, have sought to grace

Thine altars, with the produce of the chase,

Speed, speed my dart to pierce yon vaunting crowd,

To free my friend, and scatter far the proud.”

Thus having said, the hissing dart he flung;

Through parted shades the hurtling weapon sung; 350

The thirsty point in Sulmo’s entrails lay,

Transfix’d his heart, and stretch’d him on the clay:

He sobs, he dies,—the troop in wild amaze,

Unconscious whence the death, with horror gaze;

While pale they stare, thro’ Tagus’ temples riven,

A second shaft, with equal force is driven:

Fierce Volscens rolls around his lowering eyes;

Veil’d by the night, secure the Trojan lies.

Burning with wrath, he view’d his soldiers fall.

“Thou youth accurst, thy life shall pay for all!” 360

Quick from the sheath his flaming glaive he drew,

And, raging, on the boy defenceless flew.

Nisus, no more the blackening shade conceals,

Forth, forth he starts, and all his love reveals;

Aghast, confus’d, his fears to madness rise,

And pour these accents, shrieking as he flies;

“Me, me,—your vengeance hurl on me alone;

Here sheathe the steel, my blood is all your own;

Ye starry Spheres! thou conscious Heaven! attest!

He could not—durst not—lo! the guile confest! 370

All, all was mine,—his early fate suspend;

He only lov’d, too well, his hapless friend:

Spare, spare, ye Chiefs! from him your rage remove;

His fault was friendship, all his crime was love.”

He pray’d in vain; the dark assassin’s sword

Pierced the fair side, the snowy bosom gor’d;

Lowly to earth inclines his plume-clad crest,

And sanguine torrents mantle o’er his breast:

As some young rose whose blossom scents the air,

Languid in death, expires beneath the share; 380

Or crimson poppy, sinking with the shower,

Declining gently, falls a fading flower;

Thus, sweetly drooping, bends his lovely head,

And lingering Beauty hovers round the dead.

But fiery Nisus stems the battle’s tide,

Revenge his leader, and Despair his guide;

Volscens he seeks amidst the gathering host,

Volscens must soon appease his comrade’s ghost;

Steel, flashing, pours on steel, foe crowds on foe;

Rage nerves his arm, Fate gleams in every blow; 390

In vain beneath unnumber’d wounds he bleeds,

Nor wounds, nor death, distracted Nisus heeds;

In viewless circles wheel’d his falchion flies,

Nor quits the hero’s grasp till Volscens dies;

Deep in his throat its end the weapon found,

The tyrant’s soul fled groaning through the wound.

Thus Nisus all his fond affection prov’d—

Dying, revenged the fate of him he lov’d;

Then on his bosom sought his wonted place,

And death was heavenly, in his friend’s embrace! 400

Celestial pair! if aught my verse can claim,

Wafted on Time’s broad pinion, yours is fame!

Ages on ages shall your fate admire,

No future day shall see your names expire,

While stands the Capitol, immortal dome!

And vanquished millions hail their Empress, Rome!

1 Lines 1–18 were first published in ‘P. on V. Occasions’, under the title of “Fragment of a Translation from the 9th Book of Virgil’s ‘Æneid’.”]

2 The mother of Iulus, lost on the night when Troy was taken.]

Translation from the “Medea” of Euripides [Ll. 627–660].

[Greek: Erotes hyper men agan, K.T.L.1]

1.

When fierce conflicting passions urge

The breast, where love is wont to glow,

What mind can stem the stormy surge

Which rolls the tide of human woe?

The hope of praise, the dread of shame,

Can rouse the tortur’d breast no more;

The wild desire, the guilty flame,

Absorbs each wish it felt before.

2.

But if affection gently thrills

The soul, by purer dreams possest,

The pleasing balm of mortal ills

In love can soothe the aching breast:

If thus thou comest in disguise,

Fair Venus! from thy native heaven,

What heart, unfeeling, would despise

The sweetest boon the Gods have given?

3.

But, never from thy golden bow,

May I beneath the shaft expire!

Whose creeping venom, sure and slow,

Awakes an all-consuming fire:

Ye racking doubts! ye jealous fears!

With others wage internal war;

Repentance! source of future tears,

From me be ever distant far!

4.

May no distracting thoughts destroy

The holy calm of sacred love!

May all the hours be winged with joy,

Which hover faithful hearts above!

Fair Venus! on thy myrtle shrine

May I with some fond lover sigh!

Whose heart may mingle pure with mine,

With me to live, with me to die!

5.

My native soil! belov’d before,

Now dearer, as my peaceful home,

Ne’er may I quit thy rocky shore,

A hapless banish’d wretch to roam!

This very day, this very hour,

May I resign this fleeting breath!

Nor quit my silent humble bower;

A doom, to me, far worse than death.

6.

Have I not heard the exile’s sigh,

And seen the exile’s silent tear,

Through distant climes condemn’d to fly,

A pensive, weary wanderer here?

Ah! hapless dame! 2 no sire bewails,

No friend thy wretched fate deplores,

No kindred voice with rapture hails

Thy steps within a stranger’s doors.

7.

Perish the fiend! whose iron heart

To fair affection’s truth unknown,

Bids her he fondly lov’d depart,

Unpitied, helpless, and alone;

Who ne’er unlocks with silver key, 3

The milder treasures of his soul;

May such a friend be far from me,

And Ocean’s storms between us roll!

1 The Greek heading does not appear in ‘Hours of Idleness’ or ‘Poems O. and T’.]

2 Medea, who accompanied Jason to Corinth, was deserted by him for the daughter of Creon, king of that city. The chorus, from which this is taken, here addresses Medea; though a considerable liberty is taken with the original, by expanding the idea, as also in some other parts of the translation.]

3 The original is [Greek: katharan anoixanta klaeda phrenon,] literally “disclosing the bright key of the mind.”]

Lachin y Gair. 1

1.

Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses!

In you let the minions of luxury rove:

Restore me the rocks, where the snow-flake reposes,

Though still they are sacred to freedom and love:

Yet, Caledonia, belov’d are thy mountains,

Round their white summits though elements war:

Though cataracts foam ‘stead of smooth-flowing fountains,

I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr.

2.

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy, wander’d:

My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid; 2

On chieftains, long perish’d, my memory ponder’d,

As daily I strode through the pine-cover’d glade;

I sought not my home, till the day’s dying glory

Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star;

For fancy was cheer’d, by traditional story,

Disclos’d by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.

3.

“Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices

Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?”

Surely, the soul of the hero rejoices,

And rides on the wind, o’er his own Highland vale!

Round Loch na Garr, while the stormy mist gathers,

Winter presides in his cold icy car:

Clouds, there, encircle the forms of my Fathers;

They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr.

4.

“Ill starr’d, 3 though brave, did no visions foreboding

Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?”

Ah! were you destined to die at Culloden, 4

Victory crown’d not your fall with applause:

Still were you happy, in death’s earthy slumber,

You rest with your clan, in the caves of Braemar; 5

The Pibroch 6 resounds, to the piper’s loud number,

Your deeds, on the echoes of dark Loch na Garr.

5.

Years have roll’d on, Loch na Garr, since I left you,

Years must elapse, ere I tread you again:

Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you,

Yet still are you dearer than Albion’s plain:

England! thy beauties are tame and domestic,

To one who has rov’d on the mountains afar:

Oh! for the crags that are wild and majestic,

The steep, frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr. 7

1 ‘Lachin y Gair’, or, as it is pronounced in the Erse, ‘Loch na Garr’, towers proudly preeminent in the Northern Highlands, near Invercauld. One of our modern tourists mentions it as the highest mountain, perhaps, in Great Britain. Be this as it may, it is certainly one of the most sublime and picturesque amongst our “Caledonian Alps.” Its appearance is of a dusky hue, but the summit is the seat of eternal snows. Near Lachin y Gair I spent some of the early part of my life, the recollection of which has given birth to the following stanzas. [Prefixed to the poem in ‘Hours of Idleness’ and ‘Poems O. and T.’]

2 This word is erroneously pronounced ‘plad’; the proper pronunciation (according to the Scotch) is shown by the orthography.]

3 I allude here to my maternal ancestors, “the Gordons,” many of whom fought for the unfortunate Prince Charles, better known by the name of the Pretender. This branch was nearly allied by blood, as well as attachment, to the Stuarts. George, the second Earl of Huntley, married the Princess Annabella Stuart, daughter of James I. of Scotland. By her he left four sons: the third, Sir William Gordon, I have the honour to claim as one of my progenitors.]

4 Whether any perished in the Battle of Culloden, I am not certain; but, as many fell in the insurrection, I have used the name of the principal action, “pars pro toto.”]

5 A tract of the Highlands so called. There is also a Castle of Braemar.]

6 The Bagpipe.—‘Hours of Idleness’. (See note, p. 133.)]

7 The love of mountains to the last made Byron

“Hail in each crag a friend’s familiar face,

And Loch na Garr with Ida looked o’er Troy.”

‘The Island’ (1823), Canto II. stanza xii.]

To Romance.

1.

Parent of golden dreams, Romance!

Auspicious Queen of childish joys,

Who lead’st along, in airy dance,

Thy votive train of girls and boys;

At length, in spells no longer bound,

I break the fetters of my youth;

No more I tread thy mystic round,

But leave thy realms for those of Truth.

2.

And yet ’tis hard to quit the dreams

Which haunt the unsuspicious soul,

Where every nymph a goddess seems,

Whose eyes through rays immortal roll;

While Fancy holds her boundless reign,

And all assume a varied hue;

When Virgins seem no longer vain,

And even Woman’s smiles are true.

3.

And must we own thee, but a name,

And from thy hall of clouds descend?

Nor find a Sylph in every dame,

A Pylades 1 in every friend?

But leave, at once, thy realms of air

To mingling bands of fairy elves;

Confess that woman’s false as fair,

And friends have feeling for—themselves?

4.

With shame, I own, I’ve felt thy sway;

Repentant, now thy reign is o’er;

No more thy precepts I obey,

No more on fancied pinions soar;

Fond fool! to love a sparkling eye,

And think that eye to truth was dear;

To trust a passing wanton’s sigh,

And melt beneath a wanton’s tear!

5.

Romance! disgusted with deceit,

Far from thy motley court I fly,

Where Affectation holds her seat,

And sickly Sensibility;

Whose silly tears can never flow

For any pangs excepting thine;

Who turns aside from real woe,

To steep in dew thy gaudy shrine.

6.

Now join with sable Sympathy,

With cypress crown’d, array’d in weeds,

Who heaves with thee her simple sigh,

Whose breast for every bosom bleeds;

And call thy sylvan female choir,

To mourn a Swain for ever gone,

Who once could glow with equal fire,

But bends not now before thy throne.

7.

Ye genial Nymphs, whose ready tears

On all occasions swiftly flow;

Whose bosoms heave with fancied fears,

With fancied flames and phrenzy glow

Say, will you mourn my absent name,

Apostate from your gentle train?

An infant Bard, at least, may claim

From you a sympathetic strain.

8.

Adieu, fond race! a long adieu!

The hour of fate is hovering nigh;

E’en now the gulf appears in view,

Where unlamented you must lie:

Oblivion’s blackening lake is seen,

Convuls’d by gales you cannot weather,

Where you, and eke your gentle queen,

Alas! must perish altogether.

1 It is hardly necessary to add, that Pylades was the companion of Orestes, and a partner in one of those friendships which, with those of Achilles and Patroclus, Nisus and Euryalus, Damon and Pythias, have been handed down to posterity as remarkable instances of attachments, which in all probability never existed beyond the imagination of the poet, or the page of an historian, or modern novelist.]

The Death of Calmar and Orla. 1

An Imitation of Macpherson’s “Ossian”. 2

Dear are the days of youth! Age dwells on their remembrance through the mist of time. In the twilight he recalls the sunny hours of morn. He lifts his spear with trembling hand. “Not thus feebly did I raise the steel before my fathers!” Past is the race of heroes! But their fame rises on the harp; their souls ride on the wings of the wind; they hear the sound through the sighs of the storm, and rejoice in their hall of clouds. Such is Calmar. The grey stone marks his narrow house. He looks down from eddying tempests: he rolls his form in the whirlwind, and hovers on the blast of the mountain.

In Morven dwelt the Chief; a beam of war to Fingal. His steps in the field were marked in blood. Lochlin’s sons had fled before his angry spear; but mild was the eye of Calmar; soft was the flow of his yellow locks: they streamed like the meteor of the night. No maid was the sigh of his soul: his thoughts were given to friendship,—to dark-haired Orla, destroyer of heroes! Equal were their swords in battle; but fierce was the pride of Orla:—gentle alone to Calmar. Together they dwelt in the cave of Oithona.

From Lochlin, Swaran bounded o’er the blue waves. Erin’s sons fell beneath his might. Fingal roused his chiefs to combat. Their ships cover the ocean! Their hosts throng on the green hills. They come to the aid of Erin.

Night rose in clouds. Darkness veils the armies. But the blazing oaks gleam through the valley. The sons of Lochlin slept: their dreams were of blood. They lift the spear in thought, and Fingal flies. Not so the Host of Morven. To watch was the post of Orla. Calmar stood by his side. Their spears were in their hands. Fingal called his chiefs: they stood around. The king was in the midst. Grey were his locks, but strong was the arm of the king. Age withered not his powers. “Sons of Morven,” said the hero, “tomorrow we meet the foe. But where is Cuthullin, the shield of Erin? He rests in the halls of Tura; he knows not of our coming. Who will speed through Lochlin, to the hero, and call the chief to arms? The path is by the swords of foes; but many are my heroes. They are thunderbolts of war. Speak, ye chiefs! Who will arise?”

“Son of Trenmor! mine be the deed,” said dark-haired Orla, “and mine alone. What is death to me? I love the sleep of the mighty, but little is the danger. The sons of Lochlin dream. I will seek car-borne Cuthullin. If I fall, raise the song of bards; and lay me by the stream of Lubar.”—“And shalt thou fall alone?” said fair-haired Calmar. “Wilt thou leave thy friend afar? Chief of Oithona! not feeble is my arm in fight. Could I see thee die, and not lift the spear? No, Orla! ours has been the chase of the roebuck, and the feast of shells; ours be the path of danger: ours has been the cave of Oithona; ours be the narrow dwelling on the banks of Lubar.”—“Calmar,” said the chief of Oithona, “why should thy yellow locks be darkened in the dust of Erin? Let me fall alone. My father dwells in his hall of air: he will rejoice in his boy; but the blue-eyed Mora spreads the feast for her Son in Morven. She listens to the steps of the hunter on the heath, and thinks it is the tread of Calmar. Let her not say, ‘Calmar has fallen by the steel of Lochlin: he died with gloomy Orla, the chief of the dark brow.’ Why should tears dim the azure eye of Mora? Why should her voice curse Orla, the destroyer of Calmar? Live Calmar! Live to raise my stone of moss; live to revenge me in the blood of Lochlin. Join the song of bards above my grave. Sweet will be the song of Death to Orla, from the voice of Calmar. My ghost shall smile on the notes of Praise.” “Orla,” said the son of Mora, “could I raise the song of Death to my friend? Could I give his fame to the winds? No, my heart would speak in sighs: faint and broken are the sounds of sorrow. Orla! our souls shall hear the song together. One cloud shall be ours on high: the bards will mingle the names of Orla and Calmar.”

They quit the circle of the Chiefs. Their steps are to the Host of Lochlin. The dying blaze of oak dim-twinkles through the night. The northern star points the path to Tura. Swaran, the King, rests on his lonely hill. Here the troops are mixed: they frown in sleep; their shields beneath their heads. Their swords gleam, at distance in heaps. The fires are faint; their embers fail in smoke. All is hushed; but the gale sighs on the rocks above. Lightly wheel the Heroes through the slumbering band. Half the journey is past, when Mathon, resting on his shield, meets the eye of Orla. It rolls in flame, and glistens through the shade. His spear is raised on high. “Why dost thou bend thy brow, chief of Oithona?” said fair-haired Calmar: “we are in the midst of foes. Is this a time for delay?” “It is a time for vengeance,” said Orla of the gloomy brow. “Mathon of Lochlin sleeps: seest thou his spear? Its point is dim with the gore of my father. The blood of Mathon shall reek on mine: but shall I slay him sleeping, Son of Mora? No! he shall feel his wound: my fame shall not soar on the blood of slumber. Rise, Mathon, rise! The Son of Conna calls; thy life is his; rise to combat.” Mathon starts from sleep: but did he rise alone? No: the gathering Chiefs bound on the plain. “Fly! Calmar, fly!” said dark-haired Orla. “Mathon is mine. I shall die in joy: but Lochlin crowds around. Fly through the shade of night.” Orla turns. The helm of Mathon is cleft; his shield falls from his arm: he shudders in his blood. He rolls by the side of the blazing oak. Strumon sees him fall: his wrath rises: his weapon glitters on the head of Orla: but a spear pierced his eye. His brain gushes through the wound, and foams on the spear of Calmar. As roll the waves of the Ocean on two mighty barks of the North, so pour the men of Lochlin on the Chiefs. As, breaking the surge in foam, proudly steer the barks of the North, so rise the Chiefs of Morven on the scattered crests of Lochlin. The din of arms came to the ear of Fingal. He strikes his shield; his sons throng around; the people pour along the heath. Ryno bounds in joy. Ossian stalks in his arms. Oscar shakes the spear. The eagle wing of Fillan floats on the wind. Dreadful is the clang of death! many are the Widows of Lochlin. Morven prevails in its strength.

Morn glimmers on the hills: no living foe is seen; but the sleepers are many; grim they lie on Erin. The breeze of Ocean lifts their locks; yet they do not awake. The hawks scream above their prey.

Whose yellow locks wave o’er the breast of a chief? Bright as the gold of the stranger, they mingle with the dark hair of his friend. ’Tis Calmar: he lies on the bosom of Orla. Theirs is one stream of blood. Fierce is the look of the gloomy Orla. He breathes not; but his eye is still a flame. It glares in death unclosed. His hand is grasped in Calmar’s; but Calmar lives! he lives, though low. “Rise,” said the king, “rise, son of Mora: ’tis mine to heal the wounds of Heroes. Calmar may yet bound on the hills of Morven.”

“Never more shall Calmar chase the deer of Morven with Orla,” said the Hero. “What were the chase to me alone? Who would share the spoils of battle with Calmar? Orla is at rest! Rough was thy soul, Orla! yet soft to me as the dew of morn. It glared on others in lightning: to me a silver beam of night. Bear my sword to blue-eyed Mora; let it hang in my empty hall. It is not pure from blood: but it could not save Orla. Lay me with my friend: raise the song when I am dark!”

They are laid by the stream of Lubar. Four grey stones mark the dwelling of Orla and Calmar. When Swaran was bound, our sails rose on the blue waves. The winds gave our barks to Morven:—the bards raised the song.

“What Form rises on the roar of clouds? Whose dark Ghost gleams on the red streams of tempests? His voice rolls on the thunder. ’Tis Orla, the brown Chief of Oithona. He was unmatched in war. Peace to thy soul, Orla! thy fame will not perish. Nor thine, Calmar! Lovely wast thou, son of blue-eyed Mora; but not harmless was thy sword. It hangs in thy cave. The Ghosts of Lochlin shriek around its steel. Hear thy praise, Calmar! It dwells on the voice of the mighty. Thy name shakes on the echoes of Morven. Then raise thy fair locks, son of Mora. Spread them on the arch of the rainbow, and smile through the tears of the storm. 3

1 The MS. is preserved at Newstead.]

2 It may be necessary to observe, that the story, though considerably varied in the catastrophe, is taken from “Nisus and Euryalus,” of which episode a translation is already given in the present volume [see pp. 151–168].]

3 I fear Laing’s late edition has completely overthrown every hope that Macpherson’s ‘Ossian’ might prove the translation of a series of poems complete in themselves; but, while the imposture is discovered, the merit of the work remains undisputed, though not without faults—particularly, in some parts, turgid and bombastic diction.—The present humble imitation will be pardoned by the admirers of the original as an attempt, however inferior, which evinces an attachment to their favourite author. [Malcolm Laing (1762–1818) published, in 1802, a ‘History of Scotland, etc.’, with a dissertation “on the supposed authenticity of Ossian’s Poems,” and, in 1805, a work entitled ‘The Poems of Ossian, etc., containing the Poetical Works of James Macpherson, Esq., in Prose and Rhyme, with Notes and Illustrations’.]

To Edward Noel Long, Esq. 1

“Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico.”—HORACE.

Dear LONG, in this sequester’d scene,

While all around in slumber lie,

The joyous days, which ours have been

Come rolling fresh on Fancy’s eye;

Thus, if, amidst the gathering storm,

While clouds the darken’d noon deform,

Yon heaven assumes a varied glow,

I hail the sky’s celestial bow,

Which spreads the sign of future peace,

And bids the war of tempests cease.

Ah! though the present brings but pain,

I think those days may come again;

Or if, in melancholy mood,

Some lurking envious fear intrude,

To check my bosom’s fondest thought,

And interrupt the golden dream,

I crush the fiend with malice fraught,

And, still, indulge my wonted theme.

Although we ne’er again can trace,

In Granta’s vale, the pedant’s lore,

Nor through the groves of Ida chase

Our raptured visions, as before;

Though Youth has flown on rosy pinion,

And Manhood claims his stern dominion,

Age will not every hope destroy,

But yield some hours of sober joy.

Yes, I will hope that Time’s broad wing

Will shed around some dews of spring:

But, if his scythe must sweep the flowers

Which bloom among the fairy bowers,

Where smiling Youth delights to dwell,

And hearts with early rapture swell;

If frowning Age, with cold controul,

Confines the current of the soul,

Congeals the tear of Pity’s eye,

Or checks the sympathetic sigh,

Or hears, unmov’d, Misfortune’s groan

And bids me feel for self alone;

Oh! may my bosom never learn

To soothe its wonted heedless flow;

Still, still, despise the censor stern,

But ne’er forget another’s woe.

Yes, as you knew me in the days,

O’er which Remembrance yet delays,

Still may I rove untutor’d, wild,

And even in age, at heart a child.

Though, now, on airy visions borne,

To you my soul is still the same.

Oft has it been my fate to mourn,

And all my former joys are tame:

But, hence! ye hours of sable hue!

Your frowns are gone, my sorrows o’er:

By every bliss my childhood knew,

I’ll think upon your shade no more.

Thus, when the whirlwind’s rage is past,

And caves their sullen roar enclose

We heed no more the wintry blast,

When lull’d by zephyr to repose.

Full often has my infant Muse,

Attun’d to love her languid lyre;

But, now, without a theme to choose,

The strains in stolen sighs expire.

My youthful nymphs, alas! are flown;

E——is a wife, and C——a mother,

And Carolina sighs alone,

And Mary’s given to another;

And Cora’s eye, which roll’d on me,

Can now no more my love recall—

In truth, dear LONG, ’twas time to flee—

For Cora’s eye will shine on all.

And though the Sun, with genial rays,

His beams alike to all displays,

And every lady’s eye’s a sun,

These last should be confin’d to one.

The soul’s meridian don’t become her,

Whose Sun displays a general summer!

Thus faint is every former flame,

And Passion’s self is now a name;

As, when the ebbing flames are low,

The aid which once improv’d their light,

And bade them burn with fiercer glow,

Now quenches all their sparks in night;

Thus has it been with Passion’s fires,

As many a boy and girl remembers,

While all the force of love expires,

Extinguish’d with the dying embers.

But now, dear LONG, ’tis midnight’s noon,

And clouds obscure the watery moon,

Whose beauties I shall not rehearse,

Describ’d in every stripling’s verse;

For why should I the path go o’er

Which every bard has trod before?

Yet ere yon silver lamp of night

Has thrice perform’d her stated round,

Has thrice retrac’d her path of light,

And chas’d away the gloom profound,

I trust, that we, my gentle Friend,

Shall see her rolling orbit wend,

Above the dear-lov’d peaceful seat,

Which once contain’d our youth’s retreat;

And, then, with those our childhood knew,

We’ll mingle in the festive crew;

While many a tale of former day

Shall wing the laughing hours away;

And all the flow of souls shall pour

The sacred intellectual shower,

Nor cease, till Luna’s waning horn,

Scarce glimmers through the mist of Morn.

1 The MS. of these verses is at Newstead. Long was with Byron at Harrow, and was the only one of his intimate friends who went up at the same time as he did to Cambridge, where both were noted for feats of swimming and diving. Long entered the Guards, and served in the expedition to Copenhagen. He was drowned early in 1809, when on his way to join the army in the Peninsula; the transport in which he sailed being run down in the night by another of the convoy. “Long’s father,” says Byron, “wrote to me to write his son’s epitaph. I promised—but I had not the heart to complete it. He was such a good, amiable being as rarely remains long in this world; with talent and accomplishments, too, to make him the more regretted.”—‘Diary’, 1821; ‘Life’, p. 32. See also memorandum (‘Life’, p. 31, col. ii.).]

To a Lady.

1.

Oh! had my Fate been join’d with thine, 1

As once this pledge appear’d a token,

These follies had not, then, been mine,

For, then, my peace had not been broken.

2.

To thee, these early faults I owe,

To thee, the wise and old reproving:

They know my sins, but do not know

’Twas thine to break the bonds of loving.

3.

For once my soul, like thine, was pure,

And all its rising fires could smother;

But, now, thy vows no more endure,

Bestow’d by thee upon another.

4.

Perhaps, his peace I could destroy,

And spoil the blisses that await him;

Yet let my Rival smile in joy,

For thy dear sake, I cannot hate him.

5.

Ah! since thy angel form is gone,

My heart no more can rest with any;

But what it sought in thee alone,

Attempts, alas! to find in many.

6.

Then, fare thee well, deceitful Maid!

’Twere vain and fruitless to regret thee;

Nor Hope, nor Memory yield their aid,

But Pride may teach me to forget thee.

7.

Yet all this giddy waste of years,

This tiresome round of palling pleasures;

These varied loves, these matrons’ fears,

These thoughtless strains to Passion’s measures—

8.

If thou wert mine, had all been hush’d:—

This cheek, now pale from early riot,

With Passion’s hectic ne’er had flush’d,

But bloom’d in calm domestic quiet.

9.

Yes, once the rural Scene was sweet,

For Nature seem’d to smile before thee;

And once my Breast abhorr’d deceit,—

For then it beat but to adore thee.

10.

But, now, I seek for other joys—

To think, would drive my soul to madness;

In thoughtless throngs, and empty noise,

I conquer half my Bosom’s sadness.

11.

Yet, even in these, a thought will steal,

In spite of every vain endeavour;

And fiends might pity what I feel—

To know that thou art lost for ever.

1 These verses were addressed to Mrs. Chaworth Musters. Byron wrote in 1822, “Our meetings were stolen ones. ... A gate leading from Mr. Chaworth’s grounds to those of my mother was the place of our interviews. The ardour was all on my side. I was serious; she was volatile: she liked me as a younger brother, and treated and laughed at me as a boy; she, however, gave me her picture, and that was something to make verses upon. Had I married her, perhaps, the whole tenour of my life would have been different.” Medwin’s ‘Conversations’, 1824, p. 81.]

Poems Original and Translated

When I Roved A Young Highlander.

1.

When I rov’d a young Highlander o’er the dark heath,

And climb’d thy steep summit, oh Morven of snow! 1

To gaze on the torrent that thunder’d beneath,

Or the mist of the tempest that gather’d below; 2

Untutor’d by science, a stranger to fear,

And rude as the rocks, where my infancy grew,

No feeling, save one, to my bosom was dear;

Need I say, my sweet Mary, 3 ’twas centred in you?

2.

Yet it could not be Love, for I knew not the name,—

What passion can dwell in the heart of a child?

But, still, I perceive an emotion the same

As I felt, when a boy, on the crag-cover’d wild:

One image, alone, on my bosom impress’d,

I lov’d my bleak regions, nor panted for new;

And few were my wants, for my wishes were bless’d,

And pure were my thoughts, for my soul was with you.

3.

I arose with the dawn, with my dog as my guide,

From mountain to mountain I bounded along;

I breasted 4 the billows of Dee’s 5 rushing tide,

And heard at a distance the Highlander’s song:

At eve, on my heath-cover’d couch of repose.

No dreams, save of Mary, were spread to my view;

And warm to the skies my devotions arose,

For the first of my prayers was a blessing on you.

4.

I left my bleak home, and my visions are gone;

The mountains are vanish’d, my youth is no more;

As the last of my race, I must wither alone,

And delight but in days, I have witness’d before:

Ah! splendour has rais’d, but embitter’d my lot;

More dear were the scenes which my infancy knew:

Though my hopes may have fail’d, yet they are not

forgot,

Though cold is my heart, still it lingers with you.

5.

When I see some dark hill point its crest to the sky,

I think of the rocks that o’ershadow Colbleen; 6

When I see the soft blue of a love-speaking eye,

I think of those eyes that endear’d the rude scene;

When, haply, some light-waving locks I behold,

That faintly resemble my Mary’s in hue,

I think on the long flowing ringlets of gold,

The locks that were sacred to beauty, and you.

6.

Yet the day may arrive, when the mountains once more

Shall rise to my sight, in their mantles of snow;

But while these soar above me, unchang’d as before,

Will Mary be there to receive me?—ah, no!

Adieu, then, ye hills, where my childhood was bred!

Thou sweet flowing Dee, to thy waters adieu!

No home in the forest shall shelter my head,—

Ah! Mary, what home could be mine, but with you?

1 Morven, a lofty mountain in Aberdeenshire. “Gormal of snow” is an expression frequently to be found in Ossian.]

2 This will not appear extraordinary to those who have been accustomed to the mountains. It is by no means uncommon, on attaining the top of Ben-e-vis, Ben-y-bourd, etc., to perceive, between the summit and the valley, clouds pouring down rain, and occasionally accompanied by lightning, while the spectator literally looks down upon the storm, perfectly secure from its effects.]

3 Byron, in early youth, was “unco’ wastefu’” of Marys. There was his distant cousin, Mary Duff (afterwards Mrs. Robert Cockburn), who lived not far from the “Plain–Stanes” at Aberdeen. Her “brown, dark hair, and hazel eyes—her very dress,” were long years after “a perfect image” in his memory (Life, p. 9). Secondly, there was the Mary of these stanzas, “with long-flowing ringlets of gold,” the “Highland Mary” of local tradition. She was (writes the Rev. J. Michie, of The Manse, Dinnet) the daughter of James Robertson, of the farmhouse of Ballatrich on Deeside, where Byron used to spend his summer holidays (1796–98). She was of gentle birth, and through her mother, the daughter of Captain Macdonald of Rineton, traced her descent to the Lord of the Isles. “She died at Aberdeen, March 2, 1867, aged eighty-five years.” A third Mary (see “Lines to Mary,” etc., p. 32) flits through the early poems, evanescent but unspiritual. Last of all, there was Mary Anne Chaworth, of Annesley (see “A Fragment,” etc., p. 210; “The Adieu,” st. 6, p. 239, etc.), whose marriage, in 1805, “threw him out again—alone on a wide, wide sea” (Life, p. 85).]

4 “Breasting the lofty surge” (Shakespeare).]

5 The Dee is a beautiful river, which rises near Mar Lodge, and falls into the sea at New Aberdeen.]

6 Colbleen is a mountain near the verge of the Highlands, not far from the ruins of Dee Castle.]

To the Duke of Dorset. 1

Dorset! whose early steps with mine have stray’d,

Exploring every path of Ida’s glade;

Whom, still, affection taught me to defend,

And made me less a tyrant than a friend,

Though the harsh custom of our youthful band

Bade thee obey, and gave me to command; 2

Thee, on whose head a few short years will shower

The gift of riches, and the pride of power;

E’en now a name illustrious is thine own,

Renown’d in rank, not far beneath the throne. 10

Yet, Dorset, let not this seduce thy soul

To shun fair science, or evade controul;

Though passive tutors, 3 fearful to dispraise

The titled child, whose future breath may raise,

View ducal errors with indulgent eyes,

And wink at faults they tremble to chastise.

When youthful parasites, who bend the knee

To wealth, their golden idol, not to thee,—

And even in simple boyhood’s opening dawn

Some slaves are found to flatter and to fawn,— 20

When these declare, “that pomp alone should wait

On one by birth predestin’d to be great;

That books were only meant for drudging fools,

That gallant spirits scorn the common rules;”

Believe them not,—they point the path to shame,

And seek to blast the honours of thy name:

Turn to the few in Ida’s early throng,

Whose souls disdain not to condemn the wrong;

Or if, amidst the comrades of thy youth,

None dare to raise the sterner voice of truth, 30

Ask thine own heart—’twill bid thee, boy, forbear!

For well I know that virtue lingers there.

Yes! I have mark’d thee many a passing day,

But now new scenes invite me far away;

Yes! I have mark’d within that generous mind

A soul, if well matur’d, to bless mankind;

Ah! though myself, by nature haughty, wild,

Whom Indiscretion hail’d her favourite child;

Though every error stamps me for her own,

And dooms my fall, I fain would fall alone; 40

Though my proud heart no precept, now, can tame,

I love the virtues which I cannot claim.

’Tis not enough, with other sons of power,

To gleam the lambent meteor of an hour;

To swell some peerage page in feeble pride,

With long-drawn names that grace no page beside;

Then share with titled crowds the common lot—

In life just gaz’d at, in the grave forgot;

While nought divides thee from the vulgar dead,

Except the dull cold stone that hides thy head, 50

The mouldering ‘scutcheon, or the Herald’s roll,

That well-emblazon’d but neglected scroll,

Where Lords, unhonour’d, in the tomb may find

One spot, to leave a worthless name behind.

There sleep, unnotic’d as the gloomy vaults

That veil their dust, their follies, and their faults,

A race, with old armorial lists o’erspread,

In records destin’d never to be read.

Fain would I view thee, with prophetic eyes,

Exalted more among the good and wise; 60

A glorious and a long career pursue,

As first in Rank, the first in Talent too:

Spurn every vice, each little meanness shun;

Not Fortune’s minion, but her noblest son.

Turn to the annals of a former day;

Bright are the deeds thine earlier Sires display;

One, though a courtier, lived a man of worth,

And call’d, proud boast! the British drama forth. 4

Another view! not less renown’d for Wit;

Alike for courts, and camps, or senates fit; 70

Bold in the field, and favour’d by the Nine;

In every splendid part ordain’d to shine;

Far, far distinguished from the glittering throng,

The pride of Princes, and the boast of Song. 5

Such were thy Fathers; thus preserve their name,

Not heir to titles only, but to Fame.

The hour draws nigh, a few brief days will close,

To me, this little scene of joys and woes;

Each knell of Time now warns me to resign

Shades where Hope, Peace, and Friendship all were mine: 80

Hope, that could vary like the rainbow’s hue,

And gild their pinions, as the moments flew;

Peace, that reflection never frown’d away,

By dreams of ill to cloud some future day;

Friendship, whose truth let Childhood only tell;

Alas! they love not long, who love so well.

To these adieu! nor let me linger o’er

Scenes hail’d, as exiles hail their native shore,

Receding slowly, through the dark-blue deep,

Beheld by eyes that mourn, yet cannot weep. 90

Dorset, farewell! I will not ask one part

Of sad remembrance in so young a heart;

The coming morrow from thy youthful mind

Will sweep my name, nor leave a trace behind.

And, yet, perhaps, in some maturer year,

Since chance has thrown us in the self-same sphere,

Since the same senate, nay, the same debate,

May one day claim our suffrage for the state,

We hence may meet, and pass each other by

With faint regard, or cold and distant eye. 100

For me, in future, neither friend nor foe,

A stranger to thyself, thy weal or woe—

With thee no more again I hope to trace

The recollection of our early race;

No more, as once, in social hours rejoice,

Or hear, unless in crowds, thy well-known voice;

Still, if the wishes of a heart untaught

To veil those feelings, which, perchance, it ought,

If these,—but let me cease the lengthen’d strain,—

Oh! if these wishes are not breath’d in vain, 110

The Guardian Seraph who directs thy fate

Will leave thee glorious, as he found thee great.

1805.

1 In looking over my papers to select a few additional poems for this second edition, I found the above lines, which I had totally forgotten, composed in the summer of 1805, a short time previous to my departure from H[arrow]. They were addressed to a young schoolfellow of high rank, who had been my frequent companion in some rambles through the neighbouring country: however, he never saw the lines, and most probably never will. As, on a reperusal, I found them not worse than some other pieces in the collection, I have now published them, for the first time, after a slight revision. [The foregoing note was prefixed to the poem in ‘Poems O. and T’. George John Frederick, 4th Duke of Dorset, born 1793, was killed by a fall from his horse when hunting, in 1815, while on a visit to his step-father the Earl of Whitworth, Lord–Lieutenant of Ireland. (See Byron’s letter to Moore, Feb. 22, 1815).]]

2 At every public school the junior boys are completely subservient to the upper forms till they attain a seat in the higher classes. From this state of probation, very properly, no rank is exempt; but after a certain period, they command in turn those who succeed.]

3 Allow me to disclaim any personal allusions, even the most distant. I merely mention generally what is too often the weakness of preceptors.]

4 “Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, was born in 1527. While a student of the Inner Temple, he wrote his tragedy of ‘Gorboduc’, which was played before Queen Elizabeth at Whitehall, in 1561. This tragedy, and his contribution of the Induction and legend of the Duke of Buckingham to the ‘Mirrour for Magistraytes’, compose the poetical history of Sackville. The rest of it was political. In 1604, he was created Earl of Dorset by James I. He died suddenly at the council-table, in consequence of a dropsy on the brain.”—‘Specimens of the British Poets’, by Thomas Campbell, London, 1819, ii. 134, ‘sq’.]

5 Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset [1637–1706], esteemed the most accomplished man of his day, was alike distinguished in the voluptuous court of Charles II. and the gloomy one of William III. He behaved with great gallantry in the sea-fight with the Dutch in 1665; on the day previous to which he composed his celebrated song [”‘To all you Ladies now at Land’"]. His character has been drawn in the highest colours by Dryden, Pope, Prior, and Congreve. ‘Vide’ Anderson’s ‘British Poets’, 1793, vi. 107, 108.]

To the Earl of Clare.

Tu semper amoris

Sis memor, et cari comitis ne abscedat imago.

VAL. FLAC. ‘Argonaut’, iv. 36.

1.

Friend of my youth! when young we rov’d,

Like striplings, mutually belov’d,

With Friendship’s purest glow;

The bliss, which wing’d those rosy hours,

Was such as Pleasure seldom showers

On mortals here below.

2.

The recollection seems, alone,

Dearer than all the joys I’ve known,

When distant far from you:

Though pain, ’tis still a pleasing pain,

To trace those days and hours again,

And sigh again, adieu!

3.

My pensive mem’ry lingers o’er,

Those scenes to be enjoy’d no more,

Those scenes regretted ever;

The measure of our youth is full,

Life’s evening dream is dark and dull,

And we may meet—ah! never!

4.

As when one parent spring supplies

Two streams, which from one fountain rise,

Together join’d in vain;

How soon, diverging from their source,

Each, murmuring, seeks another course,

Till mingled in the Main!

5.

Our vital streams of weal or woe,

Though near, alas! distinctly flow,

Nor mingle as before:

Now swift or slow, now black or clear,

Till Death’s unfathom’d gulph appear,

And both shall quit the shore.

6.

Our souls, my Friend! which once supplied

One wish, nor breathed a thought beside,

Now flow in different channels:

Disdaining humbler rural sports,

’Tis yours to mix in polish’d courts,

And shine in Fashion’s annals;

7.

’Tis mine to waste on love my time,

Or vent my reveries in rhyme,

Without the aid of Reason;

For Sense and Reason (critics know it)

Have quitted every amorous Poet,

Nor left a thought to seize on.

8.

Poor LITTLE! sweet, melodious bard!

Of late esteem’d it monstrous hard

That he, who sang before all;

He who the lore of love expanded,

By dire Reviewers should be branded,

As void of wit and moral. 1

9.

And yet, while Beauty’s praise is thine,

Harmonious favourite of the Nine!

Repine not at thy lot.

Thy soothing lays may still be read,

When Persecution’s arm is dead,

And critics are forgot.

10.

Still I must yield those worthies merit

Who chasten, with unsparing spirit,

Bad rhymes, and those who write them:

And though myself may be the next

By critic sarcasm to be vext,

I really will not fight them. 2

11.

Perhaps they would do quite as well

To break the rudely sounding shell

Of such a young beginner:

He who offends at pert nineteen,

Ere thirty may become, I ween,

A very harden’d sinner.

12.

Now, Clare, I must return to you;

And, sure, apologies are due:

Accept, then, my concession.

In truth, dear Clare, in Fancy’s flight

I soar along from left to right;

My Muse admires digression.

13.

I think I said ’twould be your fate

To add one star to royal state;—

May regal smiles attend you!

And should a noble Monarch reign,

You will not seek his smiles in vain,

If worth can recommend you.

14.

Yet since in danger courts abound,

Where specious rivals glitter round,

From snares may Saints preserve you;

And grant your love or friendship ne’er

From any claim a kindred care,

But those who best deserve you!

15.

Not for a moment may you stray

From Truth’s secure, unerring way!

May no delights decoy!

O’er roses may your footsteps move,

Your smiles be ever smiles of love,

Your tears be tears of joy!

16.

Oh! if you wish that happiness

Your coming days and years may bless,

And virtues crown your brow;

Be still as you were wont to be,

Spotless as you’ve been known to me,—

Be still as you are now. 3

17.

And though some trifling share of praise,

To cheer my last declining days,

To me were doubly dear;

Whilst blessing your beloved name,

I’d waive at once a Poet’s fame,

To prove a Prophet here.

1807.

1 These stanzas were written soon after the appearance of a severe critique in a northern review, on a new publication of the British Anacreon. (Byron refers to the article in the ‘Edinburgh Review’, of July, 1807, on “‘Epistles, Odes, and other Poems’, by Thomas Little, Esq.”)]

2 A bard [Moore] (‘Horresco referens’) defied his reviewer [Jeffrey] to mortal combat. If this example becomes prevalent, our Periodical Censors must be dipped in the river Styx: for what else can secure them from the numerous host of their enraged assailants? [Cf. ‘English Bards’, l. 466, ‘note’.]]

3

“Of all I have ever known, Clare has always been the least altered in everything from the excellent qualities and kind affections which attached me to him so strongly at school. I should hardly have thought it possible for society (or the world, as it is called) to leave a being with so little of the leaven of bad passions. I do not speak from personal experience only, but from all I have ever heard of him from others, during absence and distance.”

‘Detached Thoughts’, Nov. 5, 1821; ‘Life’, p. 540.]

I would I were a careless child.

1

I would I were a careless child,

Still dwelling in my Highland cave,

Or roaming through the dusky wild,

Or bounding o’er the dark blue wave;

The cumbrous pomp of Saxon 1 pride,

Accords not with the freeborn soul,

Which loves the mountain’s craggy side,

And seeks the rocks where billows roll.

2.

Fortune! take back these cultur’d lands,

Take back this name of splendid sound!

I hate the touch of servile hands,

I hate the slaves that cringe around:

Place me among the rocks I love,

Which sound to Ocean’s wildest roar;

I ask but this—again to rove

Through scenes my youth hath known before.

3.

Few are my years, and yet I feel

The World was ne’er design’d for me:

Ah! why do dark’ning shades conceal

The hour when man must cease to be?

Once I beheld a splendid dream,

A visionary scene of bliss:

Truth!—wherefore did thy hated beam

Awake me to a world like this?

4.

I lov’d—but those I lov’d are gone;

Had friends—my early friends are fled:

How cheerless feels the heart alone,

When all its former hopes are dead!

Though gay companions, o’er the bowl

Dispel awhile the sense of ill;

Though Pleasure stirs the maddening soul,

The heart—the heart—is lonely still.

5.

How dull! to hear the voice of those

Whom Rank or Chance, whom Wealth or Power,

Have made, though neither friends nor foes,

Associates of the festive hour.

Give me again a faithful few,

In years and feelings still the same,

And I will fly the midnight crew,

Where boist’rous Joy is but a name.

6.

And Woman, lovely Woman! thou,

My hope, my comforter, my all!

How cold must be my bosom now,

When e’en thy smiles begin to pall!

Without a sigh would I resign,

This busy scene of splendid Woe,

To make that calm contentment mine,

Which Virtue knows, or seems to know.

7.

Fain would I fly the haunts of men 2

I seek to shun, not hate mankind;

My breast requires the sullen glen,

Whose gloom may suit a darken’d mind.

Oh! that to me the wings were given,

Which bear the turtle to her nest!

Then would I cleave the vault of Heaven,

To flee away, and be at rest. 3

1 Sassenach, or Saxon, a Gaelic word, signifying either Lowland or English.]

2 Shyness was a family characteristic of the Byrons. The poet continued in later years to have a horror of being observed by unaccustomed eyes, and in the country would, if possible, avoid meeting strangers on the road.]

3 “And I said, O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm iv. 6.) This verse also constitutes a part of the most beautiful anthem in our language.]

Lines Written Beneath an Elm in the Churchyard of Harrow. 1

Spot of my youth! whose hoary branches sigh,

Swept by the breeze that fans thy cloudless sky;

Where now alone I muse, who oft have trod,

With those I loved, thy soft and verdant sod;

With those who, scatter’d far, perchance deplore,

Like me, the happy scenes they knew before:

Oh! as I trace again thy winding hill,

Mine eyes admire, my heart adores thee still,

Thou drooping Elm! beneath whose boughs I lay,

And frequent mus’d the twilight hours away;

Where, as they once were wont, my limbs recline,

But, ah! without the thoughts which then were mine:

How do thy branches, moaning to the blast,

Invite the bosom to recall the past,

And seem to whisper, as they gently swell,

“Take, while thou canst, a lingering, last farewell!”

When Fate shall chill, at length, this fever’d breast,

And calm its cares and passions into rest,

Oft have I thought, ’twould soothe my dying hour,—

If aught may soothe, when Life resigns her power,—

To know some humbler grave, some narrow cell,

Would hide my bosom where it lov’d to dwell;

With this fond dream, methinks ’twere sweet to die—

And here it linger’d, here my heart might lie;

Here might I sleep where all my hopes arose,

Scene of my youth, and couch of my repose;

For ever stretch’d beneath this mantling shade,

Press’d by the turf where once my childhood play’d;

Wrapt by the soil that veils the spot I lov’d,

Mix’d with the earth o’er which my footsteps mov’d;

Blest by the tongues that charm’d my youthful ear,

Mourn’d by the few my soul acknowledged here;

Deplor’d by those in early days allied,

And unremember’d by the world beside.

September 2, 1807.

1 On the death of his daughter, Allegra, in April, 1822, Byron sent her remains to be buried at Harrow, “where,” he says, in a letter to Murray, “I once hoped to have laid my own.” “There is,” he wrote, May 26, “a spot in the church’yard’, near the footpath, on the brow of the hill looking towards Windsor, and a tomb under a large tree (bearing the name of Peachie, or Peachey), where I used to sit for hours and hours when a boy. This was my favourite spot; but as I wish to erect a tablet to her memory, the body had better be deposited in the ‘church’.” No tablet was, however, erected, and Allegra sleeps in her unmarked grave inside the church, a few feet to the right of the entrance.]

Early Poems from Various Sources

Fragment, Written Shortly after the Marriage of Miss Chaworth. 1

First published in Moore’s ‘Letters and Journals of Lord Byron’, 1830, i. 56

1.

Hills of Annesley, Bleak and Barren,

Where my thoughtless Childhood stray’d,

How the northern Tempests, warring,

Howl above thy tufted Shade!

2.

Now no more, the Hours beguiling,

Former favourite Haunts I see;

Now no more my Mary smiling,

Makes ye seem a Heaven to Me.

1805.

1 Miss Chaworth was married to John Musters, Esq., in August, 1805. The stanzas were first published in Moore’s Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, 1830, i. 56. (See, too, The Dream, st. ii. 1. 9.) The original MS. (which is in the possession of Mrs. Chaworth Musters) formerly belonged to Miss E. B. Pigot, according to whom they “were written by Lord Byron in 1804.” “We were reading Burns’ Farewell to Ayrshire

Scenes of woe and Scenes of pleasure

Scenes that former thoughts renew

Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure

Now a sad and last adieu, etc.

when he said, ‘I like that metre; let me try it,’ and taking up a pencil, wrote those on the other side in an instant. I read them to Moore, and at his particular request I copied them for him.”-E. B. Pigot, 1859.

On the fly-leaf of the same volume (Poetry of Robert Burns, vol. iv. Third Edition, 1802), containing the Farewell to Ayrshire, Byron wrote in pencil the two stanzas “Oh! little lock of golden hue,” in 1806 (vide post, p. 233).

It may be noted that the verses quoted, though included until recently among his poems, were not written by Burns, but by Richard Gall, who died in 1801, aged 25.]

Remembrance.

’Tis done!—I saw it in my dreams:

No more with Hope the future beams;

My days of happiness are few:

Chill’d by Misfortune’s wintry blast,

My dawn of Life is overcast;

Love, Hope, and Joy, alike adieu!

Would I could add Remembrance too!

1806. [First published, 1832.]

To a Lady Who Presented The Author With The Velvet Band Which Bound Her Tresses.

1.

This Band, which bound thy yellow hair

Is mine, sweet girl! thy pledge of love;

It claims my warmest, dearest care,

Like relics left of saints above.

2.

Oh! I will wear it next my heart;

’Twill bind my soul in bonds to thee:

From me again ’twill ne’er depart,

But mingle in the grave with me.

3.

The dew I gather from thy lip

Is not so dear to me as this;

That I but for a moment sip,

And banquet on a transient bliss:

4.

This will recall each youthful scene,

E’en when our lives are on the wane;

The leaves of Love will still be green

When Memory bids them bud again.

1806. [First published, 1832.]

To a Knot of Ungenerous Critics. 1

Rail on, Rail on, ye heartless crew!

My strains were never meant for you;

Remorseless Rancour still reveal,

And damn the verse you cannot feel.

Invoke those kindred passions’ aid,

Whose baleful stings your breasts pervade;

Crush, if you can, the hopes of youth,

Trampling regardless on the Truth:

Truth’s Records you consult in vain,

She will not blast her native strain;

She will assist her votary’s cause,

His will at least be her applause,

Your prayer the gentle Power will spurn;

To Fiction’s motley altar turn,

Who joyful in the fond address

Her favoured worshippers will bless:

And lo! she holds a magic glass,

Where Images reflected pass,

Bent on your knees the Boon receive—

This will assist you to deceive—

The glittering gift was made for you,

Now hold it up to public view;

Lest evil unforeseen betide,

A Mask each canker’d brow shall hide,

(Whilst Truth my sole desire is nigh,

Prepared the danger to defy,)

“There is the Maid’s perverted name,

And there the Poet’s guilty Flame,

Gloaming a deep phosphoric fire,

Threatening—but ere it spreads, retire.

Says Truth Up Virgins, do not fear!

The Comet rolls its Influence here;

’Tis Scandal’s Mirror you perceive,

These dazzling Meteors but deceive—

Approach and touch—Nay do not turn

It blazes there, but will not burn.”—

At once the shivering Mirror flies,

Teeming no more with varnished Lies;

The baffled friends of Fiction start,

Too late desiring to depart—

Truth poising high Ithuriel’s spear

Bids every Fiend unmask’d appear,

The vizard tears from every face,

And dooms them to a dire disgrace.

For e’er they compass their escape,

Each takes perforce a native shape—

The Leader of the wrathful Band,

Behold a portly Female stand!

She raves, impelled by private pique,

This mean unjust revenge to seek;

From vice to save this virtuous Age,

Thus does she vent indecent rage!

What child has she of promise fair,

Who claims a fostering Mother’s care?

Whose Innocence requires defence,

Or forms at least a smooth pretence,

Thus to disturb a harmless Boy,

His humble hope, and peace annoy?

She need not fear the amorous rhyme,

Love will not tempt her future time,

For her his wings have ceased to spread,

No more he flutters round her head;

Her day’s Meridian now is past,

The clouds of Age her Sun o’ercast;

To her the strain was never sent,

For feeling Souls alone ’twas meant—

The verse she seized, unask’d, unbade,

And damn’d, ere yet the whole was read!

Yes! for one single erring verse,

Pronounced an unrelenting Curse;

Yes! at a first and transient view,

Condemned a heart she never knew.—

Can such a verdict then decide,

Which springs from disappointed pride?

Without a wondrous share of Wit,

To judge is such a Matron fit?

The rest of the censorious throng

Who to this zealous Band belong,

To her a general homage pay,

And right or wrong her wish obey:

Why should I point my pen of steel

To break “such flies upon the wheel?”

With minds to Truth and Sense unknown,

Who dare not call their words their own.

Rail on, Rail on, ye heartless Crew!

Your Leader’s grand design pursue:

Secure behind her ample shield,

Yours is the harvest of the field.—

My path with thorns you cannot strew,

Nay more, my warmest thanks are due;

When such as you revile my Name,

Bright beams the rising Sun of Fame,

Chasing the shades of envious night,

Outshining every critic Light.—

Such, such as you will serve to show

Each radiant tint with higher glow.

Vain is the feeble cheerless toil,

Your efforts on yourselves recoil;

Then Glory still for me you raise,

Yours is the Censure, mine the Praise.

Byron,

December 1, 1806.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.

There can be little doubt that these verses were called forth by the criticisms passed on the “Fugitive Pieces” by certain ladies of Southwell, concerning whom, Byron wrote to Mr. Pigot (Jan. 13, 1807), on sending him an early copy of the ‘Poems’,

“That ‘unlucky’ poem to my poor Mary has been the cause of some animadversion from ‘ladies in years’. I have not printed it in this collection in consequence of my being pronounced a most ‘profligate sinner’, in short a ”young Moore””

‘Life’, p. 41.]

Soliloquy of a Bard in the Country. 1

’Twas now the noon of night, and all was still,

Except a hapless Rhymer and his quill.

In vain he calls each Muse in order down,

Like other females, these will sometimes frown;

He frets, be fumes, and ceasing to invoke

The Nine, in anguish’d accents thus he spoke:

Ah what avails it thus to waste my time,

To roll in Epic, or to rave in Rhyme?

What worth is some few partial readers’ praise.

If ancient Virgins croaking ‘censures’ raise?

Where few attend, ’tis useless to indite;

Where few can read, ’tis folly sure to write;

Where none but girls and striplings dare admire,

And Critics rise in every country Squire—

But yet this last my candid Muse admits,

When Peers are Poets, Squires may well be Wits;

When schoolboys vent their amorous flames in verse,

Matrons may sure their characters asperse;

And if a little parson joins the train,

And echos back his Patron’s voice again—

Though not delighted, yet I must forgive,

Parsons as well as other folks must live:—

From rage he rails not, rather say from dread,

He does not speak for Virtue, but for bread;

And this we know is in his Patron’s giving,

For Parsons cannot eat without a ‘Living’.

The Matron knows I love the Sex too well,

Even unprovoked aggression to repel.

What though from private pique her anger grew,

And bade her blast a heart she never knew?

What though, she said, for one light heedless line,

That Wilmot’s 2 verse was far more pure than mine!

In wars like these, I neither fight nor fly,

When ‘dames’ accuse ’tis bootless to deny;

Her’s be the harvest of the martial field,

I can’t attack, where Beauty forms the shield.

But when a pert Physician loudly cries,

Who hunts for scandal, and who lives by lies,

A walking register of daily news,

Train’d to invent, and skilful to abuse—

For arts like these at bounteous tables fed,

When S——condemns a book he never read.

Declaring with a coxcomb’s native air,

The ‘moral’s’ shocking, though the ‘rhymes’ are fair.

Ah! must he rise unpunish’d from the feast,

Nor lash’d by vengeance into truth at least?

Such lenity were more than Man’s indeed!

Those who condemn, should surely deign to read.

Yet must I spare—nor thus my pen degrade,

I quite forgot that scandal was his trade.

For food and raiment thus the coxcomb rails,

For those who fear his physic, like his tales.

Why should his harmless censure seem offence?

Still let him eat, although at my expense,

And join the herd to Sense and Truth unknown,

Who dare not call their very thoughts their own,

And share with these applause, a godlike bribe,

In short, do anything, except prescribe:—

For though in garb of Galen he appears,

His practice is not equal to his years.

Without improvement since he first began,

A young Physician, though an ancient Man—

Now let me cease—Physician, Parson, Dame,

Still urge your task, and if you can, defame.

The humble offerings of my Muse destroy,

And crush, oh! noble conquest! crush a Boy.

What though some silly girls have lov’d the strain,

And kindly bade me tune my Lyre again;

What though some feeling, or some partial few,

Nay, Men of Taste and Reputation too,

Have deign’d to praise the firstlings of my Muse—

If you your sanction to the theme refuse,

If you your great protection still withdraw,

Whose Praise is Glory, and whose Voice is law!

Soon must I fall an unresisting foe,

A hapless victim yielding to the blow.—

Thus Pope by Curl and Dennis was destroyed,

Thus Gray and Mason yield to furious Lloyd; 3

From Dryden, Milbourne 4 tears the palm away,

And thus I fall, though meaner far than they.

As in the field of combat, side by side,

A Fabius and some noble Roman died.

Dec. 1806.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.]

2 John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647–1680). His ‘Poems’ were published in the year of his death.]

3 Robert Lloyd (1733–1764). The following lines occur in the first of two odes to ‘Obscurity and Oblivion’—parodies of the odes of Gray and Mason:—

“Heard ye the din of modern rhymers bray?

It was cool M——n and warm G——y,

Involv’d in tenfold smoke.”]

4 The Rev. Luke Milbourne (died 1720) published, in 1698, his ‘Notes on Dryden’s Virgil’, containing a venomous attack on Dryden. They are alluded to in ‘The Dunciad’, and also by Dr. Johnson, who wrote (‘Life of Dryden’),

“His outrages seem to be the ebullitions of a mind agitated by stronger resentment than bad poetry can excite.”]

L’Amitié, est l’amour sans ailes. 1

1.

Why should my anxious breast repine,

Because my youth is fled?

Days of delight may still be mine;

Affection is not dead.

In tracing back the years of youth,

One firm record, one lasting truth

Celestial consolation brings;

Bear it, ye breezes, to the seat,

Where first my heart responsive beat,—

“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

2

Through few, but deeply chequer’d years,

What moments have been mine!

Now half obscured by clouds of tears,

Now bright in rays divine;

Howe’er my future doom be cast,

My soul, enraptured with the past,

To one idea fondly clings;

Friendship! that thought is all thine own,

Worth worlds of bliss, that thought alone—

“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

3

Where yonder yew-trees lightly wave

Their branches on the gale,

Unheeded heaves a simple grave,

Which tells the common tale;

Round this unconscious schoolboys stray,

Till the dull knell of childish play

From yonder studious mansion rings;

But here, whene’er my footsteps move,

My silent tears too plainly prove,

“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

4

Oh, Love! before thy glowing shrine,

My early vows were paid;

My hopes, my dreams, my heart was thine,

But these are now decay’d;

For thine are pinions like the wind,

No trace of thee remains behind,

Except, alas! thy jealous stings.

Away, away! delusive power,

Thou shall not haunt my coming hour;

Unless, indeed, without thy wings.

5

Seat of my youth! 2 thy distant spire

Recalls each scene of joy;

My bosom glows with former fire,—

In mind again a boy.

Thy grove of elms, thy verdant hill,

Thy every path delights me still,

Each flower a double fragrance flings;

Again, as once, in converse gay,

Each dear associate seems to say,

“Friendship is Love without his wings!’

6.

My Lycus! 3 wherefore dost thou weep?

Thy falling tears restrain;

Affection for a time may sleep,

But, oh, ’twill wake again.

Think, think, my friend, when next we meet,

Our long-wished interview, how sweet!

From this my hope of rapture springs;

While youthful hearts thus fondly swell,

Absence my friend, can only tell,

“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

7.

In one, and one alone deceiv’d,

Did I my error mourn?

No—from oppressive bonds reliev’d,

I left the wretch to scorn.

I turn’d to those my childhood knew,

With feelings warm, with bosoms true,

Twin’d with my heart’s according strings;

And till those vital chords shall break,

For none but these my breast shall wake

Friendship, the power deprived of wings!

8

Ye few! my soul, my life is yours,

My memory and my hope;

Your worth a lasting love insures,

Unfetter’d in its scope;

From smooth deceit and terror sprung,

With aspect fair and honey’d tongue,

Let Adulation wait on kings;

With joy elate, by snares beset,

We, we, my friends, can ne’er forget,

“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

9

Fictions and dreams inspire the bard,

Who rolls the epic song;

Friendship and truth be my reward—

To me no bays belong;

If laurell’d Fame but dwells with lies,

Me the enchantress ever flies,

Whose heart and not whose fancy sings;

Simple and young, I dare not feign;

Mine be the rude yet heartfelt strain,

“Friendship is Love without his wings!”

December 29, 1806. [First published, 1832.]

1 The MS. is preserved at Newstead.]

2 Harrow.]

3 Lord Clare had written to Byron,

“I think by your last letter that you are very much piqued with most of your friends, and, if I am not much mistaken, a little so with me. In one part you say,

‘There is little or no doubt a few years or months will render us as politely indifferent to each other, as if we had never passed a portion of our time together.’

Indeed, Byron, you wrong me; and I have no doubt, at least I hope, you are wrong yourself.”

‘Life’, p. 25.]

The Prayer of Nature. 1

1

Father of Light! great God of Heaven!

Hear’st thou the accents of despair?

Can guilt like man’s be e’er forgiven?

Can vice atone for crimes by prayer?

2

Father of Light, on thee I call!

Thou see’st my soul is dark within;

Thou, who canst mark the sparrow’s fall,

Avert from me the death of sin.

3

No shrine I seek, to sects unknown;

Oh, point to me the path of truth!

Thy dread Omnipotence I own;

Spare, yet amend, the faults of youth.

4

Let bigots rear a gloomy fane,

Let Superstition hail the pile,

Let priests, to spread their sable reign,

With tales of mystic rites beguile.

5

Shall man confine his Maker’s sway

To Gothic domes of mouldering stone?

Thy temple is the face of day;

Earth, Ocean, Heaven thy boundless throne.

6

Shall man condemn his race to Hell,

Unless they bend in pompous form?

Tell us that all, for one who fell,

Must perish in the mingling storm?

7

Shall each pretend to reach the skies,

Yet doom his brother to expire,

Whose soul a different hope supplies,

Or doctrines less severe inspire?

8

Shall these, by creeds they can’t expound,

Prepare a fancied bliss or woe?

Shall reptiles, groveling on the ground,

Their great Creator’s purpose know?

9

Shall those, who live for self alone,

Whose years float on in daily crime—

Shall they, by Faith, for guilt atone,

And live beyond the bounds of Time?

10

Father! no prophet’s laws I seek,—

Thy laws in Nature’s works appear;—

I own myself corrupt and weak,

Yet will I pray, for thou wilt hear!

11

Thou, who canst guide the wandering star,

Through trackless realms of aether’s space;

Who calm’st the elemental war,

Whose hand from pole to pole I trace:

12

Thou, who in wisdom plac’d me here,

Who, when thou wilt, canst take me hence,

Ah! whilst I tread this earthly sphere,

Extend to me thy wide defence.

13

To Thee, my God, to thee I call!

Whatever weal or woe betide,

By thy command I rise or fall,

In thy protection I confide.

14.

If, when this dust to dust’s restor’d,

My soul shall float on airy wing,

How shall thy glorious Name ador’d

Inspire her feeble voice to sing!

15

But, if this fleeting spirit share

With clay the Grave’s eternal bed,

While Life yet throbs I raise my prayer,

Though doom’d no more to quit the dead.

16

To Thee I breathe my humble strain,

Grateful for all thy mercies past,

And hope, my God, to thee again

This erring life may fly at last.

December 29, 1806.

1 These stanzas were first published in Moore’s ‘Letters and Journals of Lord Byron’, 1830, i. 106.]

Translation from Anacreon. 1

[Greek: Eis rodon.]

Ode 5

Mingle with the genial bowl

The Rose, the ‘flow’ret’ of the Soul,

The Rose and Grape together quaff’d,

How doubly sweet will be the draught!

With Roses crown our jovial brows,

While every cheek with Laughter glows;

While Smiles and Songs, with Wine incite,

To wing our moments with Delight.

Rose by far the fairest birth,

Which Spring and Nature cull from Earth—

Rose whose sweetest perfume given,

Breathes our thoughts from Earth to Heaven.

Rose whom the Deities above,

From Jove to Hebe, dearly love,

When Cytherea’s blooming Boy,

Flies lightly through the dance of Joy,

With him the Graces then combine,

And rosy wreaths their locks entwine.

Then will I sing divinely crown’d,

With dusky leaves my temples bound—

Lyæus! in thy bowers of pleasure,

I’ll wake a wildly thrilling measure.

There will my gentle Girl and I,

Along the mazes sportive fly,

Will bend before thy potent throne—

Rose, Wine, and Beauty, all my own.

1805.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed,]

[Ossian’s Address to the Sun in “Carthon.”]1

Oh! thou that roll’st above thy glorious Fire,

Round as the shield which grac’d my godlike Sire,

Whence are the beams, O Sun! thy endless blaze,

Which far eclipse each minor Glory’s rays?

Forth in thy Beauty here thou deign’st to shine!

Night quits her car, the twinkling stars decline;

Pallid and cold the Moon descends to cave

Her sinking beams beneath the Western wave;

But thou still mov’st alone, of light the Source—

Who can o’ertake thee in thy fiery course?

Oaks of the mountains fall, the rocks decay,

Weighed down with years the hills dissolve away.

A certain space to yonder Moon is given,

She rises, smiles, and then is lost in Heaven.

Ocean in sullen murmurs ebbs and flows,

But thy bright beam unchanged for ever glows!

When Earth is darkened with tempestuous skies,

When Thunder shakes the sphere and Lightning flies,

Thy face, O Sun, no rolling blasts deform,

Thou look’st from clouds and laughest at the Storm.

To Ossian, Orb of Light! thou look’st in vain,

Nor cans’t thou glad his agèd eyes again,

Whether thy locks in Orient Beauty stream,

Or glimmer through the West with fainter gleam—

But thou, perhaps, like me with age must bend;

Thy season o’er, thy days will find their end,

No more yon azure vault with rays adorn,

Lull’d in the clouds, nor hear the voice of Morn.

Exult, O Sun, in all thy youthful strength!

Age, dark unlovely Age, appears at length,

As gleams the moonbeam through the broken cloud

While mountain vapours spread their misty shroud—

The Northern tempest howls along at last,

And wayworn strangers shrink amid the blast.

Thou rolling Sun who gild’st those rising towers,

Fair didst thou shine upon my earlier hours!

I hail’d with smiles the cheering rays of Morn,

My breast by no tumultuous Passion torn—

Now hateful are thy beams which wake no more

The sense of joy which thrill’d my breast before;

Welcome thou cloudy veil of nightly skies,

To thy bright canopy the mourner flies:

Once bright, thy Silence lull’d my frame to rest,

And Sleep my soul with gentle visions blest;

Now wakeful Grief disdains her mild controul,

Dark is the night, but darker is my Soul.

Ye warring Winds of Heav’n your fury urge,

To me congenial sounds your wintry Dirge:

Swift as your wings my happier days have past,

Keen as your storms is Sorrow’s chilling blast;

To Tempests thus expos’d my Fate has been,

Piercing like yours, like yours, alas! unseen.

1805.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed. (See ‘Ossian’s Poems’, London, 1819, pp. xvii. 119.)]

Pignus Amoris. 1

1

As by the fix’d decrees of Heaven,

’Tis vain to hope that Joy can last;

The dearest boon that Life has given,

To me is—visions of the past.

2.

For these this toy of blushing hue

I prize with zeal before unknown,

It tells me of a Friend I knew,

Who loved me for myself alone.

3.

It tells me what how few can say

Though all the social tie commend;

Recorded in my heart ’twill lay, 2

It tells me mine was once a Friend.

4.

Through many a weary day gone by,

With time the gift is dearer grown;

And still I view in Memory’s eye

That teardrop sparkle through my own.

5.

And heartless Age perhaps will smile,

Or wonder whence those feelings sprung;

Yet let not sterner souls revile,

For Both were open, Both were young.

6.

And Youth is sure the only time,

When Pleasure blends no base alloy;

When Life is blest without a crime,

And Innocence resides with Joy.

7

Let those reprove my feeble Soul,

Who laugh to scorn Affection’s name;

While these impose a harsh controul,

All will forgive who feel the same.

8

Then still I wear my simple toy,

With pious care from wreck I’ll save it;

And this will form a dear employ

For dear I was to him who gave it.

? 1806.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.]

2 For the irregular use of “lay” for “lie,” compare “The Adieu” (st. 10, 1. 4, p. 241), and the much-disputed line, “And dashest him to earth—there let him lay” (‘Childe Harold’, canto iv. st. 180).]

A Woman’s Hair. 1

Oh! little lock of golden hue

In gently waving ringlet curl’d,

By the dear head on which you grew,

I would not lose you for a world.

Not though a thousand more adorn

The polished brow where once you shone,

Like rays which guild a cloudless sky

Beneath Columbia’s fervid zone.

1806.

1 These lines are preserved in MS. at Newstead, with the following memorandum in Miss Pigot’s handwriting: “Copied from the fly-leaf in a vol. of my Burns’ books, which is written in pencil by himself.” They have hitherto been printed as stanzas 5 and 6 of the lines “To a Lady,” etc., p. 212.]

Stanzas to Jessy. 1

1

There is a mystic thread of life

So dearly wreath’d with mine alone,

That Destiny’s relentless knife

At once must sever both, or none.

2

There is a Form on which these eyes

Have fondly gazed with such delight—

By day, that Form their joy supplies,

And Dreams restore it, through the night.

3

There is a Voice whose tones inspire

Such softened feelings in my breast, —

I would not hear a Seraph Choir,

Unless that voice could join the rest.

4

There is a Face whose Blushes tell

Affection’s tale upon the cheek,

But pallid at our fond farewell,

Proclaims more love than words can speak.

5

There is a Lip, which mine has prest,

But none had ever prest before;

It vowed to make me sweetly blest,

That mine alone should press it more.

6

There is a Bosom all my own,

Has pillow’d oft this aching head,

A Mouth which smiles on me alone,

An Eye, whose tears with mine are shed.

7

There are two Hearts whose movements thrill,

In unison so closely sweet,

That Pulse to Pulse responsive still

They Both must heave, or cease to beat.

8

There are two Souls, whose equal flow

In gentle stream so calmly run,

That when they part—they part?—ah no!

They cannot part—those Souls are One.

[GEORGE GORDON, LORD] BYRON.

1 “Stanzas to Jessy” have often been printed, but were never acknowledged by Byron, or included in any authorized edition of his works. They are, however, unquestionably genuine. They appeared first in ‘Monthly Literary Recreations’ (July, 1807), a magazine published by B. Crosby & Co., Stationers’ Court. Crosby was London agent for Ridge, the Newark bookseller, and, with Longman and others, “sold” the recently issued ‘Hours of Idleness’. The same number of ‘Monthly Literary Recreations’ (for July, 1807) contains Byron’s review of Wordsworth’s ‘Poems’ (2 vols., 1807), and a highly laudatory notice of ‘Hours of Idleness’. The lines are headed “Stanzas to Jessy,” and are signed “George Gordon, Lord Byron.” They were republished in 1824, by Knight and Lacy, in vol. v. of the three supplementary volumes of the ‘Works’, and again in the same year by John Bumpus and A. Griffin, in their ‘Miscellaneous Poems’, etc. A note which is prefixed to these issues, “The following stanzas were addressed by Lord Byron to his Lady, a few months before their separation,” and three variants in the text, make it unlikely that the pirating editors were acquainted with the text of the magazine. The MS. (‘British Museum’, Eg. MSS. No. 2332) is signed “George Gordon, Lord Byron,” but the words “George Gordon, Lord” are in another hand, and were probably added by Crosby. The following letter (together with a wrapper addressed, “Mr. Crosby, Stationers’ Court,” and sealed in red wax with Byron’s arms and coronet) is attached to the poem:—

Sir,

I have sent according to my promise some Stanzas for Literary Recreations. The insertion I leave to the option of the Editors. They have never appeared before. I should wish to know whether they are admitted or not, and when the work will appear, as I am desirous of a copy.

Etc., etc., BYRON.

P.S.—Send your answer when convenient.”]

The Adieu.

Written Under The Impression That The Author Would Soon Die.

1.

Adieu, thou Hill! 1 where early joy

Spread roses o’er my brow;

Where Science seeks each loitering boy

With knowledge to endow.

Adieu, my youthful friends or foes,

Partners of former bliss or woes;

No more through Ida’s paths we stray;

Soon must I share the gloomy cell,

Whose ever-slumbering inmates dwell

Unconscious of the day.

2.

Adieu, ye hoary Regal Fanes,

Ye spires of Granta’s vale,

Where Learning robed in sable reigns.

And Melancholy pale.

Ye comrades of the jovial hour,

Ye tenants of the classic bower,

On Cama’s verdant margin plac’d,

Adieu! while memory still is mine,

For offerings on Oblivion’s shrine,

These scenes must be effac’d.

3

Adieu, ye mountains of the clime

Where grew my youthful years;

Where Loch na Garr in snows sublime

His giant summit rears.

Why did my childhood wander forth

From you, ye regions of the North,

With sons of Pride to roam?

Why did I quit my Highland cave,

Marr’s dusky heath, and Dee’s clear wave,

To seek a Sotheron home?

4

Hall of my Sires! a long farewell—

Yet why to thee adieu?

Thy vaults will echo back my knell,

Thy towers my tomb will view:

The faltering tongue which sung thy fall,

And former glories of thy Hall,

Forgets its wonted simple note—

But yet the Lyre retains the strings,

And sometimes, on Æolian wings,

In dying strains may float.

5.

Fields, which surround yon rustic cot, 2

While yet I linger here,

Adieu! you are not now forgot,

To retrospection dear.

Streamlet! 3 along whose rippling surge

My youthful limbs were wont to urge,

At noontide heat, their pliant course;

Plunging with ardour from the shore,

Thy springs will lave these limbs no more,

Deprived of active force.

6.

And shall I here forget the scene,

Still nearest to my breast?

Rocks rise and rivers roll between

The spot which passion blest;

Yet Mary, 4 all thy beauties seem

Fresh as in Love’s bewitching dream,

To me in smiles display’d;

Till slow disease resigns his prey

To Death, the parent of decay,

Thine image cannot fade.

7.

And thou, my Friend! whose gentle love

Yet thrills my bosom’s chords,

How much thy friendship was above

Description’s power of words!

Still near my breast thy gift 5 I wear

Which sparkled once with Feeling’s tear,

Of Love the pure, the sacred gem:

Our souls were equal, and our lot

In that dear moment quite forgot;

Let Pride alone condemn!

8.

All, all is dark and cheerless now!

No smile of Love’s deceit

Can warm my veins with wonted glow,

Can bid Life’s pulses beat:

Not e’en the hope of future fame

Can wake my faint, exhausted frame,

Or crown with fancied wreaths my head.

Mine is a short inglorious race,—

To humble in the dust my face,

And mingle with the dead.

9.

Oh Fame! thou goddess of my heart;

On him who gains thy praise,

Pointless must fall the Spectre’s dart,

Consumed in Glory’s blaze;

But me she beckons from the earth,

My name obscure, unmark’d my birth,

My life a short and vulgar dream:

Lost in the dull, ignoble crowd,

My hopes recline within a shroud,

My fate is Lethe’s stream.

10.

When I repose beneath the sod,

Unheeded in the clay,

Where once my playful footsteps trod,

Where now my head must lay, 6

The meed of Pity will be shed

In dew-drops o’er my narrow bed,

By nightly skies, and storms alone;

No mortal eye will deign to steep

With tears the dark sepulchral deep

Which hides a name unknown.

11.

Forget this world, my restless sprite,

Turn, turn thy thoughts to Heaven:

There must thou soon direct thy flight,

If errors are forgiven.

To bigots and to sects unknown,

Bow down beneath the Almighty’s Throne;

To Him address thy trembling prayer:

He, who is merciful and just,

Will not reject a child of dust,

Although His meanest care.

12.

Father of Light! to Thee I call;

My soul is dark within:

Thou who canst mark the sparrow’s fall,

Avert the death of sin.

Thou, who canst guide the wandering star

Who calm’st the elemental war,

Whose mantle is yon boundless sky,

My thoughts, my words, my crimes forgive;

And, since I soon must cease to live,

Instruct me how to die.

1807. [First published, 1832.]

1 Harrow. ]

2 Mrs. Pigot’s Cottage.]

3 The river Grete, at Southwell.]

4 Mary Chaworth.]

5 Compare the verses on “The Cornelian,” p. 66, and “Pignus Amoris,” p. 231.]

6 See note to “Pignus Amoris,” st. 3, l. 3, p. 232.]

To——1

1.

Oh! well I know your subtle Sex,

Frail daughters of the wanton Eve,—

While jealous pangs our Souls perplex,

No passion prompts you to relieve.

2

From Love, or Pity ne’er you fall,

By you, no mutual Flame is felt,

“Tis Vanity, which rules you all,

Desire alone which makes you melt.

3

I will not say no souls are yours,

Aye, ye have Souls, and dark ones too,

Souls to contrive those smiling lures,

To snare our simple hearts for you.

4

Yet shall you never bind me fast,

Long to adore such brittle toys,

I’ll rove along, from first to last,

And change whene’er my fancy cloys.

5

Oh! I should be a baby fool,

To sigh the dupe of female art—

Woman! perhaps thou hast a Soul,

But where have Demons hid thy Heart?

January, 1807.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.]

On the Eyes of Miss A——h——1

Anne’s Eye is liken’d to the Sun,

From it such Beams of Beauty fall;

And this can be denied by none,

For like the Sun, it shines on All.

Then do not admiration smother,

Or say these glances don’t become her;

To you, or I, or any other

Her Sun, displays perpetual Summer. 2

January 14, 1807.

1 Miss Anne Houson. From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.]

2 Compare, for the same simile, the lines “To Edward Noel Long, Esq.,” p. 187, ‘ante’.]

To a Vain Lady. 1

1

Ah, heedless girl! why thus disclose

What ne’er was meant for other ears;

Why thus destroy thine own repose,

And dig the source of future tears?

2

Oh, thou wilt weep, imprudent maid,

While lurking envious foes will smile,

For all the follies thou hast said

Of those who spoke but to beguile.

3

Vain girl! thy lingering woes are nigh,

If thou believ’st what striplings say:

Oh, from the deep temptation fly,

Nor fall the specious spoiler’s prey.

4

Dost thou repeat, in childish boast,

The words man utters to deceive?

Thy peace, thy hope, thy all is lost,

If thou canst venture to believe.

5

While now amongst thy female peers

Thou tell’st again the soothing tale,

Canst thou not mark the rising sneers

Duplicity in vain would veil?

6.

These tales in secret silence hush,

Nor make thyself the public gaze:

What modest maid without a blush

Recounts a flattering coxcomb’s praise?

7.

Will not the laughing boy despise

Her who relates each fond conceit—

Who, thinking Heaven is in her eyes,

Yet cannot see the slight deceit?

8.

For she who takes a soft delight

These amorous nothings in revealing,

Must credit all we say or write,

While vanity prevents concealing.

9.

Cease, if you prize your Beauty’s reign!

No jealousy bids me reprove:

One, who is thus from nature vain,

I pity, but I cannot love.

January 15, 1807. [First published, 1832.]

1 To A Young Lady (Miss Anne Houson) whose vanity induced her to repeat the compliments paid her by some young men of her acquaintance.—‘MS. Newstead’.]

To Anne. 1

1.

Oh, Anne, your offences to me have been grievous:

I thought from my wrath no atonement could save you;

But Woman is made to command and deceive us—

I look’d in your face, and I almost forgave you.

2.

I vow’d I could ne’er for a moment respect you,

Yet thought that a day’s separation was long;

When we met, I determined again to suspect you—

Your smile soon convinced me suspicion was wrong.

3.

I swore, in a transport of young indignation,

With fervent contempt evermore to disdain you:

I saw you—my anger became admiration;

And now, all my wish, all my hope’s to regain you.

4.

With beauty like yours, oh, how vain the contention!

Thus lowly I sue for forgiveness before you;—

At once to conclude such a fruitless dissension,

Be false, my sweet Anne, when I cease to adore you!

January 16, 1807. [First published, 1832.]

1 Miss Anne Houson.]

Egotism. A Letter to J. T. Becher. 1

[Greek: Heauton buron aeidei.]

1.

If Fate should seal my Death tomorrow,

(Though much I hope she will postpone it,)

I’ve held a share Joy and Sorrow,

Enough for Ten; and here I own it.

2.

I’ve lived, as many others live,

And yet, I think, with more enjoyment;

For could I through my days again live,

I’d pass them in the ‘same’ employment.

3.

That ‘is’ to say, with ‘some exception’,

For though I will not make confession,

I’ve seen too much of man’s deception

Ever again to trust profession.

4.

Some sage ‘Mammas’ with gesture haughty,

Pronounce me quite a youthful Sinner—

But ‘Daughters’ say, “although he’s naughty,

You must not check a ‘Young Beginner’!”

5.

I’ve loved, and many damsels know it—

But whom I don’t intend to mention,

As ‘certain stanzas’ also show it,

‘Some’ say ‘deserving Reprehension’.

6.

Some ancient Dames, of virtue fiery,

(Unless Report does much belie them,)

Have lately made a sharp Enquiry,

And much it ‘grieves’ me to ‘deny’ them.

7.

Two whom I lov’d had ‘eyes’ of ‘Blue’,

To which I hope you’ve no objection;

The ‘Rest’ had eyes of ‘darker Hue’—

Each Nymph, of course, was ‘all perfection’.

8.

But here I’ll close my ‘chaste’ Description,

Nor say the deeds of animosity;

For ‘silence’ is the best prescription,

To ‘physic’ idle curiosity.

9.

Of ‘Friends’ I’ve known a ‘goodly Hundred’—

For finding ‘one’ in each acquaintance,

By ‘some deceived’, by others plunder’d,

‘Friendship’, to me, was not ‘Repentance’.

10.

At ‘School’ I thought like other ‘Children’;

Instead of ‘Brains’, a fine Ingredient,

‘Romance’, my ‘youthful Head bewildering’,

To ‘Sense’ had made me disobedient.

11.

A victim, ‘nearly’ from affection,

To certain ‘very precious scheming’,

The still remaining recollection

Has ‘cured’ my ‘boyish soul’ of ‘Dreaming’.

12.

By Heaven! I rather would forswear

The Earth, and all the joys reserved me,

Than dare again the ‘specious Snare’,

From which ‘my Fate’ and ‘Heaven preserved’ me.

13.

Still I possess some Friends who love me—

In each a much esteemed and true one;

The Wealth of Worlds shall never move me

To quit their Friendship, for a new one.

14.

But Becher! you’re a ‘reverend pastor’,

Now take it in consideration,

Whether for penance I should fast, or

Pray for my ‘sins’ in expiation.

15.

I own myself the child of ‘Folly’,

But not so wicked as they make me—

I soon must die of melancholy,

If ‘Female’ smiles should e’er forsake me.

16.

‘Philosophers’ have ‘never doubted’,

That ‘Ladies’ Lips’ were made for ‘kisses!’

For ‘Love!’ I could not live without it,

For such a ‘cursed’ place as ‘This is’.

17.

Say, Becher, I shall be forgiven!

If you don’t warrant my salvation,

I must resign all ‘Hopes’ of ‘Heaven’!

For, ‘Faith’, I can’t withstand Temptation.

P.S.—These were written between one and two, after ‘midnight’. I have not ‘corrected’, or ‘revised’. Yours, BYRON.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.]

To Anne. 1

1

Oh say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed

The heart which adores you should wish to dissever;

Such Fates were to me most unkind ones indeed,—

To bear me from Love and from Beauty for ever.

2.

Your frowns, lovely girl, are the Fates which alone

Could bid me from fond admiration refrain;

By these, every hope, every wish were o’erthrown,

Till smiles should restore me to rapture again.

3.

As the ivy and oak, in the forest entwin’d,

The rage of the tempest united must weather;

My love and my life were by nature design’d

To flourish alike, or to perish together.

4.

Then say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed

Your lover should bid you a lasting adieu:

Till Fate can ordain that his bosom shall bleed,

His Soul, his Existence, are centred in you.

1807. [First published, 1832.]

1 Miss Anne Houson.]

To the Author of a Sonnet Beginning
“‘Sad is my Verse,’ you say, ‘and yet no Tear.’”

1.

Thy verse is “sad” enough, no doubt:

A devilish deal more sad than witty!

Why we should weep I can’t find out,

Unless for thee we weep in pity.

2.

Yet there is one I pity more;

And much, alas! I think he needs it:

For he, I’m sure, will suffer sore,

Who, to his own misfortune, reads it.

3.

Thy rhymes, without the aid of magic,

May once be read—but never after:

Yet their effect’s by no means tragic,

Although by far too dull for laughter.

4.

But would you make our bosoms bleed,

And of no common pang complain—

If you would make us weep indeed,

Tell us, you’ll read them o’er again.

March 8, 1807. [First published, 1832.]

On Finding a Fan. 1

1.

In one who felt as once he felt,

This might, perhaps, have fann’d the flame;

But now his heart no more will melt,

Because that heart is not the same.

2.

As when the ebbing flames are low,

The aid which once improved their light,

And bade them burn with fiercer glow,

Now quenches all their blaze in night.

3.

Thus has it been with Passion’s fires—

As many a boy and girl remembers—

While every hope of love expires,

Extinguish’d with the dying embers.

4.

The first, though not a spark survive,

Some careful hand may teach to burn;

The last, alas! can ne’er survive;

No touch can bid its warmth return.

5.

Or, if it chance to wake again,

Not always doom’d its heat to smother,

It sheds (so wayward fates ordain)

Its former warmth around another.

1807. [First published, 1832.]

1 Of Miss A. H. (MS. Newstead).]

Farewell to the Muse. [i]

1.

Thou Power! who hast ruled me through Infancy’s days,

Young offspring of Fancy, ’tis time we should part;

Then rise on the gale this the last of my lays,

The coldest effusion which springs from my heart.

2.

This bosom, responsive to rapture no more,

Shall hush thy wild notes, nor implore thee to sing;

The feelings of childhood, which taught thee to soar,

Are wafted far distant on Apathy’s wing.

3.

Though simple the themes of my rude flowing Lyre,

Yet even these themes are departed for ever;

No more beam the eyes which my dream could inspire,

My visions are flown, to return,—alas, never!

4.

When drain’d is the nectar which gladdens the bowl,

How vain is the effort delight to prolong!

When cold is the beauty which dwelt in my soul,

What magic of Fancy can lengthen my song?

5.

Can the lips sing of Love in the desert alone,

Of kisses and smiles which they now must resign?

Or dwell with delight on the hours that are flown?

Ah, no! for those hours can no longer be mine.

6.

Can they speak of the friends that I lived but to love?

Ah, surely Affection ennobles the strain!

But how can my numbers in sympathy move,

When I scarcely can hope to behold them again?

7.

Can I sing of the deeds which my Fathers have done,

And raise my loud harp to the fame of my Sires?

For glories like theirs, oh, how faint is my tone!

For Heroes’ exploits how unequal my fires!

8.

Untouch’d, then, my Lyre shall reply to the blast—

’Tis hush’d; and my feeble endeavours are o’er;

And those who have heard it will pardon the past,

When they know that its murmurs shall vibrate no more.

9.

And soon shall its wild erring notes be forgot,

Since early affection and love is o’ercast:

Oh! blest had my Fate been, and happy my lot,

Had the first strain of love been the dearest, the last.

10.

Farewell, my young Muse! since we now can ne’er meet;

If our songs have been languid, they surely are few:

Let us hope that the present at least will be sweet—

The present—which seals our eternal Adieu.

1807. [First published, 1832.]

To an Oak at Newstead. 1

1.

Young Oak! when I planted thee deep in the ground,

I hoped that thy days would be longer than mine;

That thy dark-waving branches would flourish around,

And ivy thy trunk with its mantle entwine.

2.

Such, such was my hope, when in Infancy’s years,

On the land of my Fathers I rear’d thee with pride;

They are past, and I water thy stem with my tears,—

Thy decay, not the weeds that surround thee can hide.

3.

I left thee, my Oak, and, since that fatal hour,

A stranger has dwelt in the hall of my Sire;

Till Manhood shall crown me, not mine is the power,

But his, whose neglect may have bade thee expire.

4.

Oh! hardy thou wert—even now little care

Might revive thy young head, and thy wounds gently

heal:

But thou wert not fated affection to share—

For who could suppose that a Stranger would feel?

5.

Ah, droop not, my Oak! lift thy head for a while;

Ere twice round yon Glory this planet shall run,

The hand of thy Master will teach thee to smile,

When Infancy’s years of probation are done.

6.

Oh, live then, my Oak! tow’r aloft from the weeds,

That clog thy young growth, and assist thy decay,

For still in thy bosom are Life’s early seeds,

And still may thy branches their beauty display.

7.

Oh! yet, if Maturity’s years may be thine,

Though I shall lie low in the cavern of Death,

On thy leaves yet the day-beam of ages may shine,

Uninjured by Time, or the rude Winter’s breath.

8.

For centuries still may thy boughs lightly wave

O’er the corse of thy Lord in thy canopy laid;

While the branches thus gratefully shelter his grave,

The Chief who survives may recline in thy shade.

9.

And as he, with his boys, shall revisit this spot,

He will tell them in whispers more softly to tread.

Oh! surely, by these I shall ne’er be forgot;

Remembrance still hallows the dust of the dead.

10.

And here, will they say, when in Life’s glowing prime,

Perhaps he has pour’d forth his young simple lay,

And here must he sleep, till the moments of Time

Are lost in the hours of Eternity’s day.

1807. [First published 1832.]

[“Copied for Mr. Moore, Jan. 24, 1828.”—Note by Miss Pigot.]

1 There is no heading to the original MS., but on the blank leaf at the end of the poem is written,

“To an oak in the garden of Newstead Abbey, planted by the author in the 9th year of [his] age; this tree at his last visit was in a state of decay, though perhaps not irrecoverable.”

On arriving at Newstead, in 1798, Byron, then in his eleventh year, planted an oak, and cherished the fancy, that as the tree flourished so should he. On revisiting the abbey, he found the oak choked up by weeds and almost destroyed;—hence these lines. Shortly after Colonel Wildman took possession, he said to a servant,

“Here is a fine young oak; but it must be cut down, as it grows in an improper place.”

“I hope not, sir, “replied the man, “for it’s the one that my lord was so fond of, because he set it himself.”

Life, p. 50, note.]

On Revisiting Harrow. 1

1.

Here once engaged the stranger’s view

Young Friendship’s record simply trac’d;

Few were her words,—but yet, though few,

Resentment’s hand the line defac’d.

2.

Deeply she cut—but not eras’d—

The characters were still so plain,

That Friendship once return’d, and gaz’d,—

Till Memory hail’d the words again.

3.

Repentance plac’d them as before;

Forgiveness join’d her gentle name;

So fair the inscription seem’d once more,

That Friendship thought it still the same.

4.

Thus might the Record now have been;

But, ah, in spite of Hope’s endeavour,

Or Friendship’s tears, Pride rush’d between,

And blotted out the line for ever.

September, 1807.

[First published in Moore’s ‘Life and Letters, etc.’, 1830, i. 102.]

1 “Some years ago, when at Harrow, a friend of the author engraved on a particular spot the names of both, with a few additional words, as a memorial. Afterwards, on receiving some real or imaginary injury, the author destroyed the frail record before he left Harrow. On revisiting the place in 1807, he wrote under it these stanzas.”

Moore’s ‘Life, etc.’, i. 102.]]

To my Son. 1

1.

Those flaxen locks, those eyes of blue

Bright as thy mother’s in their hue;

Those rosy lips, whose dimples play

And smile to steal the heart away,

Recall a scene of former joy,

And touch thy father’s heart, my Boy!

2.

And thou canst lisp a father’s name—

Ah, William, were thine own the same,—

No self-reproach—but, let me cease—

My care for thee shall purchase peace;

Thy mother’s shade shall smile in joy,

And pardon all the past, my Boy!

3.

Her lowly grave the turf has prest,

And thou hast known a stranger’s breast;

Derision sneers upon thy birth,

And yields thee scarce a name on earth;

Yet shall not these one hope destroy,—

A Father’s heart is thine, my Boy!

4.

Why, let the world unfeeling frown,

Must I fond Nature’s claims disown?

Ah, no—though moralists reprove,

I hail thee, dearest child of Love,

Fair cherub, pledge of youth and joy—

A Father guards thy birth, my Boy!

5.

Oh,’twill be sweet in thee to trace,

Ere Age has wrinkled o’er my face,

Ere half my glass of life is run,

At once a brother and a son;

And all my wane of years employ

In justice done to thee, my Boy!

6.

Although so young thy heedless sire,

Youth will not damp parental fire;

And, wert thou still less dear to me,

While Helen’s form revives in thee,

The breast, which beat to former joy,

Will ne’er desert its pledge, my Boy!

1807.

[First published in Moore’s ‘Life and Letters, etc.’, 1830, i. 104.]

1 For a reminiscence of what was, possibly, an actual event, see ‘Don Juan’, canto xvi. st. 61. He told Lady Byron that he had two natural children, whom he should provide for.]

Queries to Casuists. 1

The Moralists tell us that Loving is Sinning,

And always are prating about and about it,

But as Love of Existence itself’s the beginning,

Say, what would Existence itself be without it?

They argue the point with much furious Invective,

Though perhaps ’twere no difficult task to confute it;

But if Venus and Hymen should once prove defective,

Pray who would there be to defend or dispute it?

Byron.

1 From an autograph MS. (watermark 1805) at Newstead, now for the first time printed.]

Song.1

1.

Breeze of the night in gentler sighs

More softly murmur o’er the pillow;

For Slumber seals my Fanny’s eyes,

And Peace must never shun her pillow.

2.

Or breathe those sweet Æolian strains

Stolen from celestial spheres above,

To charm her ear while some remains,

And soothe her soul to dreams of love.

3.

But Breeze of night again forbear,

In softest murmurs only sigh:

Let not a Zephyr’s pinion dare

To lift those auburn locks on high.

4.

Chill is thy Breath, thou breeze of night!

Oh! ruffle not those lids of Snow;

For only Morning’s cheering light

May wake the beam that lurks below.

5.

Blest be that lip and azure eye!

Sweet Fanny, hallowed be thy Sleep!

Those lips shall never vent a sigh,

Those eyes may never wake to weep.

February 23rd, 1808.

1 From the MS. in the possession of the Earl of Lovelace.]

To Harriet. 1

1.

Harriet! to see such Circumspection, 2

In Ladies I have no objection

Concerning what they read;

An ancient Maid’s a sage adviser,

Like her, you will be much the wiser,

In word, as well as Deed.

2.

But Harriet, I don’t wish to flatter,

And really think ’t would make the matter

More perfect if not quite,

If other Ladies when they preach,

Would certain Damsels also teach

More cautiously to write.

1 From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.]

2 See the poem “To Marion,” and ‘note’, p. 129. It would seem that J. T. Becher addressed some flattering lines to Byron with reference to a poem concerning Harriet Maltby, possibly the lines “To Marion.” The following note was attached by Miss Pigot to these stanzas, which must have been written on another occasion:—

“I saw Lord B. was flattered by John Becher’s lines, as he read ‘Apollo’, etc., with a peculiar smile and emphasis; so out of fun, to vex him a little, I said,

Apollo! He should have said Apollyon.’

‘Elizabeth! for Heaven’s sake don’t say so again! I don’t mind you telling me so; but if any one else got hold of the word, I should never hear the end of it.’

So I laughed at him, and dropt it, for he was red with agitation.”]

There was a time, I need not name. 1

1.

There was a time, I need not name,

Since it will ne’er forgotten be,

When all our feelings were the same

As still my soul hath been to thee.

2.

And from that hour when first thy tongue

Confess’d a love which equall’d mine,

Though many a grief my heart hath wrung,

Unknown, and thus unfelt, by thine,

3.

None, none hath sunk so deep as this—

To think how all that love hath flown;

Transient as every faithless kiss,

But transient in thy breast alone.

4.

And yet my heart some solace knew,

When late I heard thy lips declare,

In accents once imagined true,

Remembrance of the days that were.

5.

Yes! my adored, yet most unkind!

Though thou wilt never love again,

To me ’tis doubly sweet to find

Remembrance of that love remain.

6.

Yes! ’tis a glorious thought to me,

Nor longer shall my soul repine,

Whate’er thou art or e’er shall be,

Thou hast been dearly, solely mine.

June 10, 1808. [First published, 1809]

1 This copy of verses, with eight others, originally appeared in a volume published in 1809 by J. C. Hobhouse, under the title of Imitations and Translations, From the Ancient and Modern Classics, Together with Original Poems never before published. The MS. is in the possession of the Earl of Lovelace.]

And wilt thou weep when I am low?

1.

And wilt thou weep when I am low?

Sweet lady! speak those words again:

Yet if they grieve thee, say not so—

I would not give that bosom pain.

2.

My heart is sad, my hopes are gone,

My blood runs coldly through my breast;

And when I perish, thou alone

Wilt sigh above my place of rest.

3.

And yet, methinks, a gleam of peace

Doth through my cloud of anguish shine:

And for a while my sorrows cease,

To know thy heart hath felt for mine.

4.

Oh lady! blessèd be that tear—

It falls for one who cannot weep;

Such precious drops are doubly dear

To those whose eyes no tear may steep.

5.

Sweet lady! once my heart was warm

With every feeling soft as thine;

But Beauty’s self hath ceased to charm

A wretch created to repine.

6.

Yet wilt thou weep when I am low?

Sweet lady! speak those words again:

Yet if they grieve thee, say not so—

I would not give that bosom pain. 1

Aug. 12, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

1 It was in one of Byron’s fits of melancholy that the following verses were addressed to him by his friend John Cam Hobhouse:—

Epistle To A Young Nobleman In Love.

Hail! generous youth, whom glory’s sacred flame

Inspires, and animates to deeds of fame;

Who feel the noble wish before you die

To raise the finger of each passer-by:

Hail! may a future age admiring view

A Falkland or a Clarendon in you.

But as your blood with dangerous passion boils,

Beware! and fly from Venus’ silken toils:

Ah! let the head protect the weaker heart,

And Wisdom’s Ægis turn on Beauty’s dart.

. . . . .

But if ’tis fix’d that every lord must pair,

And you and Newstead must not want an heir,

Lose not your pains, and scour the country round,

To find a treasure that can ne’er be found!

No! take the first the town or court affords,

Trick’d out to stock a market for the lords;

By chance perhaps your luckier choice may fall

On one, though wicked, not the worst of all:

. . . . .

One though perhaps as any Maxwell free,

Yet scarce a copy, Claribel, of thee;

Not very ugly, and not very old,

A little pert indeed, but not a scold;

One that, in short, may help to lead a life

Not farther much from comfort than from strife;

And when she dies, and disappoints your fears,

Shall leave some joys for your declining years.

But, as your early youth some time allows,

Nor custom yet demands you for a spouse,

Some hours of freedom may remain as yet,

For one who laughs alike at love and debt:

Then, why in haste? put off the evil day,

And snatch at youthful comforts while you may!

Pause! nor so soon the various bliss forego

That single souls, and such alone, can know:

Ah! why too early careless life resign,

Your morning slumber, and your evening wine;

Your loved companion, and his easy talk;

Your Muse, invoked in every peaceful walk?

What! can no more your scenes paternal please,

Scenes sacred long to wise, unmated ease?

The prospect lengthen’d o’er the distant down,

Lakes, meadows, rising woods, and all your own?

What! shall your Newstead, shall your cloister’d bowers,

The high o’erhanging arch and trembling towers!

Shall these, profaned with folly or with strife,

An ever fond, or ever angry wife!

Shall these no more confess a manly sway,

But changeful woman’s changing whims obey?

Who may, perhaps, as varying humour calls,

Contract your cloisters and o’erthrow your walls;

Let Repton loose o’er all the ancient ground,

Change round to square, and square convert to round;

Root up the elms’ and yews’ too solemn gloom,

And fill with shrubberies gay and green their room;

Roll down the terrace to a gay parterre,

Where gravel’d walks and flowers alternate glare;

And quite transform, in every point complete,

Your Gothic abbey to a country seat.

Forget the fair one, and your fate delay;

If not avert, at least defer the day,

When you beneath the female yoke shall bend,

And lose your wit, your temper, and your friend.

[In his mother’s copy of Hobhouse’s volume, Byron has written with a pencil,

I have lost them all, and shall WED accordingly. 1811. B.”]

Remind me not, remind me not.

1.

Remind me not, remind me not,

Of those beloved, those vanish’d hours,

When all my soul was given to thee;

Hours that may never be forgot,

Till Time unnerves our vital powers,

And thou and I shall cease to be.

2.

Can I forget—canst thou forget,

When playing with thy golden hair,

How quick thy fluttering heart did move?

Oh! by my soul, I see thee yet,

With eyes so languid, breast so fair,

And lips, though silent, breathing love.

3.

When thus reclining on my breast,

Those eyes threw back a glance so sweet,

As half reproach’d yet rais’d desire,

And still we near and nearer prest,

And still our glowing lips would meet,

As if in kisses to expire.

4.

And then those pensive eyes would close,

And bid their lids each other seek,

Veiling the azure orbs below;

While their long lashes’ darken’d gloss

Seem’d stealing o’er thy brilliant cheek,

Like raven’s plumage smooth’d on snow.

5.

I dreamt last night our love return’d,

And, sooth to say, that very dream

Was sweeter in its phantasy,

Than if for other hearts I burn’d,

For eyes that ne’er like thine could beam

In Rapture’s wild reality.

6.

Then tell me not, remind me not,

Of hours which, though for ever gone,

Can still a pleasing dream restore,

Till thou and I shall be forgot,

And senseless, as the mouldering stone

Which tells that we shall be no more.

Aug. 13, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

To A Youthful Friend.

1.

Few years have pass’d since thou and I

Were firmest friends, at least in name,

And Childhood’s gay sincerity

Preserved our feelings long the same.

2.

But now, like me, too well thou know’st

What trifles oft the heart recall;

And those who once have loved the most

Too soon forget they lov’d at all.

3.

And such the change the heart displays,

So frail is early friendship’s reign,

A month’s brief lapse, perhaps a day’s,

Will view thy mind estrang’d again.

4.

If so, it never shall be mine

To mourn the loss of such a heart;

The fault was Nature’s fault, not thine,

Which made thee fickle as thou art.

5.

As rolls the Ocean’s changing tide,

So human feelings ebb and flow;

And who would in a breast confide

Where stormy passions ever glow?

6.

It boots not that, together bred,

Our childish days were days of joy:

My spring of life has quickly fled;

Thou, too, hast ceas’d to be a boy.

7.

And when we bid adieu to youth,

Slaves to the specious World’s controul,

We sigh a long farewell to truth;

That World corrupts the noblest soul.

8.

Ah, joyous season! when the mind 1

Dares all things boldly but to lie;

When Thought ere spoke is unconfin’d,

And sparkles in the placid eye.

9.

Not so in Man’s maturer years,

When Man himself is but a tool;

When Interest sways our hopes and fears,

And all must love and hate by rule.

10.

With fools in kindred vice the same,

We learn at length our faults to blend;

And those, and those alone, may claim

The prostituted name of friend.

11.

Such is the common lot of man:

Can we then ‘scape from folly free?

Can we reverse the general plan,

Nor be what all in turn must be?

12.

No; for myself, so dark my fate

Through every turn of life hath been;

Man and the World so much I hate,

I care not when I quit the scene.

13.

But thou, with spirit frail and light,

Wilt shine awhile, and pass away;

As glow-worms sparkle through the night,

But dare not stand the test of day.

14.

Alas! whenever Folly calls

Where parasites and princes meet,

(For cherish’d first in royal halls,

The welcome vices kindly greet,)

15.

Ev’n now thou’rt nightly seen to add

One insect to the fluttering crowd;

And still thy trifling heart is glad

To join the vain and court the proud.

16.

There dost thou glide from fair to fair,

Still simpering on with eager haste,

As flies along the gay parterre,

That taint the flowers they scarcely taste.

17.

But say, what nymph will prize the flame

Which seems, as marshy vapours move,

To flit along from dame to dame,

An ignis-fatuus gleam of love?

18.

What friend for thee, howe’er inclin’d,

Will deign to own a kindred care?

Who will debase his manly mind,

For friendship every fool may share?

19.

In time forbear; amidst the throng

No more so base a thing be seen;

No more so idly pass along;

Be something, any thing, but—mean.

August 20th, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

1 Stanzas 8–9 are not in the MS.]

Lines Inscribed upon a Cup Formed from a Skull. 1

1.

Start not—nor deem my spirit fled:

In me behold the only skull,

From which, unlike a living head,

Whatever flows is never dull.

2.

I lived, I loved, I quaff’d, like thee:

I died: let earth my bones resign;

Fill up—thou canst not injure me;

The worm hath fouler lips than thine.

3.

Better to hold the sparkling grape,

Than nurse the earth-worm’s slimy brood;

And circle in the goblet’s shape

The drink of Gods, than reptile’s food.

4.

Where once my wit, perchance, hath shone,

In aid of others’ let me shine;

And when, alas! our brains are gone,

What nobler substitute than wine?

5.

Quaff while thou canst: another race,

When thou and thine, like me, are sped,

May rescue thee from earth’s embrace,

And rhyme and revel with the dead.

6.

Why not? since through life’s little day

Our heads such sad effects produce;

Redeem’d from worms and wasting clay,

This chance is theirs, to be of use.

Newstead Abbey, 1808.

[First published in the seventh edition of ‘Childe Harold’.]

1 Byron gave Medwin the following account of this cup:—“The gardener in digging [discovered] a skull that had probably belonged to some jolly friar or monk of the abbey, about the time it was dismonasteried. Observing it to be of giant size, and in a perfect state of preservation, a strange fancy seized me of having it set and mounted as a drinking cup. I accordingly sent it to town, and it returned with a very high polish, and of a mottled colour like tortoiseshell.”—Medwin’s ‘Conversations’, 1824, p. 87.]

Well! Thou Art Happy. 1

1.

Well! thou art happy, and I feel

That I should thus be happy too;

For still my heart regards thy weal

Warmly, as it was wont to do.

2.

Thy husband’s blest—and ’twill impart

Some pangs to view his happier lot:

But let them pass—Oh! how my heart

Would hate him if he loved thee not!

3.

When late I saw thy favourite child,

I thought my jealous heart would break;

But when the unconscious infant smil’d,

I kiss’d it for its mother’s sake.

4.

I kiss’d it,—and repress’d my sighs

Its father in its face to see;

But then it had its mother’s eyes,

And they were all to love and me.

5.

Mary, adieu! I must away:

While thou art blest I’ll not repine;

But near thee I can never stay;

My heart would soon again be thine.

6.

I deem’d that Time, I deem’d that Pride,

Had quench’d at length my boyish flame;

Nor knew, till seated by thy side,

My heart in all,—save hope,—the same.

7.

Yet was I calm: I knew the time

My breast would thrill before thy look;

But now to tremble were a crime—

We met,—and not a nerve was shook.

8.

I saw thee gaze upon my face,

Yet meet with no confusion there:

One only feeling couldst thou trace;

The sullen calmness of despair.

9.

Away! away! my early dream

Remembrance never must awake:

Oh! where is Lethe’s fabled stream?

My foolish heart be still, or break.

November, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

1 These lines were written after dining at Annesley with Mr. and Mrs. Chaworth Musters. Their daughter, born 1806, and now Mrs. Hamond, of Westacre, Norfolk, is still (January, 1898) living.]

Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog. 1

When some proud son of man returns to earth,

Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,

The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe

And storied urns record who rest below:

When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,

Not what he was, but what he should have been:

But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,

The first to welcome, foremost to defend,

Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,

Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,

Unhonour’d falls, unnoticed all his worth—

Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth:

While Man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,

And claims himself a sole exclusive Heaven.

Oh Man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,

Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,

Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,

Degraded mass of animated dust!

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,

Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!

By nature vile, ennobled but by name,

Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.

Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,

Pass on—it honours none you wish to mourn:

To mark a Friend’s remains these stones arise;

I never knew but one,—and here he lies.

Newstead Abbey, October 30, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

1 This monument is placed in the garden of Newstead. A prose inscription precedes the verses:—

“Near this spot

Are deposited the Remains of one

Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,

Strength without Insolence,

Courage without Ferocity,

And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices. This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery

If inscribed over human ashes,

Is but a just tribute to the Memory of

BOATSWAIN, a Dog,

Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,

And died at Newstead Abbey, Nov. 18, 1808.”

Byron thus announced the death of his favourite to his friend Hodgson:—“Boatswain is dead!—he expired in a state of madness on the 18th after suffering much, yet retaining all the gentleness of his nature to the last; never attempting to do the least injury to any one near him. I have now lost everything except old Murray.” In the will which the poet executed in 1811, he desired to be buried in the vault with his dog, and Joe Murray was to have the honour of making one of the party. When the poet was on his travels, a gentleman, to whom Murray showed the tomb, said, “Well, old boy, you will take your place here some twenty years hence.” “I don’t know that, sir,” replied Joe; “if I was sure his lordship would come here I should like it well enough, but I should not like to lie alone with the dog.”—‘Life’, pp. 73, 131.]

To a Lady, 1
On Being Asked My Reason for Quitting England in the Spring.

1.

When Man, expell’d from Eden’s bowers,

A moment linger’d near the gate,

Each scene recall’d the vanish’d hours,

And bade him curse his future fate.

2.

But, wandering on through distant climes,

He learnt to bear his load of grief;

Just gave a sigh to other times,

And found in busier scenes relief.

3.

Thus, Lady! will it be with me,

And I must view thy charms no more;

For, while I linger near to thee,

I sigh for all I knew before.

4.

In flight I shall be surely wise,

Escaping from temptation’s snare:

I cannot view my Paradise

Without the wish of dwelling there. 2

December 2, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

1 Byron had written to his mother on November 2, 1808, announcing his intention of sailing for India in the following March. See ‘Childe Harold’, canto i. st. 3. See also Letter to Hodgson, Nov. 27, 1808.]

2 In an unpublished letter of Byron to——, dated within a few days of his final departure from Italy to Greece, in 1823, he writes:

“Miss Chaworth was two years older than myself. She married a man of an ancient and respectable family, but her marriage was not a happier one than my own. Her conduct, however, was irreproachable; but there was not sympathy between their characters. I had not seen her for many years when an occasion offered to me, January, 1814. I was upon the point, with her consent, of paying her a visit, when my sister, who has always had more influence over me than any one else, persuaded me not to do it. ‘For,’ said she, ‘if you go you will fall in love again, and then there will be a scene; one step will lead to another, ‘et cela fera un éclat”.”]

Fill the Goblet Again.

A Song.
1.

Fill the goblet again! for I never before

Felt the glow which now gladdens my heart to its core;

Let us drink!—who would not?—since, through life’s varied round,

In the goblet alone no deception is found.

2.

I have tried in its turn all that life can supply;

I have bask’d in the beam of a dark rolling eye;

I have lov’d!—who has not?—but what heart can declare

That Pleasure existed while Passion was there?

3.

In the days of my youth, when the heart’s in its spring,

And dreams that Affection can never take wing,

I had friends!—who has not?—but what tongue will avow,

That friends, rosy wine! are so faithful as thou?

4.

The heart of a mistress some boy may estrange,

Friendship shifts with the sunbeam—thou never canst change;

Thou grow’st old—who does not?—but on earth what appears,

Whose virtues, like thine, still increase with its years?

5.

Yet if blest to the utmost that Love can bestow,

Should a rival bow down to our idol below,

We are jealous!—who’s not?—thou hast no such alloy;

For the more that enjoy thee, the more we enjoy.

6.

Then the season of youth and its vanities past,

For refuge we fly to the goblet at last;

There we find—do we not?—in the flow of the soul,

That truth, as of yore, is confined to the bowl.

7.

When the box of Pandora was open’d on earth,

And Misery’s triumph commenc’d over Mirth,

Hope was left,—was she not?—but the goblet we kiss,

And care not for Hope, who are certain of bliss.

8.

Long life to the grape! for when summer is flown,

The age of our nectar shall gladden our own:

We must die—who shall not?—May our sins be forgiven,

And Hebe shall never be idle in Heaven.

[First published, 1809.]

Stanzas to a Lady, on leaving England.

1.

Tis done—and shivering in the gale

The bark unfurls her snowy sail;

And whistling o’er the bending mast,

Loud sings on high the fresh’ning blast;

And I must from this land be gone,

Because I cannot love but one.

2.

But could I be what I have been,

And could I see what I have seen—

Could I repose upon the breast

Which once my warmest wishes blest—

I should not seek another zone,

Because I cannot love but one.

3.

’Tis long since I beheld that eye

Which gave me bliss or misery;

And I have striven, but in vain,

Never to think of it again:

For though I fly from Albion,

I still can only love but one.

4.

As some lone bird, without a mate,

My weary heart is desolate;

I look around, and cannot trace

One friendly smile or welcome face,

And ev’n in crowds am still alone,

Because I cannot love but one.

5.

And I will cross the whitening foam,

And I will seek a foreign home;

Till I forget a false fair face,

I ne’er shall find a resting-place;

My own dark thoughts I cannot shun,

But ever love, and love but one.

6.

The poorest, veriest wretch on earth

Still finds some hospitable hearth,

Where Friendship’s or Love’s softer glow

May smile in joy or soothe in woe;

But friend or leman I have none,

Because I cannot love but one.

7.

I go—but wheresoe’er I flee

There’s not an eye will weep for me;

There’s not a kind congenial heart,

Where I can claim the meanest part;

Nor thou, who hast my hopes undone,

Wilt sigh, although I love but one.

8.

To think of every early scene,

Of what we are, and what we’ve been,

Would whelm some softer hearts with woe—

But mine, alas! has stood the blow;

Yet still beats on as it begun,

And never truly loves but one.

9.

And who that dear lov’d one may be,

Is not for vulgar eyes to see;

And why that early love was cross’d,

Thou know’st the best, I feel the most;

But few that dwell beneath the sun

Have loved so long, and loved but one.

10.

I’ve tried another’s fetters too,

With charms perchance as fair to view;

And I would fain have loved as well,

But some unconquerable spell

Forbade my bleeding breast to own

A kindred care for aught but one.

11.

’Twould soothe to take one lingering view,

And bless thee in my last adieu;

Yet wish I not those eyes to weep

For him that wanders o’er the deep;

His home, his hope, his youth are gone,

Yet still he loves, and loves but one.

1809. [First published, 1809.]

This web edition published by:

eBooks@Adelaide
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005