Page images

And soon shall its wild erring notes be forgot,

Since early affection and love are o'ercast : Oh ! blest had my fate been, and happy my lot,

Had the first strain of love been the dearest, the last ! 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 sweetThe present - which seals our eternal Adicu.

1807. [First published, 1832.)

TO AN OAK AT NEWSTEAD. I 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. 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. 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. 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 ? Ah, droop not, my,Oak ! lift thy head for a while;

Ere twice round yon Glory this planct shall run, The hand of thy Master will teach thee to smile,

When Infancy's years of probation are done. 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. 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. For centuries still may thy boughs lightly wave

C'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. 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. 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.)

[ocr errors]

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,
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.
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.
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.]

FAREWELL TO THE MUSE. Tuou Power! who hast ruled me through infancy's

days, Young offspring of Fancy, 't is time we should part; Then rise on the gale this the last of my lays,

The coldest effusion which springs from my heart. 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 watted far distant on Apathy's wing. 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 down, to return, - alas, never ! 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 ? 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. Can they speak of the friends that I love 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 ? 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 ! Untouch'd, then, my Lyre shall reply to the blast

"T is 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


1 (Lord Byron, on his first arrival at Newstead, in 1798, planted an oak in the garden, and nourished the fancy, that as the tree flourished so should he. On revisiting the abbey, during Lord Grey de Ruthven's residence there, he found the oak choked up by weeds, and almost destroyed ;- hence these lines. Shortly after Colonel Wildınan, the present proprietor, took possession, he one day noticed it, and said to the servant who was with him, " 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." The Colonel has, of course, taken every possible care of it. It is al. reldy inquired after, by strangers, as " THE Bynos OAK." and promises to share, in alter times, the celebrity of Shakspeare's mulberry, and Pope's willow.)

ON REVISITING HARROW. 1 Here once engaged the stranger's view

Young Friendship's record simply traced ; Few were her words, - but yet, though few,

Resentment's hand the line defaced.
Deeply she cut - but not erased,

The characters were still so plain,
That Friendship once return'd, and gazed, -

Till Memory hail'd the words again.
Repentance placed them as before;

Forgiveness join'd her gentle name; So fair the inscription seem'd once more

That Friendship thought it still the same.
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!

Septem er, 1807.

Oh, 't will 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!
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, 1830.)


FAREWELL! if ever fondest prayer

For other's weal avail'd on high, Mine will not all be lost in air,

But waft thy name beyond the sky. 'T were vain to speak, to weep, to sigh :

Oh! more than tears of blood can tell, When wrung from guilt's expiring eye,

Are in that word - Farewell ! - Farewell!


A CARRIER, WHO DIED OF DRUNKENNESS. JOHN Adaus lies here, of the parish of Southwell, A Carrier who carried his can to his mouth well; He carried so much, and he carried so fast, He could carry no more — so was carried at last; For, the liquor he drank, being too much for one, He could not carry off, --so he is now carri-on.

September, 1807.

These lips are mute, these eyes are dry;

But in my breast and in my brain, Awake the pangs that pass not by,

The thought that ne'er shall sleep again.
My soul nor deigns nor dares complain,

Though grief and passion there rebel :
I only know we loved in vain-
I only feel — Farewell ! - Farewell!




Bright be the place of thy soul !

No lovelier spirit than thine E'er burst from its mortal control,

In the orbs of the blessed to shine.

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!
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!
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!
Why, let the world unfeeling frown,
Must I fond Nature's claim 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 !

On earth thou wert all but divine,

As thy soul shall immortally be ; And our sorrow may cease to repine,

When we know that thy God is with thee.

Light be the turf of thy tomb !

May its verdure like emeralds be : There should not be the shadow of gloom

In aught that reminds us of thee.
Young flowers and an evergreen tree

May spring from the spot of thy rest :
But nor cypress nor yew let us see;
For why should we mourn for the blest ?


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 imagined injury, the author destroyed the frail record before he left Harrow. On revisiting the place in 1807, he wrote under it these stanzas.

? (" Whether these verses are, in any degree, founded on fact, I have no accurate means of determining. Tond as Lord Byron was of recording every particular of his youth,

such an event, or rather era, as is here commemorated, would have been, of all others, the least likely to pass unmentioned by him ; and yet neither in conversation nor in any of his writings do I remember even an allusion to it. On the other hand, so entirely was all that he wrote, - making allowance for the embellishments of fancy, - the transcript of his actual life and feclings, that it is not easy to suppose a poem, so full of natural tenderness, to have been indebted for its origin to imagination alone."- Moors. But see post, Don Juan, canto xvi. st. 61.)

[ocr errors]


When we two parted

In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted

To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and colil,

Colder thy kiss ;
Truly that hour foretold

Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning

Sunk chill on my brow It felt like the warning

Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken,

And light is thy fame; I hear thy name spoken,

And share in its shame.
They name thee before me,

A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me-

Why wert thou so dear ?
They know not I knew thee,

Who knew thee too well: Long, long shall I rue thee,

Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met

In silence I grieve, That thy heart could forget,

Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee

After long years, How should I greet thee? —

With silence and tears.



Sew 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. 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 loved at all.

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 estranged again. 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 tickle as thou art. 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 ?

" (This copy of verses, and that which follows, originally appeared in the volume published, in 1809, hy Mr. (now the Right Hon. Sir John) Hobhouse, under the title of Imita

It boots not that, together bred,

Our childish days were days of joy:
My spring of life has quickly fled ;

Thou, too, hast ceased to be a boy.
And when we bid adieu to youth,

Sluves to the specious world's control,
inesian .. long farewell to truth;

That world corrupts the noblest soul.
Ah, invo: season! when the mind

Dares ait' things boldly but to lie ;
When thought ere spoke is unconfined,

And sparkles in the placid eye.
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.
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.

Such is the common lot of man :

Can we then 'scape from rolly free ?
Can we reverse the general plan,

Nor be what all in turn must be ?

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.
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.
Alas! whenever folly calls

Where parasites and princes meet,
(For cherish'd first in royal halls,

The welcome vices kindly greet)
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.
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.
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 ?
What friend for thee, howe'er inclined,

Will deign to own a kindred care ?
Who will de base his manly mind,

For friendship every fool may share ?
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.


tions and Translations, together with original poems," and licaring the mouest epigrapb -“Nos hiec nouimus esse nie hil.")

But then it had its mother's eyes,

And they were all to love and me.


FROM A SKULL." Start not - nor deem my spirit fled :

In ne behold the only skull,
From which, unlike a living head,

Whatever flows is never dull.
I lived, I loved, I quaff'd, like thee :

I died: let earth my boncs resi.?? :
Fill up — thou canst not injure n.

The worm hath fouler lips than thine. 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.
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 ?
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. Why no— 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.

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. I decm'd that time, I deem'd that pride

Had quench'd at length my boyish flame ; Nor knew, till scated by thy side,

My heart in all, - save hope, — the same. Yet was I calm : I knew the time

My breast would thrill before thy lock; But now to tremble were a crime

We mct, and not a nerve was shook. I saw thee gaze upon my face,

Yet meet with no confusion there : One only feeling could'st thou trace ;

The sullen calmness of despair. Away! away! my early dream

Remembrance never must awake : Oh! where is Lethe's fabled stream ? My foolish heait, be still, or break.

November 2. 1908.

WELL! THOU ART HAPPY.? 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. Thy husband's blest — and 't will impart

Some pangs to view his happier lot: But let them pass - Oh! how my heart

Would hate him, if he loved thee not! When late I saw thy favourite child,

I thought my jealous heart would break; But when the unconscious infant smiled,

I kiss'd it for its mother's sake.
I kiss'd it, and repress'd my sighs,

Its father in its face to see ;


NEWFOUNDLAND DOG, 3 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 rests 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 !

! (Lord Byron gives 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 demonasteried. Observing it to be of giant size, and in a pertect 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 Fery high polish, and of a mottled colour like tortoiseshell." It is now in the possession of Colonel Wildınan, the proprietor of Newstead Abbey. In several of our elder dramatists, mention is made of the custom of quafling wine out of similar cups. For example, in Dekker's “ Wonder of a Kingiiom,' Torrenti says,

“ Would I had ten thousand soldiers' heads,

Their skulls set all in silver ; to drink healths

To his confusion who first invented war."] : (These lines were printed originally in Mr. Hobhouse's Miscellany. A few days before they were written, the Poet had been invited to dine at Annesley. On the infant daughter of his fair hostess being brought into the room, he started involuntarily, and with the utmost difficulty suppressed his ernotion. To the sensations of that moment we are indebted for these beautiful stanzas.)

3 This monument is still a conspicuous ornament in the garden of Newstead. The following is the inscription by which the verses are preceded :

“ Year 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

Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,

And died at Newstead Abbey, Nov. 15. 18C8." Lord 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 sutfering much, yet retaining all the gentleness of his pature to the last ; never attempting to do the least injury to any one near him. I have now lost every thing, except old Murray." By the will executed in 1811, he directed that his own body should be buried in a vault in the garden, near his faithful dog.]

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a chcat,
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, November 30. 1808.




When Man, expellid from Eden's bowers,

A moment linger'd near the gate, Each scene recall'd the vanish'u hours,

And bade him curse his future fate.

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.

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.

In flight I shall be surely wise,

Escaping from temptation's snare;
I cannot view my paradise
Without the wish of dwelling there. 3

Deceinber 2. 1808.


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.

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.

When thus reclining on my breast,
Those eyes threw back a giance so sweet,

As half reproach'd yet raised desire,
And still we near and nearer prest,
And still our glowing lips would meet,

As if in kisses to expire.

[In the original MS.“ To Mrs. Musters,” &c. The reader will find a portrait of this lady in Finden's Illustrations of Byron, No. III.) ? [In the first copy,

“ Thus, Mary!") 3 [In Mr. Hobhouse's volume. the line stood, -" Without a wish to enter there." The following is an extract from an unpublished letter of Lord Byron, written in 1823, only three days previous to his leaving Italy for Greece: "Miss Chaworth was two years older than inyself. She married a man of an ancient and respectatile family, but her

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 chcek,

Like raven's plumage smooth'd on snow.
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.

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.

THERE WAS A TIME, I NEED NOT NAME. THERE was a time, I need not name,

Since it will ne'er forgotten bc,
When all our feelings were the same

As still my soul hath been to thee.
And from that hour when first thy tongue

Confess'd a love which equallid mine,
Though many a grief my heart hath wrung.

Unknown and thus unfelt by thine, None, none hath sunk so deep as this —

To think how all that love bath flown ; Transient as every faithless kiss,

But transient in thy breast alone. 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.

Yes ; my adored, yet most unkind !

Though thou wilt never love again, To me 't is doubly sweet to find

Remembrance of that love remain.

Yes ! 't is a glorious thought to me,

Nor longer shall my soul repine, Whate'er thou art or e'er shalt be,

Thou hast been dearly, solely mine.

AND WILT THOU WEEP WHEN I AM LOW ? 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.

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. 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, per: suaded 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 107 éclat.' I was guided by those reasons, and shortly after married, with what success it is useless to say."]

« PreviousContinue »