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Byron's Poetical Works, Vol. 1
by Byron
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4.

While many an eye, which ne'er again [ii] 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 re-echo 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; [i] 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, [iv] 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 barbed 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.



[Footnote 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'.]

[Footnote 2: It is evident that Byron here confused the 'pibroch', the air, with the 'bagpipe', the instrument.]

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

[Footnote i:

'She view'd the gasping'——.

['Hours of Idleness'.]]

[Footnote ii:

'When many an eye which ne'er again Could view'——.

['Hours of Idleness'.]]

[Footnote iii:

'Internal fears'——.

['Hours of Idleness'.]]

[Footnote iv:

'Old Angus prest, the earth with his breast'.

['Hours of Idleness'.]]



TRANSLATION FROM ANACREON.

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



ODE 1.

TO HIS LYRE.



I wish to tune my quivering lyre, [i] 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, [ii] 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! [iii] 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.

[Footnote 1: The motto does not appear in 'Hours of Idleness' or 'Poems O. and T.']

[Footnote i: 'I sought to tune'——.—['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote ii:

'The chords resumed a second strain, To Jove's great son I strike again. Alcides and his glorious deeds, Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote iii:

'The Trumpet's blast with these accords To sound the clash of hostile swords— Be mine the softer, sweeter care To soothe the young and virgin Fair'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]



FROM ANACREON.

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

ODE 3.

'Twas now the hour when Night had driven Her car half round yon sable heaven; Booetes, only, seem'd to roll [i] 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, [ii] 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?"

[Footnote 1: The motto does not appear in 'Hours of Idleness' or 'Poems O. and T.']

[Footnote i: The Newstead MS. inserts—

'No Moon in silver robe was seen Nor e'en a trembling star between'.]

[Footnote ii:

'Touched with the seeming artless tale Compassion's tears o'er doubt prevail; Methought I viewed him, cold and damp, I trimmed anew my dying lamp, Drew back the bar—and by the light A pinioned Infant met my sight; His bow across his shoulders slung, And hence a gilded quiver hung; With care I tend my weary guest, His shivering hands by mine are pressed: My hearth I load with embers warm To dry the dew drops of the storm: Drenched by the rain of yonder sky The strings are weak—but let us try.'

—['MS. Newstead'.]]



THE EPISODE OF NISUS AND EURYALUS. [1]

A PARAPHRASE FROM THE "AENEID," 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, [i] 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. [ii]

"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 AEneas 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 AEneas 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. [iii] 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: [iv] 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, [v] 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, ǐ 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 AEneas 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 aged 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; AEneas 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 AEneas 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, [vii] 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: [viii] 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, [ix] 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, [x] 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, [xi] Slain 'midst the forest in the hunter's toil, Mnestheus to guard the elder youth bestows, [xii] 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. [xiii] 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? [xiv]

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; [xv] 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. [xvi] In slaughter'd folds, the keepers lost in sleep, [xvii] 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; [xviii] 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 Rhaesus 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: [xix] 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, [xx] 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, [xxi] While lengthening shades his weary way confound; 330 Him, with loud shouts, the furious knights pursue, Struggling in vain, a captive to the crew. [xxii] 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! [xxiii] 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. [xxiv] 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; [xxv] 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. [xxvi] 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, [xxvii] 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! [xxviii] 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!

[Footnote 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 'AEneid'."]

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

[Footnote i:

'Him Ida sent, a hunter, now no more, To combat foes, upon a foreign shore; Near him, the loveliest of the Trojan band, Did fair Euryalus, his comrade, stand; Few are the seasons of his youthful life, As yet a novice in the martial strife: The Gods to him unwonted gifts impart, A female's beatify, with a hero's heart.

['P. on V. Occasions.']

From Ida torn he left his native grove, Through distant climes, and trackless seas to rove.'

['Hours of Idleness.']]

[Footnote ii:

'And now combin'd, the massy gate they guard'.

['P. on V. Occasions'.]

—they hold the nightly guard'.

['Hours of Idleness'.]]

[Footnote iii:

And Love, and Life alike the glory spurned.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote iv:

Then Nisus, "Ah, my friend—why thus suspect Thy youthful breast admits of no defect."

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote v:

Trembling with diffidence not awed by fear.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote vi:

The vain Rutulians lost in slumber dream.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote vii:

'Hither she came———.

['Hours of Idleness.']]

[Footnote viii:

'Her falling tears———.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote ix:

'With this assurance Fate's attempts are vain; Fearless I dare the foes of yonder plain.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote x:

'That all the gifts which once to thee were vowed.

['MS. Newstead'.]

[Footnote xi:

'A tawny skin the furious lion's spoil.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xii:

'Mnestheus presented, and the Warrior's mask Alethes gave a doubly temper'd casque.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xiii:

'To glad their journey, follow them in vain.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xiv:

'Dispersed and scattered on the sighing gale.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xv:

'By Bacchus' potent draught weigh'd down at last Half the long night in childish games was past.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xvi:

'—disportive play'd.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xvii:

By hunger prest, the keeper lull'd to sleep In slaughter thus a Lyon's fangs may steep.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xviii:

Through teeming herds unchecked, unawed, he roams.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xix:

Heedless of danger on the herbage feed.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xx:

——'of thee bereft In what dire perils is my brother left.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxi:

Then his lov'd boy the ruffian band surround Entangled in the tufted Forest ground.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxii:

'At length a captive to the hostile crew'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxiii:

'The Goddess bright transcending every star'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxiv:

'No object meets them but the earth and skies. He burns for vengeance, rising in his wrath— Then you, accursed, thy life shall pay for both; Then from the sheath his flaming brand he drew, And on the raging boy defenceless flew. Nisus no more the blackening shade conceals, Forth forth he rushed and all his love reveals; Pale and confused his fear to madness grows, And thus in accents mild he greets his Foes. "On me, on me, direct your impious steel, Let me and me alone your vengeance feel— Let not a stripling's blood by Chiefs be spilt, Be mine the Death, as mine was all the guilt. By Heaven and Hell, the powers of Earth and Air. Yon guiltless stripling neither could nor dare: Spare him, oh! spare by all the Gods above, A hapless boy whose only crime was Love." He prayed in vain; the fierce assassin's sword Pierced the fair side, the snowy bosom gored; Drooping to earth inclines his lovely head, O'er his fair curls, the purpling stream is spread. As some sweet lily, by the ploughshare broke Languid in Death, sinks down beneath the stroke; Or, as some poppy, bending with the shower, Gently declining falls a waning flower'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxv:

'Revenge his object'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxvi:

'The assassin's soul'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxvii:

'Then on his breast he sought his wonted place, And Death was lovely in his Friend's embrace'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xxviii:

'Yours are the fairest wreaths of endless Fame.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]



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, [i] 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!

[Footnote 1: The Greek heading does not appear in 'Hours of Idleness' or 'Poems O. and T'.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 3: The original is [Greek: katharan anoixanta klaeda phren_on,] literally "disclosing the bright key of the mind."]

[Footnote i:

'If thus thou com'st in gentle guise'.

['Hours of Idleness'.]]



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]



[Footnote 1: 'Lachin y Gair', or, as it is pronounced in the Erse, 'Loch na Garr', towers proudly pre-eminent 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.']

[Footnote 2: This word is erroneously pronounced 'plad'; the proper pronunciation (according to the Scotch) is shown by the orthography.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 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."]

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

[Footnote 6: The Bagpipe.—'Hours of Idleness'. (See note, p. 133.)]

[Footnote 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, [i] 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 [ii] 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 [iii] 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: [iv] Oblivion's blackening lake is seen, Convuls'd by gales you cannot weather, Where you, and eke your gentle queen, Alas! must perish altogether.

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote i:

'Where every girl—.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote ii:

'But quit at once thy realms of air Thy mingling—.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote iii:

'Auspicious bards—.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote iv:

'Where you are doomed in death to lie.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]



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; [i] 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. [ii] 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. [iii] 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, "to-morrow 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. [i] 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." [v]

"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]

[Footnote 1: The MS. is preserved at Newstead.]

[Footnote 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].]

[Footnote 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'.]

[Footnote i:

'Erin's sons—'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote ii:

'The horn of Fingal—'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote iii:

'—the fires gleam—'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote iv:

'He trembles in his blood. He rolls convulsive.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote v:

'—the mountain of Morven.'

['MS. Newstead'.]]



TO EDWARD NOEL LONG, ESQ. [i] [1]

"Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico."—HORACE.

Dear LONG, in this sequester'd scene, [ii] 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, [iii] 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; [iv] 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, [v] Still may I rove untutor'd, wild, And even in age, at heart a child. ǐ

Though, now, on airy visions borne, To you my soul is still the same. Oft has it been my fate to mourn, [vii] 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 [viii] 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; [ix] 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—[x] 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, [xi] Whose Sun displays a general summer! Thus faint is every former flame, And Passion's self is now a name; [xii] [xiii] 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? [xiv] 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.

[Footnote 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.).]

[Footnote i:

'To E. N. L. Esq.'

['Hours of Idleness. Poems O. and T.'] ]

[Footnote ii:

'Dear L——.'

['Hours of Idleness. Poems O. and T.'] ]

[Footnote iii:

'Some daring envious.'

['MS. Newstead.'] ]

[Footnote iv:

'its young romantic flow.'

['MS. Newstead.'] ]

[Footnote v:

'O'er which my fancy'—.

['MS. Newstead.'] ]

[Footnote vi:

'Still may my breast to boyhood cleave, With every early passion heave; Still may I rove untutored, wild, But never cease to seem a child.'—

['MS. Newstead.'] ]

[Footnote vii:

'Since we have met, I learnt to mourn.'

['MS. Newstead.'] ]

[Footnote viii:

'And caves their sullen war'—.

['MS. Newstead.'] ]

[Footnote ix:

'—thank Heaven are flown'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote x:

'In truth dear L——'.

['Hours of Idleness. Poems O. and T.] ]

[Footnote xi:

'The glances really don't become her'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xii:

'No more I linger on its name'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xiii:

'And passion's self is but a name'.

['MS. Newstead'.]]

[Footnote xiv:

'And what's much worse than this I find Have left their deepen'd tracks behind Yet as yon'———.

['MS. Newstead'.]]



TO A LADY. [i]

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. [1]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote i:

To———.

['Hours of Idleness. Poems O. and T.']]



* * * * * * * * *



POEMS ORIGINAL AND TRANSLATED



WHEN I ROVED A YOUNG HIGHLANDER. [i]

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?

[Footnote 1: Morven, a lofty mountain in Aberdeenshire. "Gormal of snow" is an expression frequently to be found in Ossian.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 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).]

[Footnote 4: "Breasting the lofty surge" (Shakespeare).]

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

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

[Footnote i:

Song.

[Poems O. and T.]]



TO THE DUKE OF DORSET. [i] [1]

Dorset! whose early steps with mine have stray'd, [ii] 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 [iii] 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 [iv] 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.

[Footnote 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 re-perusal, 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).]]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 3: Allow me to disclaim any personal allusions, even the most distant. I merely mention generally what is too often the weakness of preceptors.]

[Footnote 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'.]

[Footnote 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.]



[Footnote i:

'To the Duke of D——-'.

['Poems O. and T.']]

[Footnote ii:

'D-r-t'——-.

['Poems O. and T.']]

[Footnote iii:

Yet D-r-t——-.

['Poems O. and T.']

[Footnote iv:

'D—r—t farewell.'

['Poems O. and T.']]



TO THE EARL OF CLARE. [i]

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; [ii] And, sure, apologies are due: Accept, then, my concession. In truth, dear Clare, in Fancy's flight [iii] 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.

[Footnote 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.")]

[Footnote 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'.]]

[Footnote 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."

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