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THE CHAIN I GAVE.
(Fron: the Turkish.)
THE chain I gave was fair to view,
The lute I added sweet in sound;
The heart that offer'd both was true,
And ill deserved the fate it found.
Those gifts were charm'd by secret spell
Thy truth in absence to divine;
And they have done their duty well,-
Alas! they could not teach thee thine.
That chain was firm in every link,
But not to bear a stranger's touch;
That lute was sweet-till thou couldst think
In other hands its notes were such.
Let him who from thy neck unbound
The chain which shiver'd in his grasp,
Who saw that lute refuse to sound,
Restring the chords, renew the clasp. When thou wert changed, they alter'd too; The chain is broke, the music mute. 'Tis past-to them and thee adieu
False heart, frail chain, and silent lute,
EPITAPH FOR JOSEPH BLACKETT, LATE POET
STRANGER! behold, interr'd together,
The souls of learning and of leather.
Poor Joe is gone, but left his all:
You'll find his relics in a stall.
His works were neat, and often found
Well stitch'd, and with morocco bound.
Tread lightly-where the bard is laid
He cannot mend the shoe he made;
Yet is he happy in his hole,
With verse immortal as his sole.
But still to business he held fast,
And stuck to Phoebus to the last.
Then who shall say so good a fellow
Was only "leather and prunella ?"
For character-he did not lack it;
And if he did, 't were shame to "Black-it."
Malta, May 16, 1811.
ON HEARING THAT LADY BYRON WAS ILL.
AND thou wert sad-yet I was not with thee;) And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near; Methought that joy and health alone could be Where I was not-and pain and sorrow here! And is it thus?-it is as I foretold,
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils Upon itself, and the wreck'd heart lies cold, While heaviness collects the shatter'd spoils. It is not in the storm nor in the strife We feel benumb'd, and wish to be no more, But in the after-silence on the shore, When all is lost, except a little life.
I am too well avenged!-but 't was my right; Whate'er my sins might be, thou wert not sent To be the Nemesis who should requite
Nor did Heaven choose so near an instrument. Mercy is for the merciful!-if thou
Hast been of such, 't will be accorded now.
Thy nights are banish'd from the realms of sleep!-
Yes! they may flatter thee, but thou shalt feel
A hollow agony which will not heal,
For thou art pillow'd on a curse too deep;
Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap
The bitter harvest in a woe as real!
And thus upon the world-trust in thy truth-
And the wild fame of my ungovern'd youth-
On things that were not, and on things that are-
Even upon such a basis hast thou built
A monument, whose cement hath been guilt!
The moral Clytemnestra of thy lord,
And hew'd down, with an unsuspected sword,
Fame, peace, and hope-and all the better life
Which, but for this cold treason of thy heart,
Might still have risen from out the grave of strife,
And found a nobler duty than to part.
But of thy virtues didst thou make a vice,
Trafficking with them in a purpose cold,
For present anger, and for future gold-
And buying others' grief at any price.
And thus once enter'd into crooked ways,
The early truth, which was thy proper praise,
Did not still walk beside thee-but at times,
And with a breast unknowing its own crimes,
Deceit, averments incompatible,
Equivocations, and the thoughts which dwell
In Janus-spirits--the significant eye
Which learns to lie with silence-the pretex
Of Prudence, with advantages annex'd-
The acquiescence in all things which tend,
No matter how, to the desired end-
All found a place in thy philosophy.
The means were worthy, and the end is won-
I would not do by thee as thou hast done!
VERSES FOUND IN A SUMMER-HOUSE AT
WHEN Dryden's fool, "unknowing what he sought,"
His hours in whistling spent, "for want of thought,"
This guiltless oaf his vacancy of sense
Supplied, and amply too, by innocence;
Did modern swains, possess'd of Cymon's powers,
In Cymon's manner waste their leisure hours,
Th' offended guests would not, with blushing, see
These fair green walks disgraced by infamy.
Severe the fate of modern fools, alas!
When vice and folly mark them as they pass.
Like noxious reptiles o'er the whiten'd wall,
The filth they leave still points out where they crawl.
EGLE, beauty and poet, has two little crimes;
She makes her own face, and does not make her
THE Son of Love and Lord of War 1 sing;
Him who made England bow to Normandy,
And left the name of conqueror more than king
To his unconquerable dynasty.
Not fann'd alone by Victory's fleeting wing,
He rear'd his bold and brilliant throne on high:
The Bastard kept, like lions, his prey fast,
And Britain's bravest victor was the last.
I READ the Christabel;"
I read the "Missionary;"
I tried at "Ilderim;"
To hook the reader, you, John Murray,
Have publish'd "Anjou's Margaret,"
Which won't be sold off in a hurry,
(At least, it has not been as yet;)
And then, still further to bewilder 'em,
Without remorse you set up "Ilderim;"
So mind you don't get into debt,
Because as how, if you should fail,
These books would be but baddish bail.
And mind you do not let escape
These rhymes to Morning Post or Perry, Which would be very treacherous-very, And get me into such a scrape!
For, firstly, I should have to sally, All in my little boat, against a Galley; And, should I chance to slay the Assyrian wight, Have next to combat with the female knight. March 25, 1817.
EPISTLE FROM MR. MURRAY TO DR. POLI-
DEAR Doctor, I have read your play,
Which is a good one in its way,-
Purges the eyes and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears, that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral and machinery;
Your plot, too, has such scope for scenery;
Your dialogue is apt and smart;
The plays's concoction full of art;
Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
All stab, and every body dies.
In short, your tragedy would be
The very thing to hear and see:
And for a piece of publication,
If I decline on this occasion,
It is not that I am not sensible"
To merits in themselves ostensible;
But-and I grieve to speak it-plays
Are drugs-mere drugs, sir-now-a-days.
I had a heavy loss by "Manuel,"-
Too lucky if it prove not annual,-
And Sotheby, with his "Orestes,"
(Which, by the by, the author's best is,)
Has lain so very long on hand,
That I despair of all demand.
I've advertised, but see my books,
Or only watch my shopman's looks;
Still Ivan, Ina, and such lumber,
My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber.
There's Byron too, who once did better,
Has sent me, folded in a letter,
A sort of-it's no more a drama
Than Darnley, Ivan, or Kehama;
So alter'd since last year his pen is,
I think he's lost his wits at Venice.
In short, sir, what with one and t'other,
I dare not venture on another.
I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
The coaches through the streets so thunder.
My room's so full-we've Gifford here
Reading MS., with Hookman Frere,
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
Of some of our forthcoming Articles.
The Quarterly-Ah, sir, if you
Had but the genius to review I-
A smart critique upon St. Helena,
Or if you only would but tell in a
Short compass what-but, to resume:
As I was saying, sir, the room-
The room's so full of wits and bards,
Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Warda,
And others, neither bards nor wits:-
My humble tenement admits
All persons in the dress of gent.,
From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.
A party dines with me to-day,
All clever men, who make their way;
Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton, and Chantrey,
Are all partakers of my pantry.
They're at this moment in discussion
On poor De Staël's late dissolution.
Her book, they say, was in advance-
Pray Heaven, she tell the truth of France!
Thus run our time and tongues away.-
But, to return, sir, to your play:
Sorry, sir, but I cannot deal,
Unless 't were acted by O'Neil.
My hands so full, my head so busy,
I'm almost dead, and always dizzy;
And so, with endless truth and hurry,
Dear Doctor, I am yours,
My dear Mr. Murray,
You're in a damn'd hurry
To set up this ultimate Canto;
But (if they don't rob us)
You'll see Mr. Hobhouse
Will bring it safe in his portmanteau.
For the Journal you hint of,
As ready to print off,
No doubt you do right to commend it; But as yet I have writ off
Our "Beppo :"-when copied, I'll send it.
Then you've***'s Tour,
No great things, to be sure,
You could hardly begin with a less work;
For the pompous rascallion,
Who don't speak Italian
Nor French, must have scribbled by guess-work
You can make any loss up
With "Spence" and his gossip,
A work which must surely succeed;
Then Queen Mary's Epistle-craft,
With the new "Fytte" of "Whistlecraft,"
Must make people purchase and read.
Then you've General Gordon,
Who girded his sword on,
To serve with a Muscovite master,
And help him to polish
A nation so owlish,
They thought shaving their beards a disaster
ON THE BIRTH OF JOHN WILLIAM RIZZO
His father's sense, his mother's grace, In him, I hope, will always fit so; With still to keep him in good caseThe health and appetite of Rizzio.
STANZAS, TO A HINDOO AIR.
[These verses were written by Lord Byron a little before he left Italy for Greece. They were meant to suit the Hindostanee air-" Alla Malla Punea," which the Countess Guiccioli was fond of singing.] Ox-my lonely-lonely-lonely-Pillow! Where is my lover? where is my lover?
Is it his bark which my dreary dreams discover?
Far-far away! and alone along the billow?
Oh! my lonely-lonely-lonely-Pillow!
Why must my head ache where his gentle brow lay?
How the long night flags lovelessly and slowly,
And my head droops over thee like the willow.-
Oh! thou, my sad and solitary Pillow!
Send me kind dreams to keep my heart from breaking,
In return for the tears I shed upon thee waking;
Let me not die till he comes back o'er the billow.-
Then if thou wilt-no more my lonely Pillow,
In one embrace let these arms again enfold him,
And then expire of the joy-but to behold him!
Oh my lone bosom!-oh! my lonely Pillow!
Like Chiefs of Faction,
His life is action-
A formal paction
That curbs his reign,
Obscures his glory,
Despot no more, he
Quits with disdain.
Still, still advancing,
With banners glancing,
His power enhancing,
He must move on-
Repose but cloys him,
Retreat destroys him,
Love brooks not a degraded throne.
Wait not, fond lover!
Till years are over,
And then recover,
As from a dream.
While each, bewailing
The other's failing,
With wrath and railing,
All hideous seem-
While first decreasing,
Yet not quite ceasing,
Wait not till teasing
All passion blight:
If once diminish'd,
Love's reign is finish'd-
Then part in friendship,—and bid good-right
So shall Affection
The dear connexion
Bring back with joy:
You had not waited
Till, tired or hated,
Your passions sated
Began to cloy.
Your last embraces
Leave no cold traces-
The same fond faces
As through the past;
And eyes, the mirrors
Of your sweet errors,
Reflect but rapture-not least, though last
Ask more than patience;
From such have risen!
But yet remaining,
What is 't but chaining
Hearts which, once waning.
Beat 'gainst their prison 7
Time can but cloy love,
And use destroy love:
The winged boy, Love,
Is but for boys-
You'll find it torture
Though sharper, shorter,
To wean, and not wear out, your joys.