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In this life of probation for rapture divine,
Who kneels to the god, on his altar of light
Ix law an infant 1, and in years a boy,
From every sense of shame and virtue wean'd;
In lies an adept, in deceit a fiend;
Versed in hypocrisy, while yet a child;
Woman his dupe, his heedless friend a tool;
Old in the world, though scarcely broke from school;
All I shall therefore say (whate'er
I think, is neither here nor there)
Is, that such lips, of looks endearing,
Were form'd for better things than sucering:
MARION! why that pensive brow?
To hide their orbs in dark restraint;
Spite of all thou fain wouldst say,
Still in truant beams they play.
Thy lips but here my modest Muse
in short she
Her impulse chaste must needs refuse:
1 In law every person is an infant who has not attained the age of twenty-one.
["When I went up to Trinity, in 1805, at the age of seventeen and a half, I was miserable and untoward to a degree. I was wretched at leaving Harrow-wretched at going to Cambridge instead of Oxford- wretched from some private domestic circumstances of different kinds; and, consequently, about as unsocial as a wolf taken from the troop." Diary. Mr. Moore adds, "The sort of life which young Byron led at this period, between the dissipations of London and of Cambridge, without a home to welcome, or even the roof of a single relative to receive him, was but little calculated
TO A LADY
WHO PRESENTED TO THE AUTHOR A LOCK OF HAIR BRAIDED WITH HIS OWN, AND APPOINTED A NIGHT
IN DECEMBER TO MEET HIM IN THE GARDEN. 3
THESE locks, which fondly thus entwine,
With silly whims and fancies frantic,
Why should you weep like Lydia Languish,
And fret with self-created anguish
Or doom the lover you have chosen,
to render him satisfied either with himself or the world. Unrestricted as he was by deference to any will but his own, even the pleasures to which he was naturally most inclined prematurely palled upon him, for want of those best zests of all enjoyment- rarity and restraint."]
3 [See antè, p. 387. note.]
In the above little piece the author has been accused by some candid readers of introducing the name of a lady from whom he was some hundred miles distant at the time this was written; and poor Juliet, who has slept so long in "the tomb of all the Capulets," has been converted, with a trifling
Oh! would some modern muse inspire,
Or had the bard at Christmas written,
Warm nights are proper for reflection;
OSCAR OF ALVA. 2
How sweetly shines through azure skies, The lamp of heaven on Lora's shore; Where Alva's hoary turrets rise,
And hear the din of arms no more.
But often has yon rolling moon
On Alva's casques of silver play'd; And view'd, at midnight's silent noon, Her chiefs in gleaming mail array'd:
And on the crimson'd rocks beneath, Which scowl o'er ocean's sullen flow Pale in the scatter'd ranks of death,
She saw the gasping warrior low; While many an eye which ne'er again Could mark the rising orb of day, Turn'd feebly from the gory plain, Beheld in death her fading ray.
Once to those eyes the lamp of Love,
Faded is Alva's noble race,
And gray her towers are seen afar;
alteration of her name, into an English damsel, walking in a garden of their own creation, during the month of December, in a village where the author never passed a winter. Such has been the candour of some ingenious critics. We would advise these liberal commentators on taste and arbiters of decorum to read Shakspeare.
Having heard that a very severe and indelicate censure has been passed on the above poem, I beg leave to reply in a quotation from an admired work, "Carr's Stranger in France."-" As we were contemplating a painting on a large scale, in which, among other figures, is the uncovered whole length of a warrior, a prudish-looking lady, who seemed to have touched the age of desperation, after having attentively surveyed it through her glass, observed to her party, that
there was a great deal of indecorum in that picture. Madame S. shrewdly whispered in my ear, that the indecorum was in the remark.'"
2 The catastrophe of this tale was suggested by the story of Jeronyme 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."
3 [Lord Byron falls into a very common error, that of mistaking pibroch, which means a particular sort of tune, for the instrument on which it is played, the bagpipe. Almost every foreign tourist. Nodier. for example, does the same. The reader will find this little slip noticed in the article from the Edinburgh Review appended to these pages.]
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;
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.
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;
And Oscar claim'd the beauteous bride,
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. 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.
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.
But where is Oscar? sure 't is late:
Is this a bridegroom's ardent flame ? While thronging guests and ladies wait, Nor Oscar nor his brother came.
At length young Allan join'd the bride: "Why comes not Oscar," Angus said: "Is he not here?" the youth replied; "With me he roved not o'er the glade :
"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."
"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?
All is confusion-through the vale
It breaks the stillness of the night,
Three days, three sleepless nights, the Chief
"Oscar! my son!-1
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.
"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!
"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. "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 ?"
Thus did the hapless parent mourn,
Till Time, which soothes severest woc, Had bade serenity return,
And made the tear-drop cease to flow.
For still some latent hope survived
That Oscar might once more appear; His hope now droop'd and now revived, Till Time had told a tedious year.
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.
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.
She thought that Oscar low was laid, And Allan's face was wondrous fair; If Oscar lived, some other maid
Had claim'd his faithless bosom's care.
And Angus said, if one year more
Slow roll'd the moons, but blest at last
And still the choral peal prolong.
Again the clan, in festive crowd,
And all their former joy recall.