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In vain, to drive thee from my breast,
What though we never silence broke,
Thy form appears through night, through day :
In sleep, it smiles in fleeting dreams :
Alas! again no more we meet,
For her each hour new joys discover,
[These verses were written at Harrowgate, in Aug. 1806.] 2 [The cornelian of these verses was given to Lord Byron by the Cambridge chorister, Eddlestone, whose musical talents first introduced him to the young poet's acquaintance, and for whom he appears to have entertained, subsequently, a sentiment of the most romantic friendship.]
3 [In a letter to Miss Pigot, of Southwell, written in June, 1807, Lord Byron thus describes Eddlestone: -" He is exactly to an hour two years younger than myself, nearly my height, very thin, very fair complexion, dark eyes, and light locks. My opinion of his mind you already know; I hope I shall never have occasion to change it." Eddlestone, on leaving his choir, entered into a mercantile house in the metropolis, and died of a consumption, in 1811. On hearing of his death, Lord Byron thus wrote to the mother of his fair correspondent:-"I am about to write to you on a silly subject, and yet I cannot well do otherwise. You may remember a cornelian, which some years ago I consigned to Miss Pigot, indeed gave to her, and now I am about to make the most selfish and rude of requests. The person who gave it to me, when I was very young, is dead, and though a long
time has elapsed since we met, as it was the only memorial I possessed of that person (in whom I was very much interested), it has acquired a value by this event I could have wished it never to have borne in my eyes. If, therefore, Miss Pigot should have preserved it, I must, under these circumstances, beg her to excuse my requesting it to be transmitted to me, and I will replace it by something she may remember me by equally well. As she was always so kind as to feel interested in the fate of him who formed the subject of our conversation, you may tell her that the giver of that cornelian died in May last, of a consumption, at the age of twentyone, making the sixth, within four months, of friends and relations that I have lost between May and the end of August."-The cornelian heart was returned accordingly; and, indeed, Miss Pigot reminded Lord Byron, that he had left it with her as a deposit, not a gift. It is now in the possession of the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.]
4["When I was a youth, I was reckoned a good actor. Besides Harrow speeches, in which I shone, I enacted Penruddock, in the Wheel of Fortune,' and Tristram Fickle, in the farce of The Weathercock,' for three nights, in some private theatricals at Southwell, in 1806, with great
Since taste has now expunged licentious wit,
Who hopes, yet almost dreads, to meet your praise;
In fond suspense this crisis of their fate.
ON THE DEATH OF MR. FOX,
THE FOLLOWING ILLIBERAL IMPROMPTU APPEARED IN A MORNING PAPER.
"OUR nation's foes lament on Fox's death,
But bless the hour when PITT resign'd his breath: These feelings wide, let sense and truth unclue, We give the palm where Justice points its due."
TO WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THESE PIECES SENT THE
Oн factious viper! whose envenom'd tooth
applause. The occasional prologue for our volunteer play was also of my composition. The other performers were young ladies and gentlemen of the neighbourhood; and the whole went off with great effect upon our good-natured audience."- Byron Diary, 1821.]
[This prologue was written by the young poet, between stages, on his way from Harrowgate. On getting into the carriage at Chesterfield, he said to his companion, "Now, Pigot, I'll spin a prologue for our play;" and before they
He sunk, an Atlas bending 'neath the weight
Or round our statesman wind her gloomy veil.
"O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Felix! in imo qui scatentem
Pectore te, pia Nympha, sensit."- Gray.
Too oft is a smile but the hypocrite's wile,
Give me the soft sigh, whilst the soul-telling eye
Mild Charity's glow, to us mortals below,
The man doom'd to sail with the blast of the gale,
As he bends o'er the wave which may soon be his grave,
The soldier braves death for a fanciful wreath
But he raises the foe when in battle laid low,
If with high-bounding pride he return to his bride,
All his toils are repaid when, embracing the maid,
Sweet scene of my youth! seat of Friendship and
Where love chased each fast-fleeting year, [Truth, Loth to leave thee, I mourn'd, for a last look I turn'd, But thy spire was scarce seen through a Tear.
reached Mansfield he had completed his task.-interrupting, only once, his rhyming reverie, to ask the proper pronunciation of the French word "début," and, on being answered, exclaiming," Ay, that will do for rhyme to new.'" The epilogue, which was from the pen of the Rev. Mr. Becher, was delivered by Lord Byron.]
2 [The illiberal improptu" appeared in the Morning Post, and Lord Byron's "reply" in the Morning Chronicle.] 3 Harrow.
Though my vows I can pour to my Mary no more,
In the shade of her bower I remember the hour
By another possest, may she live ever blest!
With a sigh I resign what I once thought was mine,
Ye friends of my heart, ere from you I depart,
TO THE SIGHING STREPHON.
Since your beautiful maid your flame has repaid,
She's now most divine, and I bow at the shrine
Yet still, I must own, I should never have known
When my soul wings her flight to the regions of night, Your pain seem'd so great, I pitied your fate,
As ye pass by the tomb where my ashes consume,
May no marble bestow the splendour of woe,
October 26th, 1806.
REPLY TO SOME VERSES OF J. M. B. PIGOT,
For months you may try, yet, believe me, a sigh
Would you teach her to love? for a time seem to rove;
But leave her awhile, she shortly will smile,
For such are the airs of these fanciful fairs,
Dissemble your pain, and lengthen your chain,
If again you shall sigh, she no more will deny
If still, from false pride, your pangs she deride,
Some other admire, who will melt with your fire,
For me, I adore some twenty or more,
And love them most dearly; but yet,
As your fair was so devilish reserved.
ELIZA, what fools are the Mussulman sect,
Who to woman deny the soul's future existence; Could they see thee, Eliza, they'd own their defect, And this doctrine would meet with a general resistance.
Though my heart they enthral, I'd abandon them all, Had their prophet possess'd half an atom of sense,
Did they act like your blooming coquette.
No longer repine, adopt this design,
And break through her slight-woven net;
Away with despair, no longer forbear
Then quit her, my friend! your bosom defend,
He ne'er would have women from paradise driven; Instead of his houris, a flimsy pretence,
With women alone he had peopled his heaven.
Yet still, to increase your calamities more,
Not content with depriving your bodies of spirit, He allots one poor husband to share amongst four! With souls you'd dispense; but this last who could bear it?
1 [Miss Elizabeth Pigot, of Southwell, to whom several of Lord Byron's earliest letters were addressed.]
His religion to please neither party is made; On husbands 't is hard, to the wives most uncivil; Still I can't contradict, what so oft has been said, "Though women are angels, yet wedlock's the devil."
LACHIN Y GAIR. 1
AWAY, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses!
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.
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,
Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.
"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.
"Ill-starr'd, though brave, did no visions foreboding Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?" Ah! were you destined to die at Culloden, ✦
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 resounds, to the piper's loud number, Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch na Garr.
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 these
2 This word is erroneously pronounced plad: the proper pronunciation (according to the Scotch) is shown by the orthography.
3 I allude here to my maternal ancestors, “the Gordons," many of whom fought for the unfortunate Prince Charles, better known by the name of the Pretender. This branch was nearly allied by blood, as well as attachment, to the Stuarts. George, the second Earl of Huntley, married the Princess Annabella Stuart, daughter of James the First of Scotland. By her he left four sons: the third, Sir William Gordon, I have the honour to claim as one of my progenitors.
4 Whether any perished in the battle of Culloden, I am not certain; but, as many fell in the insurrection, I have used the name of the principal action, "pars pro toto."
A tract of the Highlands so called. There is also a Castle of Braemar.
6 [In "The Island," a poem written a year or two before Lord Byron's death, we have these lines →
Years have roll'd on, Loch na Garr, since I left you,
PARENT of golden dreams, Romance!
Thy votive train of girls and boys;
And even woman's smiles are true. And must we own thee but a name,
And from thy hall of clouds descend?
A Pylades 7 in every friend?
To mingling bands of fairy elves ;
No more on fancied pinions soar. Fond fool to love a sparkling eye,
And think that eye to truth was dear; o trust a passing wanton's sigh,
And melt beneath a wanton's tear!
"He who first met the Highlands' swelling blue Will love each peak that shows a kindred hue, Hail in each crag a friend's familiar face, And clasp the mountain in his mind's embrace. Long have I roam'd through lands which are not mine, Adored the Alp, and loved the Apennine, Revered Parnassus, and beheld the steep Jove's Ida and Olympus crown the deep: But 't was not all long ages' lore, nor all Their nature held me in their thrilling thrall; The infant rapture still survived the boy, And Loch na Garr with Ida look'd o'er Troy, Mix'd Celtic memories with the Phrygian mount, And Highland linns with Castalie's clear fount." "When very young," (he adds in a note) "about eight years of age, after an attack of the scarlet fever at Aberdeen, I was removed, by medical advice, into the Highlands, and from this period I date my love of mountainous countries. I can never forget the effect, a few years afterwards, in England, of the only thing I had long seen, even in miniature, of a mountain, in the Malvern Hills. After I returned to Cheltenham, I used to watch them every afternoon, at sunset, with a sensation which I cannot describe."]
7 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.
Vainly the dotard mends her prudish pace,
No net to snare her willing heart is spread ;
I seek not glory from the senseless crowd;
November 26. 1806.
ANSWER TO SOME ELEGANT VERSES SENT BY A FRIEND TO THE AUTHOR, COMPLAINING THAT ONE OF HIS DESCRIPTIONS WAS RATHER TOO WARMLY DRAWN.
"But if any old lady, knight, priest, or physician,
CANDOUR Compels me, BECHER! to commend
[The Rev. John Becher, prebendary of Southwell, the well-known author of several philanthropic plans for the amelioration of the condition of the poor. In this gentleman the youthful poet found not only an honest and judicious critic, but a sincere friend. To his care the superintendence of the second edition of "Hours of Idleness," during its progress through a country press, was intrusted, and at his suggestion several corrections and omissions were made. "I must return you," says Lord Byron, in a letter written in February, 1808. "my best acknowledgments for the interest you have taken in me and my poetical bantlings, and
I shall ever be proud to show how much I esteem the advice and the adviser."]
2 As one poem on this subject is already printed, the author had, originally, no intention of inserting the following. It is now added at the particular request of some friends.
3 Henry II. founded Newstead soon after the murder of Thomas à Becket. [See antè, p. 378. note.] 66 The
4 This word is used by Walter Scott, in his poem, Wild Huntsman; synonymous with vassal.
The red cross was the badge of the crusaders.