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In vain, to drive thee from my breast,
What though we never silence broke,
Deceit the guilty lips impart;
And hush the mandates of the heart;
Thy form appears through night, through day:
Awake, with it my fancy teems;
Alas! again no more we meet,
[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,
No Cooke, no Kemble, can salute you here,
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
TO WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THESE PIECES SENT THE FOLLOWING REPLY.
Он 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 Now, carriage at Chesterfield, he said to his companion, " Pigot, I'll spin a prologue for our play;" and before they
He sunk, an Atlas bending 'neath the weight
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, The exclaiming, "Ay, that will do for rhyme to new." 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 :
Ye friends of my heart, ere from you I depart,
If again we shall meet in this rural retreat,
May we meet, as we part, with a Tear.
May no marble bestow the splendour of woe,
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,
And my corse shall recline on its bier,
As ye pass by the tomb where my ashes consume,
October 26th, 1806.
REPLY TO SOME VERSES OF J. M. B. PIGOT,
WHY, Pigot, complain of this damsel's disdain,
Why thus in despair do you fret?
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,
No longer repine, adopt this design,
And break through her slight-woven net;
To fly from the captious coquette.
TO THE SIGHING STREPHON.
YOUR pardon, my friend, if my rhymes did offend,
From friendship I strove your pangs to remove,
Then quit her, my friend! your bosom defend,
October 27th, 1806.
Since your beautiful maid your flame has repaid,
She's now most divine, and I bow at the shrine
Since the balm-breathing kiss of this magical miss
Can such wonderful transports produce; [met," Since the world you forget, when your lips once have My counsel will get but abuse.
You say, when "I rove, I know nothing of love;"
If I rightly remember, I've loved a good number,
I will not advance, by the rules of romance,
Though a smile may delight, yet a frown won't affright,
While my blood is thus warm I ne'er shall reform,
Of this I am sure, was my passion so pure,
And if I should shun every woman for one,
Whose image must fill my whole breast-
Now, Strephon, good bye; I cannot deny
TO ELIZA. 1
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.
Had their prophet possess'd half an atom of sense,
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 ;' 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 nanie 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,
Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain.
To one who has roved o'er the mountains afar : Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic ! The steep frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr! 6
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.
And yet 't is hard to quit the dreams
Which haunt the unsuspicious soul, Where every nymph a goddess seems,
Whose eyes through rays immortal ro!! ; 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.
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;
And friends have feeling for-themselves!
With shame I own I've felt thy sway
No more on fancied pinions soar.
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.
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. 1 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.
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.
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.
Ye genial nymphs, whose ready tears
With fancied flames and phrensy glow;
From you a sympathetic strain.
Adieu, fond race! a long adieu !
The hour of fate is hovering nigh; E'en now the gulph appears in view,
Where unlamented you must lie: Oblivion's blackening lake is seen,
Convulsed by gales you cannot weather; Where you, and eke your gentle queen, Alas! must perish altogether.
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,
Should condemn me for printing a second edition; If good Madam Squintum my work should abuse, May I venture to give her a smack of my muse?" New Bath Guide. CANDOUR Compels me, BECHER! to commend The verse which blends the censor with the friend. Your strong yet just reproof extorts applause From me, the heedless and imprudent cause. For this wild error which pervades my strain, I sue for pardon, -must I sue in vain ? The wise sometimes from Wisdom's ways depart: Can youth then hush the dictates of the heart? Precepts of prudence curb, but can't control, The fierce emotions of the flowing soul. When Love's delirium haunts the glowing mind, Limping Decorum lingers far behind:
[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
Vainly the dotard mends her prudish pace,
My lyre, the heart; my muse, the simple truth.
I seek not glory from the senseless crowd;
November 26. 1806.