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The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,
Loudly carousing, bless their lord's return; Culture again adorns the gladdening vale, And matrons, once lamenting, cease to mourn.
A thousand songs on tuneful echo float,
Beneath their coursers' hoofs the valleys shake: What fears, what anxious hopes, attend the chase! The dying stag seeks refuge in the Lake; 1
Exulting shouts announce the finish'd race.
Ah happy days! too happy to endure !
Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew: No splendid vices glitter'd to allure;
Their joys were many, as their cares were few.
From these descending, sons to sires succeed;
Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart; Another chief impels the foaming steed,
Another crowd pursue the panting hart.
Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!
Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway,
Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;
These, these he views, and views them but to weep.
[During the lifetime of the fifth Lord Byron, there was found in this lake-where it is supposed to have been thrown for concealment by the monks-a large brass eagle, in the body of which, on its being sent to be cleaned, as discovered a secret aperture, concealing within it a number of ancient documents connected with the rights and privileges of the foundation. At the sale of the old Lord's effects, in 1776, this eagle was purchased by a watchmaker of Nottingham; and it now forms, through the liberality of Sir Richard Kaye, an appropriate ornament of the fine old church of Southwell.]
2["Come what may," wrote Lord Byron to his mother, in March, 1809, "Newstead and I stand or fall together. I have now lived on the spot; I have fixed my heart upon it; and no pressure, present or future, shall induce me to barter the last vestige of our inheritance. I have that pride within me which will enable me to support difficulties. I can endure privations; but could I obtain, in exchange for Newstead Abbey, the first fortune in the country, I would reject the proposition. Set your mind at ease on that score; i feel like a man of honour, and I will not sell Newstead."]
Yet are his tears no emblem of regret :
Cherish'd affection only bids them flow. Pride, hope, and love forbid him to forget, But warm his bosom with impassion'd glow.
Yet he prefers thee to the gilded domes
Or gewgaw grottoes of the vainly great; Yet lingers 'mid thy damp and mossy tombs, Nor breathes a murmur 'gainst the will of fate. 2
Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine,
Thee to irradiate with meridian ray; 3 Hours splendid as the past may still be thine, And bless thy future as thy former day. 4
CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS. 5
"I cannot but remember such things were, And were most dear to me."
WHEN slow Disease, with all her host of pains,
was laid," he says, " on my back, when that schoolboy thing was written, or rather, dictated-expecting to rise no more, my physician having taken his sixteenth fee." In the private volume the poem opened with the following lines:
"Hence! thou unvarying song of varied loves,
Which youth commends, maturer age reproves ;
Alas! in vain I check the maddening thought;
Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams,
Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought, Which still recurs, unlook'd for and unsought; My soul to Fancy's fond suggestion yields, And roams romantic o'er her airy fields: Scenes of my youth, developed, crowd to view, To which I long have bade a last adieu ! Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes; Friends lost to me for aye, except in dreams; Some who in marble prematurely sleep, Whose forms I now remember but to weep; Some who yet urge the same scholastic course Of early science, future fame the source; Who, still contending in the studious race, In quick rotation fill the senior place. These with a thousand visions now unite, To dazzle, though they please, my aching sight. 1 IDA! blest spot, where Science holds her reign, How joyous once I join'd thy youthful train ! Bright in idea gleams thy lofty spire, Again I mingle with thy playful quire; Our tricks of mischief, every childish game, Unchanged by time or distance, seem the same; Through winding paths along the glade, I trace The social smile of every welcome face; My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy and woe, Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe, Our feuds dissolved, but not my friendship past:I bless the former, and forgive the last. Hours of my youth! when, nurtured in my breast, To love a stranger, friendship made me blest; Friendship, the dear peculiar bond of youth, When every artless bosom throbs with truth; Untaught by worldly wisdom how to feign, And check each impulse with prudential rein; When all we feel, our honest souls discloseIn love to friends, in open hate to foes: ; No varnish'd tales the lips of youth repeat, No dear-bought knowledge purchased by deceit. Hypocrisy, the gift of lengthen'd years, Matured by age, the garb of prudence wears.
[The next fifty-six lines, to
"Here first remember'd be the joyous band," were added in the first edition of Hours of Idleness.]
2 [Dr. Butler, then head-master of Harrow school. Had Lord Byron published another edition of these poems, it appears, from a loose sheet in his hand-writing, to have been his intention, instead of the passage beginning-" Or, if my muse a pedant's portrait drew," to insert
"If once my muse a harsher portrait drew,
Warm with her wrongs, and deem'd the likeness true, By cooler judgment taught, her faults she owns,With noble minds a fault confess'd, atones."]
3 [When Dr. Drury retired, in 1805, three candidates presented themselves for the vacant chair, Messrs. Drury, Evans, and Butler. "On the first movement to which this contest gave rise in the school, young Wildman," says Moore, "was at the head of the party for Mark Drury, while Byron held himself aloof from any. Anxious, however, to have him as an ally, one of the Drury faction said to Wildman - Byron, I know, will not join, because he does not choose to act second to any one; but, by giving up the leadership to him, you may at once secure him." This Wildman accordingly did, and Byron took the command.]
4 [Instead of this couplet, the private volume has the following four lines:
When now the boy is ripen'd into man,
A patron's praise can well reward the lie:
Away with themes like this! not mine the task From flattering fiends to tear the hateful mask; Let keener bards delight in satire's sting; My fancy soars not on Detraction's wing: Once, and but once, she aim'd a deadly blow, To hurl defiance on a secret foe;
But when that foe, from feeling or from shame,
I never fear'd the young usurper's nod,
Here first remember'd be the joyous band, Who hail'd me chief3, obedient to command; Who join'd with me in every boyish sportTheir first adviser, and their last resort; Nor shrunk beneath the upstart pedant's frown, Or all the sable glories of his gown; Who, thus transplanted from his father's schoolUnfit to govern, ignorant of ruleSucceeded him, whom all unite to praise, The dear preceptor of my early days; PROBUS 5, the pride of science, and the boast, TO IDA now, alas! for ever lost.
With him, for years, we search'd the classic page, And fear'd the master, though we loved the sage:
"Careless to soothe the pedant's furious frown, Scarcely respecting his majestic gown;
By which, in vain, he gain'd a borrow'd grace, Adding new terror to his sneering face."
Dr. Drury. This most able and excellent man retired from his situation in March, 1805, after having resided thirtyfive years at Harrow; the last twenty as head-master; office he held with equal honour to himself and advantage to the very extensive school over which he presided. Panegyric would here be superfluous: it would be useless to enumerate qualifications which were never doubted. A considerable contest took place between three rival candidates for his vacant chair: of this I can only say,
Si mea cum vestris valuissent vota, Pelasgi ! Non foret ambiguus tanti certaminis hæres.
[Such was Byron's parting eulogy on Dr. Drury. It may be interesting to see by the side of it the Doctor's own account of his pupil, when first committed to his care:- "I took," says the Doctor, "my young disciple into my study, and endeavoured to bring him forward by inquiries as to his former amusements, employments, and associates, but with little or no effect; and I soon found that a wild mountain colt had been submitted to my management. But there was mind in his eye. His manner and temper soon convinced me, that he might be led by a silken string to a point, rather than by a cable; and on that principle I acted."]
Retired at last, his small yet peaceful seat,
High, through those elms, with hoary branches
Fair IDA's bower adorns the landscape round;
1 [To this passage, had Lord Byron published another edition of Hours of Idleness, it was his intention to give the following turn:
"Another fills his magisterial chair;
Reluctant Ida owns a stranger's care;
Oh! may like honours crown his future name: If such his virtues, such shall be his fame."]
2 [During a rebellion at Harrow, the poet prevented the school-room from being burnt down, by pointing out to the boys the names of their fathers and grandfathers on the walls.]
3 [Lord Byron elsewhere thus describes his usual course of life while at Harrow" always cricketing, rebelling, rowing, and in all manner of mischiefs." One day, in a fit of defiance, he tore down all the gratings from the window of the hail; and when called upon by Dr. Butler to say why he had committed this violence, answered, with stern coolness, "because they darkened the room."]
[This description of what the young poet felt in 1806, on encountering in the world any of his former schoolfellows,
And here my name, and many an early friend's,
Dear honest race! though now we meet no more, One last long look on what we were beforeOur first kind greetings, and our last adieuDrew tears from eyes unused to weep with you. Through splendid circles, fashion's gaudy world, Where folly's glaring standard waves unfurl'd, I plunged to drown in noise my fond regret, And all I sought or hoped was to forget. Vain wish! if chance some well-remember'd face, Some old companion of my early race, Advanced to claim his friend with honest joy, My eyes, my heart, proclaim'd me still a boy; The glittering scene, the fluttering groups around, Were quite forgotten when my friend was found: The smiles of beauty-(for, alas! I've known What 't is to bend before Love's mighty throne) — The smiles of beauty, though those smiles were dear, Could hardly charm me, when that friend was near: My thoughts bewilder'd in the fond surprise, The woods of IDA danced before my eyes; I saw the sprightly wand'rers pour along, I saw and join'd again the joyous throng; Panting, again I traced her lofty grove, And friendship's feelings triumph'd over love. 4
Yet, why should I alone with such delight, Retrace the circuit of my former flight? Is there no cause beyond the common claim Endear'd to all in childhood's very name?
falls far short of the page in which he records an accidental meeting with Lord Clare, on the road between Imola and Bologna in 1821. "This meeting," he says, " annihilated for a moment all the years between the present time and the days of Harrow. It was a new and inexplicable feeling, like rising from the grave, to me. Clare too was much agitatedmore in appearance than was myself; for I could feel his heart beat to his fingers' ends, unless, indeed, it was the pulse of my own which made me think so. We were but five minutes together, and on the public road; but I hardly recollect an hour of my existence which could be weighed against them." -We may also quote the following interesting sentences of Madame Guiccioli :-" In 1822 (says she), a few days before leaving Pisa, we were one evening seated in the garden of the Palazzo Lanfranchi. At this moment a servant announced Mr. Hobhouse. The slight shade of melancholy diffused over Lord Byron's face gave instant place to the liveliest joy; but it was so great, that it almost deprived him of strength. A fearful paleness came over his cheeks, and his eyes were filled with tears as he embraced his friend: his emotion was so great that he was forced to sit down."]
Ah! sure some stronger impulse vibrates here,
Alonzo! best and dearest of my friends, Thy name ennobles him who thus commends From this fond tribute thou canst gain no praise; The praise is his who now that tribute pays. Oh! in the promise of thy early youth, If hope anticipate the words of truth, Some loftier bard shall sing thy glorious name, To build his own upon thy deathless fame.
[It has been reserved for our own time to produce one distinguished example of the Muse having descended upon a bard of a wounded spirit, and lent her lyre to tell, and we trust to soothe, afflictions of no ordinary description; atllictions originating probably in that singular combination of feeling, which has been called the poetical temperament, and which has so often saddened the days of those on whom it has been conferred. If ever a man could lay claim to that character in all its strength and all its weakness, with its unbounded range of enjoyment, and its exquisite sensibility of pleasure and of pain, it must certainly be granted to Lord Byron. His own tale is partly told in two lines of Lara:
"Left by his sire, too young such loss to know, Lord of himself-that heritage of woe!" SIR WALTER SCOTT.] 2 [The Hon. John Wingfield, of the Coldstream Guards, brother to Richard, fourth Viscount Powerscourt. He died of a fever, in his twentieth year, at Coimbra, May 14th, 1811. "Of all human beings," says Lord Byron, I was, perhaps, at one time, the most attached to poor Wingfield. I had known him the better half of his life, and the happiest part of mine." On hearing of the death of his beloved schoolfellow, he added the following stanzas to the first canto of Childe Harold :
Friend of my heart, and foremost of the list
Nor yet are you forgot, my jocund boy! DAVUS, the harbinger of childish joy; For ever foremost in the ranks of fun, The laughing herald of the harmless pun; Yet with a breast of such materials made. Anxious to please, of pleasing half afraid; Candid and liberal, with a heart of steel In danger's path, though not untaught to feel. Still I remember, in the factious strife, The rustic's musket aim'd against my life : + High poised in air the massy weapon hung, A cry of horror burst from every tongue; Whilst I, in combat with another foe, Fought on, unconscious of th' impending blow; Your arm, brave boy, arrested his careerForward you sprung, insensible to fear; Disarm'd and baffled by your conquering hand, The grovelling savage roll'd upon the sand: An act like this, can simple thanks repay ? 5 Or all the labours of a grateful lay?
Oh no! whene'er my breast forgets the deed, That instant, Davus, it deserves to bleed.
LYCUS! on me thy claims are justly great: Thy milder virtues could my muse relate,
3 [The Rev. John Cecil Tattersall, B.A., of Christ Church, Oxford; who died Dec. 8. 1812, at Hall's Place, Kent, aged twenty-four. "His mind," says a writer in the Gent. Mag., "was comprehensive and perspicuous; his affections warm and sincere. Through extreme aversion to hypocrisy, he was so far from assuming the false appearances of virtue, that much of his real excellence was unseen, whilst he was eager to acknowledge every fault into which he was led. He was an ardent friend, a stranger to feelings of enmity; he lived in good faith towards men, and died with hope in God."]
[The "factious strife" here recorded, was accidentally brought on by the breaking up of school, and the dismissal of some volunteers from drill, both happening at the same hour. On this occasion, it appears, the butt-end of a musket was aimed at Byron's head, and would have felled him to the ground, but for the interposition of Tattersall.]
3 [In the private volume:
"Thus did you save that life I scarcely prizeA life unworthy such a sacrifice."]
6 [John Fitzgibbon, second Earl of Clare, born June 2. 1792. His father, whom he succeeded Jan. 29. 1802, was for nearly twelve years Lord Chancellor of Ireland. See ante,
p. 406. note. His Lordship is now (1832) Governor of Bombav. "I never," says Lord Byron, in 1821,"hear the word 'Clare,' without a beating of the heart even now; and I write it with feelings of 1803-4-5, ad infinitum." Of the tenaciousness with which he clung to all the kindly impres sions of his youth, there can be no stronger proof than the interesting fact, that after his death almost all the notes and letters which his principal school favourites had ever addressed to him were found preserved carefully among his papers. The following is the indorsement upon one of them:
"This and another letter were written at Harrow, by my then and, I hope, ever beloved friend, Lord Clare, when we were both school-boys; and sent to my study in consequence of some childish misunderstanding, the only one which