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HOURS OF IDLENESS.

ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY.'

COUSIN TO THE AUTHOR, AND VERY DEAR TO HIM.

Hush'd are the winds, and still the evening gloom,

Not e'en a zephyr wanders through the grove,
Whilst I return to view my Margaret's tomb,

And scatter flowers on the dust I love.

Within this narrow cell reclines her clay,

That clay, where once such animation beam’d;
The King of Terrors seized her as his

prey,
Not worth, nor beauty, have her life redeem’d.

Oh! could that King of Terrors pity feel,

Or Heaven reverse the dread decrees of fate,
Not here the mourner would his grief reveal,

Not here the muse her virtues would relate.

But wherefore weep? Her matchless spirit soars

Beyond where splendid shines the orb of day;
And weeping angels lead her to those bowers,

Where endless pleasures virtue's deeds repay.
And shall presumptuous mortals Heaven arraign,

And, madly, godlike Providence accuse?
Ah! no, far fly from me attempts so vain ;-

I'll ne'er submission to my God refuse.
The author claims the indulgence of the reader more for this piece than, perhaps,
any other in the collection; but as it was written at an earlier period than the rest (being
composed at the age of fourteen), and his first essay, he preferred submitting it to the
indulgence of his friends in its present state, to making either addition or alteration.

VOL. I.

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Yet is remembrance of those virtues dear,

Yet fresh the memory of that beauteous face;
Still they call forth my warm affection's tear,

Still in my heart retain their wonted place.

1802.

TO E-3

Let Folly smile, to view the names

Of thee and me in friendship twined;
Yet Virtue will have greater claims

To love, than rank with vice combined.

And though unequal is thy fate,

Since title deck'd my higher birth!
Yet envy not this gaudy state;

Thine is the pride of modest worth.

Our souls at least congenial meet,

Nor can thy lot my rank disgrace;
Our intercourse is not less sweet,
Since worth of rank supplies the place.

Norember, 1802.

? [“My first dash into poetry was as early as 1800. It was the ebullition of a passion for my first cousin, Margaret Parker (daughter and grand-daughter of the two Admirals Parker), one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings. I have long for: gotten the verse ; but it would be ditticult for me to forget her-her dark eyes-- her long eye-lashes—her completely Greek cast of face and figure! I was then about twelve--she rather older, perhaps a year. She died about a year or two atterwanis, in consequence of a fall, which injured her spine, and induced consumption. Her sister Augusta (by some thought still more beautiful), died of the same malady; and it was, indeed, in attending her, that Margaret met with the accident which occasionet her death. My sister told me, that when she went to see her, shortly before her death, upon accidentally mentioning my name, Margaret coloured, throughout the paleness of mortality, to the eyes, to the great astonishment of my sister, who knew nothing of our attachment, nor could conceive why my name should atfect her at such a time. I knew nothing of her illness, being at Harrow and in the country till sbe wis gone. Some years after, I made an attempt at an elegy-a very dull one.

I do not recollect scarcely anything equal to the transparent beauty of my a usin, or to the sweetness of her temper, during the short period of our intimacy. She looked as if she had been made out of a rainbow-all beauty and peace."-- Byron Dury, 1821.]

[This little poem, and some others in the collection, refer to a boy of Lord Byron's own age, son of one of his tenants at Newstead, for whom he bad formed a romantic attachment, previjus to any of his school intimacies.]

3

TO D

In thee, I fondly hoped to clasp

A friend, whom death alone could sever;
Till

envy, with malignant grasp,
Detach'd thee from my breast for ever.

True, she has forced thee from my breast,

Yet, in my heart thou keep'st thy seat;
There, there thine image still must rest,

Until that heart shall cease to beat.

And, when the grave restores her dead,

When life again to dust is given,
On thy dear breast I'll lay my head-
Without thee, where would be my leaven?

February, 1803

EPITAPH ON A FRIEND.

«Αστήρ πρίν μεν έλαμπες ένι ζωοίσιν εφος.” - LAERTIUs.

OH, Friend! for ever loved, for ever dear!
What fruitless tears have bathed thy honour'd bier !
What sighs re-echo'd to thy parting breath,
Whilst thou wast struggling in the pangs of death!
Could tears retard the tyrant in his course;
Could sighs avert his dart's relentless force;
Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,
Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey ;
Thou still hadst lived to bless my aching sight,

Thy comrade's honour and thy friend's delight.
*(From this point the lines in the private edition were entirely different:

Though low thy lot, since in a cottage born,

No titles did thy humble name adorn,
To me, far dearer was thy artless love,
Than all the joys wealth, fame, and friends coulů prore:
For thee alone I lived, or wish'd to live;
Oh God! if impious, this rash word forgive !
Heart-broken now, I wait an equal doom,
Content to join thee in thy turf-clad tomb;
Where, this frail form composed in endless rest,
I'll make my last cold pillow on thy breast :
That breast where oft in life I've laid my head,
Will yet receive me mouldering with the dead :

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If yet thy gentle spirit hover nigh
The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie,
Isere wilt thou read, recorded on my heart,
A grief too deep to trust the sculptor's art.
No marble marks thy couch of lowly sleep,
But living statues there are seen to weep;
Affliction's seinblance bends not o'er thy tomb,
Affliction's self deplores thy youthful doom.
What though thy sire lament his failing line,
A father's sorrows cannot equal mine!
Though none, like thee, his dying hour will cheer,
Yet other offspring soothe his anguish here :
But, who with me shall hold thy former place?
Thine image, what new friendship can efface?
Ah, none !—a father's tears will cease to flow,
Time will assuage an infant brother's woe;
To all, save one, is consolation known,
While solitary friendship sighs alone.

1803.

A FRAGMENT.

When, to their airy hall, my fathers' voice
Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice;
When, pois'd upon the gale, my form shall ride,
Or, dark in mist, descend the mountain's side;
Oh! may my shade behold no sculptured urns,
To mark the spot where earth to earth returns !
No lengthen'd scroll, no praise-encumber'd stone;
My epitaph shall be my name alone :'

This life resign’d, without one partiag sigh,
Together in one bed of earth we'll lie !
Together share the fate to mortals given;

Together mix our dust, and hope for heaven." The epitaph is supposed to commemorate the youth who is the subject of the verses “ To E

The latter piece was omitted in the published volume, which, coupled with the obliteration of every allusion to his humble origin in the epitaph, led Mr. Moore to infer that growing pride of rank made Lord Byron ashamed of the plebeian friendship. ]

- [ By his will, drawn up in 1811, Lord Byron directed, that “no inscription, sare his name and age, should be written on his tomb;" and, in 1819, he wrote thus tu Mr. Murray :-“Some of the epitaphs at the Certosa cemetery, at Ferrara, ple and me more than the more splendid monuments at Bologna; for instance

• Martini Luigi

implura pace.'

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If that with honour fail to crown my clay,
Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay !
That, only that, shall single out the spot;
By that remember'd, or with that forgot.

1803.

ON LEAVING NEWSTEAD ABBEY. “Why dost thou build the hall, son of the winged days? Thou lookest from thy tower to-day : yet a few years, and the blast of the desert comes, it howls in thy empty court.” —Ossian. Through thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle :

Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay; In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle

Have choked up the rose which late bloom'd in the way.

Of the mail.cover'd Barons, who proudly to battle

Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine’s plain,' The escutcheon and shield, which with every blast rattle,

Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.

No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing numbers,

Raise a flame in the breast for the war-laurell'd wreath; Near Askalon's towers, John of Horistan slumbers,

Unnerved is the hand of his minstrel by death.

Paul and Hubert, too, sleep in the valley of Cressy;'

For the safety of Edward and England they fell : My fathers ! the tears of your country redress ye:

How you fought, how you died, still her annals can tell. Can anything be more full of pathos ? I hope whoever may survive me will see those two words, and no more, put over me."j

6 [The priory of Newstead, or de Novo Loco, in Sherwood, was founded about the year 1170, by Henry II. On the dissolution of the monasteries it was granted by Henry VIII. to “Sir John Byron the Little, with the great beard.” His portrait is still preserved at Newstead.]

1 (There is no record of the Byrons having assisted in the Holy Wars, and Mr. Moore conjectures that the only authority for the notion was some groups of heads, which appear to represent Christian soldiers and Saracens, on the old panel-work at Newstead, and which were probably put up before the Abbey came into the possession of the family.]

$(“In the park of Horseley,” says Thoroton, “there was a castle, some of the rains of which are yet visible, called Horistan Castle, which was the chief mansion of Ralph de Burun's successors." ]

[Two of the family of Byron are enumerated as serving with distinction in the siege of Calais, under Edward III., and as among the knights who fell on the glorious beld of Cressy.)

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