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CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.

CANTO THE FIRST.

CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.

CANTO THE FIRST.

1.

Oh, thou! in Hellas deem'd of heavenly birth,
Muse! form'd or fabled at the minstrel's will!
Since shamed full oft by later lyres on earth,
Mine dares not call thee from thy sacred hill :
Yet there I've wander'd by thy vaunted rill;
Yes! sigh'd o’er Delphi's long deserted shrine, 1
Where, save that feeble fountain, all is still ;

Nor mote my shell awake the weary Nine
To grace so plain a tale — this lowly lay of mine, %

i The little village of Castri stands partly on the site of Delphi. Along the path of the mountain, from Chrysso, are the remains of sepulchres hewn in and from the rock. “ One," said the guide, * of a king who broke his neck hunting." His majesty had certainly chosen the fittest spot for such an achievement. A little above Castri is a cave, supposed the Pythian, of immense depth ; the upper part of it is paved, and now a cowhouse. On the other side of Castri stands a Greek monastery; some way above which is the cleft in the rock, with a range of caverns difficult of ascent, and apparently leading to the interior of the mountain ; probably to the Corycian Cavern mentioned by Pausanias. From this part descend the fountain and the “ Dews of Castalie,"p" We were sprinkled,” says Mr. Hobhouse, “ with the spray of the immortal rill, and here, if any where, should have felt the poetic inspiration : we drank deep, too, of the spring ; but — (I can answer for myself)

without feeling sensible of any extraordinary effect." - E.] 3 [This stanza is not in the original MS.]

I

Whilome in Albion's isle there dwelt a youth,
Who ne in virtue's ways did take delight;
But spent his days in riot most uncouth,
And vex'd with mirth the drowsy ear of Night.
Ah me! in sooth he was a shameless wight,
Sore given to revel and ungodly glee;
Few earthly things found favour in his sight 1

Save concubines and carnal companie,
And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.

III.

Childe Harold 2 was he hight; - but whence his

name
And lineage long, it suits me not to say ;
Suffice it, that perchance they were of fame,
And had been glorious in another day :
But one sad losel soils a name for aye,
However mighty in the olden time;
Nor all that heralds rake from coffin'd clay,

Nor florid prose, nor honied lies of rhyme,
Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime.

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Childe Harold bask'd him in the noontide sun,
Disporting there like any other fly;
Nor deem'd before his little day was done
One blast might chill him into misery.
But long ere scarce a third of his pass’d by,
Worse than adversity the Childe befell;
He felt the fulness of satiety :

Then loathed he in his native land to dwell,
Which seem'd to him more lone than Eremite's sad cell.

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For he through Sin's long labyrinth had run,
Nor made atonement when he did amiss,
Had sigh'd to many though he loved but one, 1
And that loved one, alas! could ne'er be his.
Ah, happy she! to 'scape from him whose kiss
Had been pollution unto aught so chaste;
Who soon had left her charms for vulgar bliss,

And spoild her goodly lands to gild his waste,
Nor calm domestic peace had ever deign'd to taste.

VI.
And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
And from his fellow bacchanals would flee;
'T is said, at times the sullen tear would start,
But Pride congeald the drop within his ee:
A part he stalk'd in joyless reverie, 2
And from his native land resolved to go,
And visit scorching climes beyond the sea;

With pleasure drugg’d, he almost long'd for woe, And e'en for change of scene would seek the shades

below. 3 ? [See Stanzas written to a Lady, on leaving England : Works, vol. vii. p. 302. ; .

“ And I must from this land be gone,

Because I cannot love but one."] 2 [“ And straight he fell into a reverie." - MS.]

3 [In these stanzas, and indeed throughout his works, we must not accept too literally Lord Byron's testimony against him. self - he took a morbid pleasure in darkening every shadow of his self-portraiture. His interior at Newstead had, no doubt, been, in some points, loose and irregular enough ; but it certainly never exhibited any thing of the profuse and Satanic luxury which the language in the text might seem to indicate. In fact, the narrowness of his means at the time the verses refer to would alone have precluded this. His household economy, while he remained at the Abbey, is known to have been conducted on a very moderate scale ; and, besides, his usual companions, though far from being averse to convivial indulgences, were not only, as Mr. Moore says,

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