Page images

Could they see thee, Eliza, they'd own their defect, TO THE SIGHING STREPHON.

And this doctrine would meet with a general reYOUR pardon, my friend, if my rhymes did offend,

sistance. Your pardon, a thousand times o'er;

Had their Prophet possess'd half an atom of sense, From friendship Istrove your pangs to remove,

He ne'er would have women from paradise driven; But I swear I will do so no more.

Instead of his houris, a flimsy pretence!
Since your beautiful maid your flame has repaid, With women alone he had peopled his heaven.

No more I your folly regret;
She's now most divine, and I bow at the shrine

Yet still, to increase your calamities more,
Of this quickly-reform'd coquette.

Not content with depriving your bodies of sprit,

He allots one poor husband to share amongst four!Yet still, I must own, I should never have known With souls you'd dispense; but this last, who could From your verses, what else she deserved;

bear it? Your pain seem'd so great, I pitied your fale, As your fair was so devilish reserved.

His religion to plea e neither party is made;

On husbands 'l is hard, to the wives most uncivil: Since the balm-breathing kiss of this magical Miss Still I can't contradict, what so oft has been said, Can such wonderful transports produce,

Though women are angels, yet wedlock's the Since the "world you forget, when your lips once

devil." have met," My counsel will get but abuse. You say, when I rove, I know nothing of love;"

LACHIN Y GAIR. (9) 'T is true, I am given to range: If I rightly remember, I've loved a good number, Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses ! Yet there's pleasure, at least, in a change.

In you let the minions of luxury rove;

Restore me the rocks, where the snow-flake reposes, I will not advance, by the rules of romance,

Though still they are sacred to freedom and love: To humour a whimsical fair;

[affright, Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains, Though a smile may delight, yet a frown won't

Round their white summits though elements war; Or drive me to dreadful despair.

Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing While my blood is thus warm I ne'er shall reform,

fountains, To mix in the Platonist's school;

I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr. Of this I am sure, was my passion so pure,

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd; Thy mistress would think me a fool.

My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid;(3) And if I should shun every woman for one, On chieftains long perish'd my memory ponder'd, Whose image must fill my whole breast

As daily I strode through the pine-cover'd glade: Whom I must prefer, and sigh but for her- I sought not my home till the day's dying glory What an insult't would be to the rest!

Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star;

For fancy was cheer'd by traditional story, Now, Strephon, good bye; I cannot deny

Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr. Your passion appears most absurd; Such love as you plead is pure love indeed, “Shades of the dead ! have I not heard your voices For it only consists in the word.

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 TO ELIZA. (1)

Round Loch na Garr while the stormy mist gathers,

Winter presides in his cold icy car: ELIZA, what fools are the Mussulman sect,

Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers; Who to woman deny the soul's future existence! They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr.



(1) Miss Elizabeth Pigot, of Southwell, to whom several of Lord spent some of the early part of my life, the recollection of which Byron's earliest letters were addressed.-E.

bas given birth to these stanzas. (3) I achin y Gair, or, as it is prononced in the Erse, Loch-ng

“Notwithstanding the lively recollections expressed in this liorr, lowers proudly pre-eminent in the Northern Highlands, poem, it is preuy certain, from the testimony of his nurse , near Invercauld. One of our modern lourists mentions it as the he never was at the mountain itself ( which stood some miles highest mountain, perhaps, in Great Britain. Be this at it may, distant from his residence ) more that iwice.” -- Moore. It is certainly one of the most sublime and picturesque amongst our “ Caledonian Alps." Ils appearance is of a dusky hue, but (3) This word is erroneously pronounced plad: the proper prothe summit is the seat of eternal shows. Near Lachin y Gair I nunciation (according to the Scotcb) is showo by the orthograpby.

"Ill starr'd, (1 though brave, did no visions foreboding

Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause ?" Ah! were you destined to die at Culloden, (2)

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;(3) The pibroch resounds, to the piper's loud number, Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch na Gar.

And must we own thee but a name,

And from thy hall of clouds descend ?
Nor find a sylph in every dame,

A Pylades (5) in every friend ?
But leave at once thy realms of air

To mingling bands of fairy elves;
Confess that woman 's false as fair,

And friends have feeling for-themselves ?
With shame I own I 've felt thy sway;

Repentant, now thy reign is o’er :
No more thy precepts I obey,

No more on fancied pinions soar.
Fond fool! to love a sparkling eye,

And think that eye to truth was dear;
To trust a passing wanton's sigh,

And melt beneath a wanton's tear!

Years have rolld on, Loch na Garr, since I left you,

Years must elapse ere I tread you again : Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you,

Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain.
England! thy beauties are tame and domestic

To one who has roved on the mountains afar:
Oh! for the crags that are wild and majestic!
The steep frowning glories of dark Loch na

Garr! (4)


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.

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

On all occasions swiftly flow;
Whose bosoms heave with fancied fears,

With fancied flames and frenzy glow;

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 roll;
While Fancy bolds her boundless reign,

And all assume a varied hue;
When virgins seem no longer vain,
And even woman's smiles are true.

(1) I allude here to my maternal ancestors, "the Gordons," But 't was not all long ages' lore, nor all many of whom fought for the unfortunate Prince Charles, belter

Their nature beld me in their tbrilling 'bradl; known by the name of the Pretender. This branch was nearly

The insant rapture still survived the boy,

And Loch na Garr with Ida look'd o'er Troy, ilied by biood, as well as attachment, to the Stuarts. George, the Mix'd Celtic memories with the Phrygian mount, second Eari of Huntly, married the Princess Annabella Stuart, And Highland linns with Castalie's clear fount. daughter of James the First of Scotland. By ber he left four sons;

Forgive me, Homer's universal shade! be third, Sir William Gordon, I have the honour to claim as one

Forgive me, Phoebus ! that my fancy strayed ;

The North and Nature taught me to adore of my progenitors.

Your scenes sublime , from those beloved before." (3) Whether any perished in the battle of Culloden, I am not ceflain; but as many sell in the insurrection, I have used the “When very young,” (he adds in a note ) " about eight years Dame of the principal action," pars pro toto."

of age, after an attack of the scarlet fever at Aberdeen, I was re5 A tract of the Hghlands so called. There is also a Castle moved, by medical advice, into the Highlands, and from this period of Braemar.

I dale my love of mountainous countries. I can never forget () In The Island, a poem written a year or two before Lord the effect, a few years afterwards, in England, of the only thing Byron's death, we bave these lines:

I had long seen, even in miniature, of a mountain, in the Malvern "He who first met the Highland's swelling blue,

Hills. After I returned to Cheltenham, I used to watch them Will love each peak that shows a kindred hue,

every afternoon, at sunset, with a sensation which I cannot deHail in each crag a friend's familiar face,

scribe." - E. 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,

(8) It is hardly necessary to add, that Pylades was the compa Revered Parnassus, and beheld the steep

nion af Orestes, and a partner in one of those friendships which, Jove's Ida and Olympus crown the deep:

with those of Achilles and Patroclus, Nisus and Euryalus, Damon

Say, will you mourn my absent name,

Oh! how I hate the nerveless frigid song,
Apostate from your gentle train ?

The ceaseless echo of the rhyming throng,
An infant bard at least may claim

Whose labour'd lines in chilling numbers flow, From you a sympathetic strain.

To paint a pang the author ne'er can know!

The artless Helicon I boast is youth;-
Adieu, fond race! a long adieu !
The hour of fate is hovering nigh;

My lyre, the heart; my muse, the simple truth. E'en now the gulf appears in view,

Far be't from me the “virgin's mind” to “taint:" Where unlamented you must lie:

Seduction's dread is here no slight restraint.
Oblivion's blackening lake is seen,

The maid whose virgin breast is void of guile,
Convulsed by gales you cannot weather ;

Whose wishes dimple in a modest smile,
Where you, and eke your gentle queen,

Whose downcast eye disdains the wanton leer,
Alas! must perish altogether.

Firm in her virtue's strength, yet not severe
She whom a conscious grace shall thus refine

Will ne'er be “tainted” by a strain of mine.
ANSWER TO SOME ELEGANT VERSES But for the nymph whose premature desires
SENT BY A FRIEND TO THE AUTHOR , COMPLAININC Torment her bosom with unholy fires,

THAT ONE OF HIS DESCRIPTIONS WAS RATHER No net to snare her willing heart is spread;

She would have fallen, though she ne'er bad read. “But if any old lady, knight, priest, or physician,

For me, I fain would please the chosen few, Should condemn me for printing a second edition;

Whose souls, to feeling and to nature true,
If good Madam Squintem my work should abuse, Will spare the childish verse, and not destroy
May I venture to give her a smack of my muse ?"

The light effusions of a heedless boy.
New Bath Guide.

I seek not glory from the senseless crowd;
CANDOUR compels me, BECHER! (1) to commend Of fancied laurels I shall ne'er be proud:
The verse which blends the censor with the friend; | Their warmest plaudits I'would scarcely prize,
Your strong yet just reproof ex lorts applause Their sneers or censures 1 alike despise.
From me, the heedless and imprudent cause.

November 26, 1806. 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,

ELEGY ON NEWSTEAD ABBEY. (2) Can youth then hush the dictates of the heart ? "It is the voice of years that are gone! they rol before me Precepts of prudence curb, but can't control, with all their deeds."-Ossian. The fierce emotions of the flowing soul. When Love's delirium haunts the glowing mind,

NEWSTEAD! fast-falling, once-resplendent dome! Limping Decorum lingers far behind:

Religion's shrine! repentant HENRY'S (3) pride! Vainly the dotard mends her prudish pace,

Of warriors, monks, and dames the cloister'd lomb,

Whose pensive shades around thy ruins glide: Outstript and vanquish'd in the mental chase. The young, the old, have worn the chains of love, Hail to thy pile! more honour'd in thy fall Let those they ne'er confined my lay reprove: Than modern mansions in their pillar'd state; Let those whose souls contemn the pleasing power Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall, Their censures on the hapless victim shower. Scowling defiance on the blasts of fate.

and Pythias, have been handed down to posterity as remarkable boyish to criticise, found one poem in which, as it appeared to instances of attachments which, in all probability, never existed him, the imagination of tho young bard had indulged itself in beyond the imagination of the poet, or the page of an historian, a luxuriousness of colouring beyond what even youth could or modern novelist.

excuso. Immediately, as the most gentle mode of conveying his

opinion, he sat down and addressed to Lord Byron some exposlu(1) The Rev. John Becher, prebendary of Southwell, the well- latory verses on the subject; the above answer was returned by known author of several philanthropic plans for the amelioration The noble poet as promptly, with, at the same time, a note in plain of the condition of the poor. In this gentleman the youthful poet prose, to say that he felt fully the justice of his friend's censure, found not only an honest and judicious critic, but a sincere friend. and that, rather than allow the poem in question to be circulated, To his care the superintendence of the second edition of Hours he would instantly recall all the copies that had been sent out, and of Idleness, during its progress through a country press, was cancel the whole impression. On the very same evening, this intrusted, and at his suggestion several corrections and omis- prompt sacrifice was carried into effect. Mr. Becher saw every sions were made. “I must return you," says Lord Byron, in a letter written in February, 1808, “ my best acknowledgments for copy of the edition burned, with the exception of that which bo

retained in his own possession, and another which had been de the interest you have taken in me and my poetical bantlings, and

Moore. I shall ever be proud to show how much I esteem the advice and spatched to Edinburgh, and could not be recalled.”

(2) As one poem on this subject is already printed, the author the adviser."- E.

had, originally, no intention of inserting the following. It is " To Mr. Becher, the first copy of his little work was present. now added, at ibe particular request of some friends. ed; and this gentleman, in looking over ils pages, among many (3) Henry II. founded Newstead soon after the murder of Thomas Things to commend and admire, as well as some almost too a Becket. (See ante, p. 3. c. 1. note 3.-)

No mail-clad serfs (1), obedient to their lord,
| In grim array the crimson cross (2) demand;
Or gay assemble round the festive board

Their chief's retainers, an immortal band :
Else might inspiring Fancy's magic eye

Retrace their progress through the lapse of time, Marking each ardent youth, ordain'd to die

A volive pilgrim in Judea's clime.
But not from thee, clark pile! departs the chief;

His feudal realm in other regions lay :'
In thee the wounded conscience courts relief,

Retiring from the garish blaze of day.
Yes! in thy gloomy cells and shades profound

The monk abjured a world he ne'er could view; Or blood-stain'd guilt repenting solace found,

Or innocence from slern oppression few. A monarch bade thee from that wild arise, Where Sherwood's outlaws once were wont to

prowl; And Superstition's crimes, of various dyes,

Sought shelter in the priest's protecting cowl. Where now the grass exhales a murky dew,

The humid pall of life-extinguish'd clay, In sainted fame the sacred fathers grew,

Nor raised their pious voices but to pray. Where now the bats their wavering wings extend, Soon as the gloaming (3) spreads her waning

shade, The choir did oft their mingling vespers blend,

Or matin orisons to Mary (4) paid. Years roll on years; to ages, ages yield;

Abbots to abbots, in a line, succeed : Religion's charter their protecting shield,

Till royal sacrilege their doom decreed. One holy HENRY reard the gothic walls,

And bade the pious inmates rest in peace; Another HENRY (5) the kind gift recalls,

And bids devotion's hallow'd echoes cease. Vain is each threat or supplicating prayer;

He drives them exiles from their blest abode, To roam a dreary world in deep despair

No friend, no home, no refuge, but their God. Hark how the hall, resounding to the strain,

Shakes with the martial music's novel din!

The heralds of a warrior's haughty reign,

High-crested banners wave thy walls within. of changing sentinels the distant hum,

The mirth of feasts, the clany of burnish'd arms, The braying trumpe, and the hoarser drum,

Unile in concert with increased alarms. An abbey once, a regal fortress (6) now,

Encircled by insulting rebel powers, I brow, War's dread machines o'erhang thy threatening

And dari destruction in sulphureous showers. Ah, vain defence! the hostile traitor's siege,

Though oft repulsed, by guile o’ercomes the brave; His thronging foes oppress the faithful liege,

Rebellion's reeking standards o'er him wave. Not unavenged the racing baron yields;

The blood of trailors smears the purple plain;
Unconquer'd still, his falchion there he wields,

And days of glory yel for him remain.
Still, in that hour, the warrior wished to strew

Self-gather d laurels on a self-sought grave;
But Charles' prolecting gennus hither flew,

The monarch's friend, the monarch’s hope, to save. Trembling, she snatched him (7) from the unequal

In other fields the lorrent lo repel; [strife, For nobler combats, here, reserved his life,

To lead the band where godlike FALKLAND(8) fell. From thee, poor pile! 10 lawless plunder given,

While dying groans their painful requiem sound, Far different incense now ascends to heaven,

Such victims wallow on the gory ground. There many a pale and ruthless robber's corse,

Noisome and ghast, defiles thy sacred sod; O’er mingling man, and horse commix'd with horse,

Corruption's heap, the savage spoilers Irod. Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o'er

spread, Ransack'l, resign perforce their mortal mould: From ruffian fangs escape noi e’en the dead,

Raked from repose in search for buried gold. Hushil is the harp, unstrung the warlike lyre,

The minstrels palsied hand reclines in death; No more he strikes the quivering chords with fire,

Or sings the glories of the martial wreath.

(1) This word is used by Walter Scott, in his poem “The Wild (6) Newslead sustained a considerable siege in the war beHuntsman," as synonymous with vassals.

lwecn Charles I. and his parliament. (3) The red cross was the badge of the crusaders.

(7) Lord Byron, and his brother Sir William, held high (3) As "g'oaming.” the Scottish word for twilight, is far more commands in ihe royal army. The former was general in chief peelical

, and has been recommended by many eminent literary in Ireland, lieutenant of the Tower, and governor to James men, particularly by Dr. Moore in his Lellers 10 Burns, 1 bave Duke of York, afterwards the unhappy James II.; the latter bed venlured to use it on account of its harmony.

a principal share in many actions. (The priory was dedicated to the Virgin.

(8) Lucius Carey, Lord Viscount Falkland, the most accom(5) At the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII. bestowed plished man of his age, was killed at the battle of Newbury, Neustead Abbey ou Sir Johu Byron.-E.)

eharging in the ranks of Lord Byron's regiment of cavalry.

At length the sated murderers, gorged with prey, Ah happy days! too happy to endure!
Retire; the clamour of the fight is o'er;

Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew : Silence again resumes her awful sway,

No splendid vices glitterid 10 allure; And sable Horror guards the massy door.

Their joys were many, as their cares were few. Here Desolation holds her dreary court :

From these descending, sons to sires succeed; What satellites declare her dismal reign!

Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart; Sirieking their dirge, ill-omened birds resort, Another chief impels the foaming steed, To flit their vigils in the hoary fane.

Another crowd pursue the panling bart. Soon a new morn's restoring beams dispel Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!

The clouds of anarchy from Britain's skies; Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay; The fierce usurper seeks his native hell,

The last and youngest of a noble line And Nature triumphs as the tyrant dies.

Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway. With storms she welcomes his expiring groans;

Deserted now, he scans thy grey-worn towers ; Whirlwinds, responsive, greet his labouring Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep; breath;

Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers; Earth shudders as her caves receive his bones, These, these he views, and views them but to weep. Loathing (1) the offering of so dark a death.

Yet are his tears no emblem of regret : The legal ruler (2) now resumes the helm,

Cherish'd affection only bids them flow. He guides through gentle seas the prow of state; Pride, hope, and love, forbid him to forget, Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm, But warm his bosom with impassion'd glow. And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied hate.

Yet he prefers thee to the gilded domes The gloomy tenants, Newslead! of thy cells,

Or gewgaw grottos of the vainly great; Howling, resign their violated nest;

Yet lingers 'mid thy damp and mossy tombs, Again the master on his tenure dwells,

Nor breathes a murmur 'gainst the will of fate.(4) Enjoy d, from absence, with enraptured zest.

Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine, Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,

Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;(5)
Loudly carousing, bless their lord's return; Hours splendid as the past may still be thine,
Culture again adorns the gladdening vale,

And bless thy future as thy former day. (6)
And matrons, once lamenting, cease to mourn.
A thousand songs on tuneful echo float,
Unwonted foliage mantles o'er the trees;

And hark! the horns proclaim a mellow note,

"I cannot but remember such things were, The hunters' cry hangs lengthening on the breeze.

And were most dear lo me." Beneath their coursers' hoofs the valleys shake : When slow Disease, with all her host of pains,

What fears, what anxious hopes, attend the chase! Chills the warm tide which flows along the veins; The dying stag seeks refuge in the Lake ; (3) When Health, affrighted, spreads her rosy wing,

Exulting shouts announce the finish'd race. And flies with every changing cale of spring;

(1) This is an historical fact. A violent tempest occurred on the spot; I have fixed my heart upon it; and no pressure, immediately subsequent to the death or interment of Cromwell, present or future, shall induce me lo Sarter the last vestige of which occasioned many disputes between his partisans and the our inheritance. I have that pride within me which will enable Cavaliers: both interpreted the circumstance into Divine inter- me to support difficulties. I can endure privations; but could position; but whether as approbation or condemnation, we I oblain, in exchange for Newslead Abbey, the first fortune in leave to the casuists of that age to decide. I have made such use the country, I would reject the proposition. Set your mind at of the occurrence as suited the subject of my poem.

ease on that score; I feel like a man of bonour, and I will not (2) Charies 11.

sell Newslead."-E. (3) During the lifetime of the fifth Lord Byron, there was "We cannot,” said the Critical Review for September, found in this Lake-where it is supposed to have been thrown 1807, “but hail with something of prophetic raplure, the hope for concealment by the Monksma large brass eagle, in the body conveyed in the closing stanza, of which, on its being sent to be cleaned, was discovered a se- “ Haply thy sun, einerging, yet may shine," etc. – E. cret aperture, concealing within it a number of ancient docu- (6; The reader who turns from this Elegy to the stanzas dements connected with the rights and privileges of the founda- scriptive of New stead Abbey and the surrounding scenery, in tion. At the sale of the old Lord's effects, in 1776, this cagle the thirteenth canto of Don Juan, cannot fail to remark bow was purchased by a watchmaker of Nottingham; and il now frequently the leading thoughts in the iwo picces are the same; forms, through the liberality of Sir Richard Kaye, an appropri- or to be delighted and instructed, in comparing the juvenile ale ornament of the line old church of Southwell.-E.

sketch with the bold touches and mellow colouring of the mas(4) “Come what may," wroic Byron to his mother, in March ter's picture.- E. 1809, “Newslead and I stand or fall logether. I have now lived (7) These verses were composed while Lord Byron was suf

« PreviousContinue »