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Whose bright claymore and hardihood of hand
The humbler ranks, the lowly bravo, who bled
'T Is Heaven—not man—must charm away the woe,
FRAGMENT OF AN EPISTLE TO THOMAS MOORE.
"What say If "—not a syllable further in prose; I'm your man " of all measures," dear Tom,—so here goes!
Here goes, for a swim on the stream of old Time,
We are smother'd, at least, in respectable mud.
The papers have told you, no doubt, of the fusses, The fetes, and the gapings to get at these Russes,1 — Of his Majesty's suite, up from coachman to Hetman,—
And wha,t dignity decks the flat face of the great man.
1 [" The newspapers will tell you all that Is to be told of emperors, Ac. They have dined and supped, and shown their flat faces in all thoroughfares and several saloons. Their uniforms are very becoming, but rather short In the •iirts; and their conversation Is a catechism, for which, and the answers, 1 refer you to those who have heard it." — Lord Vmto Mr. Moore, June 14, 1814.]
I saw him, last week, at two balls and a party, — For a prince, his demeanour was rather too hearty. Tou know, tee are used to quite different graces,
The Czar's look, I own.was much brighter and brisker,
Who, lovely as ever, seem'd just as delighted
TO SARAH COUNTESS Or JERSEV, ON THE PRINCE
When the vain triumph of the imperial lord,
If thus, fair Jersey, our desiring gaze
What can his vaulted gallery now disclose?
Long may thy yet meridian lustre shine,
1 P4 The newspapers have got hold (I know not how) of the Condolatory Address to Lady Jersey on the plcturc-abductlon by our Regent, and have published them — with my name, too, smack — without even asking leave, or Inquiring whether or no! D—n their impudence, and d—n every thing. It has put me out of patience, and so— I shall say no more about it. —'Byron Letters.]
But turn to gaze again, and find anew.
Belshazzar 1 from the banquet tum,
Nor in thy sensual fulness fall; Behold 1 while yet before thee burn
The graven words, the glowing walL Many a despot men miscall
Crown'd and anointed from on high; But thou, the weakest, worst of all —
Is it not written, thou must die?
Go! dash the roses from thy brow —
Grey hairs but poorly wreathe with them; Youth's garlands misbecome thee now,
More than thy very diadem,
Then throw the worthless bauble by, Which, worn by thee, ev'n slaves contemn j
And learn like better men to die I
Ob! early in the balance weigh'd,
And ever light of word and worth.
And left thee but a mass of earth.
But tears in Hope's averted eye
Unfit to govern, live, or die.
ELEGIAC STANZAS ON THE DEATH OF SIR PETER PARKER, BART. 1
There is a tear for all that die,
A mourner o'er the humblest grave;
But nations swell the funeral cry,
For them is Sorrow's purest sigh
In vain their bones unburicd lie,
A tomb is theirs on every page,
An epitaph on every tongue:
For them bewail, to them belong.
1 [This gallant officer fell in August, 1814, In his twentyninth rear, whilst commanding, on shore, a party belonging to his ship, the Menclaus, ana animating them. In storming the American camp near Baltimore. He was Lord Byron's first cousin ; but they had never met since boyhood.]
* [These verses were given by Lord Byron to Mr. Power, of the Strand, who has published them, with very beautiful music by Sir John Stevenson—" I feel merry enough to send you a sad song. An event, the death of poor Dorset, (see ante, p. 384.) and the recollection of what 1 once felt, and
For them the voice of festal mirth
Grows hush'd, their name the only sound;
While deep Remembrance pours to Worth
A theme to crowds that knew them not
Lamented by admiring foes,
Who would not die the death they chose?
And, gallant Parker! thus enshrined
And early valour, glowing, find
But there are breasts that bleed with thee
In woe, that glory cannot quell; And shuddering hear of victory,
Where one so dear, so dauntless, feU.
Where shall they turn to mourn thee less?
When cease to hear thy cherish'd name? Time cannot teach forgetfulness,
While Griefs full heart Is fed by Fame.
Alas 1 for them, though not for thee.
Deep for the dead the grief must be.
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears,
And though the eye may sparkle still, 'tis where the ice appears.
Though wit may flash from fluent lips, and mirth
distract the breast, Through midnight hours that yield no more their
former hope of rest; 'Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruin'd turret
All green and wildly fresh without, but worn and grey beneath.
Oh could I feel as I have felt—or be what I have been.
Or weep as I could once have wept, o'er many a
vanish'd scene; As springs in deserts found seem sweet, all brackish
though they be, So midst the wither'd waste of life, those tears would
flow to me. i
STANZAS FOR MUSIC.
There be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like thee; And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Whose breast is gently heaving,
So the spirit bows before thee.
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer's ocean.
ON NAPOLEON'S ESCAPE FROM ELBA.
Okce fairly set out on his party of pleasure,
March 27, 1815.
1 [** Do you remember the lines I tent you early last year? 1 don't wish (like Mr. Fitzgerald) to claim the character of 'Vates,' in all its translations, — but were they not a little prophetic? 1 mean those beginning,' There's not a joy the world can give/ *c, on which I pique myself as being the triu\*t, though the most melancholy, I ever wrote." — Byron Utters, March, 1816.]
i [" I can forgive the rogue for utterly falsifying every Une of mine Ode — which I take to be the last and uttermost stretch of human magnanimity. Do you remember the story of a certain abbe, who wrote a treatise on the Swedish constitution, and proved it indissoluble and eternal? Just as he had corrected the last sheet, news came that Gustavus the Third had destroyed this immortal government. * Sir,' quoth the abbe, * the King of Sweden may overthrow the constitution, hot not my book!!' 1 think of the abbe\ but not with him. Making every allowance for talent and most consummate daring, there is, after all, a good deal in luck or destiny. He might have been stopped by our frigates, or wrecked in the Gulf of Lyons, which is particularly tempestuous—or—a i
ODE FROM THE FRENCH.
Wt do not curse thee, Waterloo!
The Chief has fallen, but not by you,
Vanquishers of Waterloo!
When the soldier citizen
Sway'd not o'er his fellow-men —
Save in deeds that led them on
Where Glory smiled on Freedom's son —
Who, of all the despots banded,
With that youthful chief competed?
Who could boast o'er France defeated,
And thou, too, of the snow-white plume !4
thousand things. But he is certainly fortune's favourite." — Byron Letters, March, 1815.]
3 See Rev. chap. vlii. v. 7, ftc "The first angel sounded, and there followed hall and fire mingled with blood," &c. <■■ 8. "And tin- second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; and the third part of the sea became blood," &c. t*. 10. "And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as It were a lamp; and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters." t>. 11. "And the name of the star is called Wormwood t and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."
4 [" Poor dear Murat, what an end! His white plume used to be a rallying point In battle, like Henry the Fourth's. He refused a confessor and a bandage; so would neither suffer his soul nor body to be bandaged." — Byron Letters.]
s Murat's remains are said to have been torn from the grave and burnt.
Shone and shlver'd fast around thee —
Of the fate at last which found thee:
Was that haughty plume laid low
By a slave's dishonest blow?
Once — a9 the Moon sways o'er the tide,
It roll'd in air, the warrior's guide j
Through the smoke-created night
Of the black and sulphurous fight,
The soldier raised his seeking eye
To catch that crest's ascendency —
And as it onward rolling rose,
So moved his heart upon our foes.
There, where death's brief pang was quickest,
And the battle's wreck lay thickest,
Strew'd beneath the advancing banner
Of the eagle's burning crest —
Victory beaming from her breast ?)
Fell, or fled along the plain;
There he ne'er shall charge again 1
O'er glories gone the invaders march,
But the heart and the mind,
1 [."Talking of politics, as Caleb Quotcm says, pray look at the conclusion of my 1 Ode on Waterloo,' written in the year 1615, and, comparing it with the Duke de Berri's catastrophe in 1820, tell mc if I have not as good a right to the character of' Vatcs' in both senses of the word, as Fitzgerald and Coleridge ?—
'Crimson tears will follow yet;' and have they not ?" — Byron Letters, 18ao.J
5 " All wept, but particularly Savary, and a Polish officer
FROM THE FRENCH.
Must thou go, my glorious Chief,'
Sever'd from thy faithful few? Who can tell thy warrior's grief,
Maddening o'er that long adieu? Woman's love, and friendship's zeal.
Dear as both have been to me — What are they to all I feel.
With a soldier's faith for thee?
Idol of the soldier's soul!
First in fight, but mightiest now: Many could a world control;
Thee alone no doom can bow. By thy side for years I dared
Death ; and envied those who fell. When their dying shout was heard,
Blessing him they served so wclL *
Would that I were cold with those.
Since this hour I live to see; When the doubts of coward foes
Scarce dare trust a man with thee. Dreading each should set thee free!
Oh! although in dungeons pent, All their chains were light to me,
Gazing on thy soul unbent
Would the sycophants of him
Now so deaf to duty's prayer, Were his borrow'd glories dim,
In his native darkness share?
All thou calmly dost resign,
Hearts like those which still are thine?
My chief, my king, my friend, adieu!
Never did I droop before; Never to my sovereign sue,
As his foes I now implore: All I ask is to divide
Every peril he must brave; Sharing by the hero's side
His fall, his exile, and his grave.
The music of thy martial sphere
Like lava roll'd thy stream of blood,
Before thee rose, and with thee grew,
A rainbow of the loveliest hue
Of three bright colours >, each divine,
And fit for that celestial sign;
For Freedom's hand had blended them,
Like tints in an immortal gem.
One tint was of the sunbeam's dyes;
Star of the brave! thy ray Is pale,
And Freedom hallows with her tread
PROM THE FRENCH.
Farewell to the Land where the gloom of my Glory
The last single Captive to millions in war.
Farewell to thee, France! when thy diadem crown'd me,
Oh I for the veteran hearts that were wasted
Farewell to thee, France! — but when Liberty rallies
has bound us, Then turn thee and call on the Chief of thy choice I
ENDORSEMENT TO THE DEED OF SEPAR-
A Tear ago you swore, fond she 1
Such was the vow you pledged to me,
I Had a dream, which was not all a dream.3
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd Into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchflres—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed.
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded — and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash—and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
fail In exciting our terror from the extravagance of the plan. To speak plainly, the framing of such phantasms is a dangerous employment for the exalted and teeming Imagination of such n poet as Lord Byron, whose Pegasus ever required rather a bridle than a spur. The waste of boundless space into which they lead the poet, the neglect of precision which such themes may render habitual, make them, in respect to poetry, what mysticism Is to religion. The meaning of the poet, as he ascends upon cloudv wing, becomes the shadow only of a thought, and having eluded the comprehension of others, necessarily ends by escaping from that of the author himself. The strength of poetical conception, and the beauty of diction, bestowed upon such prolusions, is as much thrown away as the colours of a painter, could he take a cloud of mist, or a wreath of smoke, for his canvass. — Sir Walter Scott.]