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Byron's Poetical Works, Vol. 1 by Byron

Part 7 out of 12

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[Footnote 1:

"Some years ago, when at Harrow, a friend of the author engraved on a
particular spot the names of both, with a few additional words, as a
memorial. Afterwards, on receiving some real or imaginary injury, the
author destroyed the frail record before he left Harrow. On revisiting
the place in 1807, he wrote under it these stanzas."

Moore's 'Life, etc.', i. 102.]]

TO MY SON. [1]

1.

Those flaxen locks, those eyes of blue
Bright as thy mother's in their hue;
Those rosy lips, whose dimples play
And smile to steal the heart away,
Recall a scene of former joy,
And touch thy father's heart, my Boy!

2.

And thou canst lisp a father's name--
Ah, William, were thine own the same,--
No self-reproach--but, let me cease--
My care for thee shall purchase peace;
Thy mother's shade shall smile in joy,
And pardon all the past, my Boy!

3.

Her lowly grave the turf has prest,
And thou hast known a stranger's breast;
Derision sneers upon thy birth,
And yields thee scarce a name on earth;
Yet shall not these one hope destroy,--
A Father's heart is thine, my Boy!

4.

Why, let the world unfeeling frown,
Must I fond Nature's claims disown?
Ah, no--though moralists reprove,
I hail thee, dearest child of Love,
Fair cherub, pledge of youth and joy--
A Father guards thy birth, my Boy!

5.

Oh,'twill be sweet in thee to trace,
Ere Age has wrinkled o'er my face,
Ere half my glass of life is run,
At once a brother and a son;
And all my wane of years employ
In justice done to thee, my Boy!

6.

Although so young thy heedless sire,
Youth will not damp parental fire;
And, wert thou still less dear to me,
While Helen's form revives in thee,
The breast, which beat to former joy,
Will ne'er desert its pledge, my Boy!

1807.

[First published in Moore's 'Life and Letters, etc.', 1830, i. 104.]

[Footnote 1: For a reminiscence of what was, possibly, an actual event,
see 'Don Juan', canto xvi. st. 61. He told Lady Byron that he had two
natural children, whom he should provide for.]

QUERIES TO CASUISTS. [1]

The Moralists tell us that Loving is Sinning,
And always are prating about and about it,
But as Love of Existence itself's the beginning,
Say, what would Existence itself be without it?

They argue the point with much furious Invective,
Though perhaps 'twere no difficult task to confute it;
But if Venus and Hymen should once prove defective,
Pray who would there be to defend or dispute it?

BYRON.

[Footnote 1: From an autograph MS. (watermark 1805) at Newstead, now for
the first time printed.]

SONG.[1]

1.

Breeze of the night in gentler sighs
More softly murmur o'er the pillow;
For Slumber seals my Fanny's eyes,
And Peace must never shun her pillow.

2.

Or breathe those sweet AEolian strains
Stolen from celestial spheres above,
To charm her ear while some remains,
And soothe her soul to dreams of love.

3.

But Breeze of night again forbear,
In softest murmurs only sigh:
Let not a Zephyr's pinion dare
To lift those auburn locks on high.

4.

Chill is thy Breath, thou breeze of night!
Oh! ruffle not those lids of Snow;
For only Morning's cheering light
May wake the beam that lurks below.

5.

Blest be that lip and azure eye!
Sweet Fanny, hallowed be thy Sleep!
Those lips shall never vent a sigh,
Those eyes may never wake to weep.

February 23rd, 1808.

[Footnote 1: From the MS. in the possession of the Earl of Lovelace.]

TO HARRIET. [1]

1.

Harriet! to see such Circumspection, [2]
In Ladies I have no objection
Concerning what they read;
An ancient Maid's a sage adviser,
Like _her_, you will be much the wiser,
In word, as well as Deed.

2.

But Harriet, I don't wish to flatter,
And really think 't would make the matter
More perfect if not quite,
If other Ladies when they preach,
Would certain Damsels also teach
More cautiously to write.

[Footnote 1: From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first
time printed.]

[Footnote 2: See the poem "To Marion," and 'note', p. 129. It would seem
that J. T. Becher addressed some flattering lines to Byron with
reference to a poem concerning Harriet Maltby, possibly the lines "To
Marion." The following note was attached by Miss Pigot to these stanzas,
which must have been written on another occasion:--

"I saw Lord B. was _flattered_ by John Becher's lines, as he read
'Apollo', etc., with a peculiar smile and emphasis; so out of _fun_,
to vex him a little, I said,

'_Apollo!_ He _should_ have said _Apollyon_.'

'Elizabeth! for Heaven's sake don't say so again! I don't
mind _you_ telling me so; but if any one _else_ got hold _of the
word_, I should never hear the end of it.'

So I laughed at him, and dropt it, for he was _red_ with agitation."]

THERE WAS A TIME, I NEED NOT NAME. [i] [1]

1.

There was a time, I need not name,
Since it will ne'er forgotten be,
When all our feelings were the same
As still my soul hath been to thee.

2.

And from that hour when first thy tongue
Confess'd a love which equall'd mine,
Though many a grief my heart hath wrung,
Unknown, and thus unfelt, by thine,

3.

None, none hath sunk so deep as this--
To think how all that love hath flown;
Transient as every faithless kiss,
But transient in thy breast alone.

4.

And yet my heart some solace knew,
When late I heard thy lips declare,
In accents once imagined true,
Remembrance of the days that were.

5.

Yes! my adored, yet most unkind!
Though thou wilt never love again,
To me 'tis doubly sweet to find
Remembrance of that love remain. [ii]

6.

Yes! 'tis a glorious thought to me,
Nor longer shall my soul repine,
Whate'er thou art or e'er shall be,
Thou hast been dearly, solely mine.

June 10, 1808. [First published, 1809]

[Footnote 1: This copy of verses, with eight others, originally appeared
in a volume published in 1809 by J. C. Hobhouse, under the title of
_Imitations and Translations, From the Ancient and Modern Classics,
Together with Original Poems never before published_. The MS. is in the
possession of the Earl of Lovelace.]

[Footnote i:

_Stanzas to the Same_.

[_Imit. and Transl._, p. 200.]]

[Footnote ii:

_The memory of that love again._

[MS. L.]]

AND WILT THOU WEEP WHEN I AM LOW? [i]

1.

And wilt thou weep when I am low?
Sweet lady! speak those words again:
Yet if they grieve thee, say not so--
I would not give that bosom pain.

2.

My heart is sad, my hopes are gone,
My blood runs coldly through my breast;
And when I perish, thou alone
Wilt sigh above my place of rest.

3.

And yet, methinks, a gleam of peace
Doth through my cloud of anguish shine:
And for a while my sorrows cease,
To know thy heart hath felt for mine.

4.

Oh lady! blessed be that tear--
It falls for one who cannot weep;
Such precious drops are doubly dear [ii]
To those whose eyes no tear may steep.

5.

Sweet lady! once my heart was warm
With every feeling soft as thine;
But Beauty's self hath ceased to charm
A wretch created to repine.

6. [iii]

Yet wilt thou weep when I am low?
Sweet lady! speak those words again:
Yet if they grieve thee, say not so--
I would not give that bosom pain. [1]

Aug. 12, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

[Footnote 1: It was in one of Byron's fits of melancholy that the
following verses were addressed to him by his friend John
Cam Hobhouse:--

EPISTLE TO A YOUNG NOBLEMAN IN LOVE.

Hail! generous youth, whom glory's sacred flame
Inspires, and animates to deeds of fame;
Who feel the noble wish before you die
To raise the finger of each passer-by:
Hail! may a future age admiring view
A Falkland or a Clarendon in you.
But as your blood with dangerous passion boils,
Beware! and fly from Venus' silken toils:
Ah! let the head protect the weaker heart,
And Wisdom's AEgis turn on Beauty's dart.

* * * * *

But if 'tis fix'd that every lord must pair,
And you and Newstead must not want an heir,
Lose not your pains, and scour the country round,
To find a treasure that can ne'er be found!
No! take the first the town or court affords,
Trick'd out to stock a market for the lords;
By chance perhaps your luckier choice may fall
On one, though wicked, not the worst of all:

* * * * *

One though perhaps as any Maxwell free,
Yet scarce a copy, Claribel, of thee;
Not very ugly, and not very old,
A little pert indeed, but not a scold;
One that, in short, may help to lead a life
Not farther much from comfort than from strife;
And when she dies, and disappoints your fears,
Shall leave some joys for your declining years.

But, as your early youth some time allows,
Nor custom yet demands you for a spouse,
Some hours of freedom may remain as yet,
For one who laughs alike at love and debt:
Then, why in haste? put off the evil day,
And snatch at youthful comforts while you may!
Pause! nor so soon the various bliss forego
That single souls, and such alone, can know:
Ah! why too early careless life resign,
Your morning slumber, and your evening wine;
Your loved companion, and his easy talk;
Your Muse, invoked in every peaceful walk?
What! can no more your scenes paternal please,
Scenes sacred long to wise, unmated ease?
The prospect lengthen'd o'er the distant down,
Lakes, meadows, rising woods, and all your own?
What! shall your Newstead, shall your cloister'd bowers,
The high o'erhanging arch and trembling towers!
Shall these, profaned with folly or with strife,
An ever fond, or ever angry wife!
Shall these no more confess a manly sway,
But changeful woman's changing whims obey?
Who may, perhaps, as varying humour calls,
Contract your cloisters and o'erthrow your walls;
Let Repton loose o'er all the ancient ground,
Change round to square, and square convert to round;
Root up the elms' and yews' too solemn gloom,
And fill with shrubberies gay and green their room;
Roll down the terrace to a gay parterre,
Where gravel'd walks and flowers alternate glare;
And quite transform, in every point complete,
Your Gothic abbey to a country seat.

Forget the fair one, and your fate delay;
If not avert, at least defer the day,
When you beneath the female yoke shall bend,
And lose your _wit_, your _temper_, and your _friend_. [A]

Trin. Coll. Camb., 1808.]

[Sub-Footnote A: In his mother's copy of Hobhouse's volume, Byron has
written with a pencil,

"_I have lost them all, and shall WED accordingly_. 1811. B."]

[Footnote i:

Stanzas.

[MS. L.]

To the Same.

[Imit. and Transl., p 202.]]

[Footnote ii:

For one whose life is torment here,
And only in the dust may sleep.

[MS. L.]]

[Footnote iii: The MS. inserts--

Lady I will not tell my tale
For it would rend thy melting heart;
'Twere pity sorrow should prevail
O'er one so gentle as thou art.

[MS. L.]]

REMIND ME NOT, REMIND ME NOT. [i]

1.

Remind me not, remind me not,
Of those beloved, those vanish'd hours,
When all my soul was given to thee;
Hours that may never be forgot,
Till Time unnerves our vital powers,
And thou and I shall cease to be.

2.

Can I forget--canst thou forget,
When playing with thy golden hair,
How quick thy fluttering heart did move?
Oh! by my soul, I see thee yet,
With eyes so languid, breast so fair,
And lips, though silent, breathing love.

3.

When thus reclining on my breast,
Those eyes threw back a glance so sweet,
As half reproach'd yet rais'd desire,
And still we near and nearer prest,
And still our glowing lips would meet,
As if in kisses to expire.

4.

And then those pensive eyes would close,
And bid their lids each other seek,
Veiling the azure orbs below;
While their long lashes' darken'd gloss
Seem'd stealing o'er thy brilliant cheek,
Like raven's plumage smooth'd on snow.

5.

I dreamt last night our love return'd,
And, sooth to say, that very dream
Was sweeter in its phantasy,
Than if for other hearts I burn'd,
For eyes that ne'er like thine could beam
In Rapture's wild reality.

6.

Then tell me not, remind me not, [ii]
Of hours which, though for ever gone,
Can still a pleasing dream restore, [iii]
Till thou and I shall be forgot,
And senseless, as the mouldering stone
Which tells that we shall be no more.

Aug. 13, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

[Footnote i:

_A Love Song. To----.

[Imit. and Transl., p. 197.]

[Footnote ii:

_Remind me not, remind me not_.

[MS. L.] ]

[Footnote iii:

_Must still_.

[MS. L.] ]

TO A YOUTHFUL FRIEND. [i]

1.

Few years have pass'd since thou and I
Were firmest friends, at least in name,
And Childhood's gay sincerity
Preserved our feelings long the same. [ii]

2.

But now, like me, too well thou know'st [iii]
What trifles oft the heart recall;
And those who once have loved the most
Too soon forget they lov'd at all. [iv]

3.

And such the change the heart displays,
So frail is early friendship's reign, [v]
A month's brief lapse, perhaps a day's,
Will view thy mind estrang'd again. [vi]

4.

If so, it never shall be mine
To mourn the loss of such a heart;
The fault was Nature's fault, not thine,
Which made thee fickle as thou art.

5.

As rolls the Ocean's changing tide,
So human feelings ebb and flow;
And who would in a breast confide
Where stormy passions ever glow?

6.

It boots not that, together bred,
Our childish days were days of joy:
My spring of life has quickly fled;
Thou, too, hast ceas'd to be a boy.

7.

And when we bid adieu to youth,
Slaves to the specious World's controul,
We sigh a long farewell to truth;
That World corrupts the noblest soul.

8.

Ah, joyous season! when the mind [1]
Dares all things boldly but to lie;
When Thought ere spoke is unconfin'd,
And sparkles in the placid eye.

9.

Not so in Man's maturer years,
When Man himself is but a tool;
When Interest sways our hopes and fears,
And all must love and hate by rule.

10.

With fools in kindred vice the same, [vii]
We learn at length our faults to blend;
And those, and those alone, may claim
The prostituted name of friend.

11.

Such is the common lot of man:
Can we then 'scape from folly free?
Can we reverse the general plan,
Nor be what all in turn must be?

12.

No; for myself, so dark my fate
Through every turn of life hath been;
Man and the World so much I hate,
I care not when I quit the scene.

13.

But thou, with spirit frail and light,
Wilt shine awhile, and pass away;
As glow-worms sparkle through the night,
But dare not stand the test of day.

14.

Alas! whenever Folly calls
Where parasites and princes meet,
(For cherish'd first in royal halls,
The welcome vices kindly greet,)

15.

Ev'n now thou'rt nightly seen to add
One insect to the fluttering crowd;
And still thy trifling heart is glad
To join the vain and court the proud.

16.

There dost thou glide from fair to fair,
Still simpering on with eager haste,
As flies along the gay parterre,
That taint the flowers they scarcely taste.

17.

But say, what nymph will prize the flame
Which seems, as marshy vapours move,
To flit along from dame to dame,
An ignis-fatuus gleam of love?

18.

What friend for thee, howe'er inclin'd,
Will deign to own a kindred care?
Who will debase his manly mind,
For friendship every fool may share?

19.

In time forbear; amidst the throng
No more so base a thing be seen;
No more so idly pass along;
Be something, any thing, but--mean.

August 20th, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

[Footnote 1: Stanzas 8-9 are not in the _MS_.]

[Footnote i:

'To Sir W. D., on his using the expression, "Soyes constant en
amitie."'

[MS. L.] ]

[Footnote ii:

'Twere well my friend if still with thee
Through every scene of joy and woe,
That thought could ever cherish'd be
As warm as it was wont to glow.

[MS. L] ]

[Footnote iii:

_And yet like me._

[MS. L.] ]

[Footnote iv:

_Forget they ever._

[MS. L. _Imit. and Transl_., p. 185.] ]

[Footnote v:

_So short._

[MS. L.] ]

[Footnote vi:

_...a day
Will send my friendship back again._

[MS. L.]

[Footnote vii:

_Each fool whose vices are the same
Whose faults with ours may blend._

[_MS. L._]]

LINES INSCRIBED UPON A CUP FORMED FROM A SKULL. [1]

1.

Start not--nor deem my spirit fled:
In me behold the only skull,
From which, unlike a living head,
Whatever flows is never dull.

2.

I lived, I loved, I quaff'd, like thee:
I died: let earth my bones resign;
Fill up--thou canst not injure me;
The worm hath fouler lips than thine.

3.

Better to hold the sparkling grape,
Than nurse the earth-worm's slimy brood;
And circle in the goblet's shape
The drink of Gods, than reptile's food.

4.

Where once my wit, perchance, hath shone,
In aid of others' let me shine;
And when, alas! our brains are gone,
What nobler substitute than wine?

5.

Quaff while thou canst: another race,
When thou and thine, like me, are sped,
May rescue thee from earth's embrace,
And rhyme and revel with the dead.

6.

Why not? since through life's little day
Our heads such sad effects produce;
Redeem'd from worms and wasting clay,
This chance is theirs, to be of use.

Newstead Abbey, 1808.

[First published in the seventh edition of 'Childe Harold'.]

[Footnote 1: Byron gave Medwin the following account of this cup:--"The
gardener in digging [discovered] a skull that had probably belonged to
some jolly friar or monk of the abbey, about the time it was
dis-monasteried. Observing it to be of giant size, and in a perfect
state of preservation, a strange fancy seized me of having it set and
mounted as a drinking cup. I accordingly sent it to town, and it
returned with a very high polish, and of a mottled colour like
tortoiseshell."--Medwin's 'Conversations', 1824, p. 87.]

WELL! THOU ART HAPPY. [i] [1]

1.

Well! thou art happy, and I feel
That I should thus be happy too;
For still my heart regards thy weal
Warmly, as it was wont to do.

2.

Thy husband's blest--and 'twill impart
Some pangs to view his happier lot: [ii]
But let them pass--Oh! how my heart
Would hate him if he loved thee not!

3.

When late I saw thy favourite child,
I thought my jealous heart would break;
But when the unconscious infant smil'd,
I kiss'd it for its mother's sake.

4.

I kiss'd it,--and repress'd my sighs
Its father in its face to see;
But then it had its mother's eyes,
And they were all to love and me.

5. [iii]

Mary, adieu! I must away:
While thou art blest I'll not repine;
But near thee I can never stay;
My heart would soon again be thine.

6.

I deem'd that Time, I deem'd that Pride,
Had quench'd at length my boyish flame;
Nor knew, till seated by thy side,
My heart in all,--save hope,--the same.

7.

Yet was I calm: I knew the time
My breast would thrill before thy look;
But now to tremble were a crime--
We met,--and not a nerve was shook.

8.

I saw thee gaze upon my face,
Yet meet with no confusion there:
One only feeling couldst thou trace;
The sullen calmness of despair.

9.

Away! away! my early dream
Remembrance never must awake:
Oh! where is Lethe's fabled stream?
My foolish heart be still, or break.

November, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

[Footnote 1: These lines were written after dining at Annesley with Mr.
and Mrs. Chaworth Musters. Their daughter, born 1806, and now Mrs.
Hamond, of Westacre, Norfolk, is still (January, 1898) living.]

[Footnote i:

_To Mrs.----_[erased].

[_MS. L._]

_To-----_.

[_Imit. and Transl_. Hobhouse, 1809.] ]

[Footnote ii:

_Some pang to see my rival's lot._

[_MS. L._] ]

[Footnote iii: MS. L. inserts--

_Poor little pledge of mutual love,
I would not hurt a hair of thee,
Although thy birth should chance to prove
Thy parents' bliss--my misery._]

INSCRIPTION ON THE MONUMENT OF A NEWFOUNDLAND DOG. [1]

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe
And storied urns record who rest below:
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been:
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master's own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour'd falls, unnoticed all his worth--
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth:
While Man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive Heaven.
Oh Man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on--it honours none you wish to mourn:
To mark a Friend's remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one,--and here he lies. [i]

Newstead Abbey, October 30, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

[Footnote 1: This monument is placed in the garden of Newstead.
A prose inscription precedes the verses:--

"Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a Dog,
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
And died at Newstead Abbey, Nov. 18, 1808."

Byron thus announced the death of his favourite to his friend
Hodgson:--"Boatswain is dead!--he expired in a state of madness on the
18th after suffering much, yet retaining all the gentleness of his
nature to the last; never attempting to do the least injury to any one
near him. I have now lost everything except old Murray." In the will
which the poet executed in 1811, he desired to be buried in the vault
with his dog, and Joe Murray was to have the honour of making one of the
party. When the poet was on his travels, a gentleman, to whom Murray
showed the tomb, said, "Well, old boy, you will take your place here
some twenty years hence." "I don't know that, sir," replied Joe; "if I
was sure his lordship would come here I should like it well enough, but
I should not like to lie alone with the dog."--'Life', pp. 73, 131.]

[Footnote i:

_I knew but one unchang'd--and here he lies.--

[_Imit. and Transl_., p. 191.] ]

TO A LADY, [1]

ON BEING ASKED MY REASON FOR QUITTING ENGLAND IN THE SPRING. [i]

1.

When Man, expell'd from Eden's bowers,
A moment linger'd near the gate,
Each scene recall'd the vanish'd hours,
And bade him curse his future fate.

2.

But, wandering on through distant climes,
He learnt to bear his load of grief;
Just gave a sigh to other times,
And found in busier scenes relief.

3.

Thus, Lady! will it be with me, [ii]
And I must view thy charms no more;
For, while I linger near to thee,
I sigh for all I knew before.

4.

In flight I shall be surely wise,
Escaping from temptation's snare:
I cannot view my Paradise
Without the wish of dwelling there. [iii] [2]

December 2, 1808. [First published, 1809.]

[Footnote 1: Byron had written to his mother on November 2, 1808,
announcing his intention of sailing for India in the following March.
See 'Childe Harold', canto i. st. 3. See also Letter to Hodgson, Nov.
27, 1808.]

[Footnote 2: In an unpublished letter of Byron to----, dated within
a few days of his final departure from Italy to Greece, in
1823, he writes:

"Miss Chaworth was two years older than myself. She married a man of
an ancient and respectable family, but her marriage was not a happier
one than my own. Her conduct, however, was irreproachable; but there
was not sympathy between their characters. I had not seen her for many
years when an occasion offered to me, January, 1814. I was upon the
point, with her consent, of paying her a visit, when my sister, who
has always had more influence over me than any one else, persuaded me
not to do it. 'For,' said she, 'if you go you will fall in love again,
and then there will be a scene; one step will lead to another, 'et
cela fera un eclat''."]

[Footnote i:

'The Farewell To a Lady.'

['Imit. and Transl.']

[Footnote ii:

'Thus Mary!' (Mrs. Musters).

['MS'.]

[Footnote iii:

'Without a wish to enter there.'

['Imit. and Transl'., p. 196.] ]

FILL THE GOBLET AGAIN. [i]

A SONG.

1.

Fill the goblet again! for I never before
Felt the glow which now gladdens my heart to its core;
Let us drink!--who would not?--since, through life's varied round,
In the goblet alone no deception is found.

2.

I have tried in its turn all that life can supply;
I have bask'd in the beam of a dark rolling eye;
I have lov'd!--who has not?--but what heart can declare
That Pleasure existed while Passion was there?

3.

In the days of my youth, when the heart's in its spring,
And dreams that Affection can never take wing,
I had friends!--who has not?--but what tongue will avow,
That friends, rosy wine! are so faithful as thou?

4.

The heart of a mistress some boy may estrange,
Friendship shifts with the sunbeam--thou never canst change;
Thou grow'st old--who does not?--but on earth what appears,
Whose virtues, like thine, still increase with its years?

5.

Yet if blest to the utmost that Love can bestow,
Should a rival bow down to our idol below,
We are jealous!--who's not?--thou hast no such alloy;
For the more that enjoy thee, the more we enjoy.

6.

Then the season of youth and its vanities past,
For refuge we fly to the goblet at last;
There we find--do we not?--in the flow of the soul,
That truth, as of yore, is confined to the bowl.

7.

When the box of Pandora was open'd on earth,
And Misery's triumph commenc'd over Mirth,
Hope was left,--was she not?--but the goblet we kiss,
And care not for Hope, who are certain of bliss.

8.

Long life to the grape! for when summer is flown,
The age of our nectar shall gladden our own:
We must die--who shall not?--May our sins be forgiven,
And Hebe shall never be idle in Heaven.

[First published, 1809.]

[Footnote i:

'Song'.

['Imit. and Transl'., p. 204.]

STANZAS TO A LADY, ON LEAVING ENGLAND. [i]

1.

Tis done--and shivering in the gale
The bark unfurls her snowy sail;
And whistling o'er the bending mast,
Loud sings on high the fresh'ning blast;
And I must from this land be gone,
Because I cannot love but one.

2.

But could I be what I have been,
And could I see what I have seen--
Could I repose upon the breast
Which once my warmest wishes blest--
I should not seek another zone,
Because I cannot love but one.

3.

'Tis long since I beheld that eye
Which gave me bliss or misery;
And I have striven, but in vain,
Never to think of it again:
For though I fly from Albion,
I still can only love but one.

4.

As some lone bird, without a mate,
My weary heart is desolate;
I look around, and cannot trace
One friendly smile or welcome face,
And ev'n in crowds am still alone,
Because I cannot love but one.

5.

And I will cross the whitening foam,
And I will seek a foreign home;
Till I forget a false fair face,
I ne'er shall find a resting-place;
My own dark thoughts I cannot shun,
But ever love, and love but one.

6.

The poorest, veriest wretch on earth
Still finds some hospitable hearth,
Where Friendship's or Love's softer glow
May smile in joy or soothe in woe;
But friend or leman I have none, [ii]
Because I cannot love but one.

7.

I go--but wheresoe'er I flee
There's not an eye will weep for me;
There's not a kind congenial heart,
Where I can claim the meanest part;
Nor thou, who hast my hopes undone,
Wilt sigh, although I love but one.

8.

To think of every early scene,
Of what we are, and what we've been,
Would whelm some softer hearts with woe--
But mine, alas! has stood the blow;
Yet still beats on as it begun,
And never truly loves but one.

9.

And who that dear lov'd one may be,
Is not for vulgar eyes to see;
And why that early love was cross'd,
Thou know'st the best, I feel the most;
But few that dwell beneath the sun
Have loved so long, and loved but one.

10.

I've tried another's fetters too,
With charms perchance as fair to view;
And I would fain have loved as well,
But some unconquerable spell
Forbade my bleeding breast to own
A kindred care for aught but one.

11.

'Twould soothe to take one lingering view,
And bless thee in my last adieu;
Yet wish I not those eyes to weep
For him that wanders o'er the deep;
His home, his hope, his youth are gone, [iii]
Yet still he loves, and loves but one. [iv]

1809. [First published, 1809.]

[Footnote i:

'To Mrs. Musters.'

['MS.']

'To----on Leaving England.'

['Imit. and Transl.', p. 227.]

[Footnote ii:

'But friend or lover I have none'.

['Imit. and Transl'., p. 229.]]

[Footnote iii:

'Though wheresoever my bark may run,
I love but thee, I love but one.'

['Imit. and Transl.', p. 230.]

'The land recedes his Bark is gone,
Yet still he loves and laves but one.'

[MS.]

[Footnote iv:

'Yet far away he loves but one.'

[MS.]

ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS;

A SATIRE.

BY

LORD BYRON.

"I had rather be a kitten, and cry, mew!
Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers."

SHAKESPEARE.

"Such shameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true,
There are as mad, abandon'd Critics, too."

POPE.

PREFACE [1]

All my friends, learned and unlearned, have urged me not to publish this
Satire with my name. If I were to be "turned from the career of my
humour by quibbles quick, and paper bullets of the brain" I should have
complied with their counsel. But I am not to be terrified by abuse, or
bullied by reviewers, with or without arms. I can safely say that I have
attacked none 'personally', who did not commence on the offensive. An
Author's works are public property: he who purchases may judge, and
publish his opinion if he pleases; and the Authors I have endeavoured to
commemorate may do by me as I have done by them. I dare say they will
succeed better in condemning my scribblings, than in mending their own.
But my object is not to prove that I can write well, but, if 'possible',
to make others write better.

As the Poem has met with far more success than I expected, I have
endeavoured in this Edition to make some additions and alterations, to
render it more worthy of public perusal.

In the First Edition of this Satire, published anonymously, fourteen
lines on the subject of Bowles's Pope were written by, and inserted at
the request of, an ingenious friend of mine, [2] who has now in the
press a volume of Poetry. In the present Edition they are erased, and
some of my own substituted in their stead; my only reason for this being
that which I conceive would operate with any other person in the same
manner,--a determination not to publish with my name any production,
which was not entirely and exclusively my own composition.

With [3] regard to the real talents of many of the poetical persons
whose performances are mentioned or alluded to in the following pages,
it is presumed by the Author that there can be little difference of
opinion in the Public at large; though, like other sectaries, each has
his separate tabernacle of proselytes, by whom his abilities are
over-rated, his faults overlooked, and his metrical canons received
without scruple and without consideration. But the unquestionable
possession of considerable genius by several of the writers here
censured renders their mental prostitution more to be regretted.
Imbecility may be pitied, or, at worst, laughed at and forgotten;
perverted powers demand the most decided reprehension. No one can wish
more than the Author that some known and able writer had undertaken
their exposure; but Mr. Gifford has devoted himself to Massinger, and,
in the absence of the regular physician, a country practitioner may, in
cases of absolute necessity, be allowed to prescribe his nostrum to
prevent the extension of so deplorable an epidemic, provided there be no
quackery in his treatment of the malady. A caustic is here offered; as
it is to be feared nothing short of actual cautery can recover the
numerous patients afflicted with the present prevalent and distressing
rabies for rhyming.--As to the' Edinburgh Reviewers', it would indeed
require an Hercules to crush the Hydra; but if the Author succeeds in
merely "bruising one of the heads of the serpent" though his own hand
should suffer in the encounter, he will be amply satisfied.

[Footnote 1: The Preface, as it is here printed, was prefixed to the
Second, Third, and Fourth Editions of 'English Bards, and Scotch
Reviewers'. The preface to the First Edition began with the words, "With
regard to the real talents," etc. The text of the poem follows that of
the suppressed Fifth Edition, which passed under Byron's own
supervision, and was to have been issued in 1812. From that Edition the
Preface was altogether excluded.

In an annotated copy of the Fourth Edition, of 1811, underneath the
note, "This preface was written for the Second Edition, and printed with
it. The noble author had left this country previous to the publication
of that Edition, and is not yet returned," Byron wrote, in 1816, "He is,
and gone again."--MS. Notes from this volume, which is now in Mr.
Murray's possession, are marked--B., 1816.]

[Footnote 2: John Cam Hobhouse.]

[Footnote 3: Preface to the First Edition.]

INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.

The article upon 'Hours of Idleness' "which Lord Brougham ... after
denying it for thirty years, confessed that he had written" ('Notes from
a Diary', by Sir M. E. Grant Duff, 1897, ii. 189), was published in the
'Edinburgh Review' of January, 1808. 'English Bards, and Scotch
Reviewers' did not appear till March, 1809. The article gave the
opportunity for the publication of the satire, but only in part provoked
its composition. Years later, Byron had not forgotten its effect on his
mind. On April 26, 1821, he wrote to Shelley: "I recollect the effect on
me of the Edinburgh on my first poem: it was rage and resistance and
redress: but not despondency nor despair." And on the same date to
Murray: "I know by experience that a savage review is hemlock to a
sucking author; and the one on me (which produced the 'English Bards',
etc.) knocked me down, but I got up again," etc. It must, however, be
remembered that Byron had his weapons ready for an attack before he used
them in defence. In a letter to Miss Pigot, dated October 26, 1807, he
says that "he has written one poem of 380 lines to be published in a few
weeks with notes. The poem ... is a Satire." It was entitled 'British
Bards', and finally numbered 520 lines. With a view to publication, or
for his own convenience, it was put up in type and printed in quarto
sheets. A single copy, which he kept for corrections and additions, was
preserved by Dallas, and is now in the British Museum. After the review
appeared, he enlarged and recast the 'British Bards', and in March,
1809, the Satire was published anonymously. Byron was at no pains to
conceal the authorship of 'English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers', and,
before starting on his Pilgrimage, he had prepared a second and enlarged
edition, which came out in October, 1809, with his name prefixed. Two
more editions were called for in his absence, and on his return he
revised and printed a fifth, when he suddenly resolved to suppress the
work. On his homeward voyage he expressed, in a letter to Dallas, June
28, 1811, his regret at having written the Satire. A year later he
became intimate, among others, with Lord and Lady Holland, whom he had
assailed on the supposition that they were the instigators of the
article in the 'Edinburgh Review', and on being told by Rogers that they
wished the Satire to be withdrawn, he gave orders to his publisher,
Cawthorn, to burn the whole impression. A few copies escaped the flames.
One of two copies retained by Dallas, which afterwards belonged to
Murray, and is now in his grandson's possession, was the foundation of
the text of 1831, and of all subsequent issues. Another copy which
belonged to Dallas is retained in the British Museum.

Towards the close of the last century there had been an outburst of
satirical poems, written in the style of the 'Dunciad' and its offspring
the 'Rosciad', Of these, Gifford's 'Baviad' and 'Maviad' (1794-5), and
T. J. Mathias' 'Pursuits of Literature' (1794-7), were the direct
progenitors of 'English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers', The 'Rolliad'
(1794), the 'Children of Apollo' (circ. 1794), Canning's 'New Morality'
(1798), and Wolcot's coarse but virile lampoons, must also be reckoned
among Byron's earlier models. The ministry of "All the Talents" gave
rise to a fresh batch of political 'jeux d'esprits', and in 1807, when
Byron was still at Cambridge, the air was full of these ephemera. To
name only a few, 'All the Talents', by Polypus (Eaton Stannard Barrett),
was answered by 'All the Blocks, an antidote to All the Talents', by
Flagellum (W. H. Ireland); 'Elijah's Mantle, a tribute to the memory of
the R. H. William Pitt', by James Sayer, the caricaturist, provoked
'Melville's Mantle, being a Parody on ... Elijah's Mantle'. 'The
Simpliciad, A Satirico-Didactic Poem', and Lady Anne Hamilton's 'Epics
of the Ton', are also of the same period. One and all have perished, but
Byron read them, and in a greater or less degree they supplied the
impulse to write in the fashion of the day.

'British Bards' would have lived, but, unquestionably, the spur of the
article, a year's delay, and, above all, the advice and criticism of his
friend Hodgson, who was at work on his 'Gentle Alterative for the
Reviewers', 1809 (for further details, see vol. i., 'Letters', Letter
102, 'note' 1), produced the brilliant success of the enlarged satire.
'English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers' was recognized at once as a work
of genius. It has intercepted the popularity of its great predecessors,
who are often quoted, but seldom read. It is still a popular poem, and
appeals with fresh delight to readers who know the names of many of the
"bards" only because Byron mentions them, and count others whom he
ridicules among the greatest poets of the century.

ENGLISH BARDS AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS. [1]

Still [2] must I hear?--shall hoarse [3] FITZGERALD bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern hall,
And I not sing, lest, haply, Scotch Reviews
Should dub me scribbler, and denounce my _Muse?_
Prepare for rhyme--I'll publish, right or wrong:
Fools are my theme, let Satire be my song. [i]

Oh! Nature's noblest gift--my grey goose-quill!
Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men! 10
The pen! foredoomed to aid the mental throes
Of brains that labour, big with Verse or Prose;
Though Nymphs forsake, and Critics may deride,
The Lover's solace, and the Author's pride.
What Wits! what Poets dost thou daily raise!
How frequent is thy use, how small thy praise!
Condemned at length to be forgotten quite,
With all the pages which 'twas thine to write.
But thou, at least, mine own especial pen! [ii]
Once laid aside, but now assumed again, 20
Our task complete, like Hamet's [4] shall be free;
Though spurned by others, yet beloved by me:
Then let us soar to-day; no common theme,
No Eastern vision, no distempered dream [5]
Inspires--our path, though full of thorns, is plain;
Smooth be the verse, and easy be the strain.

When Vice triumphant holds her sov'reign sway,
Obey'd by all who nought beside obey; [iii]
When Folly, frequent harbinger of crime,
Bedecks her cap with bells of every Clime; [iv] 30
When knaves and fools combined o'er all prevail,
And weigh their Justice in a Golden Scale; [v]
E'en then the boldest start from public sneers,
Afraid of Shame, unknown to other fears,
More darkly sin, by Satire kept in awe,
And shrink from Ridicule, though not from Law.

Such is the force of Wit! I but not belong
To me the arrows of satiric song;
The royal vices of our age demand
A keener weapon, and a mightier hand. [vi] 40
Still there are follies, e'en for me to chase,
And yield at least amusement in the race:
Laugh when I laugh, I seek no other fame,
The cry is up, and scribblers are my game:
Speed, Pegasus!--ye strains of great and small,
Ode! Epic! Elegy!--have at you all!
I, too, can scrawl, and once upon a time
I poured along the town a flood of rhyme,
A schoolboy freak, unworthy praise or blame;
I printed--older children do the same. 50
'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print;
A Book's a Book, altho' there's nothing in't.
Not that a Title's sounding charm can save [vii]
Or scrawl or scribbler from an equal grave:
This LAMB [6] must own, since his patrician name
Failed to preserve the spurious Farce from shame. [7]
No matter, GEORGE continues still to write, [8]
Tho' now the name is veiled from public sight.
Moved by the great example, I pursue
The self-same road, but make my own review: 60
Not seek great JEFFREY'S, yet like him will be
Self-constituted Judge of Poesy.

A man must serve his time to every trade
Save Censure--Critics all are ready made.
Take hackneyed jokes from MILLER, [9] got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote;
A man well skilled to find, or forge a fault;
A turn for punning--call it Attic salt;
To JEFFREY go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet: 70
Fear not to lie,'twill seem a _sharper_ hit; [viii]
Shrink not from blasphemy, 'twill pass for wit;
Care not for feeling--pass your proper jest,
And stand a Critic, hated yet caress'd.

And shall we own such judgment? no--as soon
Seek roses in December--ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff,
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that's false, before
You trust in Critics, who themselves are sore; 80
Or yield one single thought to be misled
By JEFFREY'S heart, or LAMB'S Boeotian head. [10]
To these young tyrants, by themselves misplaced,
Combined usurpers on the Throne of Taste;
To these, when Authors bend in humble awe,
And hail their voice as Truth, their word as Law;
While these are Censors, 'twould be sin to spare; [11]
While such are Critics, why should I forbear?
But yet, so near all modern worthies run,
'Tis doubtful whom to seek, or whom to shun; 90
Nor know we when to spare, or where to strike,
Our Bards and Censors are so much alike.
Then should you ask me, [12] why I venture o'er
The path which POPE and GIFFORD [13] trod before;
If not yet sickened, you can still proceed;
Go on; my rhyme will tell you as you read.
"But hold!" exclaims a friend,--"here's some neglect:
This--that--and t'other line seem incorrect."
What then? the self-same blunder Pope has got,
And careless Dryden--"Aye, but Pye has not:"-- 100
Indeed!--'tis granted, faith!--but what care I?
Better to err with POPE, than shine with PYE. [14]

Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days [15]
Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise,
When Sense and Wit with Poesy allied,
No fabled Graces, flourished side by side,
From the same fount their inspiration drew,
And, reared by Taste, bloomed fairer as they grew.
Then, in this happy Isle, a POPE'S pure strain
Sought the rapt soul to charm, nor sought in vain; 110
A polished nation's praise aspired to claim,
And raised the people's, as the poet's fame.
Like him great DRYDEN poured the tide of song,
In stream less smooth, indeed, yet doubly strong.
Then CONGREVE'S scenes could cheer, or OTWAY'S melt; [16]
For Nature then an English audience felt--
But why these names, or greater still, retrace,
When all to feebler Bards resign their place?
Yet to such times our lingering looks are cast,
When taste and reason with those times are past. 120
Now look around, and turn each trifling page,
Survey the precious works that please the age;
This truth at least let Satire's self allow,
No dearth of Bards can be complained of now. [ix]
The loaded Press beneath her labour groans, [x]
And Printers' devils shake their weary bones;
While SOUTHEY'S Epics cram the creaking shelves, [xi]
And LITTLE'S Lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves. [17]
Thus saith the _Preacher_: "Nought beneath the sun
Is new," [18] yet still from change to change we run. 130
What varied wonders tempt us as they pass!
The Cow-pox, Tractors, Galvanism, and Gas, [19]
In turns appear, to make the vulgar stare,
Till the swoln bubble bursts--and all is air!
Nor less new schools of Poetry arise,
Where dull pretenders grapple for the prize:
O'er Taste awhile these Pseudo-bards prevail; [xii]
Each country Book-club bows the knee to Baal,
And, hurling lawful Genius from the throne,
Erects a shrine and idol of its own; [xiii] 140
Some leaden calf--but whom it matters not,
From soaring SOUTHEY, down to groveling STOTT. [20]

Behold! in various throngs the scribbling crew,
For notice eager, pass in long review:
Each spurs his jaded Pegasus apace,
And Rhyme and Blank maintain an equal race;
Sonnets on sonnets crowd, and ode on ode;
And Tales of Terror [21] jostle on the road;
Immeasurable measures move along;
For simpering Folly loves a varied song, 150
To strange, mysterious Dulness still the friend,
Admires the strain she cannot comprehend.
Thus Lays of Minstrels [22]--may they be the last!--
On half-strung harps whine mournful to the blast.
While mountain spirits prate to river sprites,
That dames may listen to the sound at nights;
And goblin brats, of Gilpin Horner's [23] brood
Decoy young Border-nobles through the wood,
And skip at every step, Lord knows how high,
And frighten foolish babes, the Lord knows why; 160
While high-born ladies in their magic cell,
Forbidding Knights to read who cannot spell,
Despatch a courier to a wizard's grave,
And fight with honest men to shield a knave.

Next view in state, proud prancing on his roan,
The golden-crested haughty Marmion,
Now forging scrolls, now foremost in the fight,
Not quite a Felon, yet but half a Knight. [xiv]
The gibbet or the field prepared to grace;
A mighty mixture of the great and base. 170
And think'st thou, SCOTT! by vain conceit perchance,
On public taste to foist thy stale romance,
Though MURRAY with his MILLER may combine
To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line? [24]
No! when the sons of song descend to trade,
Their bays are sear, their former laurels fade,
Let such forego the poet's sacred name,
Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame:
Still for stern Mammon may they toil in vain! [25]
And sadly gaze on Gold they cannot gain! 180
Such be their meed, such still the just reward [xv]
Of prostituted Muse and hireling bard!
For this we spurn Apollo's venal son,
And bid a long "good night to Marmion." [26]

These are the themes that claim our plaudits now;
These are the Bards to whom the Muse must bow;
While MILTON, DRYDEN, POPE, alike forgot,
Resign their hallowed Bays to WALTER SCOTT.

The time has been, when yet the Muse was young,
When HOMER swept the lyre, and MARO sung, 190
An Epic scarce ten centuries could claim,
While awe-struck nations hailed the magic name:
The work of each immortal Bard appears
The single wonder of a thousand years. [27]
Empires have mouldered from the face of earth,
Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth,
Without the glory such a strain can give,
As even in ruin bids the language live.
Not so with us, though minor Bards, content, [xvi]
On one great work a life of labour spent: 200
With eagle pinion soaring to the skies,
Behold the Ballad-monger SOUTHEY rise!
To him let CAMOENS, MILTON, TASSO yield,
Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field.
First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
The scourge of England and the boast of France!
Though burnt by wicked BEDFORD for a witch,
Behold her statue placed in Glory's niche;
Her fetters burst, and just released from prison,
A virgin Phoenix from her ashes risen. 210
Next see tremendous Thalaba come on, [28]
Arabia's monstrous, wild, and wond'rous son;
Domdaniel's dread destroyer, who o'erthrew
More mad magicians than the world e'er knew.
Immortal Hero! all thy foes o'ercome,
For ever reign--the rival of Tom Thumb! [29]
Since startled Metre fled before thy face,
Well wert thou doomed the last of all thy race!
Well might triumphant Genii bear thee hence,
Illustrious conqueror of common sense! 220
Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails,
Cacique in Mexico, [30] and Prince in Wales;
Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do,
More old than Mandeville's, and not so true.
Oh, SOUTHEY! SOUTHEY! [31] cease thy varied song!
A bard may chaunt too often and too long:
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare!
A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear.
But if, in spite of all the world can say,
Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way; 230
If still in Berkeley-Ballads most uncivil,
Thou wilt devote old women to the devil, [32]
The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue:
"God help thee," SOUTHEY, [33] and thy readers too.

Next comes the dull disciple of thy school, [34]
That mild apostate from poetic rule,
The simple WORDSWORTH, framer of a lay
As soft as evening in his favourite May,
Who warns his friend "to shake off toil and trouble,
And quit his books, for fear of growing double;" [35] 240
Who, both by precept and example, shows
That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose;
Convincing all, by demonstration plain,
Poetic souls delight in prose insane;
And Christmas stories tortured into rhyme
Contain the essence of the true sublime.
Thus, when he tells the tale of Betty Foy,
The idiot mother of "an idiot Boy;"
A moon-struck, silly lad, who lost his way,
And, like his bard, confounded night with day [36] 250
So close on each pathetic part he dwells,
And each adventure so sublimely tells,
That all who view the "idiot in his glory"
Conceive the Bard the hero of the story.

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