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Precepts of prudence curb, but can't control,
November 26, 1806.
Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall,
Scowling defiance on the blasts of fate.
In grim array the crimson cross (4) demand;
Their chief's retainers, an immortal band :
Retrace their progress through the lapse of time,
A votive pilgrim in Judea's clime.
His feudal realın in other regions lay:
Retiring from the garish blaze of day.
The monk abjured a world he ne'er could view;
Or innocence from stern oppression flew.
Where Sherwood's outlaws once were wont to prowl;
Sought shelter in the priest's protecting cowl.
The humid pall of life-extinguish'd clay,
Nor raised their pious voices but to pray.
Soon as the gloaming (5) spreads her waning shade,
Or matin orisons to Mary (6) paid.
Abbots to abbots, in a line, succeed :
Till royal sacrilege their doom decreed.
And bade the pious inmates rest in peace;
And bids devotion's hallow'd echoes cease.
He drives them exiles from their blest abode,
No friend, no home, no refuge, but their God.
ELEGY ON NEWSTEAD ABBEY. (1) " It is the voice of years that are gone! they roll before me with all their deeds."-Ossian. Newstead! fast-falling, once-resplendent dome!
Religion's shrine! repentant HENKY'S (2) pride! Of warriors, monks, and dames the cloister'd tomb,
Whose pensive shades around thy ruins glide: Hail to thy pile! more honour'd in thy fall
Than modern mansions in their pillar'd state;
"I must return you," says Lord Byron, in a letter written impression. On the very same evening, this prompt sacrifice in February, 1808, “my best acknowledgments for the in was carried into effect. Mr. Becher saw every copy of the terest you have taken in me and my poetical bantlings, edition barned, with the exception of that which he retained and I shall ever be proud to show how much I esteem the | in his own possession, and another which had been de advice and the adviser."-L. E.
spatched to Edinburgh, and could not be recalled.-P. E. To Mr. Becher, as we learn from Moore's Life, was
As one poem on this subject is already printed, the presented the first copy of Lord Byron's early poetical effu- author had, originally, no intention of inserting the followsions, printed for private circulation amongst his friends. ing. It is now added, at the particular request of some The Reverend gentleman, in looking over its pages, among friends. many things to commend and admire, as well as some almost (2) Henry II. founded Newstead soon after the murder of too boyish to criticise, found one poem in which, as it ap. Thomas à Becket. (See ante, p. 3. c. I. note 2.-P. E.) peared to him, the imagination of the yonng bard had in. (3) This word is used by Walter Scott, in his poem, "The dulged itself in a luxuriousness of colouring beyond what Wild Huntsman," as synonymous with vassal. even youth could excuse. Immediately, as the most gentle 1 (4) The red cross was the badge of the crusaders. mode of conveying his opinion, he sat down and addressed
As “gloaming,” the Scottish word for twilight, is far to Lord Byron some expostulatory verses on the subject, to more poetical, and has been recommended by many eminent which the poetical "answer" now before the reader was as literary men, particularly by Dr. Moore in his Letters to promptly returned by the noble poet, with, at the same Burns, I bave ventured to use it on account of its harmony. time, a note in plain prose, to say that be felt fully the jns (6) The priory was dedicated to the Virgin. tice of ais friend's censure, and that, rather than allow the (7) At the dissolution of the monasteries, llenry VIII. poem in question to he circulated, he would instantly recall bestowed Newstead Abbey on Sir John Byron. (See ante, all the copies that had been sent out, and cancel the whole p. 3. c. I. note 2.-P. E)
Hark how the hall, resounding to the strain,
Here Desolation holds her dreary court: Shakes with the martial music's novel din!
What satellites declare her dismal reign! The beralds of a warrior's haughty reign,
Shrieking their dirge, ill-omened birds resort,
Soon a new morn's restoring beams dispel
The fierce usurper seeks his native hell,
And Nature triumphs as the tyrant dies. An abbey once, a regal fortress (1) now,
With storms she welcomes his expiring groans; Encircled by insalting rebel powers,
Whirlwinds, responsive, greet bis labouring breath; War's dread machines o'erhang thy threatening brow, Earth shudders as her caves receive his bones,
And dart destruction in sulphureous showers. 1 Loathing (4) the offering of so dark a death.
The legal ruler(5) now resumes the helm,
Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm, ! Rebellion's reeking standards o'er him wave. And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied hate. Not wavenged the raging baron yields;
The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
Eujoy'd, from absence, with enraptured zest.
Loudly carousing, bless their lord's return; Bat Charles' protecting genius hither flew,
Culture again adorns the gladdening vale, The monarch's friend, the monarch's hope, to save. And matrons, once lameuting, cease to mourn. Trembling, she snatched him (2) from the unequal A thousand songs on tunelul echo float, i In other fields the torrent to repel; [strife, Unwonted foliage mantles o'er the trees; Fer nobler combats, bere, reserved his life,
And hark! the horns proclaim a mellow note, ! To lead the band where godlike Falkland (3) fell. The hunters' cry hangs lengthening on the breeze. From thee, poor pile! to lawless plander given, Beneath their coursers' hoofs the valleys shake:
While dying groans their painful requiem sound, What fears, what anxious hopes, attend the chase! Far different incense now ascends to heaven,
The dying stag seeks refuge in the Lake; (6) : Sach victims wallow on the gory ground.
Exulting shouts announce the finishid race. There many a pale and ruthless robber's corse, | Ab happy days! too happy to endure ! Noisome and ghast, defiles thy sacred sod;
Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew : Ofer mingling man, and horse commix'd with horse, No splendid vices glitter'd to allure; 1 Corruption's heap, the savage spoilers trod. | Their joys were many, as their cares were few.
Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o'erspread, From these descending, sons lo sires succeed; ! Rassack'd, resign perforce their mortal mould: | Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart; From ruffian fangs escape not e'en the dead,
Another chief impels the foaming steed, Raked from repose in search for buried gold.
Another crowd pursue the panting hart.
The minstrel's palsied hand reclines in death ; Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay;
Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway. At length the sated murderers, gorged with pray, Deserted now, he scans thy grey worn towers; Retire; the clamour of the fight is o'er ;
Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep; Süence again resumes her awful sway,
Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers; And sable Horror guards the massy door.
These, these he views, and views them but to weep. Yet are his tears no emblem of regret:
(1) Xewstead snstained a considerable siege in the war divine interposition; but whether as approbation or con between Charles I. and his parliament.
demnation, we leave to the casuists of that age to decide. Lord Byron, and his brother Sir William, held high
I have made such use of the occurrence as suited the subject Commands in the royal army. The former was general in
of my poem. chief in Ireland, lieutenant of the Tower, and governor to
(5) Charles II. Jasues, Dake of York, afterwards the anhappy James II.;
(6) During the lifetime of the fifth Lord Byron, there was the latter bad a principal share in many actions.
found in this Lake-where it is supposed to have been 3) Lacius Carey, Lord Viscount Falkland, the most
thrown for conceaiment by the Monks- a large brass eagle,
in the body of which, on its being sent to be cleaned, was beremplished man of his age, was killed at the battle of
discovered a secret aperture, concealing within it a number Suwbary, charging in the ranks of Lord Byron's regiment
of ancient documents connected with the rights and privi.
leges of the foundation. At the sale of the old Lord's effects, This is an historical fact. A violent tempest occurred in 1776. this eagle was parchased by a watchmaker of incmediately subsequent to the death or interment of Crom Nottingham; and it now forms, through the liberality of *41, which occasioned many dispntes between his partisans | Sir Richard Kaye, an appropriate ornament of the fine old sad the Cavaliers: both interpreted the circumstance into | church of Sonth well.-L. E.
Still rules my senses with unbounded sway, Cherish'd affection only bids them flow.
The past confounding with the present day. Pride, hope, and love, forbid him to forget, But warm his bosom with impassion'd glow. Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought,
Which still recurs, unlook'd for and unsought; Yet he prefers thee to the gilded domes
My soul to Fancy's fond suggestion yields, Or gewgaw grottos of the vainly great;
And roams romantic o'er ber airy fields; Yet lingers 'mid thy damp and mossy tombs,
Scenes of my youth, developed, crowd to view, Nor breathes a murmur 'gainst the will of late.(1)
To which I long bave bade a last adieu ! Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine,
Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes; Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;(2)
Friends lost to me for aye, except in dreams; Hours splendid as the past may still be thine,
Some who in marble prematurely sleep,
Whose forms I now remember but to weep;
Of early science, future fame the source;
Who, still contending in the studious race,
In quick rotation fill the senior place.
These with a thousand visions now unite,
To dazzle, though they please, my aching sight.(5)
Our tricks of mischief, every childish game, Unyielding pangs assail the drooping mind:
Unchanged by time or distance, seem the same; What grisly forms, the spectre-train of woe, Through winding paths along the glade, I trace Bid shuddering Nature shrink beneath the blow, The social smile of every welcome face; With Resignation wage relentless strife,
My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy and woe, While hope retires appalld, and clings to life! Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe, Yet less the pang when, through the tedious hour, Our feuds dissolved, but not my friendship past:Remembrance sheds around her genial power, I bless the former, and forgive the last. Calls back the vanish'd days to rapture given, Hours of my youth! when, nurtured in my breast, When love was bliss, and beauty form d our heaven; To love a stranger, friendship made me blest;Or, dear to youth, portrays each childish scene, Friendship, the dear peculiar bond of youth, Those fairy bowers, where all in turn have been. When every artless bosom throbs with truth; As when through clouds that pour the summer storm Untaught by worldly wisdom how to feign, The orb of day unveils his distant form,
And check each impulse with prudeutial rein; Gilds with faint beams the crystal dews of rain, When all we feel, our honest souls discloseAnd dimly twinkles o'er the watery plain;
In love to friends, in open hate to foes; Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams, No varnish'd tales the lips of youth repeat, The sun of memory, glowing through my dreams, No dear-bought knowledge purchased by deceit. Though sunk the radiance of his former blaze, | Hypocrisy, the gift of lengtheu'd years, To scenes far distant points his paler rays;
Matured by age, the garb of prudence wears.
(1) " Come what may," wrote Byron to his mother, in March 1809, “ Newstead and I stand or fall together. I have now lived on the spot; I have fixed my heart upon it; and no pressure, present or future, shall induce me to barter the last vestige of our inheritance. I have that pride within me which will enable me to support difficulties. I can endure privations; but could I obtain, in exchange for New. stead Abbey, the first fortune in the country, I would reject the proposition. Set your mind at ease on that score; I feel like a man of honour, and I will not sell Newstead."-LE.
(2) “We cannot,” said the Critical Review for September, 1807, “but hail with something of prophetic rapture, the hope conveyed in the closing stanza
"Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine, etc "-L. E. (3) The reader who turns from this Elegy to the stanzas descriptive of Newstead Abbey and the surrounding scenery, in the thirteenth canto of Don Juan, cannot fail to remark how frequently the leading thoughts in the two pieces are the same; or to be delighted and instructed, in comparing the juvenile sketch with the bold touches and mellow colouring of the master's picture.-L. E.
(4) These verses were composed while Lord Byron was suffering under severe illness and depression of spirits. “I was laid," he says, “ on my back, when that schoolboy thing was written, or rather dictated-expecting to rise no more, my physician having taken his sixteenth fee.” In the prirate volume the poem opened with the following lines:
Hence thou unvarying song of varied loves,
Which every rhyming bard repeats by rote,
“Alas! in vain I check the maddening ihought;
- Here first remember'd be the joyous band,"
When now the boy is ripen’d into man,
PROBUS (4), the pride of science, and the boast,
: Away with themes like this! not mine the task
From flattering fiends to tear the hateful mask; | Let keener bards delight in satire's sting;
My fancy soars not on Detraction's wing :
She bush'd her young resentment, and forgave,
She sometimes trified in a lighter strain,
Soon must her early song for ever cease,
High, through those elms, with hoary branches
crown'd, Fair Ida's bower adorns the landscape round; There Science, from her favour'd seat, surveys The vale where rural Nature claims her praise; To her a while resigns her youthful train, Who move in joy, and dance along the plain; In scatter'd groups each favour'd haunt pursue; Repeat old pastimes, and discover new; Flush'd with his rays, beneath the noontide sun, In rival bands, between the wickets run, Drive o'er the sward the ball with active force, Or chase with nimble feet its rapid course. But these with slower steps direct their way, Where Brent's cool waves in limpid currents stray; While yonder few search out some green retreat, And arbours shade them from the summer heat: Others, again, a pert and lively crew, Some rough and thoughtless stranger placed in view, With frolic quaint their antic jests expose, Aud tease the grumbling rustic as he goes; Nor rest with this, but many a passing fray Tradition treasures for a future day : “ 'T was here the gather'd swains for vengeance fought, And here we earu'd the conquest dearly bought; Here have we fled before superior might, And here renew'd the wild tumultuous fight.” While thus our souls with early passions swell, In lingering tones resounds the distant bell; The allotted hour of daily sport is o'er, And Learning beckons from her temple's door.
Here first remember'd be the joyous band, Wbo haild me chief,(2) obedient to command; Wbo join'd with me in every boyish sportTheir first adviser, and their last resurt; Nor shrunk beneath the upstart pedant's frown, Or all the sable glories of his gown;(3) Who, tbas transplanted from his father's school Unfit to govern, ignorant of rule
Succeeded him whom all unile to praise, | The dear preceptor of my early days;
(1) Dr. Butler, bead-master of Harrow school. Had Lord Byron published another edition of these poems, it appears, from a loose sbeet in his handwriting, to have been his in. teation, instead of the passage beginning
Or if my mose a pedant's portrait drew,"
If once my muse a barsher portrait drew,
With poble minds a fault confess'd atones."-LE.
3. lastead of this couplet, the private volume has the following foar lines :
- Careless to soothe the pedant's furions frown,
Adding new terror to his sneering face."--L.E.
five years at Harrow; the last twenty as head-master ; an office he held with equal honour to himself and advantage to the very extensive school over which he presided. Panegyric would here be superfluous: it would be useless to enumerate qualifications which were never doubted. A CODsiderable contest took place between three rival candidates for his vacant chair : of this I can only say,
Si mea cum vestris valuissent vota, Pelasgi!
Non foret ambiguus tanti certaminis bæres. [Such was Byron's parting eulogy on Dr. Drury. It may be interesting to see by the side of it the Doctor's own account of his papil, when first committed to his care: "I took," says the Doctor, “my young disciple into my study, and endeavoured to bring him forward by inquiries as to his former amusements, employments, and associates, but with little or no effect; and I soon found that a wild moun. tain colt had been submitted to my management. But there was mind in his eye. His manner and temper soon convinced me, that he might be led by a silker string to a point, rather than by a cable ;--and on that principle I acted.")-L. E.
(5) To this passage, had Lord Byron published another edition of Hours of Idleness, it was his intention to give the following turn :
"Another fills his magisterial chair ;
Reluctant Ida owns a stranger's care;
No splendid tablets grace her simple hall,
Our first kind greetings, and our last adieuBut ruder records fill the dusky wall;
Drew tears from eyes unused to weep with you. There, deeply carved, behold ! each tyro's name Through splendid circles, fashion's gaady world, Secures its owner's academic fame;
Where folly's glaring standard waves unfurld, Here mingling view the cames of sire and son I plunged to drown in noise my fond regret, The one long graved, the other just begun :
And all I sought or hoped was to forget. These shall survive alike when son and sire
Vain wish! if chance some well-remember'd face, Beneath one common stroke of fate expire:(1) Some old companion of my early race, Perhaps their last memorial these alone,
Advanced to claim his friend with honest joy, Denied in death a monumental stone,
My eyes, my heart, proclaim'd me still a boy; Whilst to the gale in mournful cadence wave
The glittering scene, the fluttering groups around, The sighing weeds that hide their nameless grave. Were quite forgotten when my friend was found: And here my name, and many an early friend's, The smiles of beauty-(for, alas! I've known Along the wall in lengthen'd line extends.
What 'i is to hend before Love's mighty throne) Though still our deeds amuse the youthful race, The smiles of beauty, though those smiles were dear, Who tread our steps, and fill our former place, Could hardly charm me, when that friend was near : Who young obey'd their lords in silent awe,
My thoughts bewilder'd in the fond surprise,
I saw and join'd again the joyous throng;
And friendship's feelings triumph'd over love. (3). " And thus our former rulers stemm'd the tide, And thus they dealt the combat side by side;
Yet, why should I alone with such delight
Endear'd to all in childhood's very name?
Ah! sure some stronger impulse vibrates bere, And here one night abroad they dared to roam, Which whispers friendship will be doubly dear While bold POMPOSUS bravely staid at home!”
To one who thus for kindred hearts must roam, While thus they speak, the hour must soon arrive, And seek abroad the love denied at home. When names of these, like ours, alone survive: Those hearts, dear IDA, have I found in thee Yet a few years, one general wreck will whelm A home, a world, a paradise to me. The faint remembrance of our fairy realm.
Stern Death forbade my orphan youth to share
The tender guidance of a father's (4) care. Dear honest race! though now we meet no more, Can rauk, or e'en a guardian's name, supply One last long look on what we were before
The love which glistens in a father's eye?
1) During a rebellion at Harrow, the poet prevented the school-room from being burnt down, by pointing out to the boys the names of their fathers and grandfathers on the walls.-L.E.
(2) Lord Byron elsewhere thus describes his usnal course of life while at Harrow:-"Always cricketing, rebelling, rou. ing, and in all manner of mischiefs." One day, in a fit or defiance, he tore down all the gratings from the window of the ball; and when called upon by Dr. Butler to say why he had committed this violence, answered, with stern coolness, “because they darkened the room."-L. E.
(3) This description of what the yonng poet felt in 1806, on encountering in the world any of his former schoolfellows, falls far short of the page in which he records an accidental meeting with Lord Clare, on the road between Imola and Bologna, in 1821. “This meeting," he says, “annihilated for a moment all the years between the present time and the days of Harrow. It was a new and inexplicable feeling. like rising from the grave, to me. Clare, too, was much agitated-more in appearance than was myself; for I could feel his heart beat to his fingers' ends, unless, indeed, it was the pulse of my own wbich made me think so. We were but five minutes together, and on the public road; but I hardly recollect an hour of my existence which could be weighed against them."-We may also quote the following interesting sentences of Madame Guiccioli :-"In 1822 (says she), a few days before leaving Pisa, we were one evening sented in the garden of the Palazzo Lanfranchi. At this mo. ment a servant announced Mr. Hobhouse. The slight shade of melancholy diffused over Lord Byron's face gave instant place to the liveliest joy; but it was so great, that it almost deprived him of strength. A fearful paleness came over his cheeks, and his eyes were filled with tears as he embraced his friend: his emotion was so great that he was forced to ait down.”LE.
(4) To all the lives of Lord Byron hitherto published, the
character of the poet's father has been alluded to in terms
Some unworthy reflections on the subject were hazarded in a biographical sketch of the noble Poet, prefixed to & French translation of one of his works, which appeared very shortly before he left Genoa for Greece; and the remarks which these drew from the son at the time will probably go far to soften the general impression respecting the father, As the letter which Lord Byron addressed to the gentleman who had forwarded the offensive tract from Paris has not hitherto been printed, and was probably the last he wrote before quitting Italy, we make no apology for the length of the following extract:
" Genoa, 10th July, 1823. “ As to the Essay, etc., I have nothing to object to it, with regard to what concerns myself personally, though naturally there are some of the facts in it discoloured, and