martes, 3 de marzo de 2015

Poetry: Lord Byron - Hours of idleness - Part 7 - Links to more Byron


Of J. M. B. Pigot, Esq., on the cruelty of his mistress.

Why, Pigot, complain of this damsel's disdain,
 Why thus in despair do you fret?
For months you may try, yet, believe me, a sigh
 Will never obtain a coquette.

Would you teach her to love? for a time seem to rove:
 At first she may frown in a pet;
But leave her awhile, she shortly will smile,
 And then you may kiss your coquette.

For such are the airs of these fanciful fairs,
 They think all our homage a debt:
Yet a partial neglect soon takes an effect,
 And humbles the proudest coquette.

Dissemble your pain, and lengthen your chain,
 And seem her hauteur to regret;
If again you shall sigh, she no more will deny
 That yours is the rosy coquette.

If still, from false pride, your pangs she deride,
 This whimsical virgin forget;
Some other admire, who will melt with your fire,
 And laugh at the little coquette.

For me, I adore some twenty or more,
 And love them most dearly; but yet,
Though my heart they enthrall, I'd abandon them all,
 Did they act like your blooming coquette.

No longer repine, adopt this design,
 And break through her slight-woven net;
Away with despair, no longer forbear
 To fly from the captious coquette.

Then quit her, my friend! your bosom defend,
 Ere quite with her snares you're beset:
Lest your deep-wounded heart, when incensed by the smart,
 Should lead you to curse the coquette.

                               October 27, 1806.



Your pardon, my friend, if my rhymes did offend,
 Your pardon, a thousand times o'er:
From friendship I strove to your pangs to remove,
 But I swear I will do so no more.

Since your beautiful maid your flame has repaid,
 No more I your folly regret;
She's now most divine, and I bow at the shrine
 Of this quickly reformed coquette.

Yet still, I must own, I should never have known
 From your verses, what else she deserved;
Your pain seem'd so great, I pitied your fate,
 As your fair was so devilish reserved.

Since the balm-breathing kiss of this magical miss
 Can such wonderful transports produce;
Since the "world you forget, when your lips once have met,"
 My counsel will get but abuse.

You say, when "I rove, I know nothing of love;"
 'Tis true, I am given to range:
If I rightly remember, I've loved a good number,
 Yet there's pleasure, at least, in a change.

I will not advance, by the rules of romance,
 To humour a whimsical fair;
Though a smile may delight, yet a frown won't affright,
 Or drive me to dreadful despair.

While my blood is thus warm, I ne'er shall reform,
 To mix in the Platonists' school;
Of this I am sure, was my passion so pure,
 Thy mistress would think me a fool.

And if I should thus shun every woman for one,
 Whose image must fill my whole breast --
Whom I must prefer, and sigh but for her --
 What an insult 'twould be to the rest!

Now, Strephon, good-bye; I cannot deny
 Your passion appears most absurd;
Such love as you plead is pure love indeed,
 For it only consists in the word.


              TO ELIZA.

Eliza, what fools are the Mussulman sect,
 Who to woman deny the soul's existence;
Could they see thee, Eliza, they'd own their defect,
 And this doctrine would meet with a general resistance.

Had their prophet possess'd half an atom of sense,
 He ne'er would have women from paradise driven;
Instead of houris, a flimsy pretence,
 With women alone he had peopled his heaven.

Yet still, to increase your calamities more,
 Not content with depriving your bodies of spirit,
He allots one poor husband to share amongst four! --
 With souls you'd dispense; but this last who could bear it?

His religion to please neither party is made;
 On husbands 'tis hard, to the wives most uncivil;
Still I can't contradict, what so oft has been said,
 "Though women are angels, yet wedlock's the devil."


            LACHIN Y GAIR.*

Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses!
 In you let the minions of luxury rove;
Restore me the rocks, where the snow-flake reposes,
 Though still they are sacred to freedom and love:
Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,
 Round their white summits though elements war;
Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains,
 I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr.

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd:
 My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid;**
On chieftains long perish'd my memory ponder'd,
 As daily I strode through the pine-cover'd glade.
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
 Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star;
For fancy was cheer'd by traditional story,
 Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.

"Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices
 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 vale.
Round Loch na Garr while the stormy mist gathers,
 Winter presides in his cold icy car:
Clouds there encircle the forms of his fathers;
 They dwell in tempests of dark Loch na Garr.

"Ill-starr'd, though brave, did no visions foreboding
 Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?"
Ah! were you destined to die at Culloden,***
 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;****
The pibroch resounds, to the piper's loud number,
 Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch na Garr.

Years have roll'd 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 o'er the mountains afar:
Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic,
 The steep frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr!

* /Lachin y Gair,/  or, as it is pronounced in the Erse, /Loch na Garr,/ towers proudly pre-eminent in the Northern Highlands, near Invercauld.  One of our modern tourists mentions it as the highest mountain, perhaps, in Great Britain.  Be this as it may, it is certainly one of the most sublime and picturesque among our "Caledonian Alps."  Its appearance is of a dusky hue, but the summit is the seat of eternal snows.  Near Lachin y Gair I spent some of the early part of my life, the recollection of which has given birth to these stanzas.

** This word is erroneously pronounced /plad:/ the proper pronunciation (according the Scotch) is shewn by the orthography.

*** I allude here to my maternal ancestors, "the /Gordons,"/ many of whom fought for the unfortunate Prince Charles, better known by the name of the Pretender.  This branch was nearly allied by blood, as well as attachment, to the Stuarts.  George, the second Earl of Huntly, married the Princess Annabella Stuart, daughter of James the First of Scotland.  By her he left four sons: the third, Sir William Gordon, I have the honor to claim as one of my progenitors.

Whether any perished in the battle of Culloden, I am not certain; but, as many fell in the insurrection, I have used the name of the principle action, /"pars pro toto."/

**** A tract of the Highlands so called.  There is also a Castle of Braemar.

              TO ROMANCE.

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.

And yet 'tis hard to quit the dreams
 Which haunt the unsuspicious soul,
Where every nymph a goddess seems,
 Whose eyes through rays immortal roll;
While Fancy holds her boundless reign,
 And all assume a varied hue;
When virgins seem no longer vain,
 And even woman's smiles are true.

And must we own thee but a name,
 And from thy hall of clouds descend?
Nor find a sylph in every dame,
 A Pylades 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 sore.
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!

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 gawdy 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 bents 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;
Say, will you mourn my absent name,
 Apostate from your gentle train?
An infant bard at least may claim
 From you a sympathetic strain.

Adieu, fond race! a long adieu!
 The hour of fate is hovering nigh;
E'en now the gulph appears in view,
 Where unlamented you must lie:
Oblivion's blackening lake is seen,
 Convulsed by gales you cannot weather;
Where you, and eke your gentle queen,
 Alas! must perish altogether.

* It is hardly necessary to add, that Pylades was the companion of Orestes, and a partner in one of those friendships which, with those of Achilles and Patroclus, Nisus and Euryalus, Damon and Pythias, have been handed down to posterity as remarkable instances of attachments, which in all probability never existed beyond the imagination of the poet, or the page of an historian or modern novelist.



Sent by a friend to the author, complaining that
one of his descriptions was rather too warmly drawn.

   "But if any old lady, knight, priest, or physician,
   Should condemn me for printing a second edition;
   If good Madame Squintum my mark should abuse,
   May I venture to give her a smack of my muse!"

                                  /New Bath Guide./

Candour compels me, Becher! to commend
The verse which blends the censor with the friend.
Your strong yet just reproof extorts applause
From me, the heedless and imprudent cause.
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;
Can youth then hush the dictates of the heart?
Precepts of prudence curb, but can't control,
The fierce emotions of the flowing soul,
When Love's delirium haunts the glowing mind,
Limping Decorum lingers far behind:
Vainly the dotard mends her prudish pace,
Outstript and vanquish'd in the mental chase.
The young, the old, have worn the chains of love:
Let those they ne'er confined my lay reprove:
Let those whose souls contemn the pleasing power
Their censures on the hapless victim shower.

 Oh! how I hate the nerveless, frigid song,
The ceaseless echo of the rhyming throng,
Whose labour'd lines in chilling numbers flow,
To paint a pang the author ne'er can know!
The artless Helicon I boast is youth; --
My lyre, the heart; my muse, the simple truth.
Far be 't from me the "virgin's mind" to "taint:"
Seduction's dread is here no slight restraint.
The maid whose virgin breast is void of guile,
Whose wishes dimple in a modest smile,
Whose downcast eye disdains the wanton leer,
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.
But for the nymph whose premature desires
Torment her bosom with unholy fires,
No net to snare her willing heart is spread;
She would have fallen, though she ne'er read.
For me, I fain would please the chosen few,
Whose souls, to feeling and to nature true,
Will spare the childish verse, and not destroy
The light effusions of a heedless boy.
I seek not glory from the senseless crowd;
Of fancied laurels I shall ne'er be proud:
Their warmest plaudits I would scarcely prize,
Their sneers or censures I alike despise.

                           /November/ 26, 1806.


"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 Henry's pride! [2]
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;
Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall,
 Scowling defiance at the blast of fate.

No mail-clad serfs, [3] obedient to their lord,
 In grim array the crimson cross demand; [4]
Or gay assemble round the festive board
 Then 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 votive pilgrim in Judea's clime.

But not from thee, dark 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 stern oppression flew.

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 the bats their wavering wings extend,
 Soon as the gloaming [5] spreads her waning shade,
The choir did oft their mingling vespers blend,
 Or matin orisons to Mary paid. [6]

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 rear'd the gothic walls,
 And bade the pious inmates rest in peace;
Another Henry the kind gift recalls, [7]
 And bids devotion's hallow'd echoes cease.

Vain is each threat or supplicating prayer;
 He drives them exiles from the 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 clang of burnish'd arms,
The braying trumpet and the hoarser drum,
 Unite in concert with increased alarms.

An abbey once, a regal fortress now,
 Encircled by insulting rebel powers,
War's dread machines o'erhang thy threatening brow,
 And dart destruction in sulphureous showers.

Ah, vain defense! 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 raging baron yields:
 The blood of traitors smears the purple plain;
Unconquer'd still, his falchion there he wields,
 And days of glory yet for him remain.

Still in that hour the warrior wish'd to strew
 Self-gather'd laurels on a self-sought grave:
But Charles' protecting genius hither flew,
 The monarch's friend, the monarch's hope, to save.

Trembling, she snatch'd him from the unequal strife, [8]
 In other fields the torrent to repel;
For nobler combats, here, reserved his life,
 To lead the band where godlike Falkland fell. [9]

From thee, poor pile! to 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 trod.

Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o'erspread,
 Ransack'd, resign perforce their mortal mould;
From ruffian fangs escape not e'en the dead,
 Raked from repose in search from buried gold.

Hush'd is the harp, unstrung the warlike lyre,
 The minstrel's palsied hand reclines in death:
No more he strikes the quivering chords with fire,
 Or sings the glories of the martial wreath.

At length the sated murderers, gorged with prey,
 Retire; the clamour of the fight is o'er;
Silence again resumes her awful sway,
 And sable Horror guards the massy door.

Here Desolation holds her dreary court:
 What satellites declare her dismal reign!
Shrieking their dirge, ill-omen'd birds resort,
 To flit their vigils in the hoary fane.

Soon a new morn's restoring beams dispel
 The clouds of anarchy from Britain's skies;
The fierce usurper seeks his native hell,
 And Native triumphs as the tyrant dies.

With storms she welcomes his expiring groans;
 Whirlwinds, responsive, greet his labouring breath;
Earth shudders as her caves receive his bones,
 Loathing the offering of so dark a death. [10]

The legal ruler now resumes the helm, [11]
 He guides through gentle seas the prow of state;
Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm,
 And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied hate.

The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
 Howling, resign their violated nest;
Again the master on his tenure dwells,
 Enjoy'd, from absence, with enraptured zest.

Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,
 Loudly carousing, bless their lord's return;
Culture again adorns the gladdening vale,
 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,
 The hunter's cry hangs lengthening on the breeze.

Beneath their coursers' hoofs the valleys shake:
 What fears, what anxious hopes, attend the chase!
The dying stag seeks refuge in the Lake;
 Exulting shouts announce the finish'd race.

Ah happy days! too happy to endure!
 Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew:
No splendid vices glitter'd to allure:
 Their joys were many, as their cares were few.

From these descending, sons to sires succeed;
 Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart;
Another chief impels the foaming steed,
 Another crowd pursue the panting hart.

Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!
 Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay!
The last and youngest of a noble line
 Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway.

Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;
 Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep;
Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers;
 These, these he views, and views them but to weep.

Yet are his tears no emblem of regret:
 Cherish'd affection only bids them flow.
Pride, hope, and love forbid him to forget,
 But warm his bosom with impassion'd glow.

Yet he prefers thee to the gilded domes
 Or gewgaw grottoes of the vainly great;
Yet lingers 'mid thy damp and mossy tombs,
 Nor breathes a murmur 'gainst the will of fate.

Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine,
 Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
Hours splendid as the past may still be thine,
 And bless thy future as thy former day.

1.  As one poem on this subject is already printed, the author had, originally, no intention of inserting this piece.  It is now added at this particular request of some friends.

2.  Henry II. founded Newstead soon after the murder of Thomas à Becket.

3.  This word is used by Walter Scott, in his poem, "The Wild Huntsman;" synonymous with vassal.

4.  The red cross was the badge of the crusaders.

5.  As "gloaming," the Scottish word for twilight, is far more poetical, and has been recommended by many eminent literary men, particularly by Dr Moore in his Letters to Burns, I have ventured to use it on account of its harmony.

6.  The priory was dedicated to the Virgin.

7.  At the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII. bestowed Newstead Abbey on Sir John Byron.

8.  Lord Byron, and his brother Sir William, held high commands in the royal army.  The former was general in chief in Ireland, lieutenant of the Tower, and governor to James, Duke of York, afterwards the unhappy James II.; the latter had a principal share in many actions.

9.  Lucius Cary, Lord Viscount Falkland, the most accomplished man of his age, was killed at the battle of Newbury, charging in the ranks of Lord Byron's regiment of cavalry.

10.  This is an historical fact.  A violent tempest occurred immediately subsequent to the death or interment of Cromwell, which occasioned many disputes between his partisans and the cavaliers: both interpreted the circumstance into divine interposition; but whether as approbation or condemnation, we leave for the casuists of that age to decide.  I have made such use of the recurrence as suited the subject of my poem.

11.  Charles II.

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Hebrew Melodies

Hours of idleness


The Vision Of Judgment

The bride of Abydos

Heaven and Earth:


Poetry: Lord Byron - Hours of idleness - Part 7 - Links to more Byron

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