Poetry: Lord Byron - Hours of idleness - Part 9 - Links to more Byron

Posted by ricardo marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 13:34





       TO EDWARD NOEL LONG, ESQ.

"Nil ego contulerim jocundo sanus amico." -- Horace.

Dear long, in this sequester'd scene,
 While all around in slumber lie,
The joyous days which ours have been
 Come rolling fresh on Fancy's eye;
Thus if amidst the gathering storm,
While clouds the darken'd noon deform,
Yon heaven assumes a varied glow,
I hail the sky's celestial bow,
Which spreads the sign of future peace,
And bids the war of tempests cease.
Ah! though the present brings but pain,
I think those days may come again;
Or if, in melancholy mood,
Some lurking envious fear intrude,
To check my bosom's fondest thought,
 And interrupt the golden dream,
I crush the fiend with malice fraught,
 And still indulge my wonted theme.
Although we ne'er again can trace,
 In Granta's vale, the pedant's lore;
Nor through the groves of Ida chase
 Our raptured visions as before,
Though Youth has flown on rosy pinion,
And Manhood claims his stern dominion --
Age will not every hope destroy,
But yield some hours of sober joy.

Yes, I will hope that Time's broad wing
Will shed around some dews of spring:
But if his scythe must sweep the flowers
Which bloom among the fairy bowers,
Where smiling Youth delights to dwell,
And hearts with early rapture swell;
If frowning Age, with cold control,
Confines the current of the soul,
Congeals the tear of Pity's eye,
Or checks the sympathetic sigh,
Or hears unmoved misfortune's groan,
And bids me feel for self alone;
Oh, may my bosom never learn
 To soothe its wonted heedless flow;
Still, still despise the censor stern,
 But ne'er forget another's woe.
Yes, as you know me in the days
O'er which Remembrance yet delays,
Still may I rove, untutor'd, wild,
And even in age at heart a child.

Though now on airy visions borne,
 To you my soul is still the same.
Oft has it been my fate to mourn,
 And all my former joys are tame.
But, hence! ye hours of sable hue!
 Your frowns are gone, my sorrows o'er!
By every bliss my childhood knew,
 I'll think upon your shade no more.
Thus, when the whirlwind's rage is past,
 And caves their sullen roar enclose,
We heed no more the wintry blast,
 When lull'd by zephyr to repose.

Full often has my infant Muse
 Attuned to love her languid lyre;
But now without a theme to chose,
 The strains in stolen sighs expire.
My youthful nymphs, alas! are flown:
 E____ is a wife, and C_____ a mother,
And Carolina sighs alone,
 And Mary's given to another;
And Cora's eye, which roll'd on me,
 Can now no more my love recall:
In truth, dear Long, 'twas time to flee:
 For Cora's eye will shine on all.
And though the sun, with genial rays,
His beam alike to all displays,
And every lady's eye's a /sun,/
These last should be confined to one.
The soul's meridian don't become her,
Whose sun displays a general /summer!/
Thus faint is every former flame,
And passion's self is now a name.
As, when the ebbing flames are low,
 The aid which once improved their light,
And bade them burn with fiercer glow,
 Now quenches all their sparks in night;
Thus has it been with passion's fires,
 As many a boy and girl remembers,
While all the force of love expires,
 Extinguish'd with the dying embers.

But now, dear Long, 'tis midnight's noon,
And clouds obscure the watery moon,
Whose beauties I shall not rehearse,
Described in every stripling's verse;
For why should I the path go o'er,
Which every bard has trod before?
Yet ere yon silver lamp of night
 Has thrice perform'd her stated round,
Has thrice retraced her path of light,
 And chased away the gloom profound,
I trust that we, my gentle friend,
Shall see her rolling orbit wend
Above the dear-loved peaceful seat
Which once contain'd our youth's retreat,
And then with those our childhood knew,
We'll mingle in the festive crew;
While many a tale of former day
Shall wing the laughing hours away;
And all the flow of soul shall pour
The sacred intellectual shower,
Nor cease till Luna's waning horn
Scarce glimmers through the mist of morn.





           TO A LADY.

Oh! had my fate been join'd with thine,
 As once this pledge appear'd a token,
These follies had not then been mine,
 for then my peace had not been broken.

To thee these early faults I owe,
 To thee, the wise and old reproving:
They know my sins, but do not know
 'Twas thine to break the bonds of loving.

For once my soul, like thine, was pure,
 And all its rising fires could smother;
But now thy vows no more endure,
 Bestow'd by thee upon another.

Perhaps his peace I could destroy,
 And spoil the blisses that await him;
Yet let my rival smile in joy,
 For thy dear sake I cannot hate him.

Ah! since thy angel form is gone,
 My heart no more can rest with any;
But what it sought in thee alone,
 Attempts, alas! to find in many.

Then fare thee well, deceitful maid!
 'Twere vain and fruitless to regret thee;
Nor Hope nor Memory yield their aid,
 But Pride may teach me to forget thee.

Yet all this giddy waste of years,
 These tiresome round of palling pleasures;
These varied loves, these matrons' fears,
 These thoughtless strains to passion's measures --

If thou wert mine, had all been hush'd: --
 This cheek, now pale from early riot,
With passion's hectic ne'er had flush'd,
 But bloom'd in calm domestic quiet.

Yes, once the rural scene was sweet,
 For Nature seem'd to smile before thee;
And once my breast abhorr'd deceit --
 For then it beat but to adore thee.

But now I seek for other joys:
 To think would drive my soul to madness;
In thoughtless throngs and empty noise,
 I conquer half my bosom's sadness.

Yet, even in these a thought will steal,
 In spite of every vain endeavour --
And fiends might pity what I feel --
 To know that thou art lost for ever.





I WOULD I WERE A CARELESS CHILD.

I would I were a careless child,
 Still dwelling in my Highland cave,
Or roaming through the dusky wild,
 Or bounding o'er the dark blue wave;
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride*
 Accords not with the free-born soul,
Which loves the mountain's craggy side,
 And seeks the rocks were billows roll.

Fortune! take back these cultured lands,
 Take back this name of splendid sound!
I hate the touch of servile hands,
 I hate the slaves that cringe around.
Place me along the rocks I love,
 Which sound to Ocean's wildest roar:
I ask but this -- again to rove
 Through scenes my youth had known before.

Few are my years, and yet I feel
 The world was ne'er design'd for me:
Ah! why do darkening shades conceal
 The hour when man must cease to be?
Once I beheld a splendid dream,
 A visionary scene of bliss!
Truth! -- wherefore did thy hated beam
 Awake me to a world like this?

I loved -- but those I loved are gone;
 Had friends -- my early friends are fled:
How cheerless feels the heart alone
 When all its former hopes are dead!
Though gay companions o'er the bowl
 Dispel awhile the sense of ill;
Though pleasure stirs the maddening soul,
 The heart -- the heart -- is lonely still.

How dull! to hear the voice of those
 Whom rank or chance, whom wealth or power
Have made, though neither friends nor foes,
 Associates of the festive hour.
Give me again a faithful few,
 In years and feelings still the same,
And I will fly the midnight crew,
 Where boisterous joy is but a name.

And woman, lovely woman! thou,
 My hope, my comforter, my all!
How cold must be my bosom now,
 When e'en thy smiles begin to pall!

Without a sigh would I resign
 This busy scene of splendid woe,
To make that calm contentment mine,
 Which virtue knows, or seems to know.

Fain would I fly the haunts of men --
 I seek to shun, not hate mankind;
My breast requires the sullen glen,
 Whose gloom may suit a darken'd mind.
Oh that to me the wings were given
 Which bear the turtle to her nest!
Then would I cleave the vault of heaven,
 To flee away, and be at rest.**


* Sassenach, or Saxon, a Gaelic word signifying either Lowland or English.
** "And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest." -- /Psalm/ lv. 6.  This verse also constitutes a part of the most beautiful anthem in our language.





WHEN I ROVED A YOUNG HIGHLANDER.

When I roved a young Highlander o'er the dark heath,
 And climb'd thy steep summit, O Morven of snow!*
To gaze on the torrent that thunder'd beneath,
 Or the mist of the tempest that gather'd below,**
Untutor'd by science, a stranger to fear,
 And rude as the rocks where my infancy grew,
No feeling, save one, to my bosom was dear;
 Need I say, my sweet Mary, 'twas centered in you?

Yet it could not be love, for I knew not the name --
 What passion can dwell in the heart of a child?
But still I perceive an emotion the same
 As I felt, when a boy, on the crag-cover'd wild:
One image alone on my bosom impress'd,
 I loved my bleak regions, nor panted for new;
And few were my wants, for my wishes were bless'd;
 And pure were my thoughts, for my soul was with you.

I arose with the dawn; with my dog as my guide,
 From mountain to mountain I bounded along;
I breasted the billows of Dee's rushing tide,***
 And heard at a distance the Highlander's song:
At eve, on my heath-cover'd couch of repose,
 No dreams, save of Mary, were spread to my view;
And warm to the skies my devotions arose,
 For the first of my prayers was a blessing on you.

I left my bleak home, and my visions are gone;
 The mountains are vanish'd, my youth is no more;
As the last of my race, I must wither alone,
 And delight but in days I have witness'd before:
Ah! splendour has raised, but embitter'd, my lot;
 More dear were the scenes which my infancy knew;
Though my hopes may have fail'd, yet they are not forgot;
 Though cold is my heart, still it lingers with you.

When I see some dark hill point its crest to the sky,
 I think of the rocks that o'ershadow Colbleen;****
When I see the soft blue of a love-speaking eye,
 I think of those eyes that endear'd the rude scene;
When, haply, some light-waving locks I behold,
 That faintly resemble my Mary's in hue,
I think on the long-flowing ringlets of gold,
 The locks that were sacred to beauty, and you.

Yet the day may arrive when the mountains once more
 Shall rise to my sight in their mantles of snow:
But while these soar above me, unchanged as before,
 Will Mary be there to receive me! -- ah, no!
Adieu, then, ye hills, where my childhood was bred!
 Thou sweet flowing Dee, to thy waters adieu!
No home in the forest shall shelter my head --
 Ah! Mary, what home could be mine but with you?


* Morven, a lofty mountain in Aberdeenshire.  "Gormal of snow," is an expression frequently to be found in Ossian.

** This will not appear extraordinary to those accustomed to the mountains.  It is by no means uncommon, on attaining the top of Ben-e-vis, Ben-y-bourd, &c., to perceive, between the summit and the valley, clouds pouring down rain, and occasionally accompanied by lightning, while the spectator literally looks down upon the storm, perfectly secure from its effects.

*** "Breasting the loft surge." -- Shakspeare.  The Dee is a beautiful river, which rises near Mar Lodge, and falls into the sea at New Aberdeen.

**** Colbleen is a mountain near the verge of the Highlands, not far from the ruins of Dee Castle.






     TO GEORGE, EARL DELAWARE.

Oh! yes, I will own we were dear to each other;
 The friendships of childhood, though fleeting are true;
The love which you felt was the love of a brother,
 Nor less the affection I cherish'd for you.

But Friendship can vary her gentle dominion;
 The attachment of years in a moment expires;
Like Love, too, she moves on a swift-waving pinion,
 But glows not, like Love, with unquenchable fires.

Full oft have we wander'd through Ida together,
 And blest were the scenes of our youth, I allow:
In the spring of our life, how serene is the weather!
 But winter's rude tempests are gathering now.

No more with affection shall memory blending,
 The wonted delights of our childhood retrace:
When pride steels the bosom, the heart is unbending,
 And what would be justice appears a disgrace.

However, dear George, for I still must esteem you --
 The few whom I love I can never upbraid --
The chance which has lost may in future redeem you,
 Repentance will cancel the vow you have made.

I will not complain, and though chill'd is affection,
 With me no corroding resentment shall live:
My bosom is calm'd by the simple reflection,
 That both may be wrong, and that both should forgive.

You knew that my soul, that my heart, my existence,
 If danger demanded, were wholly your own;
You knew me unalter'd by years or by distance,
 Devoted to love and to friendship alone.

You knew -- but away with the vain retrospection!
 The bond of affection no longer endures;
Too late you may droop o'er the fond recollection,
 And sigh for the friend who was formerly yours.

For the present, we part -- I will hope not for ever;
 For time and regret will restore you at last.
To forget our dissension we both should endeavour,
 I ask no atonement, but days like the past.

                ___________


           TO THE EARL OF CLARE.

                     "Tu semper amoris
Sis memor, et cari comitis ne abscedat imago."
                               Val. Flac.

Friend of my youth! when young we roved,
Like striplings, mutually beloved,
 With friendship's purest glow,
The bliss which wing'd those rosy hours
Was such as pleasure seldom showers
 On mortals here below.

The recollection seems alone
Dearer than all the joys I've known,
 When distant far from you:
Though pain, 'tis still a pleasing pain,
To trace those days and hours again,
 And sigh again, adieu!

My pensive memory lingers o'er
Those scenes to be enjoy'd no more,
 Those scenes regretted ever;
The measure of your youth is full,
Life's evening dream is dark and dull
 And we may meet -- ah! never!

As when one parent spring supplies
Two streams which from one fountain rise
 Together join'd in vain;
How soon, diverging from their source,
Each, murmuring, seeks another course
 Till mingled in the main!

Our vital streams of weal or woe
Though near, alas! distinctly flow
 Nor mingle as before:

Now swift or slow, now black or clear,
Till death's unfathom'd gulf appear,
 And both shall quit the shore.

Our souls, my friend! which once supplied
One wish, nor breathed a thought beside,
 Now flow in different channels:
Disdaining humbler rural sports,
'Tis yours to mix in polish'd courts,
 And shine in fashion's annals;

'Tis mine to waste on love my time,
Or vent my reveries in rhyme,
 Without the aid of reason;
For sense and reason (critics know it)
Have quitted every amorous poet,
 Nor left a thought to seize on.

Poor Little! sweet, melodious bard!
Of late esteem'd it monstrous hard,
 That he, who sang before all --
He who the lore of love expanded --
By dire reviewers should be branded,
 As void of wit and moral.*

And yet, while Beauty's praise is thine,
Harmonious favourite of the Nine!
 Repine not at thy lot.
Thy soothing lays may still be read,
When Persecution's arm is dead,
 And critics are forgot.

Still I must yield those worthies merit,
Who chasten, with unsparing spirit,
 Bad rhymes, and those who write them,
And though myself may be the next
By critic sarcasm to be vext,
 I really will not fight them.**

Perhaps they would do quite as well
To break the rudely sounding shell
 Of such a young beginner,
He who offends at pert nineteen,
Ere thirty may become, I ween,
 A very harden'd sinner.

Now, Clare, I must return to you;
And, sure, apologies are due:
 Accept, then, my concession.
In truth, dear Clare, in fancy's flight
I soar along from left to right!
 My muse admires digression.

I think I said 'twould be your fate
To add one star to royal state; --
 May regal smiles attend you!
And should a noble monarch reign,
You will not seek his smiles in vain,
 If worth can recommend you.

Yet since in danger courts abound,
Where specious rivals glitter round,
 From snares may saints preserve you;
And grant your love or friendship ne'er
From any claim a kindred care,
 But those who best deserve you!

Not for a moment may you stray
From truth's secure, unerring way!
 May no delights decoy!
O'er roses may your footsteps move,
Your smiles be ever smiles of love,
 Your tears be tears of joy!

Oh! if you wish that happiness
Your coming days and years may bless,
 And virtues crown your brow;
Be still as you were wont to be,
Spotless as you've been known to me --
 Be still as you are now.

And though some trifling share of praise,
To cheer my last declining days,
 To me were doubly dear;
Whilst blessing your beloved name,
I'd waive at once a /poet's/ fame,
 To prove a /prophet/ here.


* These stanzas were written soon after the appearance of a severe critique, in a northern review, on a new publication of the British Anacreon.

** A bard /(horresco referens)/ defied his reviewer to mortal combat.  If this example becomes prevalent, our periodical censors must be dipped in the river Styx; for what else can secure them from the numerous host of their enraged assailants?

        ___________


LINES WRITTEN BENEATH AN ELM IN THE
    CHURCHYARD OF HARROW.

Spot of my youth! whose hoary branches sigh,
Swept by the breeze that fans thy cloudless sky;
Where now alone I muse, who oft have trod,
With those I loved, thy soft and verdant sod;
With these who, scatter'd far, perchance deplore,
Like me, the happy scenes they knew before:
Oh! as I trace again thy winding hill,
Mine eyes admire, my heart adores thee still,
Thou drooping Elm! beneath whose boughs I lay,
And frequent mused the twilight hours away;
Where, as they once were wont, my limbs recline,
But ah! without the thoughts which then were mine:
How do thy branches, moaning to the blast,
Invite the bosom to recall the past,
And seem to whisper, as they gently swell,
"Take, while thou canst, a lingering, last farewell!"

 When fate shall chill, at length, this fever'd breast,
And calm its cares and passions into rest,
Oft have I thought, 'twould soothe my dying hour --
If aught may soothe when life resigns her power --
To know some humbler grave, some narrow cell,
Would hide my bosom where it loved to dwell.
With this fond dream, methinks, 'twere sweet to die --
And here it linger'd, here my heart might lie;
Here might I sleep where all my hopes arose;
Scene of my youth, and couch of my repose;
For ever stretch'd beneath this mantling shade,
Press'd by the turf where once my childhood play'd,
Wrapt by the soil that veils the spot I loved,
Mix'd with the earth o'er which my footsteps moved:
Blest by the tongues that charm'd my youthful ear,
Mourn'd by the few my soul acknowledged here;
Deplored by those in early days allied,
And unremember'd by the world beside.

                                  /September/ 2, 180[?].








Childe Harold's Pilgrimage


Hebrew Melodies

Hours of idleness

Manfred


The Vision Of Judgment

The bride of Abydos


Theatre
Cain
Heaven and Earth:


Italiano:










Poetry: Lord Byron - Hours of idleness - Part 9 - Links to more Byron








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