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Years have rollid on, Loch na Garr, since I left you,
Years must elapse ere I tread you again : Nature of verdure and flow'rs has berett 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 ! 6
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 realıns for those of Truth. And yet 't is 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 ?
A Pylades 7 in every friend ?
To mingling bands of fairy elves ;
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 soar.
And think that eye to truth was dear;
“ He who first met the Highlands' swelling blue
Will love each peak that shows a kindred hue,
And Highland linns with Castalie's clear fount.” " When very young," (he adds in a note) “about eight years of age, alter an attack of the scarlet fever at Aberdeen, I was removed, by medical advice, into the Highlands, and from this period 1 date my love of mountainous countries. I can never forget the effect, a few years afterwards, in Eng. land, of the only thing I had long seen, even in miniature, of a mountain, in the Malvern lills. After I returned to Chel. tenham, I used to watch them every afternoon, at sunset, with a sensation which I cannot describe."]
7 It is hardly necessary to add, that Pylades was the com. panion of Orestes, and a partner in one of those friendships which, with those of Achilles and Patroclus, Visus and Eü. rynlus, 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.
His religion to please neither party is made ;
On busbands 't is 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
LACHIN Y GAIR. 1
In you let the minions of luxury rove ;
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love :
Round their white summits though elements war ;
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.
223 of la'
“ Shades of the dead ! have I not heard your voices
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale ?"
And rides on the wind, o'er his own Highland vale.
Winter presides in his cold icy car :
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr.
« Ill-starr'ds, though brave, did no visions foreboding
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause ?"
Victory crown'd not your fall with applause :
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar ;)
Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch na Garr.
• defect 1 gecered
I 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 amongst our “ Caledonian Alps." Its appear. ance 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.
3 This word is erroneously pronounced plad: the proper pronunciation (according to the Scotch) is shown by the orthography
3 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 Huntley, 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 honour 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 nanie of the principal action, " pars pro toto."
> A tract of the Highlands so called. There is also a Castle of Braemar.
• (In “ The Island," a poem written a year or two before Lord Byron's death, we have these lines
spirit fouro coud
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 gaudy 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 bends not now before thy throne.
Ye genial nymphs, whose ready tears
On all occasions swiftly flow; Whose bosoms heave with fancied fears,
With fancied fames and phrensy 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.
ANSWER TO SOME ELEGANT VERSES SENT BY A FRIEND TO THE AUTHOR, COMPLAINING
THAT ONE OF HIS DESCRIPTIONS WAS RATHER TOO WARILY DRAWX, .
“ But if any old lady, knight, priest, or physician,
Should condemn me for printing a second edition ;
New Bath Guide.
" (The Rev. John Becher, prebendary of Southwell, the well-known author of several philanthropic plans for the amelioration of the condition of the poor. In this gentleman the youthful poet found not only an honest and judicious critic, but a sincere friend. To his care the superintendence of the second edition of " lours of Idleness," during its progress through a country press, was intrusted, and at his suggestion several corrections and omissions were made. " I inust return rou," says Lord Byron, in a letter written in February, 1805. “my best acknowledgments for the in. terest you have taken in me and my poetical bantlings, and
Vainly the dotard mends her prudish pace,
November 26. 1806.
ELEGY ON NEWSTEAD. ABBEY. 2 “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 S 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; Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall,
Scowling defiance on the blasts of fate.
No mail-clad serfs 4, obedient to their lord,
In grim array the crimson cross 5 demand ; Or gay assemble round the festive board
Their chict's retainers, an immortal band :
Else might inspiring Fancy's magic eye
Retrace their progress through the lapse of time, Marking each ardent youth, ordaind to die,
A votive pilgrim in Judea's clime.
I shall ever be proud to show how much I esteem the advice and the adviser."]
? As one poem on this subject is already printed, the author had, originally, no intention of inserting the following. It is now added at the particular request of some friends.
3 Henry II. founded Newstead soon after the murder of Thomas & Becket. (See antè, p. 378. note.) 4 This r'ord is used by Walter Scott, in his poem,
** The Wild Huntsman;"
synonyinous with vassal. • The red cross was the badge of the crusaders.
But not from thee, dark pile ! departs the chief;
His feudal realm in other regions lay :
Retiring from the garish blaze of day.
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.
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.
Still in that hour the warrior wished to strew
Self-gather'd laurels on a self-sought grave; But Charles' protecting genius hither few,
The monarch's friend, the monarch's hope, to save.
Trembling, she snatch'd hims from th'unequal strife,
In other fields the torrent to repel;
To lead the band where godlike Falkland 6 fell.
From thee, poor pile I to lawless plunder given,
While dying groans their painful requicm sound, Far different incense now ascends to heaven,
Such victims wallow on the gory ground.
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 now the bats their warering wings extend
Soon as the gloaming | spreads her waning shade, The choir did oft their mingling vespers blend,
Or matin orisons to Mary ? paid. 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 Hensy3 the kind gift recalls,
And bids devotion's hallow'd echoes cease.
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: Froin ruffian fangs escape not een the dead,
Raked from repose in search for 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.
Vain is cach threat or supplicating prayer ;
He drives them exiles from their blest abode, To roam a dreary world in deep despair —
No friend, ao 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.
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 fit their vigils in the hoary fane. Soon a new morn's restoring beams dispel
The clouds of anarchy from Britain's skics; The fierce usurper seeks his native hell,
And Nature triumphs as the tyrant dies.
An abbey once, a regal fortress 4 now,
Encircled by insulting rebel powers, War's dread machines o'erhang thy threatening brow,
And dart destruction in sulphureous showers. Ah vain defence! the hostile traitor's siege,
Though oft repulsed, by guile o'ercomes the brave; His thronging foes oppress the faithful liege,
Rebellion's recking standards o'er him wave.
With storns she welcomes his expiring groans;
Whirlwinds, responsive, greet his labouring breath; Earth shudders as her caves receive his bones,
Loathing 7 the offering of so dark a death. The legal ruler & now resumes the helm,
He guides through gentle seas the prow of state ; Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realın,
And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied hatc.
I As " gloaming," the Scottish word for twilight, is far more poetical, and has been recommended by many eminent literary inen, particularly by Dr. Moore in his Letters to Burus, I have ventured to use it on account of its harmony.
? The priory was dedicated to the Virgin.
3 At the dissolution of the monasteries, llenry VIII. bestowed Newstead Abbey on Sir John Byron. (See ante, p. 379. note.)
4 Newstead sustained a considerable siege in the war between Charles I. and his parliament.
> Lord Byron, and his brother Sir William, held high commands in the royal ariny. The former was general in chiel 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.
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.
7 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 occurrence as suited the subject of my poem.
The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
Ilowling, 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 hunters' cry bangs lengthening on the brecze.
Beneath their coursers' hoofs the valleys shake :
What fears, what anxious hopes, attend the chase ! The dying stag seeks refuge in the Lake; 1
Exulting shouts announce the finish'd race.
Al 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 be views, and .views them but to
(During the lifetime of the filth Lord Byron, there was found in this lake - where it is supposed to have been thrown for concealment by the monks -- a large brass. eagle, in the body of which, on its being sent to be cleaned, was discovered a secret aperture, concealing within it a number of ancient documents connected with the rights and privileges of the foundation, At the sale of the old Lord's etfects, in 1776, this eagle was purchased by a watchmaker of Nottingham ; and it now forms, through the liberality of Sir Richard Kaye, an appropriate ornament of the fine old church of Southwell.)
2 (" Come what may," wrote Lord 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 Newstead 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.")
3 [" We cannot," says 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,'" &c.] * [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 inaster's picture.)
5 [These verses were composed while Lord Byron was suffering under severe illness and depression of spirits. " I
Yet are his tears no emblem of regret :
Cherish'd affection only bids them fow. 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 inurmur 'gainst the will of fate. ?
Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine,
Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
And bless thy future as thy former day. +
CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS. 5 “ I cannot but remember such things were,
And were most dear to me." Whey slow Disease, with all her host of pains, Chills the warm tide which flows along the veins; When Health, affrighted, spreads her rosy wing, And flies with every changing gale of spring; Not to the aching frame alone confined, Unyielding pangs assail the drooping mind : What grisly forms, the spectre-train of woe, Bid shuddering Nature shrink beneath the blow, With Resignation wage relentless strife, While Hope retires appall'd, and clings to life. Yet less the pang when, through the tedious hour, Remeinbrance sheds around her genial power, Calls back the vanish'd days to rapture given, When love was bliss, and Beauty forı'd our heaven ; Or, dear to youth, portrays each childish scene, Those fairy bowers, where all in turn have been. As when through clouds that pour the summer storm The orb of day unveils his distant form, Gilds with faint beams the crystal dews of rain, And dimly twinkles o'er the watery plain ;
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 privale volume the poein opened with the following lines :
“ Hence! thou unvarying song of varied loves,
Which youth commends, maturer age reproves;
* Alas! in vain I check the maddening thought ;
Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams,
Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought, Which still recurs, unlook'd for and unsought; My soul to Fancy's fond suggestion yields, And roams romantic o'er her airy fields: Scenes of my youth, developed, crowd to view, To which I long have bade a last adieu ! Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes ; Friends lost to me for aye, except in dreams; Some wbo in marble prematurely sleep, Whose forms I now remember but to weep; Some who yet urge the same scholastic course 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. 1 Ina ! blest spot, where Science holds her reign, How joyous once I join'd thy youthful train ! Bright in idea gleams thy lofty spire, Again I mingle with thy playful quire; Our tricks of mischicf, every childish game, Unchanged by time or distance, seem the same ; Through winding paths along the glade, I trace The social smile of every welcome face; My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy and woe, Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe, Our feuds dissolved, but not my friendship past :I bless the former, and forgive the last. Hours of my youth! when, nurtured in my breast, To love a stranger, friendship made me blest; Friendship, the dear peculiar bond of youth, When every artless bosom throbs with truth; Untaught by worldly wisdom how to feign, And check each impulse with prudential rein ; When all we feel, our honest souls discloseIn love to friends, in open bate to fues ; No varnish'd tales the lips of youth repeat, No dear-bought knowledge purchased by deceit. Hypocrisy, the gift of lengthen'd years, Matured by age, the garb of prudence wears.
When now the boy is ripen'd into man,
Away with themes like this! not mine the task
Here first remember'd be the joyous band, Who bail'd me chiefy, obedient to command; Who join'd with me in every boyish sport Their first adviser, and their last resort ; Nor shrunk beneath the upstart pedant's frown, Or all the sable glories of his gown ; + Who, thus transplanted from his father's school Unfit to govern, ignorant of rule Succeeded him, whom all unite to praise, The dear preceptor of my early days; PROBUS 5, the pride of science, and the boast, To Ida now, alas ! for ever lost. With him, for years, we search'd the classic page, And fear'd the master, though we loved the sage :
(The next 6fty-six lines, to
" Here first remember'd be the joyous band," were added in the first edition of Hours of Idleness.]
? (Dr. Butler, then head-master of Harrow school. Had Lord Byron published another edition of these poems, it appears, Irom a loose sheet in his hand-writing, to have been his intention, instead of the passage beginning — " Or, if my muse a pedant's portrait drew," to insert "If once my musc a harsher portrait drew, Warm with her wrongs, and deem'd the likeness true, By cooler judgment taught, ber faults she owns, With noble minds a fault contess'd, atones."'] 3 [When Dr. Drury retired, in 1805, three candidates presented themselves for the vacant chair, Messrs. Drury, Evans, and Butler. "On the first movement to which this contest gave rise in the school, young, Wildman," says Moore, " was at the head of the party for Mark Drury, while Byron held himself aloof from any Anxious, however, to have him as an ally, one of the Drury faction said to Wildman - 'Byron, I know, will not join, because he does not choose to act second to any one ; but, hy giving up the leadership to him, you may at once secure him.'" This Wildman accordingly did, and Byron took the command.]
• [Instead of this couplet, the private volume has the following four lincs :
“ Careless to soothe the pedant's furious frown,
Scarcely respecting his majestic gown ;
Adding new terror to his sneering face.”) s Dr. Drury. This most able and excellent man retired from his situation in March, 1805, after having resided thirtyfive years at Harrow; the last twenty as head-master; 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 considerable 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 hæres. [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 pupil, when first committed to his care:-“I took," says tho 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 cifect, and I soon found that a wild mountain colt had been submitted to my management. But there was mind in his eye. Ilis manner and temper soon convinced me, that he might be led by a silken string to a point, rather than by a cable; - and on that principle I acted.")