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But not from thee, dark pile ! departs the chief;
In thee the wounded conscience courts relief,
Yes! in thy gloomy cells and shades profound
Or blood-stain'd guilt repenting solace found,
A monarch bade thee from that wild arise,
And Superstition's crimes, of various dyes,
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 wavering wings cztend
The choir did oft their mingling vespers blend,
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,
Another HENRY 3 the kind gift recalls,
Wain is each threat or supplicating prayer;
To roam a dreary world in deep despair—
Hark how the hall, resounding to the strain,
The heralds of a warrior's haughty reign,
Of changing sentinels the distant hum,
The braying trumpet and the hoarser drum,
An abbey once, a regal fortress* now,
War's dread machines o'erhang thy threatening brow,
Ah vain defence the hostile traitor's siege,
His thronging foes oppress the faithful liege,
* 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 I.etters to Burns, I have ventured to use it on account of its harmony. * The priory was dedicated to the Virgin. * At the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII. bestowed Newstead Abbey on Sir John Byron. [See ante, p. 378. note.] * 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 army. The former was general in chief in Ireland, lieutenant of the Tower, and governor to
Not unavenged the raging baron yields;
Unconquer'd still, his falchion there he wields,
Still in that hour the warrior wished to strew
But Charles' protecting genius hither flew,
Trembling, she snatch'd him * from th’ unequal strife,
For nobler combats, here, reserved his life,
From thee, poor pile ! to lawless plunder given,
Far different incense now ascends to heaven,
There many a pale and ruthless robber's corse,
O'er mingling man, and horse commix'd with horse,
Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o'erspread,
From ruffian fangs escape not e'en the dead,
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,
Silence again resumes her awful sway,
Here Desolation holds her dreary court:
Shrieking their dirge, ill-omen'd birds resort,
Soon a new morn's restoring beams dispel The clouds of anarchy from Britain's skies;
The fierce usurper seeks his native hell, And Nature triumphs as the tyrant dies.
With storins she welcomes his expiring groans;
Earth shudders as her caves receive his bones,
The legal ruler 8 now resumes the helm,
Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm,
James, Duke of York, afterwards the unhappy James II. ; the latter had a principal share in many actions.
* Lucius Cary, Lord Wiscount 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. * Charles i I.
Ah happy days too happy to endure :
No splendid vices glitter'd to allure;
From these descending, sons to sires succeed;
Another chief impels the foaming steed,
Newstead what saddening change of scene is thine !
The last and youngest of a noble line
Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;
1 [During the lifetime of the fifth 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
roposition. Set your mind at ease on that score; i feel i. a man of honour, and I will not sell Newstead."]
Yet are his tears no emblem of regret:
Pride, hope, and love forbid him to forget,
Yet he prefers thee to the gilded domes
Yet lingers 'mid thy damp and mossy tombs.
Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine,
Hours splendid as the past may still be thine,
CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS. 5
“I cannot but remember such things were, ~ And were most dear to me." *
Wii EN slow Disease, with all her host of pains,
was laid,” he says, “on my back, when that schoolboy thing
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 who 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 In A : 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 mischief, 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 disclose— In love to friends, in open hate to foes; 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.
* [The next fifty-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 apears, from a loose sheet in his hand-writing, to have been is intention, instead of the passage beginning—“Or, if my muse a pedant's portrait drew,” to insert– “If once my muse a harsher portrait drew, Warm with her wrongs, and deem'd the likeness true, By cooler judgment taught, her faults she owns, – With noble minds a fault confess'd, atones.”]
* [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, by 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 lines : —
When now the boy is ripen'd into man,
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: Once, and but once, she aim'd a deadly blow, To hurl defiance on a secret foe; But when that foe, from feeling or from shame, The cause unknown, yet still to me the same, Warn'd by some friendly hint, perchance, retired, With this submission all her rage expired. From dreaded pangs that feeble foe to save, She hush'd her young resentment, and forgave; Or, if my muse a pedant's portrait drew, Poxirosus” virtues are but known to few : I never fear'd the young usurper's nod, And he who wields must sometimes feel the rod. If since on Granta's failings, known to all Who share the converse of a college hall, She sometimes trifled in a lighter strain, 'T is past, and thus she will not sin again, Soon must her early song for ever cease, And all may rail when I shall rest in peace.
Here first remember'd be the joyous band, Who hail'd me chief3, 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; 4 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 3, 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:
“Careless to scothe the pedant's furious frown,
* 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 ; 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 considerable contest took place between three rival candidates for his vacant chair: of this I can only say,
Si mea cum vestris valuissent vota, Pelasgil Non foret ambiguus tanti certaminishares.
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 J. 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 mountain 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 silken string to a loint, rather than by a cable; — and on that principle I acted.”] D d 3
Retired at last, his small yet peaceful seat,
High, through those elms, with hoary branches crown'd,
Fair IDA's bower adorns the landscape round ;
here Science, from her favour'd seat, surveys The vale where rural Nature claims her praise ; To her awhile 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 forlic quaint their antic jests expose, And tease the grumbling rustic as he goes; Nor rest with this, but many a passing fray Tradition treasures for a future day: [fought, “”T was here the gather'd swains for vengeance And bere we earn'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; Th’ allotted hour of daily sport is o'er, And Learning beckons from her temple's door. No splendid tablets grace her simple hall, But ruder records fill the dusky wall; There, deeply carved, behold each tyro's name Secures its owner's academic fame; Here mingling view the names of sire and son— The one long graved, the other just begun : These shall survive alike when son and sire Beneath one common stroke of fate expire: * Perhaps their last memorial these alone, Denied in death a monumental stone, Whilst to the gale in mournful cadence wave The sighing weeds that hide their nameless grave.
[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;
* [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.]
* [Lord Byron elsewhere thus describes his usual course of life while at Harrow —“always cricketing, rebelling, rowing, and in all manner of Inischiefs." One day, in a fit of defiance, he tore down all the gratings from the window of the hall ; and when called upon by Dr. Butler to say why he had committed this violence, answered, with stern coolness, “ because they darkened the room."]
• [This description of what the young poet felt in 1806, on encountering in the world any of his former schoolsellows,
Wain wish : if chance some well-remember'd face,
Yet, why should I alone with such delight, Retrace the circuit of my former flight 2 Is there no cause beyond the common claim Endear'd to all in childhood's very name *
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 which 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 seated in the en of the Palazzo Lanfranchi. At this moment 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 sit down.”]
Ah sure some stronger impulse vibrates here,
Alonzo 12 best and dearest of my friends, Thy name ennobles him who thus commends i From this fond tribute thou canst gain no praise; The praise is his who now that tribute pays. Oh I in the promise of thy early youth, If hope anticipate the words of truth, Some loftier bard shall sing thy glorious name, To build his own upon thy deathless fame.
1 [It has been reserved for our own time to produce one distinguished example of the Muse having descended upon a bard of a wounded spirit, and lent her lyre to tell, and we trust to soothe, afflictions of no ordinary description ; atllictions originating probably in that singular combination of feeling, which has been called the poetical temperament, and which has so often saddened the days of those on whom it has been conferred. If ever a man could lay claim to that character in all its strength and all its weakness, with its unbounded range of enjoyment, and its exquisite sensibility of pleasure and of pain, it must certainly be granted to Lord Byron. His own tale is partly told in two lines of Lara :
“Left by his sire, too young such loss to know, Lord of himself—that heritage of woe " Siit WALTER Scott.] * [The Hon. John Wingfield, of the Coldstream Guards, brother to Richard, fourth Viscount Powerscourt. He died of a fever, in his twentieth year, at Coimbra, May 14th, 1811. – “Of all human beings,” says Lord Byron, '' .." haps, at one time, the most attached to poor Wingfield. I had known him the better half of his life, and the happiest part of mine.” On hearing of the death of his beloved schoolfellow, he added the following stanzas to the first canto of Childe Harold : — “And thou, my friend – since unavailing woe Bursts from my heart, and mingles with the strain– Had the sword laid thee with the mighty low, Pride might forbid ev'n Friendship to complain: But thus unlaurel'd to descend in vain, By all forgotten, save the lonely breast, And mix unbleeding with the boasted slain, While Glory crowns so many a meaner crest I What hadst thou done to sink so peacefully to rest ?
* Oh, known the earliest, and esteem'd the most,
Friend of my heart, and foremost of the list
Nor yet are you forgot, my jocund boy DAvus", the harbinger of childish joy; For ever foremost in the ranks of fun, The laughing herald of the harmless pun: Yet with a breast of such materials made— Anxious to please, of pleasing half afraid; Candid and liberal, with a heart of steel In danger's path, though not untaught to feel. Still I remember, in the factious strife, The rustic's musket aim'd against my life : * High poised in air the massy weapon hung, A cry of horror burst from every tongue; Whilst I, in combat with another foe, Fought on, unconscious of th' impending blow; Your arm, brave boy, arrested his career— Forward you sprung, insensible to fear; Disarm'd and baffled by your conquering hand, The grovelling savage roll'd upon the sand : An act like this, can simple thanks repay 5 Or all the labours of a grateful lay 2 Oh no 1 whene'er my breast forgets the decd, That instant, DAvus, it deserves to bleed,
Lycus !" on me thy claims are justly great: Thy milder virtues could my muse relate,
* [The Rev. John Cecil Tattersall, B.A., of Christ Church, Oxford ; who died Dec. 8, 1812, at Hall's Place, Kent, aged twenty-four. “His mind,” says a writer in the Gent. Mag., “was comprehensive and perspicuous ; his aifections warm and sincere. Through extreme aversion to hypocrisy, he was so far from assuming the false appearances of virtue, that much of his real excellence was unseen, whilst he was eager to acknowledge every fault into which he was led. He was an ardent friend, a stranger to feelings of enmity; he . o good faith towards men, and died with hope in od.” * [The “sactious strife" here recorded, was accidentally brought on by the breaking up of school, and the dismissal of some volunteers from drill, both happening at the same hour. On this occasion, it appears, the butt-end of a musket was aimed at Byron's head, and would have felled him to the ground, but for the interposition of Tattersall.]
* [In the private volume:
“Thus did you save that life I scarcely prize– A life unworthy such a sacrifice."]
* [John Fitzgibbon, second Earl of Clare, born June 2. 1792. His father, whom he succeeded Jan. 28, 1802, was for nearly twelve years Lord Chancellor of Ireland. See awre, É. 406. note. His Lordship is now (1832) Governor of Bomay. “I never,” says Lord Byron, in 1821, “hear the word ‘Clare,' without a beating of the heart cwen now ; and I write it with feelings of 1803-4-5, ad infinitum.” Of the tenaciousness with which he clung to all the kindly impressions of his youth, there can be no stronger proof than the interesting fact, that after his death almost all the notes and letters which his principal school favourites had ever addressed to him were found preserved carefully among his papers. The following is the indorsement upon one of them : —“This and another letter were written at Harrow, by my then and, I hope, ever beloved friend, Lord Clare, when we were both school-boys ; and sent to my study in consequence of some childish misunderstanding, — the only one which