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FAREWELL TO MALTA.
ADIEU, ye joys of La Valette!
Adieu, thou palace rarely enter'd!
Adieu, ye mansions where I've ventured!
(How surely he who mounts you swears !)
But could not teach a colonel waltzing;
Adieu, ye females fraught with graces!
Of all that strut "en militaire !"
I go but God knows when, or why,
To smoky towns and cloudy sky,
Farewell to these, but not adieu,
And fallen chiefs, and fleets no more,
And take my rhyme- because 'tis "gratis."
And now I've got to Mrs. Fraser,
And now, O Malta! since thou'st got us,
But only stare from out my casement,
And ask, for what is such a place meant?
May 26. 1811. [First published, 1832.]
UNHAPPY DIVES! in an evil hour
'Gainst Nature's voice seduced to deeds accurst! Once Fortune's minion, now thou feel'st her power; Wrath's viol on thy lofty head hath burst.
In Wit, in Genius, as in Wealth the first,
ON MOORE'S LAST OPERATIC FARCE, OR FARCICAL OPERA.
Good plays are scarce,
So Moore writes farce :
The poet's fame grows brittle-
That Little's Moore,
But now 'tis Moore that's little.
Sept. 14. 1811. [First published, 1830. ']
EPISTLE TO A FRIEND,
IN ANSWER TO SOME LINES EXHORTING THE AUTHOR
"OH! banish care "9 - such ever be
Perchance of mine, when wassail nights
'T were long to tell, and vain to hear,
came out at the Lyceum Theatre, on the 9th of September.]
2 [Mr. Francis Hodgson (not then the Reverend). See ante, p. 512.]
And I have acted well my part,
But let this pass-I'll whine no more,
Of one, whom love nor pity sways,
WITHOUT a stone to mark the spot,
And say, what Truth might well have said,
By all, save one, perchance forgot,
Ah! wherefore art thou lowly laid?
By many a shore and many a sea
To bid us meet-no- ne'er again!
With fainter sighs, thy soul's release. And didst thou not, since Death for thee Prepared a light and pangless dart, Once long for him thou ne'er shalt see,
Who held, and holds thee in his heart?
[These lines will show with what gloomy fidelity, even while under the pressure of recent sorrow, Lord Byron reverted to the disappointment of his early affection, as the chief source of all his sufferings and errors, present and to come. MOORE.]
2 [The anticipations of his own future career in these concluding lines are of a nature, it must be owned, to awaken more of horror than of interest, were we not prepared, by so many instances of his exaggeration in this respect, not to be startled at any lengths to which the spirit of self-libelling would carry him. It seemed as if, with the power of painting fierce and gloomy personages, he had also the ambition to be, himself, the dark 'sublime he drew,' and that, in his fondness for the delineation of heroic crime, he endeavoured to fancy, where he could not find in his own character, fit subjects for his pencil. - MOORE.]
3 [Two days after, in another letter to Mr. Hodgson, Lord Byron says, "I am growing nervous (how you will laugh!)
but it is true, really, wretchedly, ridiculously, fineladically nervous. Your climate kills me; I can neither read, write, nor amuse myself, or any one else. My days are listless, and my nights restless: I have seldom any society, and, when I have, I run out of it. I don't know that I sha'n't end with insanity; for I find a want of method in arranging my thoughts that perplexes me strangely."]
4 [Mr. Moore considers " Thyrza" as if she were a mere
Oh! who like him had watch'd thee here ?
In that dread hour ere death appear,
Till all was past! But when no more
Had flow'd as fast-as now they flow. Shall they not flow, when many a day In these, to me, deserted towers, Ere call'd but for a time away, Affection's mingling tears were ours? Ours too the glance none saw beside; The smile none else might understand; The whisper'd thought of hearts allied, The pressure of the thrilling hand;
The kiss, so guiltless and refined,
That Love each warmer wish forbore; Those eyes proclaim'd so pure a mind, Even passion blush'd to plead for more.
The tone, that taught me to rejoice,
But sweet to me from none but thine;
The pledge we wore I wear it still,
But where is thine?-Ah! where art thou?
Oft have I borne the weight of ill,
But never bent beneath till now!
Well hast thou left in life's best bloom
If rest alone be in the tomb,
I would not wish thee here again; But if in worlds more blest than this Thy virtues seek a fitter sphere, Impart some portion of thy bliss,
To wean me from mine anguish here. Teach me too early taught by thee! To bear, forgiving and forgiven : On earth thy love was such to me; It fain would form my hope in heaven! October 11. 1811.4
creature of the Poet's brain. "It was," he says, "about the time when he was thus bitterly feeling, and expressing, the blight which his heart had suffered from a real object of affection, that his poems on the death of an imaginary one were written; nor is it any wonder, when we consider the peculiar circumstances under which these beautiful effusions flowed from his fancy, that, of all his strains of pathos, they should be the most touching and most pure. They were, indeed, the essence, the abstract spirit, as it were, of many griefs; a confluence of sad thoughts from many sources of sorrow, refined and warmed in their passage through his fancy, and forming thus one deep reservoir of mournful feeling." It is a pity to disturb a sentiment thus beautifully expressed; but Lord Byron, in a letter to Mr. Dallas, bearing the exact date of these lines, viz. Oct. 11th, 1811, writes as follows:-" I have been again shocked with a death, and have lost one very dear to me in happier times: but I have almost forgot the taste of grief,' and supped full of horrors,' till I have become callous; nor have I a tear left for an event which, five years ago, would have bowed my head to the earth." In his reply to this letter, Mr. Dallas says, "I thank you for your confidential communication. How truly do I wish that that being had lived, and lived yours! What your obligations to her would have been in that case is inconceivable." Several years after the series of poems on Thyrza were written, Lord Byron, on being asked to whom they referred, by a person in whose tenderness he never ceased to
'Tis silent all!-but on my ear
The well remember'd echoes thrill;
I hear a voice I would not hear,
A voice that now might well be still:
Sweet Thyrza! waking as in sleep,
Thou art but now a lovely dream; A star that trembled o'er the deep,
Then turn'd from earth its tender beam.
That scatter'd gladness o'er his path.
Though gay companions o'er the bowl
On many a lone and lovely night
When sailing o'er the Ægean wave, "Now Thyrza gazes on that moon — Alas, it gleam'd upon her grave!
When stretch'd on fever's sleepless bed,
"That Thyrza cannot know my pains:"
My life, when Thyrza ceased to live!
My Thyrza's pledge in better days,
When love and life alike were new! How different now thou meet'st my gaze ! How tinged by time with sorrow's hue! The heart that gave itself with thee
Is silent-ah, were mine as still!
Thou bitter pledge ! thou mournful token!
More hallow'd when its hope is fled:
To that which cannot quit the dead?
ONE STRUGGLE MORE, AND I AM FREE.
From pangs that rend my heart in twain
It suits me well to mingle now
With things that never pleased before:
What future grief can touch me more?
Then bring me wine, the banquet bring;
That smiles with all, and weeps with none.
It never would have been, but thou
confide, refused to answer, with marks of painful agitation, such as rendered any farther recurrence to the subject impossible. The reader must be left to form his own conclusion. The five following pieces are all devoted to Thyrza.],
WHEN Time, or soon or late, shall bring The dreamless sleep that lulls the dead, Oblivion may thy languid wing
Wave gently o'er my dying bed!
No band of friends or heirs be there,
To feel, or feign, decorous woe.
With no officious mourners near:
In her who lives and him who dies.
E'en Pain itself should smile on thee.
["I wrote this a day or two ago, on hearing a song of former days."- Lord Byron to Mr. Hodgson, December 8. 1811.]
But vain the wish-for Beauty still
Will shrink, as shrinks the ebbing breath; And woman's tears, produced at will, Deceive in life, unman in death. Then lonely be my latest hour,
Without regret, without a groan; For thousands Death hath ceased to lower, And pain been transient or unknown. "Ay, but to die, and go," alas !
Where all have gone, and all must go! To be the nothing that I was
Ere born to life and living woe! Count o'er the joys thine hours have seen, Count o'er thy days from anguish free, And know, whatever thou hast been. 'Tis something better not to be.
AND THOU ART DEAD, AS YOUNG AS FAIR.
Heu, quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse !
AND thou art dead, as young and fair,
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft, and charms so rare,
There is an eye which could not brook
I will not ask where thou liest low,
There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
So I behold them not:
It is enough for me to prove
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
Who didst not change through all the past,
The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor falsehood disavow:
And, what were worse, thou canst not sce Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.
The better days of life were ours;
The worst can be but mine:
The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,
The silence of that dreamless sleep
That all those charms have pass'd away;
And yet it were a greater grief
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
The night that follow'd such a morn
Had worn a deeper shade:
Thy day without a cloud hath pass'd, And thou wert lovely to the last;
Extinguish'd, not decay'd;
As stars that shoot along the sky
My tears might well be shed,
Yet how much less it were to gain,
And more thy buried love endears
IF SOMETIMES IN THE HAUNTS OF MEN.
If sometimes in the haunts of men
The lonely hour presents again
The semblance of thy gentle shade:
The plaint she dare not speak before.
Oh, pardon that in crowds awhile
I waste one thought I owe to thee,
I would not fools should overhear
If not the goblet pass unquaff'd,
From all her troubled visions free,
That drown'd a single thought of thee.
[We know not whether the reader should understand the cornelian heart of these lines to be the same with that of which some notices are given at p. 398.]
2 [This impromptu owed its birth to an on dit, that the late Princess Charlotte of Wales burst into tears on hearing that the Whigs had found it impossible to put together a cabinet, at the period of Mr. Perceval's death. They were appended to the first edition of "The Corsair," and excited a sensation, as it is called, marvellously disproportionate to their length, or, we may add, their merit. The ministerial prints raved for two months on end, in the most foulmouthed vituperation of the poet, and all that belonged to him the Morning Post even announced a motion in the House of Lords" and all this," Lord Byron writes to Mr. Moore," as Bedreddin in the Arabian Nights remarks, for making a cream tart with pepper: how odd, that eight lines should have given birth, I really think, to eight thousand !"]
3 ["The Lines to a Lady weeping' must go with 'The Corsair. I care nothing for consequences on this point. My politics are to me like a young mistress to an old man; the worse they grow, the fonder I become of them."- Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, Jan. 22. 1814. “On my return. I find all the newspapers in hysterics, and town in an uproar, on the avowal and republication of two stanzas on Princess Charlotte's weeping at Regency's speech to Lauderdale in
SPOKEN AT THE OPENING OF DRURY-LANE THEATRE,
In one dread night our city saw, and sigh'd,
In one short hour beheld the blazing fane,
Apollo sink, and Shakspeare cease to reign.
1812. They are daily at it still:- some of the abuse good, -all of it hearty. They talk of a motion in our House upon it-be it so."— Byron Diary, 1814.]
"When Rogers does talk, he talks well; and, on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. If you enter his house- his drawing-room- his library-you of yourself say, this is not the dwelling of a common mind. There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece, his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance in the possessor."— Byron Diary, 1813.]
5 [The reader will recall Collins's exquisite lines on the tomb of Thomson: "In yonder grave a Druid lies," &c.]
6 [The theatre in Drury Lane, which was opened, in 1747, with Dr. Johnson's masterly address, beginning,
"When Learning's triumph o'er her barbarous foes First rear'd the Stage, immortal Shakspeare rose," and witnessed the last glories of Garrick, having fallen into decay, was rebuilt in 1794. The new building perished by fire in 1811; and the Managers, in their anxiety that the opening of the present editice should be distinguished by some composition of at least equal merit, advertised in the newspapers for a general competition. Scores of addresses, not one tolerable, showered on their desk, and they were in sad despair, when Lord Holland interfered, and, not without