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Nor these alone; Columbia feels no less
Strange sight this Congress ! destined to unite
I speak not of the Sovereigns - they're alike,
Enough of this a sight more mournful woos
to Christianity in France. Lord Byron perhaps alludes to the well-known joke of Talleyrand, who, meeting the Duke of Montmorenci at the same party with M. Rothschild, soon after the latter had been ennobled by the Emperor of Austria, is said to have begged leave to present M. le premier baron Juif to M. le premier baron Chrétien.]
Monsieur Chateaubriand, who has not forgotten the author in the minister, received a handsome compliment at Verona from a literary sovereign: "Ah! Monsieur C., are you related to that Chateaubriand who-who-who has written something?" (écrit quelque chose!) It is said that the author of Atala repented him for a moment of his legitimacy.
2 [Count Capo d'Istrias-afterwards President of Greece. The count was murdered in September, 1831, by the brother and son of a Mainote chief whom he had imprisoned.]
3 [The Duke de Montmorenci-Laval.]
[From Pope's verses on Lord Peterborough:
The mother of the hero's hope, the boy,
To note the trappings of her mimic court.
(If e'er those awful ashes can grow cold;
Do more? or less? and he in his new grave!
Why spare men's feelings, when their own are jests?
But, tired of foreign follies, I turn home,
And sketch the group- the picture's yet to come.
Here, reader, will we pause:- if there's no harm in This first- you'll have, perhaps, a second" Carmen."
"And he, whose lightning pierced the Iberian lines,
5 [Napoleon François Charles Joseph, Duke of Reichstadt, died at the palace of Schönbrunn, July 22. 1832, having just attained his twenty-first year.]
6 [Count Neipperg, chamberlain and second husband to Maria-Louisa, had but one eye. The count died in 1831. See antè, p. 461.]
7 [George the Fourth is said to have been somewhat annoyed, on entering the levee-room at Holyrood (Aug. 1822) in full Stuart tartan, to see only one figure similarly attired (and of similar bulk)- that of Sir William Curtis. The city knight had every thing complete-even the knife stuck in the garter. He asked the King, if he did not think him well dressed. "Yes!" replied his Majesty, "only you have no spoon in your hose." The devourer of turtle had a fine engraving executed of himself in his Celtic attire.]
To Him address thy trembling prayer: He, who is merciful and just, Will not reject a child of dust,
Although his meanest care.
Father of Light! to Thee I call,
Thou, who canst mark the sparrow's fall,
Thou, who canst guide the wandering star, Who calm'st the elemental war,
Whose mantle is yon boundless sky, My thoughts, my words, my crimes forgive; And, since I soon must cease to live, Instruct me how to die.
1807. [First published, 1832.]
TO A VAIN LADY.
Aн, heedless girl! why thus disclose What ne'er was meant for other ears: Why thus destroy thine own repose,
And dig the source of future tears? Oh, thou wilt weep, imprudent maid, While lurking envious foes will smile, For all the follies thou hast said
Of those who spoke but to beguile. Vain girl thy ling'ring woes are nigh, If thou believ'st what striplings say: Oh, from the deep temptation fly,
Nor fall the specious spoiler's prey. Dost thou repeat, in childish boast,
The words man utters to deceive? Thy peace, thy hope, thy all is lost,
If thou canst venture to believe. While now amongst thy female peers Thou tell'st again the soothing tale, Canst thou not mark the rising sneers Duplicity in vain would veil ?
Yet there is one I pity more ;
And much, alas! I think he needs it: For he, I'm sure, will suffer sore, Who, to his own misfortune, reads it. Thy rhymes, without the aid of magic,
May once be read but never after: Yet their effect's by no means tragic,
Although by far too dull for laughter. But would you make our bosoms bleed, And of no common pang complainIf you would make us weep indeed, Tell us, you'll read them o'er again.
TO THE AUTHOR OF A SONNET BEGINNING, "SAD IS MY VERSE,' YOU SAY, AND YET NO TEAR.' ” THY verse is "sad" enough, no doubt:
A devilish deal more sad than witty!
March 8. 1807. [First published, 1832.]
ON FINDING A FAN.
IN one who felt as once he felt,
This might, perhaps, have fann'd the flame; But now his heart no more will melt, Because that heart is not the same.
1 [Lord Byron, on his first arrival at Newstead, in 1798, planted an oak in the garden, and nourished the fancy, that as the tree flourished so should he. On revisiting the abbey, during Lord Grey de Ruthven's residence there, he found the oak choked up by weeds, and almost destroyed; hence these lines. Shortly after Colonel Wildman, the present proprietor, took possession, he one day noticed it, and said to the servant who was with him, "Here is a fine young oak;
And soon shall its wild erring notes be forgot,
Had the first strain of love been the dearest, the last! Farewell, my young Muse! since we now can ne'er meet ;
If our songs have been languid, they surely are few: Let us hope that the present at least will be sweetThe present-which seals our eternal Adieu.
1807. [First published, 1832.]
TO AN OAK AT NEWSTEAD. 1 YOUNG Oak! when I planted thee deep in the ground, I hoped that thy days would be longer than mine; That thy dark-waving branches would flourish around, And ivy thy trunk with its mantle entwine. Such, such was my hope, when, in infancy's years,
On the land of my fathers I rear'd thee with pride: They are past, and I water thy stem with my tears, Thy decay not the weeds that surround thee can hide.
I left thee, my Oak, and, since that fatal hour,
But thou wert not fated affection to share
For who could suppose that a Stranger would feel? Ah, droop not, my Oak! lift thy head for a while;
Ere twice round yon Glory this planet shall run, The hand of thy Master will teach thee to smile,
When Infancy's years of probation are done.
Oh, live then, my Oak! tow'r aloft from the weeds, That clog thy young growth, and assist thy decay, For still in thy bosom are life's early seeds,
And still may thy branches their beauty display.
Oh! yet, if maturity's years may be thine,
Though I shall lie low in the cavern of death, On thy leaves yet the day-beam of ages may shine, Uninjured by time, or the rude winter's breath. For centuries still may thy boughs lightly wave
C'er the corse of thy lord in thy canopy laid; While the branches thus gratefully shelter his grave, The chief who survives may recline in thy shade. And as he, with his boys, shall revisit this spot,
He will tell them in whispers more softly to tread. Oh surely, by these I shall ne'er be forgot:
Remembrance still hallows the dust of the dead.
And here, will they say, when in life's glowing prime, Perhaps he has pour'd forth his young simple lay, And here must he sleep, till the moments of time Are lost in the hours of Eternity's day.
1807. [First published, 1832.]
but it must be cut down, as it grows in an improper place." "I hope not, sir," replied the man; "for it's the one that my lord was so fond of, because he set it himself." The Colonel has, of course, taken every possible care of it. It is already inquired after, by strangers, as "THE BYRON OAK," and promises to share, in after times, the celebrity of Shakspeare's mulberry, and Pope's willow.]
TO MY SON. 2
THOSE flaxen locks, those eyes of blue,
Her lowly grave the turf has prest,
Why, let the world unfeeling frown,
Some years ago, when at Harrow, a friend of the author engraved on a particular spot the names of both, with a few additional words, as a memorial. Afterwards, on receiving some real or imagined injury, the author destroyed the frail record before he left Harrow. On revisiting the place in 1807, he wrote under it these stanzas.
2 ["Whether these verses are, in any degree, founded on fact, I have no accurate means of determining. Fond as Lord Byron was of recording every particular of his youth,
such an event, or rather era, as is here commemorated, would have been, of all others, the least likely to pass unmentioned by him; and yet neither in conversation nor in any of his writings do I remember even an allusion to it. On the other hand, so entirely was all that he wrote, making allowance for the embellishments of fancy,-the transcript of his actual life and feelings, that it is not easy to suppose a poem, so full of natural tenderness, to have been indebted for its origin to imagination alone."-MOORE. But see post, Don Juan, canto xvi. st. 61.]