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Who could, ye gods! her next employment guessAn only infant's earliest governess!
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
As many a nameless slander deftly shows:
But wanting one sweet weakness-to forgive,
Bat to the theme:-now laid aside too long, The baleful burden of this honest songThongh all her former functions are no more, She rules the circle which she served before. If mothers-none know why-before her quake; If daughters dread her for the mothers' sake; If early habits-those false links, which bind At times the loftiest to the meanest mind
["I send you my last night's dream, and request to have ifty copies struck off, for private distribution. I wish Mr. Gifford to look at them. They are from life."--Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, March 30, 1816.]
In first draught" weltering."-"I doubt about 'wellering.' We say weltering in blood; but do not they also
Have given her power too deeply to instil
And leave the venom there she did not find;
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
A plain blunt show of briefly-spoken seeming,
To hide her bloodless heart's soul-harden'd scheming;
A lip of lies-a face form'd to conceal ;
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged-
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought, Save joy above the ruin thou hast wroughtThe time shall come, nor long remote, when thou Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now; Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain, And turn thee howling in unpitied pain. May the strong curse of crush'd affections light Back on thy bosom with reflected blight! And make thee in thy leprosy of mind As loathsome, to thyself as to mankind! Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate, Black-as thy will for others would create: Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust, And thy soul welter in its hideous crust. Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bedThe widow'd couch of fire, that thou hast spread! Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with
Look on thine earthly victims-and despair!
March 29, 1816.
use weltering in the wind,''weltering on a gibbet?' I have no dictionary, so look. In the mean time, I have put festering; which, perhaps, in any case is the best word of the two. Shakspeare has it often, and I do not think it too strong for the figure in this thing. Quick! quick! quick! quick!"--Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, April 2.]
STANZAS TO AUGUSTA.1
WHEN all around grew drear and dark,
Which more misled my lonely way;
And that internal strife of heart, When dreading to be deem'd too kind,
The weak despair-the cold depart; When fortune changed--and love fled far, And hatred's shafts flew thick and fast, Thou wert the solitary star
Which rose, and set not to the last.
Oh! bless'd be thine unbroken light!
That watch'd me as a seraph's eye, And stood between me and the night, Forever shining sweetly nigh.
And when the cloud upon us came, Which strove to blacken o'er thy rayThen purer spread its gentle flame,
And dash'd the darkness all away.
Still may thy spirit dwell on mine,
And teach it what to brave or brookThere's more in one soft word of thine Than in the world's defied rebuke.
Thou stood'st, as stands a lovely tree, That still unbroke, though gently bent, Still waves with fond fidelity
Its boughs above a monument.
The winds might rend-the skies might pour, But there thou wert-and still wouldst be Devoted in the stormiest hour
To shed thy weeping leaves o'er me.
But thou and thine shall know no blight,
The kind-and thee the most of all.
Be broken-thine will never break; Thy heart can feel--but will not move;
Thy soul, though soft, will never shake And these, when all was lost beside,
Were found and still are fix'd in thee;And bearing still a breast so tried,
Earth is no desert-ev'n to me.
STANZAS TO AUGUSTA.2
THOUGH the day of my destiny's over, And the star of my fate hath declined,"
1 [The Poet's sister, the Honorable Mrs. Leigh.-These stanzas-the parting tribute to her, whose unshaken tenderness had been the author's sole consolation during the crisis of domestic misery-were, we believe, the last verses written by Lord Byron in England. In a note to Mr. Rogers, dated April 16th, he says," My sister is now with me, and leaves town to-morrow: we shall not meet again for some time at all events,-if ever! and, under these circumstances, I trust to stand excused to you and Mr. Sheridan, for being unable to wait upon him this evening." On the 25th, the Poet took a last leave of his native country.]
2 [These beautiful verses, so expressive of the writer's wounded feelings at the moment, were written in July, at the Campagne Diodati, near Geneva, and transmitted to England for publication, with some other pieces. "Be careful," he
Go where I will, to me thou art the sameA loved regret which I would not resign. There yet are two things in my destiny,A world to roam through, and a home with thee.
The first were nothing-had I still the last,
But other claims and other ties thou hast,
If my inheritance of storms hath been
In other elements, and on the rocks
Of perils, overlook'd or unforeseen,
I have sustain'd my share of worldly shocks, The fault was mine; nor do I seek to screen My errors with defensive paradox;
I have been cunning in mine overthrow, The careful pilot of my proper wo.
Mine were my faults, and mine be their reward,
If but to see what next can well arrive.
Kingdoms and empires in my little day I have outlived, and yet I am not old; And when I look on this, the petty spray Of my own years of trouble, which have roll'd Like a wild bay of breakers, melts away: Something-I know not what-does still uphold A spirit of slight patience;-not in vain, Even for its own sake, do we purchase pain.
Perhaps the workings of defiance stir Within me, or perhaps a cold despair, Brought on when ills habitually recur,Perhaps a kinder clime, or purer air, (For even to this may change of soul refer, And with light armor we may learn to bear,) Have taught me a strange quiet, which was not The chief companion of a calmer lot.
I feel almost at times as I have felt
In happy childhood; trees, and flowers, and brooks Which do remember me of where I dwelt Ere my young mind was sacrificed to books, Come as of yore upon me, and can melt My heart with recognition of their looks; And even at moments I could think I see Some living thing to love-but none like thee.
seat home at the time for publication, in case Mrs. Leigh Sould sanction it. "There is," he says, " amongst the manscripts an Epistle to my Sister, on which I should wish her opinion to be consulted before publication; if she objects, of course omit it." On the 5th of October he writes.-" My Mister has decided on the omission of the lines. Upon this pont, her option will be followed. As I have no copy of them, 1 request that you will preserve one for me in MS.; for I Lever can remember a line of that nor any other composition of mine. God help me! if I proceed in this scribbling, I shall Lave frittered away my mind before I am thirty; but poetry 13 at times a real relief to me. To-morrow I am for Italy." The Epistle was first given to the world in 1830.]
Admiral Byron was remarkable for never making a Voyage without a tempest. He was known to the sailors by the facetious name of " Foul-weather Jack."
Here are the Alpine landscapes which create
But something worthier do such scenes inspire:
For much I view which I could most desire, And, above all, a lake I can behold Lovelier, not dearer, than our own of old.
Oh that thou wert but with me!--but I grow The fool of my own wishes, and forget The solitude which I have vaunted so Has lost its praise in this but one regret; There may be others which I less may show ;I am not of the plaintive mood, and yet I feel an ebb in my philosophy, And the tide rising in my alter'd eye.
I did remind thee of our own dear Lake," By the old Hall which may be mine no more. Leman's is fair; but think not I forsake The sweet remembrance of a dearer shore: Sad havoc Time must with my memory make, Ere that or thou can fade these eyes before; Though, like all things which I have loved, they are Resigu'd forever, or divided far.
The world is all before me; I but ask
Of Nature that with which she will complyIt is but in her summer's sun to bask, To mingle with the quiet of her sky, To see her gentle face without a mask, And never gaze on it with apathy. She was my early friend, and now shall be My sister-till I look again on thee.
I can reduce all feelings but this one; And that I would not ;-for at length I see Such scenes as those wherein my life begun. The earliest-even the only paths for meHad I but sooner learn'd the crowd to shun, I had been better than I now can be ; The passions which have torn me would have slept; I had not fer'd, and thou hadst not wept.
With false Ambition what had I to do?
But all is over-I am one the more
And for the future, this world's future may
"But, though it were tempest-toss'd, Still his bark could not be lost."
He returned safely from the wreck of the Wager, (in Anson's voyage,) and circumnavigated the world, many years after, as commander of a similar expedition.]
2 The Lake of Newstead Abbey. [Thus described in Don Juan:
"Before the mansion lay a lucid lake,
Broad as transparent, deep, and freshly fed By a river, which its soften'd way did take In currents through the calmer water spread Around the wild fowl nestled in the brake
And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed; The woods sloped downwards to its brink, and stood With their green faces fix'd upon the flood.")
My years have been no slumber, but the prey Of ceaseless vigils; for I had the share Of life which might have fill'd a century, Before its fourth in time had pass'd me by.
And for the remnant which may be to come I am content; and for the past I feel Not thankless,-for within the crowded sum Of struggles, happiness at times would steal, And for the present, I would not benumb My feelings farther.-Nor shall I conceal That with all this I still can look around, And worship Nature with a thought profound.
For thee, my own sweet sister, in thy heart
From life's commencement to its slow decline We are entwined-let death come slow or fast, The tie which bound the first endures the last!
ON HEARING THAT LADY BYRON WAS ILL' AND thou wert sad-yet I was not with thee!
And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near; Methought that joy and health alone could be
Where I was not-and pain and sorrow here. And is it thus ?-it is as I foretold,
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils Upon itself, and the wreck'd heart lies cold,
While heaviness collects the shatter'd spoils. It is not in the storm nor in the strife
We feel benumb'd, and wish to be no more, But in the after-silence on the shore, When all is lost, except a little life.
I am too well avenged!—but 'twas my right; Whate'er my sins might be, thou wert not sent To be the Nemesis who should requite
Nor did Heaven choose so near an instrument. Mercy is for the merciful!-if thou Hast been of such, 'twill be accorded now.
[These verses were written immediately after the failure of the negotiation for a reconciliation before Lord Byron left Switzerland for Italy, but were not intended for the public eye as, however, they have recently found their way into circulation, we include them in this collection.]
2 [ Lord Byron had at least this much to say for himself, that he was not the first to make his domestic differences a topic of public discussion. On the contrary, he saw himself, ere any fact but the one undisguised and tangible one was, or could be known, held up everywhere, and by every art of malice, as the most infainous of men,-because he had parted from his wife. He was exquisitively sensitive: he was wounded at once by a thousand arrows; and all this with the most perfect and indignant knowledge, that of all who were assailing him not one knew any thing of the real merits of the case. Did he right, then, in publishing those squibs and tirades? No, certainly it would have been nobler, better, wiser far, to have utterly scorned the assaults of such enemies, and taken no notice, of any kind, of them. But, because this young, hot-blooded, proud, patrician poet did not, amidst the exacerbation of eelings which he could not control, act in precisely the most dignified and wisest of all possible manners of action, are we entitled, is the world at large entitled, to issue a broad sentence of vituperative condemnation! Do we know all that he had suffered ?-have we imagination enough to comprehend what he suffered, under circumstances such as these!-have we been tried in similar circumstances, whether we could feel the wound unflinchingly, and keep the weapon quiescent in the hand that trembled with all the excitements of insulted privacy, honor, and faith? Let people consider for a moment what it is that they demand when they insist upon a poet of Byron's class abstain
Thy nights are banish'd from the realms of sleep!-
I have had many foes, but none like thee;
Hadst naught to dread-in thy own weakness shielded,
And in my love, which hath but too much yielded,
On things that were not, and on things that areEven upon such a basis hast thou built
A monument, whose cement hath been guilt!
Which, but for this cold treason of thy heart,
All found a place in thy philosophy.
ing altogether from expressing in his works any thing of his own feelings in regard to any thing that immediately concerns his own history. We tell him in every possible form azdi shape, that the great and distinguishing merit of his poetry is the intense truth with which that poetry expresses his owa personal feelings. We encourage him in every possible way to dissect his own heart for our entertainment-we tempt him by every bribe most likely to act powerfully on a young and imaginative man, to plunge into the darkest depins cf self-knowledge; to madden his brain with eternal self-serutinies, to find his pride and his pleasure in what others shrink from as torture-we tempt him to indulge in these dangerous exercises, until they obviously acquire the power of leading him to the very brink of phrensy--we tempt him to find, and to see in this perilous vocation, the staple of his existence, the food of his ambition, the very essence of his glory,- und the moment that, by habits of our own creating, at least of our own encouraging and confirming, he is carried one single step beyond what we happen to approve of, we turn round with all the bitterness of spleen, and reproach him with the unmanliness of entertaining the public with his feelings in regard to his separation from his wife. This was truly the conduct of a fair and liberal public! To our view of Luc matter, Lord Byron, treated as he had been, tempied as be had been, and tortured and insulted as he was at the rooment, did no more forfeit his character by writing what he did write upon that unhappy occasion, than another man, under circuinstances of the same nature, would have doze, by telling something of his mind about it to an intimate friend across the fire. The public had forced him into th habits of familiarity, and they received his confidence with nothing but anger and scorn."-LOCKHART.}
ON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT HON. R. B. SHERIDAN.'
SPOKEN AT DRURY-LANE THEATRE.2
WHEN the last sunshine of expiring day
A holy concord-and a bright regret,
Even as the tenderness that hour instils When Summer's day declines along the hills, So feels the fulness of our heart and eyes, When all of Genius which can perish dies. A mighty Spirit is eclipsed-a Power Hath pass'd from day to darkness-to whose hour Of light no likeness is bequeath'd-no name, Focus at once of all the rays of Fame! The flash of Wit-the bright Intelligence, The beam of Song-the blaze of Eloquence, Set with their Sun--but still have left behind The enduring produce of immortal Mind; Fruits of a genial morn, and glorious noon, A deathless part of him who died too soon.
Mr. Sheridan died the 7th of July, 1816, and this monody was written at Diodati on the 17th, at the request of Mr. Donglas Kinnaird. "I did as well as I could," says Lord Byron, but where I have not my choice, I pretend to answer for nothing." A proof-sheet of the poem, with the words by request of a friend" in the titlepage, having reached him, I request you," he says, "to expunge that same, unless you please to add, by a person of quality,' or of wit and humor. It is sad trash, and must have been done to make it ridiculous."]
[Sheridan's own monody on Garrick was spoken from the same boards, by Mrs. Yates, in March, 1779. "One day." says Lord Byron, I saw him take it up. He lighted upon the dedication to the Dowager Lady Spencer. On seeing it, he flew into a rage and exclaimed, that it must be a forgery, as he had never dedicated any thing of his to soch a d-deanting,' &c. &c.--and so he went on for half an bour abusing his own dedication, or at least the object of it. If all writers were equally sincere, it would be ludicrous." --Byron Diary, 1821.J
[See Fox, Burke, and Pitt's eulogy on Mr. Sheridan's speech on the charges exhibited against Mr. Hastings in the House of Commons. Mr. Pitt entreated the House to adjourn, to give time for a calmer consideration of the question than could then occur after the immediate effect of that oration. Before my departure from England," says Gibbon, "I was present at the august spectacle of Mr. Hastings's trial in Westminster Hall. It is not my
or condemn the governor of India;rovince to absolve
Mr. Sheridan's eloquence demanded my applause; nor could I hear without emotion the personal compliment which he paid me in the presence of the British nation. This display of genius blazed four successive days," &c. On being asked by a brother Whig, at the conclusion of the speech, how he came
But small that portion of the wondrous whole,
And here, Oh! here, where yet all young and warm, The gay creations of his spirit charm, The matchless dialogue-the deathless wit, Which knew not what it was to intermit; The glowing portraits, fresh from life, that bring Home to our hearts the truth from which they spring; These wondrous beings of his Fancy, wrought To fulness by the fiat of his thought, Here in their first abode you still may meet, Bright with the hues of his Promethean heat; A halo of the light of other days, Which still the splendor of its orb betrays.
But should there be to whom the fatal blight Of failing Wisdom yields a base delight, Men who exult when minds of heavenly tone Jar in the music which was born their own, Still let them pause-ah! little do they know That what to them seem'd Vice might be but Wo."
to compliment Gibbon with the epithet "luminous," Sheridan answered, in a half whisper, "I said 'voluminous.'"}
["I heard Sheridan only once, and that briefly; but I liked his voice, his manner, and his wit. He is the only one of them I ever wished to hear at greater length."-Byron Diary, 1821.]
["Once I saw Sheridan cry, after a splendid dinner. I had the honor of sitting next him. The occasion of his tears was some observation or other upon the subject of the sturdiness of the Whigs in resisting office and keeping to their principles. Sheridan turned round:-- Sir, it is easy for my Lord G. or Earl G, or Marquis B. or Lord H., with thousands upon thousands a year, some of it either presently derived or inherited in sinecure or acquisitions from the public money, to boast of their patriotism and keep aloof from temptation: but they do not know from what temptation those have kept aloof who had equal pride, at least equal talents, and not unequal passions, and nevertheless knew not in the course of their lives what it was to have a shilling of their own. And in saying this he wept. I have more than once heard him say, 'that he never had a shilling of his own.' To be sure, he contrived to extract a good many of other people's. In 1815, I found him at my lawyer's. After mutual greetings, he retired. Before recurring to my own business, I could not help inquiring that of Sheridan. 'Oh,' replied the attorney, the usual thing! to stave off an action. Well,' said I, and what do you mean to do? --Nothing at all for the present,' said he: would you have us proceed against old Sherry? what would be the use of it ? and here he began laughing, and going over Sheridan's good gifts of conversation. Such was Sheridan! he could soften an attorney! There has been nothing like it since the days of Orpheus."-Byron Diary, 1821.]