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WERE MY BOSOM AS FALSE AS THOU
And now on that mountain I stood on that day,
But I mark'd not the twilight beam melting away ; DEEM'ST IT TO BE.
Oh! would that the lightning had glared in its stead, WERE my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be, And the thunderbolt burst on the conqueror's head! I need not bave wanderd from far Galilee ;
But the Gods of the Pagan shall never profane It was but abjuring my creed to efface
The shrine where Jehovah disdain'd not to reign; The curse which, thou say'st, is the crime of my race:
And scatter'd and scorn'd as thy people may be, If the bad never triumph, then God is with thee! Our worship, oh Father, is only for thee. If the slave only sin, thou art spotless and free ! If the Exile on earth is an Outcast on high, Live on in thy faith, but in mine I will die.
BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON WE SAT I have lost for that faith more than thou canst bestow,
DOWN AND WEPT.
We sate down and wept by the waters
Of Babel, and thought of the day
Made Salem's high places his prey;
And ye, oh hor desolate daughters ! HEROD'S LAMENT FOR MARIAMNE.
Were scatter'd all weeping away. Oh, Mariamne! now for thee
While sadly we gazed on the river The beart for which thou blod'st is bleeding ;
Which rollid on in freedom below, Revenge is lost in agony,
They demanded the song; but, oh never And wild remorse to rage succeeding.
That triumph the stranger shall know! Oh, Mariamne! where art thou ?
May this right hand be wither'd forever, Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading.
Ere it string our high harp for the foe! Ah! couldst thou-thou wouldst pardon now,
On the willow that harp is suspended, Though Heaven were to my prayer unheeding.
Oh Salem ! its sound should be free; And is she dead?—and did they dare
And the hour when thy glories were ended
But left me that token of thee:
And ne'er shall its soft tones be blended
With the voice of the spoiler by me! But thou art cold, my murder'd love !
And this dark heart is vainly craving For her who soars alone above,
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB. And leaves my soul unworthy saving.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, She's gone, who shared my diadem;
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; She sunk, with her my joys entombing ;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, I swept that flower from Judah's stem,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. Whose leaves for me alone were blooming ;
Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green, And mine's the guilt, and mine the hell,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen : This bosom's desolation dooming; And I have earn'd those tortures well,
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown, Which unconsumed are still consuming!
That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown.
And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill, ON THE DAY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew JERUSALEM BY TITUS.
still! from the last hill that looks on thy once holy dome And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, I beheld thee, oh Sion! when render'd to Rome: But through it there roll'd not the breath of his pride: Twas thy last sun went down, and the flames of thy fall And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, Flash'd back on the last glance I gave to thy wall. And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf. I look'd for thy temple, I look'd for my home, And there lay the rider distorted and pale, And forgot for a moment my bondage to come; With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail; I beheld but the death-fire that fed on thy fane, And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, And the fast fetter'd hands that made vengeance in vain. The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown. On many an eve, the high spot whence I gazed And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail, Had reflected the last beam of day as it blazed ; And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal; While I stood on the height, and beheld the decline And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, Of the rays from the mountain that shone on thy shrine. Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord !
(Mariamne, the wife of Herod the Great, falling under the suspicion of infidelity, was put to death by his order. She was a woman of unrivalled beauty, and a haughty spirit: unbappy in being the object of passionate attachment, which borderedon phrensy, to a man who had more or less concern in
the murder of her grandfather, father, brother, and uncle, and who had twice commanded her death, in case of his own. Ever after, Herod was haunted by the image of the murdered Mariamne, until disorder of the mind brought on disorder of the body, which led to temporary derangement.--MILMAN.)
These are words of deeper sorrow
Than the wail above the dead;
Wake us from a widow'd bed.
When our child's first accents flow,
When her lip to thine is press'd,
Think of him thy love had bless'd !
Fare thee well! and if forever,
Still forever, fare thee well: Even though unforgiving, never
'Gainst thee shall my heart rebel. Would that breast were bared before thee
Where thy head so oft hath lain, While that placid sleep came o'er thee
Which thou ne'er canst kuow again : Would that breast, by thee glanced over,
Every inmost thought could show! Then thou wouldst at last discover
'Twas not well to spurn it so. Though the world for this commend thee
Though it smile upon the blow,
Founded on another's wo:
Could no other arın be found,
To inflict a cureless wound?
Should her livcaments resemble
Those thou never more mayst see,
With a pulse yet true to me.
All my faults perchance thou knowest,
All my madness none can know;
Wither, yet with thee they go.
Pride, which not a world could bow,
Even my soul forsakes me now:
1[The Hebrew Melodies, though obviously inferior to opinion I consess my own to have, at first, strongly inchnel. Lord Byron's other works, display a skill in versification and suspicious as I could not help thinking the senti dett and a mastery in diction, which woull have raised an inse that could, at such a moment, indulge in such verses, Ibe rior artist to the very surnmit of distinction -JEFFREY.] taste that prompted or sanctioned their publication appie
2 [It was about the middle of April that hisiwo celebrated to me even suill more questionable. On realing, houeret, copies of verses, “ Fare thee well," and "- A Sketch," made his own account of all the circumstances in the Memorando their appearance in the newspapers: and while the latter I found that on both points I had, in common wub a iarze poem was generally, and, it must be owned, justly con portion of the public, done him injustice. He there descono demned, as a sort of literary assault on an obscure female, and in a manner whose sincerity there was no deb whose situation ought to have placed her is much beneath the swell of tender recollections under the infidence of his satire, as the undignified mole of his allack certainly which, as he sat one night, musing in his study, these stanzas raised her above it, with regard to the other poem, opinions were produced, --The lears, as he said, falling fast over the were a good deal more divided. To many it appeared a paper as he wrote them. Neither did it appear, from tha: strain of true conjugal tenderness,--a kind of appeal which account, to have been from any wish or intention of bus no woman with a heart could resist; while, by others, on own, but through the mjudicious zeal of a fneni sboan be the contrary, it was considered to be a mere showy effusion had suffered to take a copy, that the verses met ibe pidue of sentiment, as difficult for real feeling to have produced eye.- MOORE. The appearance of the MS. confirms the as it was easy for fancy and art, and altogether unworthy account of the circunstances under which it was written of the deep interests involved in the subject. To this latter It is blotted all over with the marks of tears.)
But 'tis done--all words are idle
Words from me are vainer still ; But the thoughts we cannot bridle
Force their way without the will.-
Torn from every nearer tie,
March 17, 1816.
u Honest-honest lago!
Have given her power too deeply to instil
Bors in the garret, in the kitchen bred,
But wanting one sweet weakness—to forgive,
Bat to the theme :--now laid aside too long,
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
March 29, 1816.
("I send you my last night's dream, and request to have use weltering in the wind,'' weltering on a gibbet?' I have ifty copies struck off, for private distribution. I wish Mr. no dictionary, so look. In the mean time, I have put festerGifford to look at them. They are from lise.”-- Lord Byron ing ;' which, perhaps, in any case is the best wor of the 10 M. Murray, March 30, 1816.)
two. Shakspeare bas it often, and I do not think it too * (lo first draughi-weltering."-"I doubt about wel. strong for the figure in this thing. Quick! quick: quick! lering. We say weitering in blood;' but do not they also quick!"--Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, April 2.)
STANZAS TO AUGUSTA." When all around grew drear and dark,
And reason half withheld her rayAnd hope but shed a dying spark
Which more misled my lonely way; In that deep midnight of the mind,
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,
Whatever fate on me may fall; For heaven in sunshine will requite
The kind-and thee the most of all. Then let the ties of baffled love
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.
Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults which so many could find; Though thy soul with my grief was acquainted,
It shrunk not to share it with me,
It never hath found but in thee.
The last smile which answers to mine,
Because it reminds me of thine ;
As the breasts I believed in with me,
It is that they bear me from thee.
And its fragments are sunk in the wave,
To pain-it shall not be its slave. There is many a pang to pursue me :
They may crush, but they shall not contemaThey may torture, but shall not subdue me
'T'is of thee that I think-not of them.. Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake, Though loved, thou forborest to grieve me,
Though slander'd, thou never couldst shake,
Though parted, it was not to fly,
Nor, mute, that the world might belie.'
Nor the war of the many with oneIf my soul was not fitted to prize it,
'Twas folly not sooner to shun: And if dearly that error hath cost me,
And more than I once could foresee, I have found that, whatever it lost me,
It could not deprive me of thee.
Thus much I at least may recall,
Deserved to be dearest of all:
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
July 24, 1816.
STANZAS TO AUGUSTA. Though the day of my destiny's over,
And the star of my fate hath declined,'
EPISTLE TO AUGUSTA. My sister! my sweet sister! if a name Dearer and purer were, it should be thine. Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim No tears, but tenderness to answer mine :
"[The Poet's sister, the Honorable Mrs. Leigh-These says, “in printing the stanzas beginning, “Though the day of stanzas-the parting tribute to her, whose unshaken tender my destiny's,'&c., which I think well of as a composiboa") ness had been the author's sole consolation during the crisis
3 [" Though the days of my glory are orer, of domestic misery--were, we believe, the last verses writ
And the sun of my fame hath declined."-15) ten by Lord Byron in England. In a note to Mr. Rogers, dated April 16th, he says, "My sister is now with me, and
4 ["There is many a pang to pursue me, leaves town to-morrow : we shall not meet again for some
And many a peril to stem : time at all events,-if ever! and, under these circumstances,
They may torture, but shall not subdue me : I trust to stand excused to you and Mr. Sheridan, for being
They may crush, but they shall not contemn."-MS7 unable to wait upon him this evening.” On the 25th, the 5f" Though watchful, 'twas but to reclaim me, Poet took a last leave of his native country.]
Nor, silent, to sanction a lie."--MS.) 2 (These beautiful verses, so expressive of the writer's [These stanzas-Than which," says the Quarterly Re wounded feelings at the moment, were written in July, at the view, for January, 1831," there is, perbaps, noitung nore Campagne Diodati, near Geneva, and transmitted to England mournfully and desolately beautiful in the whole range of for publication, with some other pieces. “Be careful," he Lord Byron's poetry"--were also writien at Diodati; and