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THE

COMPLETE WORKS

LORD BYRON.

Hours of Edleness.

A SERIES OF POEMS, ORIGINAL AND TRANSLATED.

(FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1807.).

Virginibus paerisque canto.

Horace, lib. iii. Ode 1.
Μήτ' άρ με μαλ' αίνει μήτε τι νείκει.

HOMER, ILIAD, 1. 249.
Me whistled as he went, for want of thought.

DRYDEN,

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE FREDERICK, EARL OF CARLISLE,

KNIGHT OF THE GARTER, ETC. ETC.
The Second Edition of these poems is Inscribed,
BY HIS OBS.IGED WARD, AND AFFECTIONATE KINSMAN,(1)

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE

Í fate of these effusions, my expectations are by no TO THE FIRST EDITION.(2)

meanz sanguine. It is probable that I may have dared

much, and done little; for, in the words of Cowper, “it Is submitting to the public eye the following col- is one thing to write what may please our friends, who, lection, I have not only to combat the difficulties that because they are such, are apt to be a little biassed in writers of verse generally encounter, but may incur our favour, and another to write what may please every the charge of presamption for obtruding myself on body; because they who have no connection or even the world, when, without doubt, I might be, at my knowledge of the author will be sure to find fault if age, more usefully employed.

they can.” To the truth of this, however, I do not These productions are the fruits of the lighter hours wholly subscribe: on the contrary, I feel convinced of a young man who has lately completed his nine- that these trifles will not be treated with injustice. teentb year. As they bear the internal evidence of a Their merit, if they possess any, will be liberally alboyish mind, this is, perbaps, unnecessary information. lowed: their numerous faults, on the other hand, cannot Some few were written during the disadvantages of expect that favour which has been denied to others, of illness and depression of spirits: under the former in-maturer years, decided character, and far greater ability. fluence,"CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS," in particular, I have not aimed at exclusive originality, still less were composed. This consideration, though it cannot have I studied any particular model for imitation: excite the voice of praise, may at least arrest the arm some translations are given, of which many are paraof censure. A considerable portion of these poems phrastic. In the original pieces, there may appear a has been privately printed, at the request and for the casual coincidence with authors whose works I have perasal of my friends. I am sensible that the partial been accustomed to read: but I have not been guilty and frequently injudicious admiration of a social circle of intentional plagiarism. To produce any thing enis not the criterion by which poetical genius is to tirely new, in an age so fertile in rhyme, would be an be estimated, yet, “to do greatly," we must "dare | Herculean task, as every subject has already been greatly;" and I have hazarded my reputation and treated to its utmost extent. Poetry, however, is not feelings in publishing this volume. "I have passed my primary vocation; to divert the dull moments of the Rubicon," and must stand or fall by the cast of indisposition, or the monotony of a vacant hour, urged the die. In the latter event, I shall submit without me "to this sin;" little can be expected from so una murmur; for, though not without solicitude for the promising a muse. My wreath, scanty as it must be,

Isabel, daughter of William, fourth Lord Byron (great.

poetess in her way. The Fairy's Answer to Mrs. Greville's great-undle of the Poet), became, in 1743, the wife of Hepry, Prayer of Indifference, in Pearch's Collection, is usually fourth Earl of Carlisle, and was the mother of the fifth Earl, | ascribed to her.-L.E. to whoin this dedicatiou was addressed. This lady was a (2) This Preface was omitted in the second edition.-L. E

is all I shall derive from these productions; and I
shall never attempt to replace its fading leaves, or HOURS OF IDLENESS.
pluck a single additional sprig from groves where I
am, at best, an intruder. Though accustomed in my
younger days to rove, a careless mountaineer, on the

ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY, Highlands of Scotland, I have not, of late years, had the benefit of such pure air, or so elevated a residence, COUSIN TO THE AUTHOR, AND VERY DEAR TO HIM.(3) as might enable me to enter the lists with genuine

Husa's are the winds, and still the evening gloom, bards, who have enjoyed both these advantages. But

Not e'en a zephyr wanders through the grove, they derive considerable fame, and a few not less profit, from their productions; while I shall expiate

Whilst I return, to view my Margaret's tomb, my rashness as an interloper, certainly without the

And scatter flowers on the dust I love. latter, and in all probability with a very slight share Within this narrow cell reclines her clay, of the former. I leave to others “virûm volitare per That clay, where once such animation beam'd; * ora." I look to the few who will hear with patience The King of Terrors seized her as his prey, “ dulce est desipere in loco.” To the former worthies Nor worth, nor beauty, have her life redeem'd. I resign, without repining, the hope of immortality, and content myself with the not very magnificent

Oh! could that King of Terrors pity feel, prospect of ranking amongst the mob of gentlemen

Or Heaven reverse the dread decrees of fate ! who write"--my readers must determine whether I

Not here the mourner would his grief reveal, dare say “with ease," —or the honour of a posthumous Not here the muse her virtues would relate. page in The Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, But wherefore weep? Her matchless spirit soars a work to which the Peerage is under infinite ob

Beyond where splendid shines the orb of day; ligations, inasmuch as many names of considerable And weeping angels lead her to those bowers length, sound, and antiquity, are thereby rescued from

Where endless pleasures virtue's deeds repay. the obscurity which unluckily overshadows several voluminous productions of their illustrious bearers.

And shall presumptuous mortals Heaven arraign, With slight hopes, and some fears, I publish this And, madly, godlike Providence accuse? first and last attempt. To the dictates of young

Ah! no, far fly from me attempts so vain ;ambition may be ascribed many actions more crimi I'll ne'er submission to my God refuse. nal and equally absurd. To a few of my own age Yet is remembrance of those virtues dear, the contents may afford amusement: I trust they

Yet fresh the memory of that beauteous face; will, at least, be found harmless. It is highly im

Still they call forth my warm affection's tear, probable, from my situation and pursuits hereafter,

Still in my heart retain their wonted place. that I should ever obtrude myself a second time on

1802. (1) the public; nor even, in the very doubtful event of present indulgence, shall I be tempted to commit a future trespass of the same nature. The opinion of

TO E- .(5) Dr. Johnson on the Poems of a noble relation of mine,(1) “That when a man of rank appeared in the

LET Folly smile, to view the names

Of thee and me in friendship twined; character of an author, he deserved to have his merit handsomely allowed," (2) can have little weight with

Yet Virtue will have greater claims verbal and still less with periodical censors; but, were

To love, than rank with vice combined. it otherwise, I should be loth to avail myself of the And though unequal is thy fate, privilege, and would rather incur the bitterest cen

Since title deck'd my higher birth! sure of anonymous criticism, than triumph in honours

Yet envy not this gaudy state; granted solely to a title.

Thine is the pride of modest worth.

(1) The Earl of Carlisle, whose works have long received same malady; and it was, indeed, in attending her, that the meed of public applause, to which, by their intrinsic Margaret met with the accident which occasioned her death. worth, they were well entitled.

My sister told me, that when she went to see her, shortly (2) The passage referred to by Lord Byron occurs in Bos.

before her death, upon accidentally mentioning my name, well's Life of Johnson, vol. iv. p. 186. (Croker's edition,

Margaret coloured, throughout the paleness of mortality, to 1831.) Dr. Johnson's letter to Mrs. Chapone, criticising,

the eyes, to the great astonishment of my sister, who knew on the whole favourably, the Earl's tragedy of The Father's

nothing of our attacbment, nor could conceive why my name Revenge, is inserted in the same work, vol. v. p. 136.-L.E.

should affect her at such a time. I knew nothing of her (3) The author claims the indulgence of the reader more

illness-being at Harrow and in the country-till she was for this piece than, perbaps, any other in the collection ;

gone. Some years after, I made an attempt at an elegybut as it was written at an earlier period than the rest

a very dull one. I do not recollect scarcely any thing equal (being composed at the age of fourteen), and his first essay,

to the transparent beauty of my cousin, or to the swectness he preferred submitting it to the indulgence of his friends

of her temper, during the short period of our intimacy. Sbe in its present state, to making either addition or alteration.

looked as if she had been made out of a rainbow-all beauty (4) “My first dash into poetry was as early as 1800. It

and peace."- Byron's Diary, 1821.-L.E. was the ebullition of a passion for my first cousin, Margaret

In this practice of dating his juvenile poems, Byron followed Parker (daughter and grand-daughter of the two Admirals

the example of Milton, who (says Johnson), “by affixing the Parker), one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings. I dates to his first compositions, a boast of which the learned have long forgotten the verse; but it would be difficult for Politian had given him an example, seems to commend the me to forget her- her dark eyes--ber long eye-lashes-her

earliness of his own compositions to the notice of posterity." completely Greek cast of face and figure! I was then about -Moore.-P.E. twelve-sbe rather older, perhaps a year. She died about (5) This little poem, and some others in the collection, refer a year or two afterwards, in consequence of a fall, which to a boy of Lord Byron's own age, son of one of his tenants injured her spine, and induced consumption. Her sister, I at Newstead, for whom he had formed a romantic attachAugusta (by some thought still more beautiful), died of the ment, of earlier date than any of his school friendships..LE.

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