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POETICAL WORKS OF LORD BYRON
AND OTHER EARLY POEMS.1
ON LEAVING NEWSTEAD
"Why dost thou build the hall, Son of the winged days? Thou lookest from thy tower to-day: yet a few years, and the blast of the desart comes: it howls in thy empty court.' OSSIAN.
THROUGH thy battlements, Newstead,2 the hollow winds whistle:
Thou, the hall of my Fathers, art gone to decay;
In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle
Have choak'd up the rose which late bloom'd in the way.
Of the mail-cover'd Barons, who, proudly, to battle,
Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine's plain,
The escutcheon and shield, which with ev'ry blast rattle,
Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.
1[There were four distinct issues of Byron's juvenile poems, (i.) Fugitive Pieces, which was printed for private circulation in December, 1506; (.) Poems on Various Occasions, printed for private circulation in January, 1807; (iii.) Hours of Idleness, published in June, 1807, and (iv) Poems Original and Translated, published in 1808. The whole of the first issue (the Quarto) was destroyed with the exception of two or three copies. In the present issue a general heading, "Hours of Idleness, and other Early Poems," has been applied to the entire collection of Early Poems, 1802-1809.]
[The priory of Newstead, or de Novo Loco, in Sherwood, was founded about the year 1170, by Henry 11. On the dissolution of the monasteries it was granted (in 1540) by Henry VIII. to "Sir John Byron the Little, with the great beard." His portrait is still preserved at New stead.]
On Marston, with Rupert,' 'gainst traitors contending,
Four brothers enrich'd, with their blood, the bleak field;
For the rights of a monarch their country
Till death their attachment to royalty seal'd.1
1 Horistan Castle, in Derbyshire, an ancient seat of the Byron family.
2 The Battle of Marston Moor, where the adherents of Charles I. were defeated.
& Son of the Elector Palatine, and related to Charles I. He afterwards commanded the Fleet, in the reign of Charles II.
[Sir Nicholas Byron, the great-grandson of Sir John Byron the Little, distinguished himself in the Civil Wars. He was Governor of Carlisle, and afterwards Governor of Chester. His nephew and heir-at-law, Sir John Byron, of Clayton, K.B. (1509-1652), was raised to the peerage as Baron Byron of Rochdale, after the Battle of Newbury, October 26, 1643. He died childless, and was succeeded by his brother Richard, the second lord, from whom the poet was descended. Five younger brothers, as Richard's monument in the chancel of Hucknall Torkard Church records, "faithfully served King Charles the First in the Civil Wars, suffered much for their loyalty, and lost all their present fortunes." (See Life of Lord Byron, by Karl Elze: Appendix, Note (A), p. 436.)]
ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY,1
COUSIN TO THE AUTHOR, AND VERY DEAR TO HIM.
HUSH'D are the winds, and still the evening gloom,
Not c'en a zephyr wanders through the grove,
Whilst I return to view my Margaret's
And scatter flowers on the dust I love.
Within this narrow cell reclines her clay, That clay, where once such animation beam'd;
The King of Terrors seiz'd her as his prey;
Not worth, nor beauty, have her life redeem'd.
Oh! could that King of Terrors pity feel,
Or Heaven reverse the dread decree of fate,
1 The author claims the indulgence of the reader more for this piece than, perhaps, any other in the collection; but as it was written at an earlier period than the rest (being composed at the age of fourteen), and his first essay, he preferred submitting it to the indulgence of his friends in its present state, to making either addition or alteration.
["My first dash into poetry was as early as 1800. It was the ebullition of a passion for my first cousin, Margaret Parker (daughter and granddaughter of the two Admirals Parker). one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings. I have long forgotten the verse; but it would be difficult for me to forget her her dark eves her long eye-lashes her completely Greek cast of face and figure! I was then about twelve- she rather older, perhaps a year. She died about a year or two afterwards. Some years after I made an attempt at an elegy - a very dull one." Letters, 1901, v. 449.
[Margaret Parker was the sister of Sir Peter Parker, whose death at Baltimore, in 1814. Byron celebrated in the "Elegiac Stanzas, which were first published in the poems at tached to the tenth edition of Childe Harold (1815).]
And yet, my girl, we weep in vain,
In vain our fate in sighs deplore; Remembrance only can remain,
But that, will make us weep the more.
6. Again, thou best belov'd, adieu!
Ah! if thou canst, o'ercome regret, Nor let thy mind past joys review, Our only hope is, to forget! 1805.
[First printed, December, 1806.]