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TO LANTHE. ()
Not in those climes where Ihave late been straying, Though Beauty long hath there been matchless deem'd ; Not in those visions to the heart displaying Forms which it sighs but to have only dream’d, Hath aught like thee in truth or fancy seem'd: Nor, having seen thee, shall I vainly seek To paint those charms which varied as they beam’d— To such as see thee not my words were weak; To those who gaze on thee what language could they speak?
Ah! may'st thou ever be what now thou art, Nor unbeseem the promise of thy spring, As fair in form, as warm yet pure in heart, Love’s image upon earth without his wing, And guileless beyond Hope's imagining! And surely she who now so fondly rears Thy youth, in thee, thus hourly brightening, Beholds the rainbow of her future years, Before whose heavenly hues all sorrow disappears. (1) [The Lady Charlotte Harley, second daughter of Edward fifth Earl of Oxford, (now Lady Charlotte Bacon), in the autumn of 1812, when these lines were addressed to her, had not completed her eleventh year.
Mr. Westall's portrait of the juvenile beauty, painted at Lord Byron's request, is engraved in “Finden's Illustrations.”— E.]
Young Peri (1) of the West 1–'tis well for me
But mix'd with pangs to Love's even loveliest houre
Oh! let that eye, which, wild as the Gazelle's, (2) Now brightly bold or beautifully shy, Wins as it wanders, dazzles where it dwells, Glance o'er this page, nor to my verse deny That smile for which my breast might vainly sigh, Could I to thee be ever more than friend: This much, dear maid, accord; nor question why To one so young my strain I would commend, But bid me with my wreath one matchless lily blend.
Such is thy name with this my verse entwined;
Though more than Hope can claim, could Friendship
(1) [Peri, the Persian term for a beautiful intermediate order of beings, is generally supposed to be another form of our own word Fairy.-E.]
(2) [A species of the antelope. “You have the eyes of a gazelle,” is considered all over the East as the greatest compliment that can be paid to a woman.-E.]
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.
CANTO THE FIRST.
I. OH, thou! in Hellas deem'd of heavenly birth, Muse ! form'd or fabled at the minstrel's will ! Since shamed full oft by later lyres on earth, Mine dares not call thee from thy sacred hill: Yet there I've wander'd by thy vaunted rill; Yes! sigh'd o'er Delphi's long deserted shrine, (1) Where, save that feeble fountain, all is still ; Nor mote my shell awake the weary Nine To grace so plain a tale—this lowly lay of mine.
(1) The little village of Castri stands partly on the site of Delphi. Along the path of the mountain, from Chrysso, are the remains of sepulchres hewn in and from the rock. “One,” said the guide, “of a king who broke his neck hunting.” His majesty had certainly chosen the fittest spot for such an achievement. A little above Castri is a cave, supposed the Pythian, of immense depth; the upper part of it is paved, and now a cowhouse. On the other side of Castri stands a Greek monastery; some way above which is the cleft in the rock, with a range of caverns difficult of ascent, and apparently leading to the interior of the mountain; probably to the Corycian Cavernmentioned by Pausanias. From this part descend the fountain and the “Dews of Castalie.”—D"We were sprinkled,” says Mr. Hobhouse, “with the spray of the immortal rill, and here, if any where, should have felt the poetic inspiration: we drank deep, too, of the spring; but – (I can answer for myself) – without feeling sensible of any extraordinary effect.”— El
II. Whilome in Albion's isle there dwelt a youth, Who ne in virtue's ways did take delight; But spent his days in riot most uncouth, And vex'd with mirth the drowsy ear of Night. Ah, me! in sooth he was a shameless wight, Sore given to revel and ungodly glee; Few earthly things found favour in his sight Save concubines and carnal companie, And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.
III. Childe Haroldwas he hight:—but whencehis name And lineage long, it suits me not to say; Suffice it, that perchance they were of fame, And had been glorious in another day: But one sad losel soils a name for aye, However mighty in the olden time; Nor all that heralds rake from coffin'd clay, Nor florid prose, nor honied lies of rhyme, Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime.
IV. Childe Harold bask'd him in the noontide sun, Disporting there like any other fly Nor deem'd before his little day was done One blast might chill him into misery. But long ere scarce a third of his pass'd by, Worse than adversity the Childe befell; He felt the fulness of satiety: Then loathed he in his native land to dwell, Which seem'd to him more lone than Eremite's sad cell.