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HOURS OF IDLENESS; A SERIES OF POEMS, ORIGINAL AND TRANSLATED.
THE RIGHT HONORABLE FREDERICK, EARL OF CARLISLE,
KNIGHT OF THE GARTER, ETC., ETC.
THE SECOND EDITION OF TIIESE POEMS IS INSCRIBED.
BY HIS OBLIGED WARD AND AFFECTIONATE KINSMAN,
LORD BYRON first appeared as an author injis, that the author has not yet completed his nineNovember, 1806, when he printed a collection of teenth year. December 23, 1806.” The approbapoems for distribution among his friends. The first tion which this volume received from the friends to copy of this volume, which is a thin quarto, was whom it was submitted induced Lord Byron to come presented to Mr. Beecher, who immediately per- more immediately before the public; and in the latceived, on looking over its pages, that some of the ter end of May, 1807, this collection, with consideracontents were by no means of a description to reflect) ble alterations, the omission of some poems, and the credit on their author; and at his friendly sugges- addition of others, was reprinted and published, untion the whole impression, with the exception of der the title of “Hours of Idleness, a Series of two, or, at the most, three copies, was committed to Poems, original and translated, by George Gordon, the flames. After the destruction of this volume, Lord Byron, a Minor.” This volume was also Lord Byron directed the collection to be reprinted, printed at Newark. In the four editions of this with the omission of the objectionable poems. This work, which rapidly succeded each other, many vaedition, which was confined to a hundred copies, riations are found : several corrections were made; and, like its predecessor, designed for private circu- several pieces were silently withdrawn, and replace: lation, was proceeded in so quickly, that at the end by others; and after the first edition a dedication to of about six weeks, January, 1807, it was ready for Lord Carlisle was prefixed. In the present publicadelivery. The volume was entiled “Poems on Va- tion, all those Poems from the “Private Volume,” rious Occasions,” and was printed at Newark by S. and the early editions of “Hours of Idleness," and J. Ridge; the author's name was not given. which were suppressed by the author, are reprinted, The dedication was, “To those friends at whose and all the variations of the different impressions request they were printed, for whose amusement or are noticed. approbation they were solely intended, these trifles are respectfully dedicated by the author.” Immediately following the dedication was this notice :“The only apology necessary to be adduced in ex
PREFACE.* tenuation of any errors in the following collection
In submitting to the public eye the following col • This was the only motto given in the private volume ; it was retained lection, I have not only to combat the difficulties with the other two in the first edition of Hours of Idleness, and omitted in ne second.
· Printed in the first edition of Hours of Idleness; omitted in the sound
that writers of verse generally encounter, but may to others “ Virum volitare per ora." I look to the incur the charge of presumption for obtruding myself few who will hear with patience “dulce est desipere on the world, when, without doubt, I might be, at in loco."--To the former worthies I resign, without my age, more usefully employed. These produc- repining, the hope of immortality, and content mytions are the fruits of the lighter hours of a young self with the not very magnificent prospect of rankman who has lately completed his nineteenth year. ing “among the mob of gentlemen who write ;'As they bear the internal evidence of a boyish mind, my readers must determine whether I dare say " with this is, perhaps, unnecessary information. Some ease,” or the honor of a posthumous page in “ The few were written during the disadvantages of illness Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors,” a work to and depression of spirits; under the former influ- which the peerage is under infinite obligations, inence, “CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS,” in particular, asmuch as many names of considerable length, were composed. This consideration, though it can- sound, and antiquity, are thereby rescued from the not excite the voice of Praise, may at least arrest obscurity which unluckily overshadows several vol. the arm of Censure. A considerable portion of these uminous productions of their illustrious bearers. poems has been privately printed, at the request With slight hopes and some fears, I publish this and for the perusal of my friends. I am sensible first and last attempt. To the dictates of young that the partial and frequently injudicious admira- ambition may be ascribed many actions more crimtion of a social circle is not the criterion by which inal and equally absurd. To a few of my own age poetical genius is to be estimated, yet, “ to do the contents may afford amusement: I trust they greatly," we must “dare greatly;" and I have haz-will, at least, be found harmless. It is highly imarded my reputation and feelings in publishing this probable, from my situation and pursuits hereafter, volume. “I have passed the Rubicon," and must that I should ever obtrude myself a second time on stand or fall by the 6 cast of the die.” In the latter the public; nor even in the very doubtful event of event, I shall submit without a murmur; for, present indulgence, shall I be tempted to commit though not without solicitude for the fate of these a future trespass of the same nature. The opinion effusions, my expectations are by no means san- of Dr. Johnson on the Poems of a noble relation of guine. It is probable that I may have dared much mine,* “ That when a man of rank appeared in the and done little ; for, in the words of Cowper, “it is character of an author, his merit should be handone thing to write what may please our friends, who, somely acknowledged,” can have little weight with because they are such, are apt to be a little biased verbal, and still less with periodical censors ; but in our favor, and another to write what may please were it otherwise, I should be loth to avail myself every body; because they who have no connection, of the privilege, and would rather incur the bitteror even knowledge of the author, will be sure to est censure of anonymous criticism than triumph in find fault if they can.” To the truth of this, how- honors granted solely to a title. ever, I do not wholly subscribe : on the contrary, I feel convinced that these trifles will not be treated with injustice. Their merit, if they possess any, will be liberally allowed; their numerous faults, on the other hand, cannot expect that favor which has ON LEAVING NEWSTEAD ABBEY. been denied to others of maturer years, decided character, and far greater ability. I have not aimed wory Dos
ned WHY DOST THOU BUILD THE HALL, SON OF THE at exclusive originality, still less have I studied any
WINGED DAYS ? THOU LOOKEST FROM THY TOWER particular model for imitation : some translations
TO-DAY: YET A FEW YEARS AND THE BLAST OF are given of which many are paraphrastic. In the
THE DESERT COMES, IT HOWLS IN THY EMPTY original pieces there may appear a casual coinci
COURT.--Ossian.fo dence with authors whose works I have been accustomed to read; but I have not been guilty of inten- THROUGH thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow tional plagiarism. To produce any thing entirely winds whistle; new, in an age so fertile in rhyme,would be a Hercu- Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay; lean task, as every subject has already been treated In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle to its utmost extent. Poetry, however, is not my! Have choked up the rose which late bloomed in primary vocation; to divert the dull moments of
the war. indisposition, or the monotony of a vacant hour, urged me “to this sin :" little can be expected from Of the mail-cover'd Barons, who proudly to battle so unpromising a muse. My wreath, scanty as it Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine's plain. must be, is all I shall derive from these productions; The escutcheon and shield, which with every blast and I shall never attempt to replace its fading rattle, leaves, or pluck a single additional sprig from groves' Are the only sad vestiges now that remain. where I am, at best, an intruder. Though accustomed, in my younger days, to rove a careless moun- No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing taineer on the Highlands of Scotland, I have not, of numbers, late years, had the benefit of such pure air, or so ele- Raise a flame in the breast for the war-laurell’d vated a residence, as might enable me to enter the
wreath; list with genuine bards, who have enjoyed both Near Askalon's towers, John of Horistaný slumbers, these advantages. But they derive considerable Unnerved is the hand of his minstrel by death. fame, and a few not less profit, from their produc-|tions; while I shall expiate my rashness as an inter-1 * The Earl of Carlisle, whose works have long received the meed of public loper, certainly without the latter, and in all proba-applause, to which, by their intrinsic worth, they were well entitled.
† The motto was added in the first edition of Hours of Idleness. bility with a very slight share of the former. I leave! Horistan Castle, in Derbyshire, an ancient seat of the Byron family
Paul and Hubert, too, sleep in the valley of Cressy; Or round the steep brow of the churchyard I
For the safety of Edward and England they fell : wander'd, My fathers ! the tears of your country redress ye; To catch the last gleam of the sun's setting ray. How you fought, how you died, still her annals can tell.
I once more view the room with spectators sur
rounded, On Marston,* with Rupert, t 'gainst traitors con
Where, as Zanga, I trod on Alonzo o'erthrown;
While to swell my young pride such applauses retending,
sounded, Four brothers enriched with their blood the bleak
| I fancied that Mossop* himself was outshone: field; For the rights of a monarch their country defending, Till death their attachment to royalty seal’d. Or, as Lear, I poured forth the deep imprecation,
By my daughters of kingdom and reason deprived;
Till, fired by loud plaudits and self-adulation, Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant, de
de- I regarded myself as a Garrick revived. parting From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu ! Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting
Ye dreams of my boyhood, how much I regret you ! New courage, he'll think upon glory and you.
Unfaded your memory dwells in my breast:ť Though sad and deserted, I ne'er can forget you;
Your pleasures may still be in fancy possest Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation, 'Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret;
To Ida full oft may remembrance restore me, Far distant he goes, with the same emulation,
While fate shall the shades of the future unroll ! The fame of his fathers he ne'er can forget.
Since darkness o'ershadows the prospect before me,
More dear is the beam of the past to my soul. That fame, and that memory, still will he cherish ;
He vows that he ne'er will disgrace your renown; But if, through the course of the years which Like you will he live, or like you will he perish;
await me, When decay'd, may he mingle his dust with your
Some new scene of pleasure should open to view, own.
I will say, while with rapture the thought shall 1803.
elate me, “Oh! such were the days which my infancy knew."
1806. ON A DISTANT VIEW OF THE VILLAGE,
AND SCHOOL OF HARROW ON THE
In thee I fondly hoped to clasp
A friend, whom death alone could sever; Embitters the present, compared with the past; Till envy, with malignant grasp, Where science first dawned on the powers of reflec Detach'd thee from my breast for ever.
tion, And friendships were form'd too romantic to last;
True she has forced thee from my breast,
Yet in my heart thou keep'st thy seat;
Of comrades in friendship and mischief allied; Until that heart shall cease to beat.
And, when the grave restores her dead,
When life again to dust is given, Again I revisit the hills where we sported,
On thy dear breast I'll lay my headThe streams where we swam, and the fields where Without thee, where would be my heaven? we fought;
February, 1803. The school where, loud warn’d by the bell, we resorted,
• Mossop, a cotemporary of Garrick, famous for his performance of Zangan To pore o'er the precepts by pedagogues taught. in Young's tragedy of the Revenge.
† “Your memory beams through this agonized breast."
Prioate voluma Again I behold where for hours I have ponder'd,
1 “I thought this poor brain, fevered even to madness, As reclining, at eve, on yon tombstone I lay;
Of tears, as of reason, for ever was drain'd;
Convince me the springs have some moisture retain'd. • The battle of Marston Moor, where the adherents of Charles 1, were de feated.
" Sweet scenes of my childhood I your blest recollection † Son of the Elector Palatine, and related to Charles I. He afterwards
Has wrung from these eyelids, to weeping long dead, commanded the fleet in the reign of Charles II.
In torrents the tears of my warmest affection, I This poem was printed in the private volume, and in the first edition of
The last and the fondest I ever shall shed." Hours of Idleness, where the motto from Virgil was added. It was after
Private volums. warris omitteil.
S Printed in the private volume only.
EPITAPH ON A FRIEND.*
LET Folly smile, to view the names
Of thee and me in friendship twined ; Yet Virtue will have greater claims
To love, than rank with vice combined.
And though unequal is thy fate,
Since title deck'd my higher birth! Yet envy not this gaudy state;
Thine is the pride of modest worth.
Our souls at least congenial meet,
Nor can thy lot my rank disgrace;
Aστηρ τριν μεν ελαμπες ενι ζωοισιν εφος.
Laertius. OH, Friend! for ever loved, for ever dèar, t What fruitless tears have bathed thy honor'd bier ! What sighs re-echo'd to thy parting breath, Whilst thou wast struggling in the pangs of death ! Could tears retard the tyrant in his course; Could sighs avert his dart's relentless force, Could youth and virtue claim a short delay, Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey; Thou still hadst lived to bless my aching sight, Thy comrade's honor, and thy friend's delight.
If yet thy gentle spirit hover nigh The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie Here wilt thou read, recorded on my heart, A grief too deep to trust the sculptor's art. No marble marks thy couch of lowly sleep, But living statues there are seen to weep; Affliction's semblance bends not o'er thy tomb, Affliction's self deplores thy youthful doom. What though thy sire lament his failing line, A father's sorrows cannot equal mine! Though none like thee his dying hour will cheer, Yet other offspring soothe his anguish here: But who with me shall hold thy former place? Thine image what new friendship can efface ? Ah none !-a father's tears will cease to flow, Time will assuage an infant brother's woe; To all, save one, is consolation known, While solitary friendship sighs alone.
REPLY TO SOME VERSES OF J. M. B.
PIGOT, ESQ., ON THE CRUELTY OF HIS MISTRESS.
Why, Pigot, complain
Of this damsel's disdain, Why thus in despair do you fret?
For months you may try,
Yet, believe me, a sigh Will never obtain a coquette.
Would you teach her to love?
For a time seem to rove;
But leave her awhile,
She shortly will smile, And then you may kiss your coquette.
WHEN, to their airy hall, my fathers' voice
For such are the airs
Of these fanciful fairs, They think all our homage a debt;
Yet a partial neglect
Soon takes an effect, And humbles the proudest coquette.
Dissemble your pain,
And lengthen your chain, And seem her hauteur to regret;
If again you shall sigh,
She no more will deny That yours is the rosy coquette.
If still, from false pride,
Your pangs she deride, This whimsical virgin forget;
Some other admire,
Who will melt with your fire, And laugh at the little coquette.
For me, I adore
Some twenty or more,
Though my heart they enthral,
I'd abandon them all, Did they act like your blooming coquette.
* These lines were printed in the private volume, the title being “ Epitaph on a beloved Friend." The motto was added in the first edition of Hours of dleness.
† " Oh, Boy ! for ever loved, for ever dear." Private volume,
No titles did thy humble name adorn;
Together mix our dus, and hope for heaven."
Private volume, and Arst edition of Hours of Idleness. " By that rem?mber'd, or fore'er torgut.”—Private volume.
* Only printed in the private volume. † Printed in the private volume only
No longer repine,
Aud if I should shun Adopt this design,
Every woman for one, And break through her slight-woven net;
Whose image must fill my whole breast Away with despair,
Whom I must prefer, No longer forbear
And sigh but for her To fly from the captious coquette.
What an insult 'twould be to the rest!
* These stanzas were only printed in the private volume.
* This motto was inserted in the first edition of Hours of Idlenens.