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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.
Fare thee well! thus disunited-
Torn from every nearer tie—
Seared in heart-and lone-and blighted-
More than this I scarce can die.
[First draft, March 18, 1816. First printed as published, April 4, 1816.]
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thec."
BORN in the garret, in the kitchen bred,
Promoted thence to deck her mistress' head; iv.
Next--for some gracious service unexpressed,
And from its wages only to be guessed-
i. Tears and sighs are idler still.-[MS. erased.] ii. Fare thee well-thus lone and blighted.—[MS. erased.] iii. A Sketch from Life.—[MS. M.]
iv. Promoted thence to comb· -.—[MS. M. erased.]
1. ["I send you my last night's dream, and request to have 50 copies (for private distribution) struck off. I wish Mr. Gifford to look at them; they are from life."-Letter to Murray, March 30, 1816.
"The original MS. of Lord Byron's Satire, A Sketch from Private Life,' written by his Lordship, 30th March, 1816. Given by his Lordship to me on going abroad after his separation from Lady Byron, John Hanson. To be carefully preserved." (This MS. omits lines 19-20, 35-36, 55-56, 65-70, 77-78, 85-92.)
A copy entitled, "A sketch from private Life," dated March 30, 1816, is in Mrs. Leigh's handwriting. The corrections and additions are in Byron's handwriting.
A proof dated April 2, 1816, is endorsed by Murray, "Correct with most particular care and print off 50 copies, and keep standing."]
Raised from the toilet to the table,-where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair.
With eye unmoved, and forehead unabashed,
She dines from off the plate she lately washed.
Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie,
The genial confidante, and general spy-
Who could, ye gods! her next employment guess-
An only infant's earliest governess !
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learned to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she grows,
As many a nameless slander deftly shows:
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know-but that high Soul secured the heart,"
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foiled was perversion by that youthful mind,.
Which Flattery fooled not, Baseness could not blind,
Deceit infect not, near Contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor Example spoil,iv.
Nor mastered Science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor Genius swell, nor Beauty render vain,
Nor Envy ruffle to retaliate pain,"
Nor Fortune change, Pride raise, nor Passion bow,
Nor Virtue teach austerity-till now.
Serenely purest of her sex that live,vi
iv. Much Learning madden-when with scarce a peer
She soared through science with a bright career—
Nor talents swell -. -[MS. M.]
· bigotry provoke.—[MS. M. erased.]
vi. Serenely purest of the things that live.-[MS. M.]
early governess.—[MS. M.]
but that pure spirit saved her heart.—[MS. M. erased.] iii. Vain was each effort.—[MS. M.]
But wanting one sweet weakness-to forgive;
Too shocked at faults her soul can never know,
She deems that all could be like her below:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly Virtue's friend,
For Virtue pardons those she would amend.
But to the theme, now laid aside too long,
The baleful burthen of this honest song,"
Though all her former functions are no more,
She rules the circle which she served before.
If mothers-none know why-before her quake;
If daughters dread her for the mothers' sake;
If early habits-those false links, which bind
At times the loftiest to the meanest mind—“
Have given her power too deeply to instil
The angry essence of her deadly will; .
If like a snake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she crawls;
If like a viper to the heart she wind,
And leave the venom there she did not find;
What marvel that this hag of hatred works
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,
i. The trusty burthen of my honest song.—[MS. M.]
ii. At times the highest · .-[MS. M.]
iii. of her evil will.—[MS. M.]
iv. What marvel that this mistress demon works
(wheresoe'er she lurks.-[MS. M.]
when she latent works.-[Copy.]
v. A gloss of candour of a web of wiles.-[MS. M.]
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells?
Skilled by a touch to deepen Scandal's tints
With all the kind mendacity of hints,
While mingling truth with falsehood-sneers with smiles—
A thread of candour with a web of wiles ;"
A plain blunt show of briefly-spoken seeming,
To hide her bloodless heart's soul-hardened scheming; 60
A lip of lies; a face formed to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel:
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown,-
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark, how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Or darker greenness of the scorpion's scale—".
(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace
Congenial colours in that soul or face)-
Look on her features! and behold her mind
As in a mirror of itself defined:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged-
There is no trait which might not be enlarged:
Yet true to "Nature's journeymen," 1 who made
This monster when their mistress left off trade-
This female dog-star of her little sky,
Where all beneath her influence droop or die."
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought-
The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou
Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now;
Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain,
And turn thee howling in unpitied pain.
May the strong curse of crushed affections light 2
i. Lines 65-68 were added April 2, 1816.
ii. The parenthesis was added April 2, 1816.
iii. Look on her body.[MS. M.]
iv. Where all that gaze upon her droop or die.-
[MS. altered April 2, 1816.]
1. [See Hamlet, act iii. sc. 2, line 31.]
2. [Lines 85-91 were added April 2, 1816, on a page endorsed, "Quick-quick-quick-quick."]
Back on thy bosom with reflected blight!
And make thee in thy leprosy of mind
As loathsome to thyself as to mankind!
Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate,
Black-as thy will for others would create:
Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust,
And thy soul welter in its hideous crust.
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
The widowed couch of fire, that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims-and despair!
Down to the dust !—and, as thou rott'st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay."
But for the love I bore, and still must bear,
To her thy malice from all ties would tear—
Thy name-thy human name-to every eye
The climax of all scorn should hang on high,
Exalted o'er thy less abhorred compeers―
And festering in the infamy of years.".
STANZAS TO AUGUSTA.2
WHEN all around grew drear and dark,.
And reason half withheld her ray-
in thy poisoned clay.—[MS. M. erased.]
ii. And weltering in the infamy of years.—[MS. M.]
grew waste and dark.—[MS. M.]
[First draft, March 29, 1816. First printed as published, April 4, 1816.]
I. ["I doubt about 'weltering' but the dictionary should decide -look at it. We say weltering in blood '—but do they not also use weltering in the wind' 'weltering on a gibbet'?-there is no dictionary, so look or ask. In the meantime, I have put 'festering,' which perhaps in any case is the best word of the two. -P.S. Be quick. Shakespeare has it often and I do not think it too strong for the figure in this thing."-Letter to Murray, April 2.]
2. His sister, the Honourable Mrs. Leigh.—These stanzas—the