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that brief period, money embarrassments, recriminations, and all- the miseries incident to an ill-assorted marriage, were of frequent occurrence. After the birth of her child Ada, Lady Byron retired to her father's house, and refused to return. This event, from the celebrity of one of the parties, caused considerable excitement in the fashionable world. Byron became the subject of all uncharitable tongues. The most popular poet, he was, for a space, the most unpopular man in the country. The separation from his wif and the ensuing departure from England (April 25, 1816), mark a stage in Byron's genius.

Misery and indignation stimulated him to remarkable activity. Six months' stay at Geneva produced the third canto of Childe Harold and The Prisoner of Chillon. Manfred and The Lament of Tasso were written in 1817. The next year, he was at Venice, and finished Childe Harold there; and, in the gay and witty Beppo, made an experiment in the new field which he was afterwards to work so successfully. During the next three years, he produced the first five cantos of Don Juan, and a number of dramas of various merit, Cain and Werner being opposite poles. In 1822, he removed to Pisa, and worked there at Don Juan, which poem, with the exception of The Vision of Judgment, occupied his pen almost up to the close of his life. In the summer of 1823, he sailed for Greece, to aid the struggle for independence with his influence and money. He arrived at Missolonghi on the 4th of January 1824. There he found nothing but confusion and contending chiefs; but in three months, he succeeded in evoking some kind of order from the turbulent patriotic chaos. His health, however, began to fail. On the 9th April, he was overtaken by a shower while on horseback, and an attack of fever and rheumatism followed, which ended in his death on 19th April 1824. His body was conveyed to England; and, denied a resting place in Westminster Abbey, it rests in the family vault in the village church of Hucknall, near Newstead.

The resources of Byron's intellect were amazing. He gained his first reputation as a depictor of the gloomy and stormful passions. After he wrote Beppo, he was surprised to find that he was a humorist; when he reached Greece, he discovered an ability for military organisation. His real strength lay in wit, and the direct representation of human life. No man had a clearer eye for fact and reality. His eloquence, pathos, and despair are only phases of his mind. In his later writings, there is a wonderful fund of wit, sarcasm, humour, and knowledge of men.




Not in those climes where I have late been straying, 2 Though Beauty long hath there been matchless

deemed; Not in those visions to the heart displaying Forms which it sighs but to have only dreamed, Hath aught like thee in truth or fancy seemed : Nor, having seen thee, shall I vainly seek To paint those charms which varied as they beamed :

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 3 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 4 of her future years,
Before whose heavenly hues all sorrow disappears.

1 From Gr. Ion, la lily. The young beauty thus addressed, in her eleventh year, was Lady Charlotte Harley, daughter of the Earl of Oxford, and afterwards Lady C. Bacon. 2 Spain, Portugal, Albania, and Greece. 3 Unbeseem, belie, disappoint; seldom used as a verb.

4 Rainbow, the emblem of hope.

Young Peril of the West !—'tis well for me
My years already doubly number thine ;
My loveless eye unmoved may gaze on thee,
And safely view thy ripening beauties shine;
Happy, I ne'er shall see them in decline ;
Happier, that while all younger hearts shall bleed,
Mine shall escape the doom thine eyes assign

To those whose admiration shall succeed,
But mixed with pangs to Love's even loveliest hours


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 ;
And long as kinder eyes a look shall cast
On Harold's page, Ianthe's 3 here enshrined
Shall thus be first beheld, forgotten last :
My days once numbered, should this homage past
Attract thy fairy fingers near the lyre
Of him who hailed thee, loveliest as thou wast,

Such is the most my memory may desire ;
Though more than Hope can claim, could Friendship

less require ?

1 Peri, Persian female fairy. 2 Gazelle, Arab. gazala, a wild goat; an elegantly formed species of antelope. To have the eyes of a gazelle is the highest compliment paid to an eastern woman. 8 That is, her name.

CANTO FIRST. * The asterisks refer to notes at the end on the words or lines to

which they are affixed.




Oh, thou ! in Hellas * deemed of heavenly birth,
Muse! formed 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 wandered by thy vaunted rill ;*
Yes ! sighed o'er Delphi's long-deserted shrine, *
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.





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 vexed 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.





Childe Harold was he hight :*_but whence his name And lineage long, it suits me not to say ;

20 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 coffined clay,

Nor florid prose, nor honeyed lies of rhyme, Can blazon * evil deeds, or consecrate a crime.

IV. Childe Harold basked him in the noontide sun, Disporting there like any other fly; Nor deemed before his little day was done 30 One blast might chill him into misery.


But long ere scarce a third of his * passed by,
Worse than adversity the Childe befell ;
He felt the fullness of satiety :

Then loathed he in his native land to dwell, 35 Which seemed to him more lone than Eremite's* sad cell.



For he through Sin's long labyrinth had run,
Nor made atonement when he did amiss,
Had sighed to many though he loved but one,
And that loved one, * alas ! could ne'er be his.
Ah, happy she ! to 'scape from him whose kiss
Had been pollution unto aught so chaste;
Who soon had left her charms for vulgar bliss,

And spoiled her goodly lands to gild his waste,
Nor calm domestic peace had ever deigned to taste. 45


And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
And from his fellow bacchanals would flee;
'Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
But Pride congealed the drop within his ee :
Apart he stalked in joyless reverie,

50 And from his native land resolved to go, And visit scorching climes beyond the sea ;

With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe, And e'en for change of scene would seek the shades



The Childe departed from his father's hall : 55
It was a vast and venerable pile ;
So old, it seemed only not to fall,
Yet strength was pillared in each massy aisle.
Monastic dome !* condemned to uses vile!
Where Superstition once had made her den 60
Now Paphian girls* were known to sing and smile ;

And monks might deem their time was come agen, If ancient tales say true, nor wrong these holy men.

VIII. Yet oft-times in his maddest mirthful mood Strange pangs would flash along Childe Harold's brow, As if the memory of some deadly feud

66 Or disappointed passion lurked below :

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