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For he through Sin's long labyrinth had run,
And spoil'd her goodly lands to gild his waste, Nor calm domestic peace had ever deign'd to taste.
And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
With pleasure drugg’d, he almost long'd for woe, And e'en for change of scene would seek the (2)
(1) [See Stanzas written to a Lady, antè, vol. vii. p. 302. – E]
(2) [In these stanzas, and indeed throughout his works, we must not accept too literally Lord Byron's testimony against himself-he took a morbid pleasure in darkening every shadow of his self-portraiture. His interior at Newstead had, no doubt, been, in some points, loose and irregular enough; but it certainly never exhibited any thing of the profuse and Sultanic luxury which the language in the text might seem to indicate. In fact, the narrowness of his means at the time the verses refer to would alone have precluded this. His household economy, while he remained at the Abbey, is known to have been conducted on a very moderate scale; and, besides, his usual companions, though far from being averse to con. vivial indulgences, were not only, as Mr. Moore says, “ of habits and tastes too intellectual for mere vulgar debauchery,” but, assuredly, quite incapable of playing the parts of flatterers and parasites. - E.]
The Childe departed from his father's hall :
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 As if the memory of some deadly feud [brow Or disappointed passion lurk'd below: But this none knew, nor haply cared to know; For his was not that open, artless soul That feels relief by bidding sorrow flow,
Nor sought he friend to counsel or condole, Whate'er this grief mote be, which he could not
And none did love him—though to hall and bower
alone are woman's care, And where these are light Eros finds a feere; Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare, And Mammon wins his way where Seraphs might
Childe Harold had a mother—not forgot,
upon A few dear objects, will in sadness feel [heal Such partings break the heart they fondly hope to
His house, his home, his heritage, his lands,
Without a sigh he left, to cross the brine, [line. (1) And traverse Paynim shores, and pass Earth's central
The sails were fill’d, and fair the light winds blew,
One word of wail, whilst others sate and wept, And to the reckless gales unmanly moaning kept.
(1) [Lord Byron originally intended to visit India.-E]
But when the sun was sinking in the sea
And fleeting shores receded from his sight,
Fades o'er the waters blue;
And shrieks the wild sea-mew.
We follow in his flight;
My native Land — Good Night !
To give the morrow birth;
But not my mother earth.
Its hearth is desolate;
My dog howls at the gate.
“ Adieu, madame, my mother dear," &c. - E)
Why dost thou weep and wail ?
Or tremble at the gale ?
Our ship is swift and strong:
More merrily along."
I fear not wave nor wind;
Am sorrowful in mind; ()
A mother whom I love,
But thee - and one above.
(1) [This “ little page” was Robert Rushton, the son of one of Lord Byron's tenants. “ I take Robert with me," says the poet, in a letter to his mother; “I like him, because, like myself, he seems a friendless animal" - E.]
(2) [Seeing that the boy was “sorrowful” at the separation from his parents, Lord Byron, on reaching Gibraltar, sent him back to England under the care of his old servant Murray. “ Pray,” he says to his mother, “shew the lad every kindness, as he has behaved extremely well, and is a great favourite.” He also wrote a letter to the father of the boy, which leaves a most favourable impression of his thoughtfulness and kindliness. “ I have,” he says, “ sent Robert home, because the country which I am about to travel through is in a state which renders it unsafe, particularly for one so young. I allow you to deduct from your rent five and twenty pounds a year for the expense of his education, for three years, provided I do not return before that time, and I desire he may be considered as in my service.”E.]