Page images


For he through Sin's long labyrinth had run, Nor made atonement when he did amiss, Had sigh'd 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 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,
And from his fellow bacchanals would flee;
'Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
But Pride congeal'd the drop within his ee:
Apart he stalk'd in joyless reverie,

And from his native land resolved to go,
And visit scorching climes beyond the sea;
With pleasure drugg'd, he almost long'd for woe,
And e'en for change of scene would seek the (2)
shades below.

(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 convivial 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:
It was a vast and venerable pile;
So old, it seemed only not to fall,

Yet strength was pillar'd in each massy aisle.
Monastic dome! condemn'd to uses vile!
Where Superstition once had made her den
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.


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

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 control.



And none did love him—though to hall and bower He gather'd revellers from far and near, He knew them flatt'rers of the festal hour; The heartless parasites of present cheer. Yea! none did love him—not his lemans dearBut pomp and power 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 despair.


Childe Harold had a mother-not forgot, Though parting from that mother he did shun; A sister whom he loved, but saw her not Before his weary pilgrimage begun :

If friends he had, he bade adieu to none.

Yet deem not thence his breast a breast of steel. Ye, who have known what 'tis to dote 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,
The laughing dames in whom he did delight,
Whose large blue eyes, fair locks, and snowy hands,
Might shake the saintship of an anchorite,
And long had fed his youthful appetite;
His goblets brimm'd with every costly wine,
And all that mote to luxury invite,

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,

As glad to waft him from his native home;
And fast the white rocks faded from his view,
And soon were lost in circumambient foam :
And then, it may be, of his wish to roam
Repented he, but in his bosom slept

The silent thought, nor from his lips did come 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

He seized his harp, which he at times could string,
And strike, albeit with untaught melody,

When deem'd he no strange ear was listening:
And now his fingers o'er it he did fling,

And tuned his farewell in the dim twilight.
While flew the vessel on her snowy wing,
And fleeting shores receded from his sight,
Thus to the elements he pour'd his last "Good Night." (')


“ADIEU, adieu ! my native shore

Fades o'er the waters blue;

The Night-winds sigh, the breakers roar
And shrieks the wild sea-mew.

Yon Sun that sets upon the sea
We follow in his flight;

Farewell awhile to him and thee,
My native Land-Good Night!


"A few short hours and He will rise
To give the morrow birth;
And I shall hail the main and skies,

But not my mother earth.
Deserted is my own good hall,

Its hearth is desolate;

Wild weeds are gathering on the wall;

My dog howls at the gate.

(1) [See Lord Maxwell's " Good Night," in Scott's Border Minstrelsy, vol. i. p. 297.

66 Adieu, madame, my mother dear," &c.—E]


"Come hither, hither, my little page! (1)
Why dost thou weep and wail?

Or dost thou dread the billows' rage,
Or tremble at the gale?

But dash the tear-drop from thine eye;
Our ship is swift and strong:
Our fleetest falcon scarce can fly
More merrily along."


"Let winds be shrill, let waves roll high,

I fear not wave nor wind;

Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I
Am sorrowful in mind; (2)
For I have from my father gone,

A mother whom I love,

And have no friend, save these alone,

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.]


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »