« ForrigeFortsett »
Ob, thou ! in Hellas deemed of heav'nly birth,
Muse! form'd or fabled at the minstrel's will!
Since sham'd full oft by later lyres on earth,
Mine dares not call thee from thy sacred hill :
Yet there I've wander'd by thy vaunted rill;
Yes ! sighed o'er Delphi's long deserted shrine, (1)
Where, save that feeble fountain, all is still ;
Nor note 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 vex'd 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;
Suffice it, that perchance they were of fame,
And had beeu 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 coffin'd clay,
Nor florid prose, nor honied lies of rhyme,
Can blazon eyil deeds, or consecrate a crime.
Childe Harold bask'd him in the noon-tide sun,
Disporting there like any other fly ;
Nor deem'd before his little day was done
One blast might chill him into misery.
But long ere scarce a third of his pass'd by,
Worse than adversity the Childe befell;
He felt the fulness of satiety :
Then, loathed he in his native land to dwell,
Which seem'd to him more lope than Eremite's sad cell.
For he through Sin's long labyrinth bad run,
Nor made atonement when he did amiss,
Had sigb'd to many though he lov'd but one,
And that lov'd 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 fee;
Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
But pride congeald the drop within bis ee;
Apart he stalk'd in joyless reverie,
And from his native land resolv'd to go,
And visit scorching climes beyond the sea' ;
With pleasure drugg'd he almost long'd for woe, Ande'en for change of scene would seek the shades below.
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-time in his maddest mirthful mood
Strange pangs would flash along Childe Harold's brow,
tes if the memory of some deadly feud
Or disappointed passion lurk'd below :
But this none knew, nor haply car'd 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 his grief mote be, which he could not controul.
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-pot his lemans dear,
But pomp aud power alone are woman's care,
And where these are light Eros find 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 lov'd, 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'lis to doat upon
A few dear objects, will in sadness feel
Such partings break the heart they fondly hope to heala
His house, his bome, his heritage, his lands,
The laughing dames in whom he did delight,
Whose large blue eyes, fair locks, and spowy hands
Might sbake the saintship of an anchorite,
And long he 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,
And traverse Payaim shores, and pass earth's central line.
XII. The sails were filled, and fair the light winds blew, As glad to waft bim 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 bis 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.
But when the sun was sinking in the sea
He seiz'd 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 tun'd 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 bis 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 seamew.
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 so desolate;
Wild weeds are gathering on the wall;
My dogs howl at the gate,
« Come hither, hither, my little page!
Why dost thou weep and wail?
Or dost thou dread the billow's 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 por wind;
Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I
Am sorrowful in inind;
For I have from my father gone,
A mother whom I love,
And have no friend save these alone
But thee and one above.
“My father bless'd me fervently,
Yet did not much complain;
But sorely will my mother sigh,
Till I come back again."-
Enough, enough, my little lad !
Such tears become thine eye ;
If I thy guileless bosom had
Mine own would not be dry.
« Come hither, hither my staunch yeoman,
Why dost thou look so pale ?
Or dost thou dread a French foeman?
Or shiver at the gale?"-
“ Deem'st thou I tremble for my life ?
Sir Childe, I'm not so weak; But thinking on an absent wife Will blanch a faithful cheek.