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TO JESSY. (The following Stanzas were addressed by Lord Byron to his Lady, a few months before their separation.)
THERE is a mystic thread of life
So dearly wreathed with mine alone,
At once must sever both or none.
Have often gazed with fond delight;
And dreams restore it through the night.
Unless that voice would join the rest.
Affection's tale upon the cheek ;
Proclaims more words than love can speak.
And none had ever prest before ;
And mine, mine only, press it more.
Hath pillowed oft this aching head;
whose tears with mine are shed.
In unison so closely sweet,
They both must heave, or cease to beat.
In gentle streams so calmly run,
They cannot part—their souls are one !
THE SAILOR-ORPHAN BOY'S TALE.
MRS. OPIE. Stay, lady-stay, for mercy's sake,
And hear a helpless orphan's tale : Ah, sure my looks must pity wake
'Tis want that makes my cheek so pale ! Yet I was once a mother's pride,
And my brave father's hope and joy:
And I am now an orphan boy!
When news of Nelson's victory came,
To see the lighted windows flame! To force me home
mother soughtShe could not bear to see my joy! For with my father's life 'twas bought
And made me a poor orphan boy!
My mother, shuddering, closed her ears ; “ Rejoice ! rejoice!” still cried the crowd
My mother answered with her tears ! “Oh! why do tears steal down your
cheeks," Cried I, “ while others shout for joy ?" She kissed me, and in accents weak,
She called me her poor orphan boy! “ What is an orphan boy ?” I said;
When suddenly she gasped for breath,
I shrieked for aid :-
But now no more a parent's joy; Ah! lady, I have learnt too well
What’tis to be an orphan boy ! Oh! were I by your bounty fed !
Nay, gentle lady, do not chide : Trust me, I mean to earn my bread
The sailor's orphan boy has pride.
Lady, you weep :-what is’t you say ?
You'll give me clothing, food, employ!
Your happy, happy, orphan boy!"
THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO.
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
The lamps shone o'er fair woman and brave men ; A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
And all went merry as a marriage-bell;
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street; On with the dance; let joy be unconfined ;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feet :
But, hark !—that heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat ;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
* Johnson has shrewdly said, “ Few characters can bear the microscopic eye of Scrutiny!” How far those pseudo critics and provincial lecturers who, to please the party for which they write or speak, cast their pharisaical missiles at the head of the noble poet, and, in their profound want of feeling and taste, talk even “ lightly” of his unrivalled productions—how far, it may be asked, those Joseph-Surface-like gentry apply the Doctor's apophthegm to themselves, it would be somewhat curious to speculate ; and yet, perhaps, hardly worth the investigating ;certain it is, however, that their morals, as well as their intellect, are far inferior to those of the highly-gifted individual whom they wish to malign; and, “when the hand of time shall have swept” them and their grovelling lucubrations from the face of the earth, the poetical fame of Lord Byron will go on increasing, and his character. as the most original poet of his time, be admitted and established by posterity, both in Europe and America.
Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain ; he did hear That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death's prophetic ear; And when they smiled because be deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell, He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell. Ah ! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress, And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness ; And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs Which ne'er might be repeated; who could guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes, Since upon nights so sweet such awful morn could rise ? And there was mounting in hot haste the steed :
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car, Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war ; And the deep thunder peal on peal afar ; And
near, the beat of the alarming drum Roused
the soldier ere the morning star ; While thronged the citizens with terror dumb, Or whispering, with white lips—“The foe! they come!
they come !" And wild and high the “ Camerons' gathering" rose !
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills Have heard ; and heard, too, have her Saxon foes :
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills, Savage and shrill ! But with the breath which fills
Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers With the fierce native daring which instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years, And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears ! And Ardennes waves above them her
green leaves, Dewy with Nature's tear-drops as they pass, Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieves,
Over the unreturning brave,-alas!
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
Of living valour, rolling on the foe,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay,
The morn the marshalling in arms,-the day
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent The earth is covered thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent, Rider and horse,-friend, foe, --in one red burial blent !
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar : I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
To mingle with the Universe and feel,
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain ;
Stops with the shore ;—upon the watery plain The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own, When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.