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'Scapes unsearch'd amid the racket, Ere we sail on board the Packet.
Now our boatmen quit their mooring, And all hands must ply the oar; Baggage from the quay is lowering,
We 're impatient, push from shore.
"Have a care! that case holds liquor-
Stop the boat-I'm sick-oh Lord!"
"Sick, ma'am, damme, you'll be sicker
Ere you 've been an hour on board."
Thus are screaming
Men and women,
Gemmen, ladies, servants, Jacks;
All are wrangling,
Stuck together close as wax.-
Such the general noise and racket,
Ere we reach the Lisbon Packet.
Now we've reach'd her, lo! the captain,
Gallant Kidd, commands the crew;
Passengers their berths are clapt in,
Some to grumble, some to spew.
"Heyday! call you that a cabin?
Why 't is hardly three feet square: Not enough to stow Queen Mab inWho the deuce can harbour there?" "Who, sir? plenty
Did at once my vessel fill."
"Did they? Jesus,
How you squeeze us!
Would to God they did so still : Then I'd scape the heat and racket Of the good ship, Lisbon Packet."
Fletcher! Murray! Bob! where are you?
Stretch'd along the deck like logs-
Bear a hand, you jolly tar, you!
Here's a rope's end for the dogs.
Hobhouse muttering fearful curses,
As the hatchway down he rolls,
Now his breakfast, now his verses,
Vomits forth-and damns our souls.
"Here's a stanza
Help!"-"A couplet?"-"No, a cup Of warm water-"
"What's the matter?"
"Zounds! my liver 's coming up;
I shall not survive the racket
Of this brutal Lisbon Packet."
Now at length we 're off for Turkey,
Lord knows when we shall come back! Breezes foul and tempests murky
May unship us in a crack. But, since life at most a jest is,
As philosophers allow,
Still to laugh by far the best is,
Then laugh on-as I do now.
Laugh at all things,
Great and small things,
Sick or well, at sea or shore; While we're quaffing,
Let's have laughing
Who the devil cares for more?-
Some good wine! and who would lack it,
Ev'n on board the Lisbon Packet?
Falmouth Roads, June 30, 1809.
[First published, 1830.]
OH Lady! when I left the shore,
The distant shore which gave me birth,
I hardly thought to grieve once more
To quit another spot on earth:
Yet here, amidst this barren isle,
Where panting Nature droops the head, Where only thou art seen to smile,
I view my parting hour with dread. Though far from Albin's craggy shore,
Divided by the dark-blue main;
A few, brief, rolling seasons o'er,
Perchance I view her cliffs again:
But wheresoe'er I now may roam,
Through scorching clime, and varied sea,
Though Time restore me to my home,
I ne'er shall bend mine eyes on thee:
On thee, in whom at once conspire
All charms which heedless hearts can move, Whom but to see is to admire,
And, oh! forgive the word-to love.
Forgive the word, in one who ne'er
With such a word can more offend; And since thy heart I cannot share, Believe me, what I am, thy friend. And who so cold as look on thee, Thou lovely wand'rer, and be less? Nor be, what man should ever be, The friend of Beauty in distress?
Ah! who would think that form had past
Through Danger's most destructive path,
Had braved the death-wing'd tempest's blast,
And 'scaped a tyrant's fiercer wrath?
Lady! when I shall view the walls
Where free Byzantium once arose,
And Stamboul's Oriental halls
The Turkish tyrants now enclose;
Though mightiest in the lists of fame,
That glorious city still shall be;
On me 't will hold a dearer claim,
As spot of thy nativity:
And though I bid thee now farewell,
When I behold that wondrous scene,
Since where thou art I may not dwell,
"T will soothe to be where thou hast been.
LINES WRITTEN IN AN ALBUM, AT MALTA.
As o'er the cold sepulchral stone
Some name arrests the passer-by;
Thus, when thou view'st this page alone,
May mine attract thy pensive eye!
And when by thee that name is read,
Perchance in some succeeding year,
Reflect on me as on the dead,
And think my heart is buried here.
STANZAS COMPOSED DURING A
CHILL and mirk is the nightly blast,
Where Pindus' mountains rise, And angry clouds are pouring fast
The vengeance of the skies.
Our guides are gone, our hope is lost,
And lightnings, as they play,
But show where rocks our path have crost,
Or gild the torrent's spray.
Is yon a cot I saw, though low?
When lightning broke the gloom-
How welcome were its shade!-ah, no!
'Tis but a Turkish tomb.
Through sounds of foaming waterfalls,
I hear a voice exclaim-.
My way-worn countryman, who calls
On distant England's name.
A shot is fired-by foe or friend?
Another 'tis to tell
The mountain-peasants to descend,
And lead us where they dwell.
Oh! who in such a night will dare
To tempt the wilderness?
And who 'mid thunder-peals can hear
Our signal of distress?
And who that heard our shouts would rise
To try the dubious road?
Nor rather deem from nightly cries
That outlaws were abroad.
Clouds burst, skies flash, oh, dreadful hour!
More fiercely pours the storm!
Yet here one thought has still the power
To keep my bosom warm.
While wandering through each broken path,
O'er brake and craggy brow;
While elements exhaust their wrath,
Sweet Florence, where art thou?
Not on the sea, not on the sea,
Thy bark hath long been gone:
Oh, may the storm that pours on me,
Bow down my head alone!
Full swiftly blew the swift Siroc,
When last I press'd thy lip;
And long ere now, with foaming shock.
Impell'd thy gallant ship.
Now thou art safe; nay, long ere now
Hast trod the shore of Spain;
"T were hard if aught so fair as thou
Should linger on the main.
And since I now remember thee
In darkness and in dread,
As in those hours of revelry
Which mirth and music sped;
Do thou, amid the fair white walls,
If Cadiz yet be free,
At times from out her latticed halls
Look o'er the dark blue sea;
Then think upon Calypso's isles,
Endear'd by days gone by;
To others give a thousand smiles,
To me a single sigh.
And when the admiring circle mark
The paleness of thy face,
A half-form'd tear, a transient spark
Of melancholy grace,
Again thou 'lt smile, and blushing shun
Some coxcomb's raillery;
Nor own for once thou thought'st on one,
Who ever thinks on thee.
Though smile and sigh alike are vain,
When sever'd hearts repine,
My spirit flies o'er mount and main,
And mourns in search of thine.
STANZAS WRITTEN IN PASSING THE
THROUGH cloudless skies, in silvery sheen,
Full beams the moon on Actium's coast:
And on these waves, for Egypt's queen,
The ancient world was won and lost.
And now upon the scene I look,
The azure grave of many a Roman;
Where stern Ambition once forsook
His wavering crown to follow woman.
Florence! whom I will love as well
As ever yet was said or sung
(Since Orpheus sang his spouse from hell),
Whilst thou art fair and I am young;
Sweet Florence! those were pleasant times,
When worlds were staked for ladies' eyes:
Had bards as many realms as rhymes,
Thy charms might raise new Antonies.
Though Fate forbids such things to be,
Yet, by thine eyes and ringlets curl'd!
I cannot lose a world for thee,
But would not lose thee for a world.
Nov. 14, 1809.
THE SPELL IS BROKE, THE CHARM IS FLOWN!
WRITTEN AT ATHENS, JANUARY 16, 1810.
THE spell is broke, the charm is flown!
Thus is it with life's fitful fever:
We madly smile when we should groan;
Delirium is our best deceiver.
Each lucid interval of thought
Recalls the woes of Nature's charter; And he that acts as wise men ought,
But lives, as saints have died, a martyr.
WRITTEN AFTER SWIMMING FROM SESTOS TO ABYDOS.
IF, in the month of dark December,
Leander, who was nightly wont
(What maid will not the tale remember?)
To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont!
If, when the wintry tempest roar'd,
He sped to Hero, nothing loth,
And thus of old thy current pour'd,
Fair Venus! how I pity both!
For me, degenerate modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May,
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I've done a feat to-day.
But since he cross'd the rapid tide,
According to the doubtful story,
To woo,-and-Lord knows what beside,
And swam for Love, as I for Glory;
'T were hard to say who fared the best :
Sad mortals! thus the gods still plague you!
He lost his labour, I my jest ;
For he was drown'd, and I've the ague. May 9, 1810.
LINES IN THE TRAVELLERS' BOOK AT ORCHOMENUS.
IN THIS BOOK A TRAVELLER HAD WRITTEN :
"FAIR Albion, smiling, sees her son depart To trace the birth and nursery of art: Noble his object, glorious is his aim;
He comes to Athens, and he writes his name." BENEATH WHICH LORD BYRON INSERTED THE FOLLOWING:
THE modest bard, like many a bard unknown, Rhymes on our names, but wisely hides his own; But yet, whoe'er he be, to say no worse,
His name would bring more credit than his verse. 1810.
MAID OF ATHENS, ERE WE PART
Ζώη μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.
MAID of Athens, ere we part,
Give, oh give me back my heart!
Or, since that has left my breast,
Keep it now, and take the rest!
Hear my vow before I go,
Ζώη μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.
By those tresses unconfined,
Woo'd by each Ægean wind;
By those lids whose jetty fringe
Kiss thy soft cheeks' blooming tinge;
By those wild eyes like the roc,
Ζώη μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.
TRANSLATION OF THE ROMAIC SONG,
Μπενω μες τσ' περιβόλι
Ωραιότατη Χάηδή, &c.
I ENTER thy garden of roses,
Beloved and fair Haidée,
Each morning where Flora reposes,
For surely I see her in thee.
Oh, Lovely! thus low I implore thee,
Receive this fond truth from my tongue,
Which atters its song to adore thee,
Yet trembles for what it has sung;
As the branch, at the bidding of Nature,
Adds fragrance and fruit to the tree,
Through her eyes, through her every feature,
Shines the soul of the young Haidée.
But the loveliest garden grows hateful
When Love has abandon'd the bowers;
Bring me hemlock-since mine is ungrateful,
That herb is more fragrant than flowers.
The poison, when pour'd from the chalice,
Will deeply embitter the bowl;
But when drunk to escape from thy malice,
The draught shall be sweet to my soul.
Too cruel! in vain I implore thee
My heart from these horrors to save:
Will nought to my bosom restore thee?
Then open the gates of the grave.
As the chief who to combat advances
Secure of his conquest before,
Thus thou, with those eyes for thy lances,
Hast pierced through my heart to its core.
THE kiss, dear maid! thy lip has left
Shall never part from mine,
Till happier hours restore the gift
Untainted back to thine.
Thy parting glance, which fondly beams, An equal love may see:
The tear that from thine eyelid streams
Can weep no change in me.
I ask no pledge to make me blest
In gazing when alone;
Nor one memorial for a breast,
Whose thoughts are all thine own.
Nor need I write-to tell the tale
My pen were doubly weak:
Oh! what can idle words avail,
Unless the heart could speak?
By day or night, in weal or woe,
That heart, no longer free,
Must bear the love it cannot show,
And silent ache for thee.
EPITAPH FOR JOSEPH BLACKETT,
LATE POET AND SHOEMAKER.
STRANGER! behold, interr'd together,
The souls of learning and of leather.
Poor Joe is gone, but left his all:
You'll find his relics in a stall.
His works were neat, and often found
Well stitch'd, and with morocco bound.
Tread lightly-where the bard is laid
He cannot mend the shoe he made;
Yet is he happy in his hole,
With verse immortal as his sole.
But still to business he held fast,
And stuck to Phoebus to the last.
Then who shall say so good a fellow
Was only "leather and prunella?"
For character-he did not lack it;
And if he did, 't were shame to "Black it."
Malta, May 16, 1811.
FAREWELL TO MALTA,
ADIEU, ye joys of La Valette!
Adieu, sirocco, sun, and sweat!
Adieu, thou palace rarely enter'd!
Adieu, ye mansions where-I've ventured!
Adieu, ye cursed streets of stairs!
(How surely he who mounts you swears!)
Adieu, ye merchants often failing! Adieu, thou mob for ever railing! Adieu, ye packets-without letters! Adieu, ye fools-who ape your betters!
Adieu, thou damned'st quarantine,
That gave me fever, and the spleen!
Adieu, that stage which makes us yawn, Sirs,
Adieu, his Excellency's dancers!
Adieu to Peter-whom no fault 's in,
But could not teach a colonel waltzing;
Adieu, ye females fraught with graces!
Adieu, red coats, and redder faces!
Adieu, the supercilious air
Of all that strut "en militaire!"
I go-but God knows when, or why,
To smoky towns and cloudy sky,
To things (the honest truth to say)
As bad-but in a different way.
Farewell to these, but not adieu,
Triumphant sons of truest blue!
While either Adriatic shore,
And fallen chiefs, and fleets no more,
And nightly smiles, and daily dinners,
Proclaim you war and woman's winners.
Pardon my Muse, who apt to prate is,
And take my rhyme-because 't is "gratis."
And now I've got to Mrs. Fraser,
Perhaps you think I mean to praise her-
And were I vain enough to think
My praise was worth this drop of ink,
A line-or two-were no hard matter,
As here, indeed, I need not flatter:
But she must be content to shine
In better praises than in mine,
With lively air, and open heart,
And fashion's ease, without its art;
Her hours can gaily glide along,
Nor ask the aid of idle song.
And now, O Malta! since thou 'st got us,
Thou little military hothouse!
I'll not offend with words uncivil,
And wish thee rudely at the Devil,
But only stare from out my casement,
And ask, for what is such a place meant?
Then, in my solitary nook,
Return to scribbling, or a book,
Or take my physic while I'm able
(Two spoonfuls hourly by the label),
Prefer my nightcap to my beaver,
And bless the gods I've got a fever.
May 26, 1811. [First published, 1832.]
UNHAPPY DIVES! in an evil hour
'Gainst Nature's voice seduced to deeds accurst!
Once Fortune's minion, now thou feel'st her power;
Wrath's vial on thy lofty head hath burst.
In Wit, in Genius, as in Wealth the first,
How wondrous bright thy blooming morn arose! But thou wert smitten with th' unhallow'd thirst Of crime un-named, and thy sad noon must close In scorn, and solitude unsought, the worst of woes. 1811. [First published, 1832.]
ON MOORE'S LAST OPERATIC FARCE, OR FARCICAL OPERA.
GOOD plays are scarce,
So Moore writes farce:
The poet's fame grows brittle-
We knew before
That Little 's Moore,
But now 't is Moore that 's little.
September 14, 1811.
[First published, 1830.]
EPISTLE TO A FRIEND,
IN ANSWER TO SOME LINES EXHORTING THE AUTHOR TO BE CHEERFUL, AND TO "BANISH CARE."
"OH! banish care "-such ever be
The motto of thy revelry!
Perchance of mine, when wassail nights
Renew those riotous delights,
Wherewith the children of Despair
Lull the lone heart, and "banish care."
But not in morn's reflecting hour,
When present, past, and future lower,
When all I loved is changed or gone,
Mock with such taunts the woes of one,
Whose every thought-but let them pass
Thou know'st I am not what I was.
But, above all, if thou wouldst hold
Place in a heart that ne'er was cold,
By all the powers that men revere,
By all unto thy bosom dear,
Thy joys below, thy hopes above,
Speak-speak of anything but love.
"T were long to tell, and vain to hear,
The tale of one who scorns a tear;
And there is little in that tale
Which better bosoms would bewail.
But mine has suffer'd more than well
'T would suit philosophy to tell.
I've seen my bride another's bride,-
Have seen her seated by his side,-
Have seen the infant, which she bore,
Wear the sweet smile the mother wore,
When she and I in youth have smiled,
As fond and faultless as her child;
Have seen her eyes, in cold disdain,
Ask if I felt no secret pain;
And I have acted well my part,
And made my cheek belie my heart,
Return'd the freezing glance she gave,
Yet felt the while that woman's slave;-
Have kiss'd, as if without design,
The babe which ought to have been mine,
And show'd, alas! in each caress
Time had not made me love the less.