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be a student, he had no affection for being a scholar. He has said
Too much to conquer for the poet's sake
The drill'd dull lesson, forced down word by word,
It was for this reason, probably, that he neither distinguished himself much at Harrow nor at Trinity College, Cambridge, whither he went on his leaving the former school. His impatience of every kind of domination exposed him to frequent squabbles with the persons having authority in college; and he quitted Cambridge without having excited in the minds of those persons any suspicion that he possessed either talents, or a disposition to cultivate them, beyond those of the mob of gentlemen' who fill that university. A thousand absurd stories are told of his extravagancies at college, in which, like those of gentle Master Shallow, every third word is a lie, more religiously paid than the Turk's tribute,' and which, if they were true, are not worth retailing. From the fact of his having, for a short time, kept a young bear in his rooms at Trinity College, many fruitful inventions have sprung. Among others, it is said he told the master of Trinity that he intended his bear should sit for a fellowship.' This is untrue; and, if it were otherwise, it would be only a bad attempt to imitate the brutal madman, Lord Camelford, who threatened to return his black servant to Parliament for one of his boroughs; or that better story of Rabelais, who had his mule entered as a member of the Sorbonne, under the title of Doctor Johannes Caballus.'
Although, however, Lord Byron, either from waywardness or pride, did not choose to take a part in the strife for college distinctions, his life was not quite an idle one. His devotion to poetry had long been manifested; and he had occasionally written verses, which, being far superior to the compositions of young men in general, had received the too flattering approbation of his friends. Having quitted college at nineteen, he was induced soon afterwards to publish some of these poems at Newark, under the title of Hours of Idleness.' This first step which he made in the career of literature decided his fate for life, and he became, as Voltaire said to a young man of genius, whose premature death disappointed the hopes which had been formed of him, 'a poet and a man of letters; not because he chose to be so, but because Nature had so decreed.' There was no evading the destiny
which had been allotted him; and although he, perhaps, never dreamed, when he published the works of his boyhood, that he should step from them to the highest and most noble place in the literature of his country, yet it is to this circumstance alone that he owes his ceiebrity.
Whatever has proceeded from the pen of so highly gifted a genius as Lord Byron possesses an interest beyond its own intrinsic merit. Feeble as these poems are when compared with his subsequent writings, they serve to mark, however, indistinctly, the progress which the human mind can make under certain circumstances; and, although they do not amount to proofs, they furnish very important data for those who delight to inquire into the nature of our being, and the exertions which intellect is capable of making. It is for this reason, as well as because the poems are pleasing in themselves, that we have subjoined the greater and the better part of those contained in the Hours of Idleness.' The reader will be enabled, by means of the dates which are annexed to many of the pieces, to ascertain the age of the poet at the period of their composition.
ON LEAVING NEWSTEAD ABBEY.
Why dost thou build the hall? son of the winged days! Thou lookest from thy tower to-day; yet a few years, and the blast of the desert comes; it howls in thy empty courts.---OSSIAN.
Through thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle;
In thy once-smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle
Have choked up the rose, which late bloom'd in the way.
Of the mail-cover'd barons, who proudly in battle
No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing numbers,
* Horistan Castle, in Derbyshire, an ancient seat of the Byron family.
Paul and Hubert too sleep, in the valley of Cressy;
For the safety of Edward and England they fell;
How you fought! how you died! still her annals can tell.
EPITAPH ON A FRIEND.
Αστηρ πριν μεν ελαμτες ενι ξωοισιν έωος.—LAERTIUS.
Oh! friend for ever lov'd for ever dear!
What fruitless tears have bath'd thy honour'd bier!
The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie,
The battle of Marston Moor, where the adherents of Charles I. were defeated.
+ Son of the Elector Palatine, and related to Charles 1. He afterwards commanded the fleet in the reign of Charles II.
Here wilt thou read, recorded on my heart,
When to their airy hall my father's voice
O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Felix! in imo qui scatentem
When friendship or love
Our sympathies move,
When truth in a glance should appear,
The lips may beguile
With a dimple or smile,
But the test of affection 's a Tear.
Too oft is a smile
But the hypocrite's wile,
To mark detestation or fear;
Give me the soft sigh,
Is dimm'd for a time with a Tear.
Mild Charity's glow,
To us mortals below,
Where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a Tear.
The man doom'd to sail With the blast of the gale, Through billows Atlantic to steer, As he bends o'er the wave, Which may soon be his grave, The green sparkles bright with a Tear.
The soldier braves death
For a fanciful wreath,
In glory's romantic career;
But he raises the foe,
When in battle laid low,
And bathes every wound with a Tear.
If with high-bounding pride
When, embracing the maid,
From her eyelid he kisses the Tear,
Sweet scene of my youth,
Seat of friendship and truth,
Where love chased each fast-fleeting year,