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be a student, he had no affection for being a scholar. He has said

'I abhorr'd

Too much to conquer for the poet's sake

The drill'd dull lesson, forced down word by word,
In my repugnant youth with pleasure to record.'

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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

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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.


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;
Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay;

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
Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine's plain,
The escutcheon and shield, which with every blast rattle,
Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.

No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing numbers,
Raise a flame in the breast for the war-laurell'd wreath;
Near Askalon's towers John of Horistan* slumbers—
Unnerved is the hand of his minstrel by death.

* 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;
My fathers! the tears of your country redress ye;

How you fought! how you died! still her annals can tell.
On Marston with Rupert + 'gainst traitors contending,
Four brothers enrich'd with their blood the bleak field;
For the rights of a monarch their country defending,
Till death their attachment to royalty seal❜d.
Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant, departing
From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu!
Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting
New courage, he'll think upon glory and you.
Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation,
'Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret:
Far distant he goes, with the same emulation;
The fame of his fathers he ne'er can forget.
That fame, and that memory, still will he cherish;
He vows that he ne'er will disgrace your renown:
Like you will he live, or like you will he perish;
When decay'd, may he mingle his dust with your own!


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!
What sighs re-echoed to thy parting breath
Whilst thou wast struggling in the pangs of death!
Could tears retard the tyrant in his course;
Could sighs avert his dart's relentless force;
Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,
Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey;
Thou still hadst lived to bless my aching sight,
Thy comrade's honour, and thy friend's delight.
If yet thy gentle spirit hover nigh

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,
A grief too deep to trust the sculptor's art.
No marble marks the couch of lowly sleep,
But living statues there are seen to weep;
Affliction's semblance bends not o'er thy tomb,
Affliction's self deplores thy youthful doom.
What though thy sire lament his failing line,
A father's sorrows cannot equal mine!
Though none like thee his dying hour will cheer,
Yet other offspring sooth his anguish here:
But who with me shall hold thy former place?
Thine image what new friendship can efface?
Ah! none! a father's tears will cease to flow,
Time will assuage an infant brother's woe;
To all, save one, is consolation known,
While solitary friendship sighs alone.


When to their airy hall my father's voice
Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice;
When, poised upon the gale, my form shall ride,
Or, dark in mist, descend the mountain's side;
Oh! may my shade behold no sculptured urns
To mark the spot where earth to earth returns;
No lengthened scroll, no praise-encumbered stone;
My epitaph shall be-my name alone :
If that with honour fail to crown my clay,
Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay:
That, only that, shall single out the spot;
By that remembered, or with that forgot.


O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Ducentium ortus ex animo; quater



Felix! in imo qui scatentem
Pectore te, pia Nymphia, sensit.


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,
Whilst the soul-telling eye

Is dimm'd for a time with a Tear.

Mild Charity's glow,

To us mortals below,
Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
Compassion will melt

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
He return to his bride,
Renouncing the gore-crimson'd spear,
All his toils are repaid,

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,

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