Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: To Edward Noel Long, Esq.

1,i "Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico." - HORACE.

Dear LONG, in this sequester'd scene, ii

While all around in slumber lie,

The joyous days, which ours have been

Come rolling fresh on Fancy's eye;

Thus, if, amidst the gathering storm,

While clouds the darken'd noon deform,

Yon heaven assumes a varied glow,

I hail the sky's celestial bow,

Which spreads the sign of future peace,

And bids the war of tempests cease.

Ah! though the present brings but pain,

I think those days may come again;

Or if, in melancholy mood,

Some lurking envious fear intrude, iii

To check my bosom's fondest thought,

And interrupt the golden dream,

I crush the fiend with malice fraught,

And, still, indulge my wonted theme.

Although we ne'er again can trace,

In Granta's vale, the pedant's lore,

Nor through the groves of Ida chase

Our raptured visions, as before;

Though Youth has flown on rosy pinion,

And Manhood claims his stern dominion,

Age will not every hope destroy,

But yield some hours of sober joy.

Yes, I will hope that Time's broad wing

Will shed around some dews of spring:

But, if his scythe must sweep the flowers

Which bloom among the fairy bowers,

Where smiling Youth delights to dwell,

And hearts with early rapture swell;

If frowning Age, with cold controul,

Confines the current of the soul,

Congeals the tear of Pity's eye,

Or checks the sympathetic sigh,

Or hears, unmov'd, Misfortune's groan

And bids me feel for self alone;

Oh! may my bosom never learn

To soothe its wonted heedless flow; iv

Still, still, despise the censor stern,

But ne'er forget another's woe.

Yes, as you knew me in the days,

O'er which Remembrance yet delays, v

Still may I rove untutor'd, wild,

And even in age, at heart a child. vi

Though, now, on airy visions borne,

To you my soul is still the same.

Oft has it been my fate to mourn, vii

And all my former joys are tame:

But, hence! ye hours of sable hue!

Your frowns are gone, my sorrows o'er:

By every bliss my childhood knew,

I'll think upon your shade no more.

Thus, when the whirlwind's rage is past,

And caves their sullen roar enclose viii

We heed no more the wintry blast,

When lull'd by zephyr to repose.

Full often has my infant Muse,

Attun'd to love her languid lyre;

But, now, without a theme to choose,

The strains in stolen sighs expire.

My youthful nymphs, alas! are flown; ix

E -- is a wife, and C -- a mother,

And Carolina sighs alone,

And Mary's given to another;

And Cora's eye, which roll'd on me,

Can now no more my love recall -

In truth, dear LONG, 'twas time to flee - x

For Cora's eye will shine on all.

And though the Sun, with genial rays,

His beams alike to all displays,

And every lady's eye's a 'sun',

These last should be confin'd to one.

The soul's meridian don't become her, xi

Whose Sun displays a general 'summer'!

Thus faint is every former flame,

And Passion's self is now a name; xii xiii

As, when the ebbing flames are low,

The aid which once improv'd their light,

And bade them burn with fiercer glow,

Now quenches all their sparks in night;

Thus has it been with Passion's fires,

As many a boy and girl remembers,

While all the force of love expires,

Extinguish'd with the dying embers.

But now, dear LONG, 'tis midnight's noon,

And clouds obscure the watery moon,

Whose beauties I shall not rehearse,

Describ'd in every stripling's verse;

For why should I the path go o'er

Which every bard has trod before? xiv

Yet ere yon silver lamp of night

Has thrice perform'd her stated round,

Has thrice retrac'd her path of light,

And chas'd away the gloom profound,

I trust, that we, my gentle Friend,

Shall see her rolling orbit wend,

Above the dear-lov'd peaceful seat,

Which once contain'd our youth's retreat;

And, then, with those our childhood knew,

We'll mingle in the festive crew;

While many a tale of former day

Shall wing the laughing hours away;

And all the flow of souls shall pour

The sacred intellectual shower,

Nor cease, till Luna's waning horn,

Scarce glimmers through the mist of Morn.

Footnote 1: The MS. of these verses is at Newstead. Long was with Byron at Harrow, and was the only one of his intimate friends who went up at the same time as he did to Cambridge, where both were noted for feats of swimming and diving. Long entered the Guards, and served in the expedition to Copenhagen. He was drowned early in 1809, when on his way to join the army in the Peninsula; the transport in which he sailed being run down in the night by another of the convoy. "Long's father," says Byron, "wrote to me to write his son's epitaph. I promised - but I had not the heart to complete it. He was such a good, amiable being as rarely remains long in this world; with talent and accomplishments, too, to make him the more regretted." - 'Diary', 1821; 'Life', p. 32. See also memorandum ('Life', p. 31, col. ii.).

Footnote i:

'To E. N. L. Esq.'

'Hours of Idleness. Poems O. and T.'

Footnote ii:

'Dear L -- .'

'Hours of Idleness. Poems O. and T.'

Footnote iii:

'Some daring envious.'

'MS. Newstead.'

Footnote iv:

'its young romantic flow.'

'MS. Newstead.'

Footnote v:

'O'er which my fancy' - .

'MS. Newstead.'

Footnote vi:

'Still may my breast to boyhood cleave,

With every early passion heave;

Still may I rove untutored, wild,

But never cease to seem a child.' -

'MS. Newstead.'

Footnote vii:

'Since we have met, I learnt to mourn.'

'MS. Newstead.'

Footnote viii:

'And caves their sullen war' - .

'MS. Newstead.'

Footnote ix:

' - thank Heaven are flown'.

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote x:

'In truth dear L -- '.

'Hours of Idleness. Poems O. and T.

Footnote xi:

'The glances really don't become her'.

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote xii:

'No more I linger on its name'.

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote xiii:

'And passion's self is but a name'.

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote xiv:

'And what's much worse than this I find

Have left their deepen'd tracks behind

Yet as yon' --- .

'MS. Newstead'.