« PreviousContinue »
Childe Harold was he hight:1—but whence his name
Nor florid prose, nor honied lies of rhyme,
Childe Harold basked him in the noontide sun,
Then loathed he in his native land to dwell,
For he through Sin's long labyrinth had run,
And spoiled her goodly lands to gild his waste,
And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
i Hight.] “Childe,' applied by Spenser to Prince Arthur, and to a king's son, Childe Tristram, and found in the old ballad •Childe Waters. For the word “hight,' see Glossary,
2 Losėl.] See Glossary. 5 The poet was now twenty-four years of age. 4 An allusion to his boyish love-Mary Chaworth. See Byron's Dream,
'Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe,
The Childe departed from his father's hall :
And monks might deem their time was come agen,
Yet oft-times in his maddest mirthful mood
Nor sought he friend to counsel or condole,
And none did love him : though to hall and bower
; The heartless parasites of present cheer.
| Ee.] Glossary.
2 Newstead Abbey, which he describes again in ‘Don Juan,' Canto xiii.
3 From Paphos, the scene of Aphrodite's worship. The description of his riotous living is historically untrue, and seems probably suggested by the orgies of Medmenham Abbey, of the time of Wilkes. 4 Condole.] Elliptically for condole with him.'
Yea! none did love him-not his lemans 1 dear-
alone are woman's care, And where these are light Eros ? finds a feere ; 3
Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare, And Mammon wins his way where Seraphs might despair.
Childe Harold had a mother 4—not forgot,
A few dear objects, will in sadness feel
His house, his home, his heritage, his lands,
Without a sigh he left, to cross the brine,
The sails were filled, and fair the light winds blew,
One word of wail, whilst others sate and wept,
1 Lemans.] See Glossary.
6 Paynim.] Correlative to Giaour, applied by Christians to Musalmans-Pagani,
But when the sun was sinking in the sea He seized his harp, which he at times could string, And strike, albeit with untaught melody, When deemed he no strange ear was listening : And now his fingers o'er it he did fling, And tuned his farewell in the dim twilight. While flew the vessel on her snowy wing, And fleeting shores receded from his sight, Thus to the elements he poured his last · Good Night.'
Fades o'er the waters blue ;
And shrieks the wild sea-mew.
We follow in his flight ;
To give the morrow birth ;
But not my mother earth.
Its hearth is desolate ;
Why dost thou weep and wail ?
Or tremble at the gale ?
Our ship is swift and strong :
More merrily along.'
* Let winds be shrill, let waves roll high,
I fear not wave nor wind :
Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I
Am sorrowful in mind ;
A mother whom I love,
But thee-and one above.
Yet did not much complain ;
Till I come back again.”-
Such tears become thine eye ;
Mine own would not be dry.
• Come hither, hither, my staunch yeoman,
Why dost thou look so pale ?
Or shiver at the gale ?'—
Sir Childe, I'm not so weak;
Will blanch a faithful cheek.
Along the bordering lake,
What answer shall she make ? ?'-
Thy grief let none gainsay:
Will laugh to flee away.'
For who would trust the seeming sighs
Of wife or paramour ? 1
| Paramour.] Mistress, from Norman paraimer,' to love, equal to the A.-S. "leman.'