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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/130

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HOURS OF IDLENESS.

With him, for years, we search'd the classic page,[1]
And fear'd the Master, though we lov'd the Sage:
Retir'd at last, his small yet peaceful seat
From learning's labour is the blest retreat.
Pomposus fills his magisterial chair;
Pomposus governs,—but, my Muse, forbear:
Contempt, in silence, be the pedant's lot,[2]

His name and precepts be alike forgot;

    from his situation in March, 1805, after having resided thirty-five years at Harrow; the last twenty as head-master; an office he held with equal honour to himself and advantage to the very extensive school over which he presided. Panegyric would here be superfluous: it would be useless to enumerate qualifications which were never doubted. A considerable contest took place between three rival candidates for his vacant chair: of this I can only say—

    Si mea cum vestris valuissent volta, Pelasgi!
    Non foret ambiguus tanti certaminis hæres.

    [Byron's letters from Harrow contain the same high praise of Dr. Drury. In one, of November 2, 1804, he says, "There is so much of the gentleman, so much mildness, and nothing of pedantry in his character, that I cannot help liking him, and will remember his instructions with gratitude as long as I live." A week after, he adds, "I revere Dr. Drury. I dread offending him; not, however, through fear, but the respect I bear him makes me unhappy when I am under his displeasure." Dr. Drury has related the secret of the influence he obtained: the glance which told him that the lad was "a wild mountain colt," told him also that he could be "led with a silken string."]

  1. With him for years I search'd the classic page,
    Culling the treasures of the lette'd sage.—[P. on V. Occasions.]

  2. Contempt, in silence, be the pedant's lot.
    Soon shall his shallow precepts be forgot;
    No more his mention shall my pen degrade
    My tribute to his name's already paid.—[P. on V. Occasions.]

    Another variant for a new edition ran—

    Another fills his magisterial chair;
    Reluctant Ida owns a stranger's care;
    Oh! may like honours crown his future name:
    If such his virtues, such shall be his fame.—[MS. M.]