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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/143

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103
CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS.

When Probus' praise repaid my lyric song,
Or plac'd me higher in the studious throng;350
Or when my first harangue receiv'd applause,[1]
His sage instruction the primeval cause,
What gratitude, to him, my soul possest,

While hope of dawning honours fill'd my breast![2]
  1. ["My qualities were much more oratorical than poetical, and Dr. Drury, my grand patron, had a great notion that I should turn out an orator from my fluency, my turbulence, my voice, my copiousness of declamation, and my action. I remember that my first declamation astonished Dr. Drury into some unwonted (for he was economical of such) and sudden compliments, before the declaimers at our first rehearsal."—Byron Diary. "I certainly was much pleased with Lord Byron's attitude, gesture, and delivery, as well as with his composition. To my surprise, he suddenly diverged from the written composition, with a boldness and rapidity sufficient to alarm me, lest he should fail in memory as to the conclusion. I questioned him, why he had altered his declamation? He declared he had made no alteration, and did not know, in speaking, that he had deviated from it one letter. I believed him, and from a knowledge of his temperament, am convinced that he was hurried on to expressions and colourings more striking than what his pen had expressed."—Dr. Drury, Life, p. 20.]
  2. {{block center|When, yet a novice in the mimic art,
    I feign'd the transports of a vengeful heart;
    When, as the Royal Slave, I trod the stage,
    To vent in Zanga, more than mortal rage;
    The praise of Probus, made me feel more proud,
    Than all the plaudits of the list'ning crowd.
    Ah! vain endeavour in this childish strain
    To soothe the woes of which I thus complain!
    What can avail this fruitless loss of time,
    To measure sorrow, in a jingling rhyme!
    No social solace from a friend, is near,
    And heartless strangers drop no feeling tear,
    I seek not joy in Woman's sparkling eye,
    The smiles of Beauty cannot check the sigh.
    Adieu, thou world! thy pleasure's still a dream,
    Thy virtue, but a visionary theme;
    Thy years of vice, on years of folly roll,
    Till grinning death assigns the destin'd goal,