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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/235

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TO THE DUKE OF DORSET.

Whom, still, affection taught me to defend,
And made me less a tyrant than a friend,
Though the harsh custom of our youthful band
Bade thee obey, and gave me to command;[1]
Thee, on whose head a few short years will shower
The gift of riches, and the pride of power;
E'en now a name illustrious is thine own,
Renown'd in rank, not far beneath the throne.10
Yet, Dorset, let not this seduce thy soul[2]
To shun fair science, or evade controul;
Though passive tutors,[3] fearful to dispraise
The titled child, whose future breath may raise,
View ducal errors with indulgent eyes,

And wink at faults they tremble to chastise.

    I had totally forgotten, composed in the summer of 1805, a short time previous to my departure from H[arrow]. They were addressed to a young schoolfellow of high rank, who had been my frequent companion in some rambles through the neighbouring country: however, he never saw the lines, and most probably never will. As, on a re-perusal, I found them not worse than some other pieces in the collection, I have now published them, for the first time, after a slight revision. [The foregoing note was prefixed to the poem in Poems O. and T. George John Frederick, 4th Duke of Dorset, born 1793, was killed by a fall from his horse when hunting, in 1815, while on a visit to his step-father the Earl of Whitworth, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. (See Byron's letter to Moore, Feb. 22, 1815.)]

  1. At every public school the junior boys are completely subservient to the upper forms till they attain a seat in the higher classes. From this state of probation, very properly, no rank is exempt; but after a certain period, they command in turn those who succeed.
  2. Yet D—r—t——.—[Poems O. and T.]
  3. Allow me to disclaim any personal allusions, even the most distant. I merely mention generally what is too often the weakness of preceptors.