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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/78

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38
HOURS OF IDLENESS.

That ever witness'd rural loves;
Then if my passion fail to please[1]
Next night I'll be content to freeze;
No more I'll give a loose to laughter,
But curse my fate, for ever after.[2]


TO A BEAUTIFUL QUAKER.[3]

Sweet girl! though only once we met,

That meeting I shall ne'er forget;
  1. There if my passion.—[4to. P. on V. Occasions.]
  2. In the above little piece the author has been accused by some candid readers of introducing the name of a lady [Julia Leacroft] from whom he was some hundred miles distant at the time this was written; and poor Juliet, who has slept so long in "the tomb of all the Capulets," has been converted, with a trifling alteration of her name, into an English damsel, walking in a garden of their own creation, during the month of December, in a village where the author never passed a winter. Such has been the candour of some ingenious critics. We would advise these liberal commentators on taste and arbiters of decorum to read Shakespeare. Having heard that a very severe and indelicate censure has been passed on the above poem, I beg leave to reply in a quotation from an admired work, Carr's Stranger in France.—"As we were contemplating a painting on a large scale, in which, among other figures, is the uncovered whole length of a warrior, a prudish-looking lady, who seemed to have touched the age of desperation, after having attentively surveyed it through her glass, observed to her party that there was a great deal of indecorum in that picture. Madame S. shrewdly whispered in my ear 'that the indecorum was in the remark.'"—[Ed. 1803, cap. xvi. p. 171. Compare the note on verses addressed "To a Knot of Ungenerous Critics," p. 213.]
  3. ["Whom the author saw at Harrowgate."—Annotated copy of P. on V, Occasions, p. 64 (British Museum).]