The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3

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Poetical Works



Lord Byron
in an Albanian dress.
from a picture in the possession of Mr. John Murray.

The Works





Poetry. Vol. III.








First Edition . . May, 1900.
Reprinted . . . . April, 1904.


The present volume contains the six metrical tales which were composed within the years 1812 and 1815, the Hebrew Melodies and the minor poems of 1809-1816. With the exception of the first fifteen poems (1809-1811)—Chansons de Voyage, as they might be called—the volume as a whole was produced on English soil. Beginning with the Giaour, which followed in the wake of Childe Harold and shared its triumph, and ending with the ill-omened Domestic Pieces, or Poems of the Separation, the poems which Byron wrote in his own country synchronize with his popularity as a poet by the acclaim and suffrages of his own countrymen. His greatest work, by which his lasting fame has been established, and by which his relative merits as a great poet will be judged in the future, was yet to come; but the work which made his name, which is stamped with his sign-manual, and which has come to be regarded as distinctively and characteristically Byronic, preceded maturity and achievement.

No poet of his own or other times, not Walter Scott, not Tennyson, not Mr. Kipling, was ever in his own lifetime so widely, so amazingly popular. Thousands of copies of the "Tales"—of the Bride of Abydos, of the Corsair, of Lara—were sold in a day, and edition followed edition month in and month out. Everywhere men talked about the "noble author"—in the capitals of Europe, in literary circles in the United States, in the East Indies. He was "the glass of fashion ... the observ'd of all observers," the swayer of sentiment, the master and creator of popular emotion. No other English poet before or since has divided men's attention with generals and sea-captains and statesmen, has attracted and fascinated and overcome the world so entirely and potently as Lord Byron.

It was Childe Harold, the unfinished, immature Childe Harold, and the Turkish and other "Tales," which raised this sudden and deafening storm of applause when the century was young, and now, at its close (I refer, of course, to the Tales, not to Byron's poetry as a whole, which, in spite of the critics, has held and still holds its own), are ignored if not forgotten, passed over if not despised—which but few know thoroughly, and "very few" are found to admire or to love. Ubi lapsus, quid feci? might the questioning spirit of the author exclaim with regard to his "Harrys and Larrys, Pilgrims and Pirates," who once held the field, and now seem to have gone under in the struggle for poetical existence!

To what, then, may we attribute the passing away of interest and enthusiasm? To the caprice of fashion, to an insistence on a more faultless technique, to a nicer taste in ethical sentiment, to a preference for a subtler treatment of loftier themes? More certainly, and more particularly, I think, to the blurring of outline and the blotting out of detail due to lapse of time and the shifting of the intellectual standpoint.

However much the charm of novelty and the contagion of enthusiasm may have contributed to the success of the Turkish and other Tales, it is in the last degree improbable that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were enamoured, not of a reality, but of an illusion born of ignorance or of vulgar bewilderment. They were carried away because they breathed the same atmosphere as the singer; and being undistracted by ethical, or grammatical, or metrical offences, they not only read these poems with avidity, but understood enough of what they read to be touched by their vitality, to realize their verisimilitude.

Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. Nay, more, the knowledge, the comprehension of essential greatness in art, in nature, or in man is not to know that there is aught to forgive. But that sufficing knowledge which the reader of average intelligence brings with him for the comprehension and appreciation of contemporary literature has to be bought at the price of close attention and patient study when the subject-matter of a poem and the modes and movements of the poet's consciousness are alike unfamiliar.

Criticism, however subtle, however suggestive, however luminous, will not bridge over the gap between the past and the present, will not supply the sufficing knowledge. It is delightful and interesting and, in a measure, instructive to know what great poets of his own time and of ours have thought of Byron, how he "strikes" them; but unless we are ourselves saturated with his thought and style, unless we learn to breathe his atmosphere by reading the books which he read, picturing to ourselves the scenes which he saw,—unless we aspire to his ideals and suffer his limitations, we are in no way entitled to judge his poems, whether they be good or bad.

Byron's metrical "Tales" come before us in the guise of light reading, and may be "easily criticized" as melo-dramatic—the heroines conventional puppets, the heroes reduplicated reflections of the author's personality, the Oriental "properties" loosely arranged, and somewhat stage-worn. A thorough and sympathetic study of these once extravagantly lauded and now belittled poems will not, perhaps, reverse the deliberate judgment of later generations, but it will display them for what they are, bold and rapid and yet exact presentations of the "gorgeous East," vivid and fresh from the hand of the great artist who conceived them out of the abundance of memory and observation, and wrought them into shape with the "pen of a ready writer." They will be once more recognized as works of genius, an integral portion of our literary inheritance, which has its proper value, and will repay a more assiduous and a finer husbandry.

I have once more to acknowledge the generous assistance of the officials of the British Museum, and, more especially, of Mr. A. G. Ellis, of the Oriental Printed Books and MSS. Department, who has afforded me invaluable instruction in the compilation of the notes to the Giaour and Bride of Abydos.

I have also to thank Mr. R. L. Binyon, of the Department of Prints and Drawings, for advice and assistance in the selection of illustrations.

I desire to express my cordial thanks to the Registrar of the Copyright Office, Stationers' Hall; to Professor Jannaris, of the University of St. Andrews; to Miss E. Dawes, M.A., D.L., of Heathfield Lodge, Weybridge; to my cousin, Miss Edith Coleridge, of Goodrest, Torquay; and to my friend, Mr. Frank E. Taylor, of Chertsey, for information kindly supplied during the progress of the work.

For many of the "parallel passages" from the works of other poets, which are to be found in the notes, I am indebted to a series of articles by A. A. Watts, in the Literary Gazette, February and March, 1821; and to the notes to the late Professor E. Kölbing's Siege of Corinth.

On behalf of the publisher, I beg to acknowledge the kindness of Lord Glenesk, and of Sir Theodore Martin, K.C.B., who have permitted the examination and collation of MSS. of the Siege of Corinth and of the "Thyrza" poems, in their possession.

The original of the miniature of H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales (see p. 44) is in the Library of Windsor Castle. It has been reproduced for this volume by the gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen.


April 18, 1900.


Preface to Vol. III. of the Poems v
Introduction to Occasional Pieces (Poems 1809–1813; Poems 1814–1816) xix

Poems 1809–1813.
The Girl of Cadiz. First published in Works of Lord Byron, 1832, viii. 56 1
Lines written in an Album, at Malta. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 4
To Florence. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 5
Stanzas composed during a Thunderstorm. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 7
Stanzas written in passing the Ambracian Gulf. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 11
The Spell is broke, the Charm is flown! First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 12
Written after swimming from Sestos to Abydos. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 13
Lines in the Travellers' Book at Orchomenus. First published, Travels in Italy, Greece, etc., by H. W. Williams, 1820, ii. 290 15
Maid of Athens, ere we part. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 15
Fragment from the "Monk of Athos." First published, Life of Lord Byron, by the Hon. Roden Noel, 1890, pp. 206, 207 18
Lines written beneath a Picture. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 19
Translation of the famous Greek War Song, Δεῦτε παῖδες, κ.τ.λ. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 20
Translation of the Romaic Song, Μνέπω μεσ' τὸ περιβόλι, κ.τ.λ. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 22
On Parting. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 23
Farewell to Malta. First published, Poems on his Domestic Circumstances, by W. Hone (Sixth Edition, 1816) 24
Newstead Abbey. First published, Memoir of Rev. F. Hodgson, 1878, i. 187 27
Epistle to a Friend, in answer to some Lines exhorting the Author to be Cheerful, and to "banish Care." First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 301 28
To Thyrza ["Without a stone," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 30
Stanzas ["Away, away," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 35
Stanzas ["One struggle more," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 36
Euthanasia. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 39
Stanzas ["And thou art dead," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 41
Lines to a Lady weeping. First published. Morning Chronicle, March 7, 1812 45
Stanzas ["If sometimes," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 46
On a Cornelian Heart which was broken. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 48
The Chain I gave was Fair to view. From the Turkish. First published. Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition) 49
Lines written on a Blank Leaf of The Pleasures of Memory. First published, Poems, 1816 50
Address, spoken at the Opening of Drury-Lane Theatre, Saturday, October 10, 1812. First published, Morning Chronicle, October 12, 1812 51
Parenthetical Address. By Dr. Plagiary. First published, Morning Chronicle, October 23, 1812 55
Verses found in a Summer-house at Hales-Owen. First published, Works of Lord Byron, 1832, xvii. 244 59
Remember thee! Remember thee! First published, Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824, p. 330 59
To Time. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 60
Translation of a Romaic Love Song. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 62
Stanzas ["Thou art not false," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 64
On being asked what was the "Origin of Love." First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 65
On the Quotation, "And my true faith," etc. MS. M. 65
Stanzas ["Remember him," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 67
Impromptu, in Reply to a Friend. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 69
Sonnet. To Genevra ["Thine eyes' blue tenderness," etc.]. First published. Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition) 70
Sonnet. To Genevra ["Thy cheek is pale with thought," etc.]. First published, Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition) 71
From the Portuguese ["Tu mi chamas"]. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition). "Another Version." First published, 1831 71

The Giaour: A Fragment of a Turkish Tale.
Introduction to The Giaour 75
Bibliographical Note on The Giaour 78
Dedication 81
Advertisement 83
The Giaour 85

The Bride of Abydos. A Turkish Tale.
Introduction to The Bride of Abydos 149
Note to the MSS. of The Bride of Abydos 151
Dedication 155
The Bride of Abydos. Canto the First 157
Canto the Second 178
Note to The Bride of Abydos 211

The Corsair: A Tale.
Introduction to The Corsair 217
Bibliographical Note on The Corsair 220
Dedication 223
The Corsair. Canto the First 227
Canto the Second 249
Canto the Third 270

Introduction to the Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte 303
Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte 305

Lara: A Tale.
Introduction to Lara 319
Lara. Canto the First 323
Canto the Second 348

Hebrew Melodies.
Introduction to the Hebrew Melodies 375
Advertisement 379
She walks in Beauty 381
The Harp the Monarch Minstrel swept 382
If that High World 383
The Wild Gazelle 384
Oh! weep for those 385
On Jordan's Banks 386
Jeptha's Daughter 387
Oh! snatched away in Beauty's Bloom 388
My Soul is Dark 389
I saw thee weep 390
Thy Days are done 391
Saul 392
Song of Saul before his Last Battle 393
"All is Vanity, saith the Preacher" 394
When Coldness wraps this Suffering Clay 395
Vision of Belshazzar 397
Sun of the Sleepless! 399
Were my Bosom as False as thou deem'st it to be 399
Herod's Lament for Mariamne 400
On the Day of the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus 401
By the Rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept 402
"By the Waters of Babylon" 404
The Destruction of Sennacherib 404
A Spirit passed before me 406

Poems 1814–1816.
Farewell! if ever Fondest Prayer. First published, Corsair (Second Edition, 1814) 409
When we Two parted. First published, Poems, 1816 410
[Love and Gold.] MS. M. 411
Stanzas for Music ["I speak not, I trace not," etc.]. First published, Fugitive Pieces, 1829 413
Address intended to be recited at the Caledonian Meeting. First published, Letters and Journals, 1330, i. 559 415
Elegiac Stanzas on the Death of Sir Peter Parker, Bart. First published, Morning Chronicle, October 7, 1814 417
Julian [a Fragment]. MS. M. 419
To Belshazzar. First published, 1831 421
Stanzas for Music ["There's not a joy," etc.]. First published, Poems, 1816 423
On the Death of the Duke of Dorset. First published, Works, Paris, 1826, p. 716 425
Stanzas for Music ["Bright be the place of thy soul"]. First published. Examiner, June 4, 1815 426
Napoleon's Farewell. First published, Examiner, July 30, 1815 427
From the French ["Must thou go, my glorious Chief?"]. First published, Poems, 1816 428
Ode from the French ["We do not curse thee, Waterloo!"]. First published, Morning Chronicle, March 15, 1816 431
Stanzas for Music ["There be none of Beauty's daughters"]. First published. Poems, 1816 435
On the Star of "the Legion of Honour." First published, Examiner, April 7, 1816 436
Stanzas for Music ["They say that Hope is happiness"]. First published, Fugitive Pieces, 1829 438

The Siege of Corinth.
Introduction to The Siege of Corinth 441
Dedication 445
Advertisement 447
Note on the MS. of The Siege of Corinth 448
The Siege of Corinth 449

Introduction to Parisina 499
Dedication 501
Advertisement 503
Parisina 505

Poems of the Separation.
Introduction to Poems of the Separation 531
Fare Thee Well 537
A Sketch 540
Stanzas to Augusta 544


1. Lord Byron in Albanian Dress, from a Portrait in Oils by T. Phillips, R.A., in the Possession of Mr. John Murray Frontispiece
2. H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales, from the Miniature in the Possession of H.M. the Queen, at Windsor Castle To face p.  44
3. Lady Wilmot Horton, from a Sketch by Sir Thomas Lawrence „  „ 380
4. Temple of Zeus Nemeus, from a Drawing by William Pars, A.R.A., in the British Museum „  „ 470
5. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from a Portrait in Oils by T. Phillips, R.A., in the Possession of Mr. John Murray „  „ 472
6. The Hon. Mrs. Leigh, from a Sketch by Sir George Hayter, in the British Museum „  „ 544

(POEMS 1809-1813; POEMS 1814-1816).

The Poems afterwards entitled "Occasional Pieces," which were included in the several editions of the Collected Works issued by Murray, 1819-1831, numbered fifty-seven in all. They may be described as the aggregate of the shorter poems written between the years 1809-1818, which the author thought worthy of a permanent place among his poetical works. Of these the first twenty-nine appeared in successive editions of Childe Harold (Cantos I., II.) [viz. fourteen in the first edition, twenty in the second, and twenty-nine in the seventh edition], while the thirtieth, the Ode on the Death of Sir Peter Parker, was originally attached to Hebrew Melodies. The remaining twenty-seven pieces consist of six poems first published in the Second Edition of the Corsair, 1814; eleven which formed the collection entitled "Poems," 1816; six which were appended to the Prisoner of Chillon, December, 1816; the Very Mournful Ballad, and the Sonnet by Vittorelli, which accompanied the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, 1818; the Sketch, first included by Murray in his edition of 1819; and the Ode to Venice, which appeared in the same volume as Mazeppa.

Thus matters stood till 1831, when seventy new poems (sixty had been published by Moore, in Letters and Journals, 1830, six were republished from Hobhouse's Imitations and Translations, 1809, and four derived from other sources) were included in a sixth volume of the Collected Works.

In the edition of 1832-35, twenty-four new poems were added, but four which had appeared in Letters and Journals, 1830, and in the sixth volume of the edition of 1831 were omitted. In the one-volume edition (first issued in 1837 and still in print), the four short pieces omitted in 1832 once more found a place, and the lines on "John Keats," first published in Letters and Journals, and the two stanzas to Lady Caroline Lamb, "Remember thee! remember thee," first printed by Medwin, in the Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824, were included in the Collection.

The third volume of the present issue includes all minor poems (with the exception of epigrams and jeux d'esprit reserved for the seventh volume) written after Byron's departure for the East in July, 1809, and before he left England for good in April, 1816.

The "Separation" and its consequent exile afforded a pretext and an opportunity for the publication of a crop of spurious verses. Of these Madame Lavalette (first published in the Examiner, January 21, 1816, under the signature B.B., and immediately preceding a genuine sonnet by Wordsworth, "How clear, how keen, how marvellously bright!") and Oh Shame to thee, Land of the Gaul! included by Hone, in Poems on his Domestic Circumstances, 1816; and Farewell to England, Ode to the Isle of St. Helena, To the Lily of France, On the Morning of my Daughter's Birth, published by J. Johnston, 1816, were repudiated by Byron, in a letter to Murray, dated July 22, 1816. A longer poem entitled The Tempest, which was attached to the spurious Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, published by Johnston, "the Cheapside impostor," in 1817, was also denounced by Byron as a forgery in a letter to Murray, dated December 16, 1816.

The Triumph of the Whale, by Charles Lamb, and the Enigma on the Letter H, by Harriet Fanshawe, were often included in piratical editions of Byron's Poetical Works. Other attributed poems which found their way into newspapers and foreign editions, viz. (i.) lines written In the Bible, "Within this awful volume lies," quoted in Life, Writings, Opinions, etc., 1825, iii. 414; (ii.) lines addressed to (?) George Anson Byron, "And dost thou ask the reason of my sadness?" Nicnac, March 29, 1823; (iii.) To Lady Caroline Lamb, "And sayst thou that I have not felt," published in Works, etc., 1828; (iv.) lines To her who can best understand them, "Be it so, we part for ever," published in the Works of Lord Byron, in Verse and Prose, Hartford, 1847; (v.) Lines found in the Travellers' Book at Chamouni. "How many numbered are, how few agreed!" published Works, etc., 1828; and (vi.) a second copy of verses with the same title, "All hail, Mont Blanc! Mont-au-Vert, hail!" Life, Writings, etc., 1825, ii. 384; and (vii.) Enigma on the Letter I, "I am not in youth, nor in manhood, nor age," Works, etc., Paris, p. 720, together with sundry epigrams, must, failing the production of the original MSS., be accounted forgeries, or, perhaps, in one or two instances, of doubtful authenticity.

The following poems: On the Quotation, "And my true faith," etc.; [Love and Gold]; and Julian [a Fragment], are now published for the first time from MSS. in the possession of Mr. John Murray.