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HOURS OF IDLENESS:

A SERIES OF POEMS, ORIGINAL AND TRANSLATED.

(FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1807.]

'Virginibus puerisque canto.'-HORACE, lib. iii. Ode 1.

• Μήτ' ἄρ με μάλ' αἴνες, μήτε τι νείκει.HOMER, Iliad, x. 249,
'He whistled as he went, for want of thought.'-DRYDEN.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

FREDERICK, EARL OF CARLISLE,

KNIGHT OF THE GARTER, ETC. ETC.,

THE SECOND EDITION OF THESE POEMS IS INSCRIBED,

BY HIS

OBLIGED WARD AND AFFECTIONATE KINSMAN,

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

IN submitting to the public eye the following collection, I have not only to combat the difficulties that writers of verse generally encounter, but may incur the charge of presumption for obtruding myself on the world, when, without doubt, I might be, at my age, more usefully employed.

These productions are the fruits of the lighter hours of a young man who has lately completed his nineteenth year. As they bear the internal evidence of a boyish mind, this is perhaps unnecessary information. Some few were written during the disadvantages of illness and depression of spirits: under the former influence, 'CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS,' in particular, were composed. This consideration, though it cannot excite the voice of praise, may at least arrest the arm of censure. A considerable portion of these poems has been privately printed, at the request and for the perusal of my friends. I am sensible that the partial and frequently injudicious admiration of a social circle is not the criterion by which poetical genius is to be estimated: yet, 'to do greatly, we must 'dáre greatly; and I have hazarded my reputation and feelings in publishing this volume. 'I have passed the Rubicon,' and must stand or fall by the ' cast of the die.' In the latter event, I shall submit without a murmur; for, though not without solicitude for the fate of these effusions, my expectations are by no means sanguine. It is probable that I may have dared much and done little; for, in the words of Cowper, it is one thing to write what may please our friends, who, because they are such, are apt to be a little biassed in our favour, and another to write what may please everybody; because they who have no connection, or even knowledge of the author, will be sure to find fault if they can.' To the truth of this, however, I do not wholly subscribe: on the contrary, I feel convinced that these trifles will not be treated with injustice. Their merit, if they possess any, will be liberally allowed; their numerous faults, on the other hand, cannot expect that favour which has been denied to others of maturer years, decided character, and far greater ability.

I have not aimed at exclusive originality, still less have I studied any particular model for imitation: some translations are given, of which many are paraphrastic. In the original pieces there may appear a casual coincidence with authors whose works I have been accustomed to read; but I have not been guilty of intentional plagiarism. To produce anything entirely new, in an age so fertile in rhyme, would be a Herculean task, as every subject has already been treated to its utmost extent. Poetry, however, is not my primary vocation; to divert the dull moments of indisposition, or the monotony of a vacant hour, urged me

B

'to this sin' little can be expected from so unpromising a muse. My wreath, scanty as it must be, is all I shall derive from these productions; and I shall never attempt to replace its fading leaves, or pluck a single additional sprig from groves where I am, at best, an intruder. Though accustomed, in my younger days, to rove a careless mountaineer on the Highlands of Scotland, I have not of late years had the benefit of such pure air, or so elevated a residence, as might enable me to enter the lists with genuine bards who have enjoyed both these advantages. But they derive considerable fame, and a few not less profit, from their productions: while I shall expiate my rashness as an interloper, certainly without the latter, and in all probability with a very slight share of the former. I leave to others virum volitare per ora.' I look to the few who will hear with patience dulce est desipere in loco. To the former worthies I resign, without repining, the hope of immortality, and content myself with the not very magnificent prospect of ranking amongst the mob of gentlemen who write'-my readers must determine whether I dare say 'with ease-or the honour of a posthumous page in The Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors,-a work to which the Peerage is under infinite obligations, inasmuch as many names of considerable length, sound, and antiquity are thereby rescued from the obscurity which unluckily overshadows several voluminous productions of their illustrious bearers. With slight hopes, and some fears, I publish this first and last attempt. To the dictates of young ambition may be ascribed many actions more criminal and equally absurd. To a few of my own age, the contents may afford amusement: I trust they will, at least, be found harmless. It is highly improbable, from my situation and pursuits hereafter, that I should ever obtrude myself a second time on the public; nor, even in the very doubtful event of present indulgence, shall I be tempted to commit a future trespass of the same nature. The opinion of Dr. Johnson on the Poems of a noble relation of mine, 'that when a man of rank appeared in the character of an author, he deserved to have his merit handsomely allowed,' can have little weight with verbal, and still less with periodical censors; but were it otherwise, I should be loth to avail myself of the privilege, and would rather incur the bitterest censure of anonymous criticism, than triumph in honours granted solely to a title.

* The Earl of Carlisle, whose works have long received the meed of public applause, to which by their intrinsic worth they were well entitled.

HOURS OF IDLENESS.

WRITTEN FROM 180 TO 1807.

ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY,*

COUSIN TO THE AUTHOR, AND VERY DEAR TO HIM.†

HUSH'D are the winds, and still the evening gloom,
Not e'en a zephyr wanders through the grove,
Whilst I return, to view my Margaret's tomb,
And scatter flowers on the dust I love.

Within this narrow cell reclines her clay,

That clay where once such animation beam'd; The King of Terrors seized her as his prey: Not worth, nor beauty, have her life redeem'd.

Oh! could that King of Terrors pity feel,

Or Heaven reverse the dread decrees of fate! Not here the mourner would his grief reveal, Not here the muse her virtues would relate.

But wherefore weep? Her matchless spirit soars Beyond where splendid shines the orb of day; And weeping angels lead her to those bowers Where endless pleasures virtue's deeds repay.

And shall presumptuous mortals Heaven arraign,
And, madly, godlike Providence accuse?
Ah! no, far fly from me attempts so vain ;-
I'll ne'er submission to my God refuse.

Yet is remembrance of those virtues dear,

Yet fresh the memory of that beauteous face; Still they call forth my warm affection's tear, Still in my heart retain their wonted place.

TO E

LET Folly smile, to view the names

Of thee and me in friendship twined; Yet Virtue will have greater claims To love, than rank with vice combined.

And though unequal is thy fate,

Since title decked my higher birth, Yet envy not this gaudy state;

Thine is the pride of modest worth.

• Admiral Parker's daughter.

The author claims the indulgence of the reader more for this piece than perhaps any other in the collection; but as it was written at an earlier period than the rest (being composed at the age of fourteen), and his first essay, he preferred submitting it to the indulgence of his friends in its present state, to making either addition or alteration.

Our souls at least congenial meet,

Nor can thy lot my rank disgrace; Our intercourse is not less sweet, Since worth of rank supplies the place.

TO D.

IN thee I fondly hoped to clasp

A friend, whom death alone could sever; Till envy, with maiignant grasp,

Detach'd thee from my breast for ever.

True, she has forced thee from my breast, Yet in my heart thou keep'st thy seat; There, there thine image still must rest,

Until that heart shall cease to beat.

And when the grave restores her dead,
When life again to dust is given,
On thy dear breast I'll lay my head-
Without thee, where would be my heaven?

EPITAPH ON A FRIEND.

̓Αστὴρ πρὶν μὲν ἔλαμπες ἐνὶ ζωοῖσιν ἑῷος.

LAERTIUS.

OH Friend! for ever loved, for ever dear!
What fruitless tears have bathed thy honour'd bier!
What sighs re-echo'd to thy parting breath,
Whilst thou wast struggling in the pangs of death!
Could tears retard the tyrant in his course;
Could sighs avert his dart's relentless force;
Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,
Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey:
Thou still hadst lived to bless my aching sight,
Thy comrade's honour and thy friend's delight.
If yet thy gentle spirit hover nigh
The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie,
Here wilt thou read, recorded on my heart,
A grief too deep to trust the sculptor's art.
No marble marks thy couch of lowly sleep.
But living statues there are seen to weep:
Affliction's semblance bends not o'er thy tomb,
Affliction's self deplores thy youthful doom.
What though thy sire lament his failing line,
A father's sorrows cannot equal mine!
Though none, like thee, his dying hour will cheer,
Yet other offspring soothe his anguish here:
But who with me shall hold thy former place?
Thine image, what new friendship can efface?

Ah! none!-a father's tears will cease to flow,
Time will assuage an infant brother's woe;
To all, save one, is consolation known,
While solitary friendship sighs alone.

A FRAGMENT.

WHEN, to their airy hall, my fathers' voice
Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice:
When, poised upon the gale, my form shall ride,
Or, dark in mist, descend the mountain's side;
Oh! may my shade behold no sculptured urns
To mark the spot where earth to earth returns!
No lengthen'd scroll, no praise-encumbered stone;
My epitaph shall be my name alone:

If that with honour fail to crown my clay,
Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay!
That, only that, shall single out the spot;
By that remember'd, or with that forgot.

ON LEAVING NEWSTEAD ABBEY.

Why dost thou build the hall, son of the winged days? Thou lookest from thy tower to-day; yet a few years, and the blast of the desert comes, it howls in thy empty court.'-OSSIAN.

THROUGH thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle;

Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay: In thy once siniling garden, the hemlock and thistle Have choked up the rose which late bloom'd in the way.

Of the mail-cover'd Barons, who proudly to battle
Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine's plain,
The escutcheon and shield, which with every blast
rattle,

Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.

No more doth old Robert, with heart-stringing numbers,

Raise a flame in the breast for the war-laurell'd wreath;

Near Askalon's towers John of Horistan slumbers Unnerv'd is the hand of his minstrel by death.

Paul and Hubert, too, sleep in the valley of Cressy; For the safety of Edward and England they fell: My fathers! the tears of your country redress ye; How you fought, how you died, still her annals can tell.

Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting
New courage, he'll think upon glory and you.
Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation,
'Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret ;
Far distant he goes, with the same emulation,
The fame of his fathers he ne'er can forget.

On Marston, with Rupert, 'gainst traitors contending,* Four brothers enrich'd with their blood the bleak field;

For the rights of a monarch their country defending, Till death their attachment to royalty seal'd.

Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant, departing

From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu !

* Marston Moor, where the adherents of Charles I. were defeated.-Prince Rupert, son of the Elector Palatine, and nephew to Charles I. He afterwards commanded the fleet in the reign of Charles II.

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That cheek, which ever dimpling glows,
That mouth, from whence such music flows,
To him alike are always known,
Reserved for him, and him alone.
Ah, Lesbia! though 'tis death to me,
I cannot choose but look on thee;
But at the sight any senses fly;

I needs must gaze, but, gazing, die:
Whilst trembling with a thousand fears,
Parch'd to the throat my tongue adheres,

My pulse beats quick, my breath heaves short,

My limbs deny their slight support,

Cold dews my pallid face o'erspread,

With deadly languor droops my head.
My ears with tingling echoes ring,
And life itself is on the wing;
My eyes refuse the cheering light,
Their orbs are veil'd in starless night:
Such pangs my nature sinks beneath,
And feels a temporary death,

TRANSLATION OF THE EPITAPH ON VIRGIL AND TIBULLUS.

BY DOMITIUS MARSUS.

HE who sublime in epic numbers roll'd, And he who struck the softer lyre of love, By Death's unequal hand alike controll'd, Fit comrades in Elysian regions move!

IMITATION OF TIBULLUS, 'Sulpicia ad Cerinthum.'-Lib. iv. CRUEL Cerinthus! does the fell disease Which racks my breast your fickle bosom please? Alas! I wish'd but to o'ercome the pain, That I might live for love and you again : But now I scarcely shall bewail my fate; By death alone I can avoid your hate.

TRANSLATION FROM CATULLUS.

YE Cupids, droop each little head,
Nor let your wings with joy be spread,
My Lesbia's favourite bird is dead,

Whom dearer than her eyes she loved:
For he was gentle, and so true,
Obedient to her call he flew,
No fear, no wild alarm he knew,
But lightly o'er her bosom mov'd:
And softly fluttering here and there,
He never sought to cleave the air;
But chirrup'd oft, and, free from care,
Tuned to her ear his grateful strain.
Now having pass'd the gloomy bourne
From whence he never can return,
His death and Lesbia's grief I mourn,
Who sighs, alas! but sighs in vain.
Oh! curst be thou, devouring grave!
Whose jaws eternal victims crave,
From whom no earthly power can save,
For thou hast ta'en the bird away:

From thee my Lesbia's eyes overflow, Her swollen cheeks with weeping glow. Thou art the cause of all her woe, Receptacle of life's decay.

IMITATED FROM CATULLUS.
TO ELLEN.

OH! might I kiss those eyes of fire,

A million scarce would quench desire:
Still would I steep my lips in bliss,
And dwell an age on every kiss:
Nor then my soul should sated be;
Still would I kiss and cling to thee:

Nought should my kiss from thine dissever;
Still would we kiss, and kiss for ever;
E'en though the numbers did exceed
The yellow harvest's countless seed.
To part would be a vain endeavour:
Could I desist?-ah! never-never!

TRANSLATION FROM HORACE.
THE man of firm and noble soul
No factious clamours can control;
No threat'ning tyrant's darkling brow
Can swerve him from his just intent:
Gales the warring waves which plough,
By Auster on the billows spent,
To curb the Adriatic main,
Would awe his fix'd, determined mind in vain.
Ay, and the red right arm of Jove,
Hurtling his lightnings from above,
With all his terrors there unfurl'd.

He would unmoved, unawed behold
The flames of an expiring world,

Again in crushing chaos roll'd,
In vast promiscuous ruin hurl'd,
Might light his glorious funeral pile.

Still dauntless 'midst the wreck of earth he'd smile.

FROM ANACREON.

I WISH to tune my quivering lyre
To deeds of fame and notes of fire;
To echo, from its rising swell,
How heroes fought and nations fell,
When Atreus' sons advanced to war,
Or Tyrian Cadmus roved afar;
But still, to martial strains unknown,
My lyre recurs to love alone :
Fired with the hope of future fame,
I seek some nobler hero's name :
The dying chords are strung anew,
To war, to war, my harp is due :
With glowing strings, the epic strain
To Jove's great son I raise again;
Alcides and his glorious deeds,
Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds.
All, all in vain; my wayward lyre
Wakes silver notes of soft desire.
Adieu, ye chiefs renown'd in arms!
Adieu the clang of war's alarms!

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