Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - George Gordon Byron - ebook
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Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.The poem contains elements thought to be autobiographical, as Byron generated some of the storyline from experience gained during his travels through Portugal, the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea between 1809 and 1811. The "Ianthe" of the dedication was the term of endearment he used for Lady Charlotte Harley. Charlotte Bacon née Harley was the second daughter of 5th Earl of Oxford and Lady Oxford Jane Elizabeth Scott née Harley, about 11 years old when Childe Harold was first published. Throughout the poem Byron, in character of Childe Harold, regretted his wasted early youth, hence re-evaluating his life choices and re-designing himself through going on the pilgrimage, during which he lamented on various historical events including the Iberian Peninsular War among others.Despite Byron's initial hesitation at having the first two cantos of the poem published because he felt it revealed too much of himself, it was published, at the urging of friends, by John Murray in 1812, and brought both the poem and its author to immediate and unexpected public attention. Byron later wrote, "I awoke one morning and found myself famous". The first two cantos in John Murray's edition were illustrated by Richard Westall, well-known painter and illustrator who was then commissioned to paint portraits of Byron.

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CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE

..................

George Gordon Byron

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This book is a work of poetry; its contents are wholly imagined.

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Copyright © 2018 www.deaddodopublishing.co.uk

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TO IANTHE{1}

CANTO THE FIRST

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.

XXI.

XXII.

XXIII.

XXIV.

XXV.

XXVI.

XXVII.

XXVIII.

XXIX.

XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.

XXXIII.

XXXIV.

XXXV.

XXXVI.

XXXVII.

XXXVIII.

XXXIX.

XL.

XLI.

XLII.

XLIII.

XLIV.

XLV.

XLVI.

XLVII.

XLVIII.

XLIX.

L.

LI.

LII.

LIII.

LIV.

LV.

LVI.

LVII.

LVIII.

LIX.

LX.

LXI.

LXII.

LXIII.

LXIV.

LXV.

LXVI.

LXVII.

LXVIII.

LXIX.

LXX.

LXXI.

LXXII.

LXXIII.

LXXIV.

LXXV.

LXXVI.

LXXVII.

LXXVIII.

LXXIX.

LXXX.

LXXXI.

LXXXII.

LXXXIII.

LXXXIV.

LXXXV.

LXXXVI.

LXXXVII.

LXXXVIII.

LXXXIX.

XC.

XCI.

XCII.

XCIII.

CANTO THE SECOND

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.

XXI.

XXII.

XXIII.

XXIV.

XXV.

XXVI.

XXVII.

XXVIII.

XXIX.

XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.

XXXIII.

XXXIV.

XXXV.

XXXVI.

XXXVII.

XXXVIII.

XXXIX.

XL.

XLI.

XLII.

XLIII.

XLIV.

XLV.

XLVI.

XLVII.

XLVIII.

XLIX.

L.

LI.

LII.

LIII.

LIV.

LV.

LVI.

LVII.

LVIII.

LIX.

LX.

LXI.

LXII.

LXIII.

LXIV.

LXV.

LXVI.

LXVII.

LXVIII.

LXIX.

LXX.

LXXI.

LXXII.

LXXIII.

LXXIV.

LXXV.

LXXVI.

LXXVII.

LXXVIII.

LXXIX.

LXXX.

LXXXI.

LXXXII.

LXXXIII.

LXXXIV.

LXXXV.

LXXXVI.

LXXXVII.

LXXXVIII.

LXXXIX.

XC.

XCI.

XCII.

XCIII.

XCIV.

XCV.

XCVI.

XCVII.

XCVIII.

CANTO THE THIRD

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.

XXI.

XXII.

XXIII.

XXIV.

XXV.

XXVI.

XXVII.

XXVIII.

XXIX.

XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.

XXXIII.

XXXIV.

XXXV.

XXXVI.

XXXVII.

XXXVIII.

XXXIX.

XL.

XLI.

XLII.

XLIII.

XLIV.

XLV.

XLVI.

XLVII.

XLVIII.

XLIX.

L.

LI.

LII.

LIII.

LIV.

LV.

LVI.

LVII.

LVIII.

LIX.

LX.

LXI.

LXII.

LXIII.

LXIV.

LXV.

LXVI.

LXVII.

LXVIII.

LXIX.

LXX.

LXXI.

LXXII.

LXXIII.

LXXIV.

LXXV.

LXXVI.

LXXVII.

LXXVIII.

LXXIX.

LXXX.

LXXXI.

LXXXII.

LXXXIII.

LXXXIV.

LXXXV.

LXXXVI.

LXXXVII.

LXXXVIII.

LXXXIX.

XC.

XCI.

XCII.

XCIII.

XCIV.

XCV.

XCVI.

XCVII.

XCVIII.

XCIX.

C.

CI.

CII.

CIII.

CIV.

CV.

CVI.

CVII.

CVIII.

CIX.

CX.

CXI.

CXII.

CXIII.

CXIV.

CXV.

CXVI.

CXVII.

CXVIII.

CANTO THE FOURTH

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.

XXI.

XXII.

XXIII.

XXIV.

XXV.

XXVI.

XXVII.

XXVIII.

XXIX.

XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.

XXXIII.

XXXIV.

XXXV.

XXXVI.

XXXVII.

XXXVIII.

XXXIX.

XL.

XLI.

XLII.

XLIII.

XLIV.

XLV.

XLVI.

XLVII.

XLVIII.

XLIX.

L.

LI.

LII.

LIII.

LIV.

LV.

LVI.

LVII.

LVIII.

LIX.

LX.

LXI.

LXII.

LXIII.

LXIV.

LXV.

LXVI.

LXVII.

LXVIII.

LXIX.

LXX.

LXXI.

LXXII.

LXXIII.

LXXIV.

LXXV.

LXXVI.

LXXVII.

LXXVIII.

LXXIX.

LXXX.

LXXXI.

LXXXII.

LXXXIII.

LXXXIV.

LXXXV.

LXXXVI.

LXXXVII.

LXXXVIII.

LXXXIX.

XC.

XCI.

XCII.

XCIII.

XCIV.

XCV.

XCVI.

XCVII.

XCVIII.

XCIX.

C.

CI.

CII.

CIII.

CIV.

CV.

CVI.

CVII.

CVIII.

CIX.

CX.

CXI.

CXII.

CXIII.

CXIV.

CXV.

CXVI.

CXVII.

CXVIII.

CXIX.

CXX.

CXXI.

CXXII.

CXXIII.

CXXIV.

CXXV.

CXXVI.

CXXVII.

CXXVIII.

CXXIX.

CXXX.

CXXXI.

CXXXII.

CXXXIII.

CXXXIV.

CXXXV.

CXXXVI.

CXXXVII.

CXXXVIII.

CXXXIX.

CXL.

CXLI.

CXLII.

CXLIII.

CXLIV.

CXLV.

CXLVI.

CXLVII.

CXLVIII.

CXLIX.

CL.

CLI.

CLII.

CLIII.

CLIV.

CLV.

CLVI.

CLVII.

CLVIII.

CLIX.

CLX.

CLXI.

CLXII.

CLXIII.

CLXIV.

CLXV.

CLXVI.

CLXVII.

CLXVIII.

CLXIX.

CLXX.

CLXXI.

CLXXII.

CLXXIII.

CLXXIV.

CLXXV.

CLXXVI.

CLXXVII.

CLXXVIII.

CLXXIX.

CLXXX.

CLXXXI.

CLXXXII.

CLXXXIII.

CLXXXIV.

CLXXXV.

CLXXXVI.

TO IANTHE{1}

..................

NOT IN THOSE CLIMES WHERE I have late been straying, Though Beauty long hath there been matchless deemed, Not in those visions to the heart displaying Forms which it sighs but to have only dreamed, Hath aught like thee in truth or fancy seemed: Nor, having seen thee, shall I vainly seek To paint those charms which varied as they beamed—To such as see thee not my words were weak; To those who gaze on thee, what language could they speak? Ah! mayst thou ever be what now thou art, Nor unbeseem the promise of thy spring, As fair in form, as warm yet pure in heart, Love’s image upon earth without his wing, And guileless beyond Hope’s imagining! And surely she who now so fondly rears Thy youth, in thee, thus hourly brightening, Beholds the rainbow of her future years, Before whose heavenly hues all sorrow disappears. Young Peri of the West!—’tis well for me My years already doubly number thine; My loveless eye unmoved may gaze on thee, And safely view thy ripening beauties shine: Happy, I ne’er shall see them in decline; Happier, that while all younger hearts shall bleed Mine shall escape the doom thine eyes assign To those whose admiration shall succeed, But mixed with pangs to Love’s even loveliest hours decreed. Oh! let that eye, which, wild as the gazelle’s, Now brightly bold or beautifully shy, Wins as it wanders, dazzles where it dwells, Glance o’er this page, nor to my verse deny That smile for which my breast might vainly sigh, Could I to thee be ever more than friend: This much, dear maid, accord; nor question why To one so young my strain I would commend, But bid me with my wreath one matchless lily blend. Such is thy name with this my verse entwined; And long as kinder eyes a look shall cast On Harold’s page, Ianthe’s here enshrined Shall thus be first beheld, forgotten last: My days once numbered, should this homage past Attract thy fairy fingers near the lyre Of him who hailed thee, loveliest as thou wast, Such is the most my memory may desire; Though more than Hope can claim, could Friendship less require?

..................

CANTO THE FIRST

..................

I.

OH, THOU, IN HELLAS DEEMED of heavenly birth, Muse, formed or fabled at the minstrel’s will! Since shamed full oft by later lyres on earth, Mine dares not call thee from thy sacred hill: Yet there I’ve wandered by thy vaunted rill; Yes! sighed o’er Delphi’s long-deserted shrine Where, save that feeble fountain, all is still; Nor mote my shell awake the weary Nine To grace so plain a tale—this lowly lay of mine.

II.

Whilome in Albion’s isle there dwelt a youth, Who ne in virtue’s ways did take delight; But spent his days in riot most uncouth, And vexed with mirth the drowsy ear of Night. Ah, me! in sooth he was a shameless wight, Sore given to revel and ungodly glee; Few earthly things found favour in his sight Save concubines and carnal companie, And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.

III.

Childe Harold was he hight:—but whence his name And lineage long, it suits me not to say; Suffice it, that perchance they were of fame, And had been glorious in another day: But one sad losel soils a name for aye, However mighty in the olden time; Nor all that heralds rake from coffined clay, Nor florid prose, nor honeyed lines of rhyme, Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime.

IV.

Childe Harold basked him in the noontide sun, Disporting there like any other fly, Nor deemed before his little day was done One blast might chill him into misery. But long ere scarce a third of his passed by, Worse than adversity the Childe befell; He felt the fulness of satiety: Then loathed he in his native land to dwell, Which seemed to him more lone than eremite’s sad cell.

V.

For he through Sin’s long labyrinth had run, Nor made atonement when he did amiss, Had sighed to many, though he loved but one, And that loved one, alas, could ne’er be his. Ah, happy she! to ‘scape from him whose kiss Had been pollution unto aught so chaste; Who soon had left her charms for vulgar bliss, And spoiled her goodly lands to gild his waste, Nor calm domestic peace had ever deigned to taste.

VI.

And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart, And from his fellow bacchanals would flee; ‘Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start, But pride congealed the drop within his e’e: Apart he stalked in joyless reverie, And from his native land resolved to go, And visit scorching climes beyond the sea; With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe, And e’en for change of scene would seek the shades below.

VII.

The Childe departed from his father’s hall; It was a vast and venerable pile; So old, it seemed only not to fall, Yet strength was pillared in each massy aisle. Monastic dome! condemned to uses vile! Where superstition once had made her den, Now Paphian girls were known to sing and smile; And monks might deem their time was come agen, If ancient tales say true, nor wrong these holy men.

VIII.

Yet ofttimes in his maddest mirthful mood, Strange pangs would flash along Childe Harold’s brow, As if the memory of some deadly feud Or disappointed passion lurked below: But this none knew, nor haply cared to know; For his was not that open, artless soul That feels relief by bidding sorrow flow; Nor sought he friend to counsel or condole, Whate’er this grief mote be, which he could not control.

IX.

And none did love him: though to hall and bower He gathered revellers from far and near, He knew them flatterers of the festal hour; The heartless parasites of present cheer. Yea, none did love him—not his lemans dear— But pomp and power alone are woman’s care, And where these are light Eros finds a feere; Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare, And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.

X.

Childe Harold had a mother—not forgot, Though parting from that mother he did shun; A sister whom he loved, but saw her not Before his weary pilgrimage begun: If friends he had, he bade adieu to none. Yet deem not thence his breast a breast of steel; Ye, who have known what ‘tis to dote upon A few dear objects, will in sadness feel Such partings break the heart they fondly hope to heal.

XI.

His house, his home, his heritage, his lands, The laughing dames in whom he did delight, Whose large blue eyes, fair locks, and snowy hands, Might shake the saintship of an anchorite, And long had fed his youthful appetite; His goblets brimmed with every costly wine, And all that mote to luxury invite, Without a sigh he left to cross the brine, And traverse Paynim shores, and pass earth’s central line.

XII.

The sails were filled, and fair the light winds blew As glad to waft him from his native home; And fast the white rocks faded from his view, And soon were lost in circumambient foam; And then, it may be, of his wish to roam Repented he, but in his bosom slept The silent thought, nor from his lips did come One word of wail, whilst others sate and wept, And to the reckless gales unmanly moaning kept.

XIII.

But when the sun was sinking in the sea, He seized his harp, which he at times could string, And strike, albeit with untaught melody, When deemed he no strange ear was listening: And now his fingers o’er it he did fling, And tuned his farewell in the dim twilight, While flew the vessel on her snowy wing, And fleeting shores receded from his sight, Thus to the elements he poured his last ‘Good Night.’

Adieu, adieu! my native shore Fades o’er the waters blue; The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar, And shrieks the wild sea-mew. Yon sun that sets upon the sea We follow in his flight; Farewell awhile to him and thee, My Native Land—Good Night!

A few short hours, and he will rise To give the morrow birth; And I shall hail the main and skies, But not my mother earth. Deserted is my own good hall, Its hearth is desolate; Wild weeds are gathering on the wall, My dog howls at the gate.

‘Come hither, hither, my little page: Why dost thou weep and wail? Or dost thou dread the billow’s rage, Or tremble at the gale? But dash the tear-drop from thine eye, Our ship is swift and strong; Our fleetest falcon scarce can fly More merrily along.’

‘Let winds be shrill, let waves roll high, I fear not wave nor wind; Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I Am sorrowful in mind; For I have from my father gone, A mother whom I love, And have no friend, save these alone, But thee—and One above.

‘My father blessed me fervently, Yet did not much complain; But sorely will my mother sigh Till I come back again.’— ‘Enough, enough, my little lad! Such tears become thine eye; If I thy guileless bosom had, Mine own would not be dry.

‘Come hither, hither, my staunch yeoman, Why dost thou look so pale? Or dost thou dread a French foeman, Or shiver at the gale?’— ‘Deem’st thou I tremble for my life? Sir Childe, I’m not so weak; But thinking on an absent wife Will blanch a faithful cheek.

‘My spouse and boys dwell near thy hall, Along the bordering lake; And when they on their father call, What answer shall she make?’— ‘Enough, enough, my yeoman good, Thy grief let none gainsay; But I, who am of lighter mood, Will laugh to flee away.’

For who would trust the seeming sighs Of wife or paramour? Fresh feeres will dry the bright blue eyes We late saw streaming o’er. For pleasures past I do not grieve, Nor perils gathering near; My greatest grief is that I leave No thing that claims a tear.

And now I’m in the world alone, Upon the wide, wide sea; But why should I for others groan, When none will sigh for me? Perchance my dog will whine in vain Till fed by stranger hands; But long ere I come back again He’d tear me where he stands.

With thee, my bark, I’ll swiftly go Athwart the foaming brine; Nor care what land thou bear’st me to, So not again to mine. Welcome, welcome, ye dark blue waves! And when you fail my sight, Welcome, ye deserts, and ye caves! My Native Land—Good Night!

XIV.

On, on the vessel flies, the land is gone, And winds are rude in Biscay’s sleepless bay. Four days are sped, but with the fifth, anon, New shores descried make every bosom gay; And Cintra’s mountain greets them on their way, And Tagus dashing onward to the deep, His fabled golden tribute bent to pay; And soon on board the Lusian pilots leap, And steer ‘twixt fertile shores where yet few rustics reap.

XV.

Oh, Christ! it is a goodly sight to see What Heaven hath done for this delicious land! What fruits of fragrance blush on every tree! What goodly prospects o’er the hills expand! But man would mar them with an impious hand: And when the Almighty lifts his fiercest scourge ‘Gainst those who most transgress his high command, With treble vengeance will his hot shafts urge Gaul’s locust host, and earth from fellest foemen purge.

XVI.

What beauties doth Lisboa first unfold! Her image floating on that noble tide, Which poets vainly pave with sands of gold, But now whereon a thousand keels did ride Of mighty strength, since Albion was allied, And to the Lusians did her aid afford A nation swoll’n with ignorance and pride, Who lick, yet loathe, the hand that waves the sword. To save them from the wrath of Gaul’s unsparing lord.

XVII.

But whoso entereth within this town, That, sheening far, celestial seems to be, Disconsolate will wander up and down, Mid many things unsightly to strange e’e; For hut and palace show like filthily; The dingy denizens are reared in dirt; No personage of high or mean degree Doth care for cleanness of surtout or shirt, Though shent with Egypt’s plague, unkempt, unwashed, unhurt.

XVIII.

Poor, paltry slaves! yet born midst noblest scenes— Why, Nature, waste thy wonders on such men? Lo! Cintra’s glorious Eden intervenes In variegated maze of mount and glen. Ah me! what hand can pencil guide, or pen, To follow half on which the eye dilates Through views more dazzling unto mortal ken Than those whereof such things the bard relates, Who to the awe-struck world unlocked Elysium’s gates?

XIX.

The horrid crags, by toppling convent crowned, The cork-trees hoar that clothe the shaggy steep, The mountain moss by scorching skies imbrowned, The sunken glen, whose sunless shrubs must weep, The tender azure of the unruffled deep, The orange tints that gild the greenest bough, The torrents that from cliff to valley leap, The vine on high, the willow branch below, Mixed in one mighty scene, with varied beauty glow.

XX.

Then slowly climb the many-winding way, And frequent turn to linger as you go, From loftier rocks new loveliness survey, And rest ye at ‘Our Lady’s House of Woe;’ Where frugal monks their little relics show, And sundry legends to the stranger tell: Here impious men have punished been; and lo, Deep in yon cave Honorius long did dwell, In hope to merit Heaven by making earth a Hell.

XXI.

And here and there, as up the crags you spring, Mark many rude-carved crosses near the path; Yet deem not these devotion’s offering— These are memorials frail of murderous wrath; For wheresoe’er the shrieking victim hath Poured forth his blood beneath the assassin’s knife, Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath; And grove and glen with thousand such are rife Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life!

XXII.

On sloping mounds, or in the vale beneath, Are domes where whilom kings did make repair; But now the wild flowers round them only breathe: Yet ruined splendour still is lingering there. And yonder towers the prince’s palace fair: There thou, too, Vathek! England’s wealthiest son, Once formed thy Paradise, as not aware When wanton Wealth her mightiest deeds hath done, Meek Peace voluptuous lures was ever wont to shun.

XXIII.

Here didst thou dwell, here schemes of pleasure plan. Beneath yon mountain’s ever beauteous brow; But now, as if a thing unblest by man, Thy fairy dwelling is as lone as thou! Here giant weeds a passage scarce allow To halls deserted, portals gaping wide; Fresh lessons to the thinking bosom, how Vain are the pleasaunces on earth supplied; Swept into wrecks anon by Time’s ungentle tide.

XXIV.

Behold the hall where chiefs were late convened! Oh! dome displeasing unto British eye! With diadem hight foolscap, lo! a fiend, A little fiend that scoffs incessantly, There sits in parchment robe arrayed, and by His side is hung a seal and sable scroll, Where blazoned glare names known to chivalry, And sundry signatures adorn the roll, Whereat the urchin points, and laughs with all his soul.

XXV.

Convention is the dwarfish demon styled That foiled the knights in Marialva’s dome: Of brains (if brains they had) he them beguiled, And turned a nation’s shallow joy to gloom. Here Folly dashed to earth the victor’s plume, And Policy regained what Arms had lost: For chiefs like ours in vain may laurels bloom! Woe to the conquering, not the conquered host, Since baffled Triumph droops on Lusitania’s coast.

XXVI.

And ever since that martial synod met, Britannia sickens, Cintra, at thy name; And folks in office at the mention fret, And fain would blush, if blush they could, for shame. How will posterity the deed proclaim! Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer, To view these champions cheated of their fame, By foes in fight o’erthrown, yet victors here, Where Scorn her finger points through many a coming year?

XXVII.