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

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
195
195
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.