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In his Diary, Jan. 21, 1821, Lord Byron writes : “ To-morrow is my birthday—that is to say, at twelve o' the clock, midnight, i.e. in twelve minutes, I shall have completed thirty-and-three years of age!!!—and I go to my bed with a heaviness of heart at having lived so long and to so little purpose.

It is three minutes past twelve-it is the middle of the night by the castle clock, and I am now thirty-three!

“ Through life's dull road, so dim and dirty,

I have dragg'd to three-and-thirty :
What have these years left to me?

Nothing-except thirty-three!” He had by this time bitterly experienced, like so many other reckless sons of rank and fortune, the gloomy change described so picturesquely by GrayFair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,

While proudly riding o'er the azure realm In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;

Youth on the prow, and pleasure at the helm: Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening

prey. Byron's last verses were written three months before his untimely death in Greece, on the day when he attained his thirty-sixth year. “This morning," Count Gamba relates, “Lord Byron came from his bedroom into the apartment where Colonel Stanhope and some friends were assembled, and said with a smile—You were complaining the other day that I never write any poetry now. This is my birthday, and I have just finished something, which I think is better than what I usually write.' He then produced these noble and affecting verses.”

Lord Byron's biographer, Thomas Moore, observes—“Taking into consideration everything connected with these verses—the last tender aspirations of a loving spirit which they breathe, the self-devotion to a noble cause which they so nobly express, and that consciousness of a near grave glimmering sadly through the whole—there is perhaps no production within the range of mere human composition round which the circumstances and feelings under which it was written cast so touching an interest.”


'Tis time this heart should be unmoved,

Since others it hath ceased to move :
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,

Still let me love.
My days are in the yellow leaf;

The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief

Are mine alone.
The fire that on my bosom preys

Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze-

A funeral pile.
The hope, the fear, the zealous care,

The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love I cannot share,

But wear the chain.
But 'tis not thus—and 'tis not here-

Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,
Where glory decks the hero's bier,

Or binds his brow.


The sword, the banner, and the field,

Glory and Greece, around me see!
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

Was not more free.
Awake! (not Greece—she is awake!)

Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,

And then strike home!
Tread those reviving passions down,

Unworthy manhood!' Unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown

Of beauty be.
If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?

The land of honourable death
Is here. Up to the field, and give

Away thy breath.
Seek out—less often sought than found

A soldier's grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,

And take thy rest. I know not where a more interesting birthday memorial is to be found than this:


MORNING WALK, JAN. 25TH, 1793, THE BIRTHDAY OF THE AUTHOR, ROBERT BURNS, AGED 34. Sing on, sweet Thrush, upon the leafless bough!

Sing on, sweet bird ! I listen to thy strain :

See-aged Winter, ʼmid his surly reign,
At thy blithe carol clears his furrowed brow.
So in lone Poverty's dominion drear

Sits meek Content, with light, unanxious heart,
Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part,
Nor asks if they bring aught to hope or fear.

I thank Thee, Author of this opening day!
Thou whose bright sun now gilds the orient

Riches denied, Thy boon was purer joys,
What wealth could never give, nor take away !
Yet come, thou child of poverty and care;
The mite high Heaven bestow'd, that mite with

thee I'll share.

Burns died at thirty-seven years and six months, in 1796; he was not to reach even that age of five-and-forty, which his verses describe as the boundary of middle life :

The magic wand then let us wield,
For, ance that five-and-forty's speeled,
See crazy, weary, joyless eild

Wi' wrinkled face
Come hastin, hirplin awre the field

Wi' creeping pace.
When ance life's day draws near the gloamin',
Then farewell vacant careless roamnin'.

On the 25th of January, 1759, the rooth anniversary of the birth of Scotia's glorious peasant bard, a prize poem by Isa Craig was publicly read, from which we take a portion :We hail, this

A century's noblest birth;

A poet, peasant-born,
Who more of Fame's immortal dower

Unto his country brings
Than all her kings!

As lamps high set
Upon some earthly eminence-
And to the gazer brighter thence

Than the sphere-lights they flout-
Dwindle in distance and die out,

While no star waneth yet!

So, through the past's far-reaching night
Only the star-souls keep their light.



(For his

The God-made king
Of every living thing

heart in love could hold them all), The dumb eyes meeting his by hearth and stall,

Gifted to understand!

Knew it and sought his hand; And the most timorous creature had not fled, Could she his heart have read, Which fain all feeble things had bless'd and


To Nature's feast-
Who knew her noblest guest,
And entertain'd him best-
Kingly he came. Her chambers of the east
She draped with crimson and with gold,
And pour'd her pure joy-wines

For him, the poet-souled ;

For him her anthem rollid, From the storm-wind among the winter pines, Down to the slenderest note Of a love-warble from the linnet's throat.

But when begins The array for battle, and the trumpet blows, A king must leave the feast and lead the fight,

And with its mortal foes— Grim gathering hosts of sorrows and of sins

Each human soul must close.

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