ON THE DEATH
OF A YOUNG LADY
Cousin to the Author,and very dear to him
Byron wrote this poem in 1802 after the death of Margaret Parker, and published it in the first edition of Fugitive Pieces (1806). At the end of the poem, Byron had the following notation:
"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 14) and his first Essay, he preferred submitting it to the indulgence of his friends in its present state, to making either addition or alteration."Also, this may be of further interest to the reader.
Byron wrote in his Journal of Detached Thoughts ( October 15, 1821 - May 18, 1822 ):
"My first dash into poetry, was as early as 1800. -- It was the ebullition of a passion for my first Cousin Margaret Parker (daughter and grand-daughter of the two Admirals Parker) one of the most beautiful of Evanescent beings -- I have long forgotten the verses -- but it would be difficult for me to forget her -- Her dark eyes! --her long eyelashes! her completely Greek cast of face and figure! - I was then about twelve -- she rather older -- perhaps a year. -- She died about a year or two afterwards -- in consequence of a fall which injured her spine and induced consumption . . . . . ."This poem, as with others from the Fugitive Pieces, has had changes made in later publications. But I preferred using his original rendition from the first printing in 1806.
". . . . . . Some years after I made an attempt at an Elegy. -- A very dull one. -- I do not recollect scarcely anything equal to the transparent beauty of my cousin -- or to the sweetness of her temper -- during the short period of our intimacy -- she looked as if she had been made out of a rainbow -- all beauty and peace. -- My passion had it's effects upon me -- I could not sleep -- I could not eat -- I could not rest -- and although I had reason to know that she loved me -- it was the torture of my life -- to think of the time which must elapse before we could meet again -- being usually about twelve hours -- of separation! --But I was a fool then -- and am not much wiser now."
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