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From the Literary Gazette.
MODERN POETS. ON THE NATURE OF LORD BYRON'S POETRY. most all our writers, particularly of prose. SIR,
It is the too frequent recurrence of the BEFORE I enter upon a critical ex- same prepositions, where they are not
amination of other poets, I shall used ja corresponding members of a sendevote another paper to Lord Byron,* as teoce. I shall explain my meaning better I have not yet exhausted the subject. by an example His best works, in my opinon, are his "Twere vain to paint to what his feelings grew.' Corsair and his Lara, because they com
CORSAIR. prise more strength of conception, and, Here the first to marks the infinitive at times, more correctness of language, mood, and the second the dative case. than any of the rest. They prove, too, In a language like our own, where tera that the heroic couplet is this author's minations are so seldom allowed, those forte; and as it is also the metre, in feeble substitutes, to, with, by, from, &c. which weak writers are sure to fail, his should, at least, be prevented, as far as success must at least exclude him from possible, from acting different parts in that class. And yet, I can scarcely say, the same line.. that even in these works, he shews him I could mention innumerable instances self a whit more correct than the “slov. where other inattentions to composition enly Dryden.” His “ten low words oft either obscure or deface his poetry. Illecreep in one dull line," and sometimes in gitimate rhyines, such as sent and instrufour lines together. There is likewise a ment-brow and glow-bring and fault very frequent in his narrative-the banquetting besides the recurrence of change of teuse from the past to the pre- the saine rhyme at the distance of only sent. I have a passage before me where one or two couplets. To the same cause, there are five changes in eleven lines; I am sure, may be attributed several rethe following is a shorter instance, dundancies, such as “bows his bent
.....-" They seized him each a torch, head," --for if it be bowed, it must be And fire the dome from minaret to porch,
bent-several absurdities, such ag—"in A stern delight was fixed in Conrad's eyes.” icy smoothness flowed"-for ice cannot
Corsair. be said to flow-and several inean Another ungraceful mode of diction his phrases, such as, “ that fair she," and Lordship possesses in cominon with al- “what ails thee ?"
- The licence of using long syllables, * See pp. 217, 242.
where the ineasure does not admit of
Modern English Poets. Lord Byron.
them, is very tempting to a hasty writer, There is one improvement, however, and accordingly Lord Byron indulges in visible in the latter productions of his it beyond all reason. For instance, Lordship--the omission of antiquated
phraseology. He has even discarded it “The accents his scarce moving pale lips
in his last Canto of the Childe Harold, spoke.” “ But like that cold wave it stood still."
though the former were full of it. Almost “ And dull the filin along his dim eye grew.”
► the only dead word or phrases I can re
collect in his Corsair and Lara, are “there Buch awkward accentuations always give be murmurs,” “there be things," and an idea either of a forced style or of "there be faces." These expressions, metrical inability.
indeed, be true Yorkshire. Why he is Again, what can be more ungainly so fond of calling a physician a leech, I than such a line as this ?
cannot possibly discover. “In sooth---its truth must others rue.”
His Siege of Corinth contains some and one would think is the author had
most magoificent passages, sadly, dis
figured, however, by changes of measures ever read the following line twice:
It is an outrageous Pindaric; and in “All that can eye or sense delight."
one page of it may be found a specimen his ear must have taught him, that had of every known metre,—from the Lillihe written it thus,
putian Ode, to “There was an old Cobler." “All that can sense or eye delight.”
Who that reads these lines, he would have prevented tbe feeble And the mournfulsound of the barbarous horn, effect of the open vowels, and have also And the flap of the banners that fit as they're added to the melody by the contiguous
borne, &c. repetition of the vowel in For one great but must call to mind, charm of harmonious versification, arises,
ses. “That tumbled the cow with the crumpled from alliteration by vowels. It has in.
born, finitely more delicacy and grace than that tossed the dog quite over the corn," &c. alliteration by consonants. I do not remember that any writer of criticism has All these, I confess, are but small ever alluded to it, but all those who are blots; and yet they occur so frequently, remarkable for harmony have practised as to create a perpetual recoil of taste. it. It was one of the secrets of Virgil's In fact, I know numbers, (and I was my. music; and since I have mentioned hinn, self one of them,) who could not bring
I will instance a line which shows how themselves to read beyond a few pages, much he felt its elegance,
in consequence of their unattractive style; “Damonis musam dicemus et Alphesiboci."
neither was it till very lately, that, im
pelled by the praises wbich I heard on Had he transposed it, as the metre would
every side, and from the best judges, I have permitted, thus,
resolutely set about examining those “ Dicemus musam Damonis et Alphesiboei.” works as a task, Here, indeed, I could the melody would bave been lost. Such perceive, through all their ungracefulness, transposition, too, would have accorded those rich mines of thought and feeling, better with a former line, of which that which appear almost inexhaustible. quoted is almost a repetition, namely, What, for instance, can be more ex« Pastorum musam Damonis et Alphesiboci.» quisite than this passage from the Childe? Therefore the alteration, wbich for any “Ah, then and there was hurrying to and fro, other purpose was quite unnecessary, Avd gathering tears, and tremblings of distress, proves how much he studied this mode And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago, of melodizing his metres. Lord Byron
Blushed with the praise of their own loveliness: has used it to an extravagant extent in
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts." the following line : “And strained with rage the chain on which The last picture I prefer far beyond he gazed.”
283 * Et trepidæ matres pressere ad pectora natos," Birt I might quote his beauties without because it is more interesting in its na- number. It is more my object to show ture, and more intensely pathetic. his faults, in the hope that he may here
The following is quite new, and terri- after avoid them; or for the sake of bly characteristic of such a man as Lara: others, who are his imitators, without
having half his talents. Let it be re----" That smile, if oft observed and pear, membered, that à faulty, but superior Waned in its mirth and withered to a sneer,
writer, has the sins of a whole host to That smile might reach his lip, but passed not by; answer for. Minor witlings, who cannot Nor e'er could trace its laughter to his eye."
imbibe his genius, adopt his manner; And as a picture of nature, nothing can and though they are unable to make be more sublime than this single stroke, common cause with his excellencies, are, in the description of a stormy night : at least, fully adequate to support bim
with a kindred troop of defects. « From peak to peak the rattling crags among, Leaps the live thunder!"---
LORD DE GREY, OR THE STOIC.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “ LEGENDS OF LAMPIDOSA."
From the European Magazine. “ M A N is sufficient for himsell ;" sel? !" said the stranger in a broken voice:
U said the oracle of a solitary inn as “ Go to her, and then bring me help.” he finished the contents of his bowl, and “Man iss, not suficient for himself, departed without paying for it" Man then !" whispered Maurice, as he ran 10 is sufficient for himself !” repeated a pale the dying woman's hut, and from thence lean boy, taking up the well-laden bas- to the parsonage where he usually lived, ket he had already carried soine miles; The inhabitant of that solitary and halfand this sublime sentence consoled him ruined house accompanied himn back to a little for the various rents and deficien- the forlorn stranger, who accepted his cies in his apparel -" It is very odd offered hospitality. There is, it has (continued he) that Dame Giles cannot been said, a certain signal by which honsuffice for herself 100 : but when I am est men ascertain each other, and this is, older she shall send me no more errands.” perhaps, the true secret of freemasonry. -By the dim light of the moon, the The curate's countenance bore this signet, young reasoner saw in the lane he was and the stranger entered his house as if it traversing, a borse without a rider, and a bad been a brother's. In addition to his may stretched near it among some holy office, the good pastor possessed shrubs. After a moment's pause, Mau- some skill in casual ailments, and his rice remembered the sentence he had guest's limb was not sufficiently injured heard of man's all-sufficiency, and ven- to require inore, Maurice was the attuted to approach the stranger whose tendant of his bed-chamber; for he groans expressed anguish. He was a would allow no female to approach him. man of stero countenance with good at. When he had resided three weeks at the tire :-_" Child, (said he) I am a travel- parsonage, he suddenly desired the culer without friends in this country-as- rate to speak with him alone. “Sir, sist me to rise and walk, or bring help.” (said ne) we must be better known to
-" With all my heart, sir !" answered each other. You have not asked my Maurice; “ but you must wait while I name, nor have I questioned you, but I carry my basket home.”—“ Do you not perceive we can exchange benefits. We see that my leg is broken ?"-"Yes, are both, perhaps, equally poor; lin Sir, but the poor dame at the lane's end friends, you in the opinion of the world. is dying, and I must carry her the wine Give me this boy whom you have tanght in my basket, because she is old and to respect and serve distressed age : he poor."-"May'st tho:a live to be old thy- will live, I think to deserve an old man's
blessing, and I shall grow happier by out of my sight, wretched boy!" said bestowing it."
Lord De Grey starting from his pillow; The curate of Rochdale was silent a but he soon forgot the offence, and on few moments, and seemed struggling with the following morning his equipage arsudden pain ; but he recovered himself, rived to convey himn with his new favourand replied“ You bave not chosen ite from the parsonage, Lord De Grey unwisely ; I have children, but I honour entered it with a firm step and an upmy nephew's talents more than their's. moved countenance, wbile the curate If he consents to leave me"-" Stop !” stood on the thresbold without bending exclaimed his abrupt guest--" you have bis head; but the peer suddenly held a wile, I know, whom you wish to con- out his hand—“I know you, Mordaunt, sult-go and show your domestic defer- and I know this boy's claims on my proence to her opinion, but let me hear no- tection—your disinterested zeal for bim thing of it-I abhor whatever indicates shall be repaid to your own childrenthe influence of a woman."
Do not ask me to see the daughter who Mordaunt, the benevolent curate, re- deceived me, but I pardon and honour tired with a full heart into his wife's her husband." apartment_“I was not mistaken (said The carriage instantly moved away, he) your father has fixed his stern heact while Maurice wept in silence for the on our young nephew-whether he has loss of his young companions, whom he forgotten or disdains to recognise me, I was not allowed to name. His patron cannot discover ; but we ought to bless presented him to a graceful boy, a year the fortunate chance which has introduc- younger than himself, whose education ed a deserted relative to his notice.” he was ordered to partake. This boy,
The meek wife had all the noble in- the only acknowledged grandson of Lord tegrity of a husband, but a mother's feel- De Grey, and heir of his family's bonings prevailed—“ If he could have seen ours, had a heart and talents formed to our daughters or our infant boy, he would embellish them. But his grandfather, love them as he loves Maurice Is it soured by disappointed pride, endear, possible that he can adopt this boy with oured to believe that all the miseries of out a single thought of us ?”.
life proceed from men's dependence on “ I am not certain (replied her hus- each other, and be constantly repeated, band) that he knows under whose roof “ Man ought to be sufficient for bimself." he is a guest. But if he is unconscious, -“ Friendship (he said to his two young let us not, for a selfish purpose, risque the pupils) is a mere interchange of benefits; welfare of an unfortunate child whom we love is only an extension of one's sell :cannot indemnify for the loss of such a there is no disguise necessary for that patron. We have deserved your fath- great principle of human nature, self iner's anger by our rash marriage, and I terest; and no man, therefore, should be rather choose to bear bis silent indiffer- required to depend on another." Perence, than to sue for pardon and be re. haps he did not perceive bow easily bis
pupils inferred froin this doctrine that Maurice heard some part of this con- they owed him no obedience beyond versation without understanding its im- their own pleasure. Taught to ascribe port. He was only astonished that a every act to a selfish motive, they saw no rich and powerful nobleman should deem merit in his bounty, and no motive for a poor boy's society desirable ; and be- their occasional submission, except their gan to doubt whether man can always present advantage. Man, says Lord be sufficient for himself. He wondered Bacon, and every noble animal, is imwhy his kind aunt, as he was accustom- proved by dependence on a superior ed to call the curate's wife, never ven- Being; but these young cynics were detured into Lord De Grey's presence, or prived of that sense of support wbich is passed his chamber-door without tears. inspired by Gilial love, and carried to its One day he stole in himself, leading his highest perfection by our ideas of a Crefavourite playinate her eldest daughter, ator. As forbearance and forgiveness to look at the important stranger when made no part of their moral codø, their they thought him sleeping. “ Take her disputes often rose lo violence when their
wishes clashed. On one of these occa- tenance, “ you were my first teacher sioos, Lord De Grey exclaimed, address- can you believe me guilty ?”—The old ing himself to his grandson-"Since ha- man wept and pressed his hand to his tred aud revenge are the most painful of bosom ; but at that instant the bell of all sensations, I require you for your his gate was rung violently." You own sake, not for mine, to renounce have held an innocent hand !" cried them."-"I am the best judge, sir, (re-Maurice, as he ran himself to open the plied he) of my own feelings, and I know gate, at which a stranger stood with a none so painful as equality with a name- sealed parcel, which he gave and disapless intruder, the foster-son of a mendi- peared. It was addressed to the curate, eant."
who opened and found within it bank“ Man is sufficient for himself," -re- notes to the amount of five hundred peated Maurice ; and before the dawn pounds." See, Maurice, (said he) the of the next morning, he quilted his ben- provision made for your flight by your efactor's house with only a few pounds benefactor-take it, and shelter yourself in his purse, and one change of linen in in another country. But do not hope to his pocket. But wben he stood on the avoid dependence on your fellow creaedge of the shore from whence, in the tures : their good opinion is necessary to desperatiou of insulted pride, he had re- your welfare, and you have given force solved to einbark as a cominon soldier, to accusation by neglecting it. Go and some thoughts of his early home returned, create for yourself that sanctuary which and he remembered the kind curate of is enjoyed by men who live for the benRochdale with those grateful feelings efit of society. Compare the solitary which meek benevolence is sure to create, obelisk with those clustered pillars which Instead of presenting himself to the re- support the roof of our noblest institueruiting officer, he took his seat ou a tions, and then determine which is the northern mail, and soon reached the ob- most useful and dignified.”—Thus gentscure valley where his infancy had been ly intimating hope rather than ceusure, spent. Mordaunt, the curate, received the good pastor led his guest again to his him with a silent embrace, and led him threshold, urged speed, and gave a sareto his fire-side, where his first enquiry well blessing. Maurice felt the tenderwas for the lovely blue-eyed girl he had ness of bis bounty, but he also felt that once attempted to introduce to Lord De his own guilt seemed undoubted. Fire Grey. The curate, without answering, ran through his veins at the thought; and seated hiin at his supper-table ; and plungiog spurs into his horse, be turned when Maurice had refreshed himself, said it, not towards the nearest seaport, ao sternly, “I would give bread even to cording to Mordauni's command, but in a selon who trusts me read that letter !” the high-road to London. - It was the hand-writing of Lord De Lord De Grey was seated musing in Grey, and contained these words. his library at midnight, when Maurice
- The boy I received from you has suddenly stood before him, pale and gasprobbed me. By an exact imitation of ing for breath. You have placed my my signature, he has obtained four thou- life and honour at stake, my lord !--and sand pounds, which have been traced into I come to redeem them. Do not expect bis hands. I pardon the theft and the me to seal your accusation by Biglit. II fraud, but not ibe ingratitude. Bid him am guilty, I do not deserve shelter; if fly, if he ventures to seek shelter near you believe ine innocent, let me prove it." you. It is too late to save him by other “ Vohappy boy!" said his patron, means."
starting as if he had felt himself all the Maurice's eyes stiffened as they dwelt shame and penalty of the crime--" wbat on these terrible words, and his lips were avails your innocence against a host of paisied. Mordaunt pointed to the only circumstances ? How can you confront horse which led on his little glebe, and the world after the infamy of such a urged him to depart while ihe darkness trial ?”-“ Man is not suficient for hina of night remained." Ah, Sir!” said self then !" said Maurice, with a biller Maurice with a sudden light in his coun- smile--" how often have you taught me