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author as a justification of his own use of it, in all those various modes of composition. In part of this opinion we concur, and only in part. He who wishes to soothe the feelings by a minute delineation of the softer beauties of nature, or to fill the imagination by accumulating in his landscapes her more sublime features ;-he who would give expression to those emotions which at once oppress and delight a contemplative mind, in musing on the vicissitudes of human life, or on the expressive characters of external nature ; or, lastly, those disconsolate lovers, whose poetical lamenta tions are made only to be rejected, and are rejected only that they may be repeated ;- in a word, the descriptive, the sentimental, and the enamoured will find, in the full and harmonious stanza of Spenser, a metre well adapted to the expression of their several feelings. But for the witty, it is too diffuse ; for the impassioned, it is too regular; and for the pathetic, it is too stately. That it would not be difficult to find instances of wit, of vehemence, and of pathos in this inetre, every one will admit; for it is the metre of Ariosto, of Thomp on, and of Campbell: we maintain only, that it is not the best vehicle for that species of poetry. This difficuliy, however, we do not state as any objection to the use of this measure by Lord Byron; for to wit he has no pretensions, and rarely, -very rarely, if ever,-is he softened into tenjerness, or elevated to enthusiasm. In truth, he is too philosophical; nor is his philosophy very engaging. It has taught him, we think, to look upon ihe follies and weaknesses of bis fellows with more disdain, than a wise man would think reasonable, or than a man of much sensibility would feel to be right.
In the martyrs for the liberty of Spain, he can only see those, who, if they had not fallen for their country, would probably have perished in the pursuit of rapine? Of the females of all countries, and particularly of his own, he speaks in language too irreverent, we fear, to be forgiven, even in consideration of the warm approbation he expresses of their glowing cheeks and pouting kisses. And for the Portuguese he can utter no feelings, but those of the most unmixt and hearty contempt. Now we are quite sure that this view of the world and its inhabitants, whether accurate or inaccurate, is not very poetical." It gives to the whole composition an air of misanthropy, which, we trust, is very foreign to the character of the author, and in which it is impossible for those to sympathise whose sympathy would før any reason be desirable.
With this general exception, applicable more or less to al. most every part of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and with one other exception to which we shall presently call the attention of our readers, it is impossible not to feel and to express a warın admiration of this poem. There is a degree of energy, and sometimes even of sublimity, in the reflections which are awakened in the mind of the author by the various scenes through which he passes, which, even in the absence of any other pretensions, would intitle Lord Byron to take a very high station among the poets of his own day. But this is not his only, and is scarcely his greatest claim, to the admiration of the lovers of poetry. His representations of national and of individual character are peculiarly distinct and lively. For the terrific as well as for the gentler beauties of nature, he appears to possess a very keen relish and a very discriminating taste; and at Athens, among the scenes which are associated with his early recollections, he mourns over the relics of her ancient grandeur with a degrec of sensibility, which had almost comú pelled us to recall the opinion we have intimated as to the general severity of his disposition. His diction, though often languid and redundant, and not seldom careless and inaccurate, is on the whole nervous and idiomatic; and has more of the vigour of our ojd English school of poetry, than is readily to be found in any of those very beautiful compositions in which the present times have been so singularly fertile. Yet, though we give this commendation with great sincerity, we cannot challenge for Lord Byron a place among those poets, whose names will be coeval with the language in which they have written, and who will be remembered with tenderness and ad. miracion when the tumult of praise and popularity has subsided. He possesses a strong and argumentative understanding, and a disposition to contemplate the pensive and the awful, rather than the
gay and amusing scenes of life. A mind so consti. tuted, can hardly, in the vigorous exercise of its powers, fail in reaching both the pathetic and the sublime. If the eye is open and the heart susceptible, the lowest and most vulgar of those objects which attract the unmeaning gaze of ordinary nien, will for such a mind teem with exalted associations. On every side we are surrounded with mystery. The commencement and the termination of life, the gradual expansion and decline of our intellectual powers, the minute beauties and the boundless magnificence of the creation we inhabit,--the vicissitudes and the various states and conditions of human society,-all these, and ten thousand objects besides these, afford inexhaustible treasures for the contemplation of him, whose purpose it is to excite that mixt emotion of terror and delight, which we term sublimity. But there are two modes by which this effect is produced, essentially distinct and dissimilar. It is the privilege of exalted genius to reach at once, and with apparent facility, those elevated re
gions, to which the merely reasoning intellect is slowly and painfully raised : the one can teach a vivid imagination to glow, and can warm even the coldest fancy, with its descriptions of the scenes with which itself is conversant,--the other can elevate and astonish those, and only those, who can follow the poet through his reasonings and deductions with some congeniality of taste, and with powers of reasoning not wholly dissimilar to his own. We consider Lord Byron among,
the reasoning class of poets, Where he is really great, he is so by the calm process of argument, not by the instantaneous impulse of poetical inspiration. As an instance of the elevation to which he occasionally rises upon this strong, though tardy piņion, we shall give the following passage, -unqu 'stionably one of the most successful of his efforts, -on the inexhaustible topic of the frailty of human life, and the folly of human ambition.
Bound to the earth, he lifts his eye to heaven ;
Is't not enough, unhappy thing to know
On earth no more, but mingled with the skies?
Far on the solitary shore he sleeps:
But now not one of saddening thousands weeps,
Where demi gods appear'd, as records tell.
skull from out the scatter'd heaps :
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul :
The dome of Thought, the palace of the Soul;
The gay recess of Wisdom and of Wit,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?' p. Next to argument, Lord Byron's delight is in daring and bold personification, where, as Johnson, we think, says of Dryden, he loves “ to tread upon the brink of meaning, where light and darkness begin to mingle.” To succeed in meaVOL. VIII.
suring with a firm step the edge of this precipiée, is no mean or ordinary praise. The following description of Battle, is a very bold, and a very successful instance, of his indulgence in tlie propensity we bare mentioned.
• Lo! where the giant on the mountain stands,
His blood-red tresses deepening in the sun,
And eye that scorcheth all it glares upon ;
Flashing afar,--and at his iron feet
To shed before hiç shrine the blood be deems most sweet.' p.27, His descriptions of natural scenery are distinct and animated. The gloom and solemnity of the mountain and the forest, seem, however, more suited to his spirit, than the repose of caliner prospects.
• To sit on racks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been ;
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Converse with Nature's charms and see her stores 'unroll’d. p. 73. The following sketch is in a softer style. • E'en on a plain no humble beauties lie,
Where some bold river breaks the long expanse,
Or with the moon beam sleep in midnight's solemn trance.' His classical recollections among the ruins of Grecian art and science, are to our minds by much the most pleasing part of Lord Byron's poem. There is great beauty in the following address to Parnassus, which is abruptly, though not inelegantly, introduced in the midst of his praises of the darkglancing daughters of Spain.
"Oh, thou Parnassus! whom I now survey,
Not in the phrenzy of a dreamer's eye,
But soaring snow-clad through thy native sky,
What marvel if I thus essay to sing ?
Would gladly woo thine echoes with his string,
from thy heights no more one muse will wave her wing ! • Oft haye I dream'd of thee ! whose glorious name
Who knows not, knows not mán's divinest lore;
That I in'feeblest accents must adore;
I tremble, and can only bend the knee';" belirse
Whose fate to distant hômes confind their lot, iv
Which others rave of, though they know it.not?.
And thou, the Muses' seat, årl now their grave!
And glides wich glassy fett o'er yog melódious wave.? p. $9. It would be easy to multiply beautiful quotations from this poem, though none, we think, of equal merit with these. We must, however, find room for a few passages out of two of the songs which are interspersed through the volume, one an original
, the other a translation from a compilation made by the noble author himself from differeiit Albanese songs. Childe Harold is supposed, at a moment when he had successfully struggled agaiost his sadness, to give vent to his feelings in the following stanzas, addressed to Inez. • Nay, smile not at
Should'st weep, and Haply weep in vain.
*, 971 3 bin 5 il
The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore, y's i'w
por dirl! !!1; 0.0"} Through many a climeitis mine to go!!!!
With many a retrospection curst: -