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Above the dogeless city's vanisliM sway;
Ours is a trophy which will not decay
With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor,
And Pierre, can not be swept or worn away—
The keystones of the arch! though all were o'er,
For -us repeopled were the solitary shore.
'The beings of the mind are not of clay;
Essentially immortal they create
And multiply in us a brighter ray
And more beloved existence: that which Fate
Prohibits to dull life, in this our state
Of mortal bondage, by these spirits supplied
First exiles, then replaces what we hate;
Watering the heart whose early flowers have died,
And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.
'Such is the refuge of our youth and age,
The first from Hope, the last from Vacancy;
And this worn feeling peoples many a page,
And, may be, that which grows beneath mine eye:
Yet there are things whose strong reality
Outshines our fairy-land; in shape and hues
More beautiful than our fantastic sky,
And the strange constellations which the Muse
O'er her wild universe is skilful to diffuse:' pp. j c.
From Venice, the Pilgrim passes on to Arqua, where
'Pillared in their sarcophagus, repose
The bones of Laura's lover;
to Ferrara, where erst reigned * the antique brood of Est; which accordingly introduces an impassionate apostrophe « Torquato's injured shade;' to Florence, where once again
'The Goddess lives in stone and fills
The air around with beauty;
and, finally, to Rome.
'The Niobe of Nations! there she stands,
Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe;
An empty urn within her withered hands,
Whose holy dust was scattered long ago;
The Scipio's tomb contains no ashes now;
The very sepulchres lie tenantless
Of their heroic dwellers; dost thou flow,
Old Tiber! through a marble wilderness? Rise, with thy yellow waves and mantle her distress.' With Rome, the Canto is chiefly occupied, and here the r grimage has its bourn. Lord Byron has judged rightly that theme of equal interest remained to supply matter for carr\ on the poem further. Not Rome itself, hewever, can make' i plaintive egotist forget bis griefs and injuries. While conten
plating the palaces and the tombs of the Cesars, while lofti!*' philosophizing on the rise and fall of empires, whose relics, a chaos of ruins, were spread beneath him,—in the midst of his en" thusiasm, he is still cool enough to be able to digress to his own domestic affairs; like the tragic actor, who, in the very paroxysm of his mimic agonies, has his feelings perfectly at leisure for a whispered joke, and is thinking only of the green room or his benefit. The digressions are as well managed as possible, but still, the effect of these intrusive passages is, we think, incongruous with the majesty of the scene; and the reader feels it as an unwelcome interruption, to be called off to listen to the oft-told tale of Childe Harold's ineffable miseries, and to hear him denounce upon his unknown enemies ' the curse of bis forgive'ness.' Travellers inform us of a remarkable optical phenomenon which has been witnessed in Bohemia, produced by the refraction of the Sun's rays, when at a certain elevation: the spectator beholds his shadow thrown upon the clouds, dilated to a more than gigantic stature. Lord Byron seems to have permanently impressed upon his inward sense, a spectral illusion of analogous origin. Still, his own shadow immensely magnified, is seen reflected upon all the objects which surround him, and with this alone he seems to hold real communion, or to feel any real sympathy.
There is however one digression of a different character, which, although it has found its way into the papers of the day, we cannot refrain from transcribing.
'Hark! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds,
A long low distant murmur of dread sound,
Such as arises when a nation bleeds
With some deep and immedicable wound;
Through storm and darkness yawns the rending ground,
The gulf is thick with phantoms, but the chief
Saems royal still, though with her head discrown'd
And pale, but lovely, with maternal grief
She clasps a babe, to whom her breast yields no relief.
'Scion of chiefs and monarchs, where art thou?
Fond hope of many nations, art thou dead?
Could not the grave forget thee, and lay low
Some less majestic, less beloved head?
In the sad midnight, while thy heart still bled,
The mother of a moment, o'er thy boy,
Death hush'd that pang for ever: with thee fled
The present happiness ami promised joy
Which till'd the imperial isles so full it seem'd to cloy.
'Peasants bring forth in safety.—Can it be,
Oh thou that wert so happy, so adored!
Those who weep not for kings, shall weep for thee,
And Freedom's heart grown heavy, cease to hoard
Her many griefs for One; for she had pour'd
Her orisons for thec, and o'er thy head
Beheld her Iris—Thou, too, lonely lord,
And desolate consort—vainly wert thou wed I
The husband of a year! the father of the dead!
'Of sackloth was thy wedding garment made;
Thy bridal's fruit is ashes: in the dust
The fair-haired Daughter of the Isles is laid,
The love of millions! How we did entrust
Futurity to her! and, though it must
Darken above our bones, yet fondly deem'd
Our children should obey her child, and bless'd
Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise seetn'd
Like stars to shepherds' eyes:—'twas but a meteor beam'd.
* Woe unto us. not her; for she sleeps well:
The fickle reek of popular breath, the tongue
Of hollow counsel, the false oracle,
Which from the birth of monarchy hath rung
Its knell in princely ears, till the o'erstung
Nations have arm'd in madness, the strange fate
Which tumbles mightiest sovereigns, and hath flung
Against their blind omnipotence a weight
Within the opposing scale, which crushes soon or late,—
'These might have been her destiny; but no,
Our hearts deny it: and so young, so fair,
Good without effort, great without a foe;
But now a bride and mother—and now there!
How many ties did that stern moment tear!
From thy Sire's to his humblest subject's breast
Is linked the electric chain of that despair,
Whose shock was as an earthquake's, and opprcst
The land which loved thee Eo that none could love thce best.'
There are some stanzas in this Fourth Canto, of beauty and energy equal, perhaps, to any passages in the former portions of the work, but as a whole, it is not perhaps the most interesting. The following description of an Italian evening, partakes of the mellowed richness of the scene.
« The Moon is up, and yet it is not night—
Sunset divides the sky with her—a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seems to be
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
Where the Day joins the past Eternity:
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the azure air—an island of the blest 1
'A single star is at her side, and reigns
With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still
Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remain*
Roll'd o'er the peak of the far Rhaetian bill,
As Day and Night contending were, until
Nature reclaim'd her order :—gently flows
The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil
The odorous purple of a new-born rose,
Which'streams upon her stream, and glass'd within it glows,
'Fill'd with the face of heaven, which, from afar,
Comes down upon the waters; all its hues.
From the rich sunset to the rising star,
Their magical variety diffuse:
And now they change; a paler shadow strews
Its mantle o'er the mountains; parting day
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues
With a new colour as it gasps away,
The last still loveliest, till—'tis gone—and all is gray.'pp. 16,17.
But by far the finest passage in the poem, to our taste, is the •oble apostrophe to the Ocean, with which the poet has done well to terminate his song.
< Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore ;—upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own.
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, and unknown.
'His steps are not npon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction, thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies.
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his Gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth :—there let him /.•/.•.,.
'The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
'Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee—
Assyria. Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters wasted them while they were free,
And many a tyrant since: their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to desarts ;—not so thou.
Unchangeable save to thy wild wave's play—
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow—
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.'
'Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests ; in all time,
Calm or convuls'd—in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving;—boundless, endless, and sublime—
The image of Eternity—the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
'And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight: and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.
'My task is done—my song hath ceased—my theme
Has died into an echo; it is fit
The spell should break of this protracted dream.
The torch shall be extinguish'u which hath lit
My midnight lamp—and what is writ, is writ,—
Would it were worthier! but I am not now
That which I have been—and my visions flit
Less palpably before me—and the glow
Which in my spirit dwelt, is fluttering, faint, and low,
'Farewell! a word that must be, and hath been—
A sound which makes us linger;—yet—farewell!
Ye! who have traced the Pilgrim to the scene
Which is his last, if in your memories dwell
A thought which once was his, if on ye swell
A single recollection, not in vain
He wore his sandal-shoon, and scallop-shell;
Farewe)!! with him alone may rest the pain,
If such theywere—with you, the moral of his strain!' pp. 92—96.
We regret that this fine passage should be injured by a barbarism, as well as by some rhythmical varieties, more original than pleasing,