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Their Phlegethon, curls round the rocks of jet
Crushing the cliffs, which, downward worn and rent With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent
Clitumnus. In general poets find it so difficult to leave an interesting subject, that they injure the distinctness of the description by loading it so as to embarrass, rather than excite, the fancy of the reader ; or else, to avoid that fault, they confine themselves to cold and abstract generalities. Byron has, in these stanzas, admirably steered his course betwixt these extremes: while they present the outlines of a picture as pure and as brilliant as those of Claude Lorraine, the task of filling up the more minute particulars is judiciously left to the imagination of the reader; and it must be dull indeed if it does not supply what the poet has left unsaid, or but generally and briefly intimated. While the eye glances over the lines, we seem to feel the refreshing coolness of the scene - we hear the bubbling tale of the more rapid streams, and see the slender proportions of the rural temple reflected in the crystal depth of the calm pool. SIR WALTER SCOTT.]
LXXI. To the broad column which rolls on, and shows More like the fountain of an infant sea Torn from the womb of mountains by the throes Of a new world, than only thus to be Parent of rivers, which flow gushingly, With many windings, through the vale :-Look back ! Lo! where it comes like an eternity,
As if to sweep down all things in its track, Charming the eye with dread, -a matchless cataract, 1
Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene,
1 I saw the Cascata del Marmore of Terni twice, at different periods; once from the summit of the precipice, and again from the valley below. The lower view is far to be preferred, if the traveller has time for one only; but in any point of view, either from above or below, it is worth all the cascades and torrents of Switzerland put together: the Staubach, Reichenbach, Pisse Vaclie, fall of Arpenaz, &c. are rills in comparative appearance. of the fall of Schaffhausen I cannot speak, not yet having seen it. s“ The stunning sound, the mist, uncertainty, and tremendous depth, bewildered the senses for a time, and the eye had little rest from the impetuous and hurrying waters, to search into the mysterious and whitened gulf, which presented, through a cloud of spray, the apparitions, as it were, of rocks and overhanging wood.
The wind, however, would sometimes remove for an instant this misty veil, and display such a scene of havoc as appalled the soul." - H. W. WILLIAMS.]
2 of the time, place, and qualities of this kind of iris, the reader will see a short account, in a note to Manfred. The fall looks 80
LXXIII. Once more upon the woody Apennine, The infant Alps, which – had I not before Gazed on their mightier parents, where the pine Sits on more shaggy summits, and where roar 1 The thundering lauwine-might be worshipp'd more; But I have seen the soaring Jungfrau rear Her never-trodden snow, and seen the hoar
Glaciers of bleak Mont Blanc both far and near, And in Chimari heard the thunder-hills of fear,
much like “ the hell of waters," that Addison thought the descent alluded to by the gulf in which Alecto plunged into the infernal regions. It is singular enough, that two of the finest cascades in Europe should be artificial — this of the Velino, and the one at Tivoli. The traveller is strongly recommended to trace the Velino, at least as high as the little lake, called Pie' di Lup. The Reatine territory was the Italian Tempe (Cicer. Epist. ad Attic. xv. lib. iv.), and the ancient naturalists (Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. ii. cap. Ixii.), amongst other beautiful varieties, remarked the daily rainbows of the lake Velinus. A scholar of great name has devoted a treatise to this district alone. See Ald. Manut. de Reatina Urbe Agroque, ap. Sallengre, Thesaur. tom. i. p. 773.
1 In the greater part of Switzerland, the avalanches are known by the name of lauwine.
The drill'd dull lesson, forced down word by word 1 In my repugnant youth, with pleasure to record
1 These stanzas may probably remind the reader of Emsign Northerton's remarks, “D-n Homo," &c. ; but the reasons for our dislike are not exactly the same. I wish to express, that we become tired of the task before we can comprehend the beauty ; that we learn by rote before we can get by heart; that the freshness is worn away, and the future pleasure and advantage deadened and destroyed, by the didactic anticipation, at an age when we can neither feel nor understand the power of compositions which it requires an acquaintance with life, as well as Latin and Greek, to relish, or to reason upon. For the same reason, we never can be aware of the fulness of some of the finest passages of Shakspeare (" To be, or not to be," for instance), from the habit of having them hammered into us at eight years old, as an exercise, not of mind, but of memory : so that when we are old enough to enjoy them, the taste is gone, and the appetite palled. In some parts of the continent, young persons are taught from more common authors, and do not read the best classics till their maturity. I certainly do not speak on this point from any pique or aversion towards the place of my education. I was not a slow, though an idle boy; and I believe no one could, or can be, more attached to Harrow than I have always been, and with reason; - a part of the time passed there was the happiest of my life ; and my preceptor, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Drury, was the best and worthiest friend I ever possessed, whose warnings I have remembered but too well, though too late when I have erred, and whose coun. sels I have but followed when I have done well or wisely. If ever this imperfect record of my feelings towards him should reach his eyes, let it remind him of one who never thinks of him but with gratitude and veneration of one who would more gladly boast of having been his pupil, if, by more closely following his injunctions, he could reflect any honour upon his instructor.
If free to choose, I cannot now restore
Awakening without wounding the touch'd heart,
LXXVIII. Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul ! The orphans of the heart must turn to thee, Lone mother of dead empires! and control In their shut breasts their petty misery. What are our woes and sufferance ? Come and see The cypress, hear the owl, and plod your way O'er steps of broken thrones and temples, Ye! Whose agonies are evils of a dayA world is at our feet as fragile as our clay.
I SLord Byron's prepossession against Horace is not without a parallel. It was not till released from the duty of reading Virgil as a task, that Gray could feel himself capable of enjoying the beauties of that poet. - MOORE.]