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storer; XIV liberation : subdued ending in the manner of Wordsworth (diminuendo). The poem is one of pathos merely, in the primary sense of the term. The characters suffer, but do not act. Consequently the treatment, as here given, must be quasi-lyrical (dramatic monologue) and brief. Even thus, as Sir Walter Scott wrote, the poem is more powerful than pleasing. The form and style are in admirable keeping with the subject : vigorous octosyllabics (four-stress couplets) with frequent variations (contrast the more softly melodious movement of Coleridge's Christabel'); little imagery, and that closely directed to enforcing the emotional effect; otherwise straightforward realistic speech with no surplusage. Compare the narrative manner of • Mazeppa.'
What is the effect in each case of the various departures from the couplet rhyme in the poem ? from the regular iambic flow of the rhythm ? Why are certain lines of two and three feet in. stead of four ? Is the alliteration employed artistic and effective?
155: Sonnet on Chillon, 2-4. The general meaning is made clearer in the first version of these lines :
“ Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
Thy palace is within the Freeman's heart,
156 : The Poem, 18. The six sons and their father.
156 : 27 ff. Shelley's prose description of Chillon in his · His. tory of a Six Weeks' Tour' (taken in Byron's company, June, 1816) is as follows: "We passed on to the Castle of Chillon, and visited its dungeons and towers. These prisons are excavated below the lake; the principal dungeon is supported by seven columns, whose branching capitals support the roof. Close to the very walls, the lake is 800 feet deep ; iron rings are fastened to these columns .... Close to this long and lofty dungeon was a narrow cell, and beyond it one larger and far more lofty and dark, supported upon two unornamented arches. Across one of these arches was a beam, now black and rotten, on which prisoners were hung in secret. I never saw a monument more terrible of that cold and inhuman tyranny, which it has been the delight of man to exercise over man [cf. 11. 136-7 of the poem] ..."-Cf. Byron's prose description in note to l. 11
157: 69 ff. For the contrast between the two brothers, cf. Ariosto, Orlando Furioso,' c. xviii, st. 166.
157 : 57. the pure elements of earth, is apparently a vague and general phrase for the elementary things which the earth gives to all, as air and water and sunshine,'
158 : 105. gulf : used with the sense given it by Byron in • Sardanapalus,' IV, 1:
“ All that the dead dare gloomily raise up
From their black gulf to daunt the living.” 159 : III. ". The Château de Chillon is situated between Clarens and Villeneuve, which last is at one extremity of the Lake of Geneva. On its left are the entrances of the Rhone, and oppo. site are the heights of Meillerie and the range of Alps above Bouveret and St. Gingo. Near it, on a hill behind, is a torrent; below it, washing its walls, the lake has been fathomed to the depth of 800 feet (French measure); within it are a range of dungeons in which the early reformers, and subsequently prisoners of state, were confined. Across one of the vaults is a beam black with age, on which we were informed that the condemned were formerly executed. In the cells are seven pillars, or rather eight, one being half merged in the wall; in some of these are rings for the fetters and the fettered. In the pavement the steps of Bonnivard have left their traces. He was confined here sev. eral years." ... (Byron's note.
159 : 122. the very rock hath rock'd. The play on words is reproduced in • Manfred' I, i :
16 with the shock Rocking their Alpine brethren.” For the stylistic point, compare Shakspere's Sonnet civ:
“For as you were when first your eye I eyed.” Also Richard II,' act V, iii, 85;
“This fester'd joint cut off, the rest rest sound.”
161: 186 ff. What points of resemblance are there between this passage and the account of the death of the shipwrecked boy in • Don Juan' II, lxxxviii (above, p. 254)?
162 : 215, 216. The last ... link. The only one that was left. the eternal brink. The brink of eternity.
163 : 245 ff. For the conception and the images, cf. Byron's poem • Darkness' (above, p. 220).
163 : 265. through the crevice = 'in the crevice through which.'
164 : 292. twice so doubly lone. If it had been his brother's soul, he would never have left him a second time, and consequently doubly lonely and alone from the loss of so bright a hope.
164 : 294 ff. Is the simile as expanded merely ornamental and a flourish, or are 11. 295-299 strictly connected with the picture of the prisoner's mental condition ? Cf. Wordsworth's "To a Daf. fodil' (1804):
"I wandered lonely as a cloud." 165 : 323. Cf. Dryden's version of Chaucer's tale of Palamon and Arcite, where Palamon, looking out from the tower of his prison,
“sighed, and turned his eyes, because he knew
'Twas but a larger jail he had in view." 165 : 331. The quiet of a loving eye. Cf. Wordsworth, “A Poet's Epitaph':
“ The harvest of a quiet eye.” 165 : 336. Is the Rhone blue where it enters the lake, not far from Chillon? Or is Byron thinking of its color at some other point in its course ? Cf. •Childe Harold,' III, Ixxi (of the Rhone at Geneva):
“By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone." But cf. also · Don Juan,' XIV, lxxxvii :
" Or like the Rhone by Leman's waters wash'd,
Which fain would lull its river-child to sleep." It is a matter of common observation that water which, under certain conditions of atmosphere and light will appear green or other color, under other conditions will appear blue,
165 : 339. The town is perhaps Vevey (five miles down the lake), or it may be Meillerie (ten miles below on the opposite shore). The latter is especially mentioned in Byron's note tol. III, above.
166 : 341. "Between the entrances of the Rhone and Villeneuve, not far from Chillon, is a very small island; the only one I could perceive, in my voyage round and over the lake, within its circumference. It contains a few trees (I think not above three), and from its singleness and diminutive size has a peculiar effect upon the view." (Byron's note.—The island referred to (Ile de la Paix) is artificial and did not exist in Bonivard's time, but was built about a century ago. On it three elms were planted.
MANFRED. • Manfred' was begun during Byron's Swiss tour of 1816. It was finished (in the original version) by February 15, 1817. In its revised form it was published in June, 1817.
We are assured in the • Recollections of Byron,' ascribed to the Countess Guiccioli, that "the origin of Nianfred' lies in the midst of sublime Alpine scenery, where, on a rock, Bryon dis. covered an inscription bearing the names of two brothers, one of whom had murdered the other at that spot.” In Byron's Swiss Journal, September 22 (1816] appears this entry : “Left Thoun in a boat ... passed Interlachen; entered upon a range of scenes beyond all description or previous conception. Passed a rock; inscription-two brothers—one murdered the other; just the place for it." Nothing of this story appears in • Manfred.' It, however, perhaps suggested the theme of remorse, the poet first substituting, it may be, a sister, Astarte, for the murdered brother, and then transferring the actual deed of blood from Manfred's to some other hands. So II, iii, 120 :
“I have shed Blood, but not hers--and yet her blood was shed.” However this may be, there is no doubt that the Alps furnished the chief inspiration of the poem. “As to the germs of Manfred,'" byron wrote from Venice, “they may be found in the Journal which I sent to Mrs. Leigh, ... shortly before I left Switzerland. I have the whole scene of Manfred' before me, as if it was but yesterday, and could point it out, spot by spot, tor. rent and all.” And announcing the work to Moore (March 25, 1817), he says: “I wrote a sort of mad Drama, for the sake of introducing the Alpine scenery in description.” This of course is an exaggerated statement of the case, for after all the poetic center of the poem is Manfred, not the Alps, and the poem is essentially psychological and lyrical rather than descriptive.
See the extracts from Byron's Journal and Letters given below in the notes to I, ii, and II, i and ii.
As to other sources, Goethe's Faust' obviously furnished certain suggestions. Writing to Rogers, April 4, 1817, Byron says: “I forgot to tell you that, last autumn, I furnished [Matthew Gregory, or · Monk '] Lewis with bread and salt' for some days at Diodati, in reward for which (besides his conversation) he translated Goethe's “Faust' to me by word of mouth." And later, June 7, 1820, in a letter to Murray : “[Goethe's] · Faust'I never read, for I don't know German; but Matthew Monk Lewis, in 1816, at Coligny, translated most of it to me viva voce, and I was naturally much struck with it; but it was the Steinbach and the Jungfrau, and something else, much more than Faustus, that made me write • Manfred.'” The two poems are obviously not in competition. With several motives in common, the aims are dif. ferent, and they belong in different classes.* With the spirit of Marlowe's • Faustus’ • Manfred' also has something in common, and it is difficult to believe that Byron had never seen Marlowe's work, at least the portions contained in Lamb's “Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets,' a book which he knew. Yet Byron assures us that such was the fact. “I never read and do not know that I ever saw the • Faustus' of Marlowe,” he writes to Murray. And later : “ As to the • Faustus' of Marlowe, I never read, never saw, nor heard of it—at least, thought of it, except that I think Mr. Gifford mentioned, in a note of his which you sent me, something about the catastrophe; but not as having anything to do with mine, which may or may not resemble it, for anything I know.” Jeffrey in his review of the poem remarks that “in the tone and pitch of the composition, as well as
* For suggestive comparisons of the two poems, see Castelar's * Life of Byron' (Lond. 1875), pp. 169-175; Taine, Hist. Eng. Lit. Bk, IV, ch. ii, sect. iv.