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ous or gentle kind, and to end by exciting our or so managed as even to enhance its merits, tender pity, or deep respect, for those very or confirm its truth. With what different senindividuals or classes of persons who seemed sations, accordingly, do we read the works of at first to be brought on the stage for our mere , those iwo great writers !-With the one, we sport and amusement—thus making the ludi- seem to share a gay and gorgeous banquetcrous itself subservient to the cause of be- with the other, a wild and dangerous intoxinevolence-and inculcating, at every turn, cation. Let Lord Byron bethink him of this and as the true end and result of all his trials contrast—and its causes and effects. Though and experiments, the love of our kind, and he scorns the precepts, and defies the censure the duty and delight of a cordial and genuine of ordinary men, he may yet be moved by the sympathy with the joys and sorrows of every example of his only superior!—In the mean condition of men. It seems to be Lord Byron's time, we have endeavoured to point out the way, on the contrary, never to excite a kind canker that stains the splendid flowers of his or a noble sentiment, without making haste to poetry—or, rather, the serpent that lurks beobliterate it by a torrent of unfeeling mockery neath them. If it will not listen to the voice or relentless abuse, and taking pains to show of the charmer, that brilliant garden, gay and how well those passing fantasies may be re- glorious as it is, must be deserted, and its conciled to a system of resolute misanthropy, existence deplored, as a snare to the unwary.
( August, 1817.) Manfred; a Dramatic Poem. By Lord Byron. 8vo. pp. 75. London : 1811. This is a very strange—not a very pleasing ings,—but he treats them with gentleness and —but unquestionably a very powerful and pity; and, except when stung to impatience most poetical production. The noble author, by too importunate an intrusion, is kind and we find, still deals with that dark and over- considerate of the comforts of all around him. awing Spirit, by whose aid he has so often This piece is properly entitled a Dramatic subdued the minds of his readers, and in Poem-for it is merely poetical, and is not at whose might he has wrought so many won all a drama or play in the modern acceptation ders. In Manfred, we recognise at once the of the term. It has no action; no plot-and gloom and potency of that soul which burned no characters; Manfred merely muses and and blasted and fed upon itself in Harold, and suffers from the beginning to the end. His Conrad, and Lara-and which comes again in distresses are the same at the opening of the this piece, more in sorrow than in anger- scenę and at its closing-and The temper in more proud, perhaps, and more awful than which they are borne is the same. A hunter ever—but with the fiercer traits of its misan- and a priest, and some domestics, are indeed thropy subdued, as it were, and quenched in introducea ; but they have no connection with the gloom of a deeper despondency. Man- the passions or sufferings on which the interfred does not, like Conrad and Lara, wreak est depends; and Manfred is substantially the anguish of his burning heart in the dan- alone throughout the whole piece. He holds gers and daring of desperate and predatory no communion but with the memory of the war-nor seek to drown bitter thoughts in the Being he had loved; and the immortal Spirits tumult of perpetual contention-nor yet, like whom he evokes to reproach with his misery, Harold, does he sweep over the peopled scenes and their inability to relieve it. These unof the earth with high disdain and aversion, earthly beings approach nearer to the characand make his survey of the business and ter of persons of the drama—but still they pleasures and studies of man an occasion for are but choral accompaniments to the pertaunts and sarcasms, and the food of an im- formance; and Manfred is, in reality, the only measurable spleen. He is fixed by the genius actor and sufferer on the scene. To delineate of the poet in the majestic solitudes of the his character indeed—to render conceivable central Alps—where, from his youth up, he his feelings—is plainly the whole has lived in proud but calm seclusion from design of the poem; and the conception and the ways of men ; conversing only with the execution are, in this respect, equally admirmagnificent forms and aspects of nature by able. It is a grand and terrific vision of a which he is surrounded, and with the Spirits being invested with superhuman attributes, of the Elements over whom he has acquired in order that he may be capable of more than dominion, by the secret and unhallowed stu- human sufferings, and be sustained under dies of Sorcery and Magic. He is averse them by more than human force and pride. indeed from mankind, and scoms the low and To object to the improbability of the fiction frivolous nature to which he belongs; but he is, we think, to mistake the end and aim of cherishes no animosity or hostility to that the author. Probabilities, we apprehend, did feeble race. Their concerns excite no inter- not enter at all into his consideration-his est—their pursuits no sympathy—their joys object was, to produce effect—to exali and no envy. It is irksome and vexatious for him dilate the character through whom he was 10 to be crossed by them in his melancholy mus- | interest or appal us—and to raise our concep
scope and tion of it, by all the helps that could be derived Nor flattering throb, that beats with hopes or from the majesty of nature, or the dread of
Or lurking love of something on the earth. superstition. It is enough, therefore, if the
Now to my task.”-pp. 7, 8. situation in which he has placed him is conceivable--and if the supposition of its reality
When his evocation is completed, a star is enhances our emotions and kindles our im- seen at the far end of a gallery, and celestial agination ;-for it is Manfred only that we are voices are heard reciting a great deal of poetry: required to fear, to pity, or adinire. If we After they have answered that the gift of can once conceive of him as a real existence, oblivion is not at their disposal, and intimated and enter into the depth and the height of his that death itself could not bestow it on him, pride and his sorrows, we may deal as we they ask if he has any further demand 16 please with the means ihat have been used to make of them. He answers, furnish us with this impression, or to enable No, none : yet stay!-one moment, ere we us to attain to this conception. We may re- I would behold ye face io face. I hear (partgard them but as types, or metaphors, or alle. Your voices, sweet and melancholy sounds gories : But he is the thing to be expressed; As music on the waters; and I see and the feeling and the intellect, of which all The steady aspect of a clear large star;
But nothing more. Approach me as ye are, these are but shadows.
Or one, or all, in your accustom'd forms. The events, such as they are, upon which Spirit. We have no fornis beyond the elements the piece may be said to turn, have all'taken of which we are the mind and principle : place long before its opening, and are but But choose a form—in that we will appear. dimly shadowed out in the casual communica
Man. I have no choice; there is no form on earth tions of the agonising being to whom they Who is most powerful of ye, take such aspect
Hideous or beautiful to me. Let him relate. Nobly born and trained in the castle As unto him may seem most fitting.-Come! of his ancestors, he had very soon sequestered Seventh Spirii. (il ppearing in the shape of a himself from the society of men; and, after beauliful female figure.) Behold ! running through the common circle of human M. Oh God! if it be thus, and thou sciences, had dedicated himself to the worship Art not a madness and a mockery, of the wild magnificence of nature, and to 1 yet might be most happy.--I will clasp thee.
And we again will be- [The figure vanishes. those forbidden studies by which he had
My heart is crush'd ! learned to command its presiding powers.
(MANFRED falls senseless."-pp. 15, 16. One companion, however, he had, in all his tasks and enjoyments-a female of kindred formance ends with a long poetical incanta
The first scene of this extraordinary pergenius, taste, and capacity—lovely too beyond tion, sung by the invisible spirits over the all loveliness; but, as we gather, too nearly senseless victim before them. The second related to be lawfully beloved. The catas. shows him in the bright sunshine of morning, trophe of their unhappy passion is insinuated in ihe darkest and most ambiguous terms
on the top of the Jungfrau mountain, mediall that we make out is, that she died un- solitude as usual the voice of his habitual
tating self-destruction—and uttering forth in timely and by violence, on account of this fatal attachment—though not by the act of love and admiration for the grand and beauti.
despair, and those intermingled feelings of its object. He killed her, he says, not with ful objects with which he is environed, that his hand—but his heart; and her blood was shed, though not by him! From that hour, kindly sympathy with human enjoyments.
unconsciously win him back to a certain life is a burden to him, and memory a torture —and the extent of his power and knowledge “ Man. The spirits I have raised abandon meserves only to show him the hopelessness and The spells which I have studied baffle meendlessness of his misery:
The remedy I reck'd of tortured me;
I lean no more on superhuman aid : The piece opens with his evocation of the 11 hath no power upon the past, and for Spirits of the Elements, from whom he de- The future, till the past be gull'd in darkness, mands the boon of forgetfulness-and ques. It is not of my search.--My mother Earth! tions them as to his own immortality. The And thou fresh breaking Day, and you, ye Mounscene is in his Gothic tower at midnight-and Why are ye beautiful ? I cannot love ye. (tains, opens with a soliloquy that reveals at once That openest over all, and unto all
And thou, the bright eye of the universe, the state of the speaker, and the genius of Art a delight—thou shin'st not on my heart. the author.
And you, ye crags, upon whose extreme edge
I stand, and on the torrent's brink beneath
To rest for ever-wherefore do I pause ?
Ay, But they avail not: I have done men good, Thou winged and cloud-cleaving minister, And I have met with good even among men
(An eagle passes.
Yet piercest downward, onward, or above
How glorious in its action and itself!
What is it But we, who name ourselves its sovereigns, we, That thou dost see, or think ihou look'st upon? Half dust, half deity, alike unfit.
Man. Myself, and thee-a peasant of the Alps To sink or soar, with our mix'd essence make Thy humble viriues, hospitable home, A conflict of its elements, and breathe
And spirit patient, pious, proud and free; 'The breath of degradation and of pride,
Thy self-respect, grafted on innocent thoughts ; Contending with low wants and lofty will
Thy days of health, and nights of sleep; ihy toils, Till our mortality predominates,
By danger dignified, yet guiltless; hopes
[The shepherd's pipe in the distance is heard. And thy grandchildren's love for epitaph; The natural music of the mountain reed
This do I see and then I look withinFor here the patriarchal days are not
It matters not my soul was scorch'd already :" A pastoral fable-pipes in ihe liberal air,
pp. 27-29. Mix'd with the sweet bells of the sauniering herd; My soul would drink those echoes !-Oh, that I were
The following scene is one of the most The viewless spirit of a lovely sound,
poetical and most sweetly written in the A living voice, a breathing harmony,
poem. There is a still and delicious witchery A bodiless enjoyment--born and dying
in the tranquillity and seclusion of the place, With the blest tone which made me!"-pp. 20—22. and the celestial beauty of the Being who
At this period of his soliloquy, he is de- reveals herself in the midst of these visible scried by a Chamois hunter, who overhears enchantments. In a deep valley among the its continuance.
mountains, Manfred appears alone before a
lofty cataract, pealing in the quiet sunshine “ To be "hus
down the still and everlasting rocks; and Grey-hair'd with anguish, like these blasted pines, Wrecks of a single winter, barkless, branchless,
saysA blighted trunk upon a cursed root,
" It is not noon-the sunbow's rays still arch Which but supplies a feeling to decay
The torrent with the many hues of heaven, And to be thus, eternally but thus,
And roll the sheeled silver's waving column
O'er the crag's headlong perpendicular,
As told in the Apocalypse. No eyes
The homage of these waters.-I will call her.
juration. After a pause, the WITCH OF THE Whose every wave breaks on a living shore,
Alps rises beneath the arch of the sunbow of Heaped with the damn'd like pebbles--I am giddy!" the lorrent.)
pp. 23, 24.
Man. Beautiful Spirit! with thy hair of light, Just as he is about to spring from the cliff, | The charms of Earth's least-mortal daughters grow
And dazzling eyes of glory! in whose form he is seized by the hunter, who forces him To an unearthly stature, in an essence away from the dangerous place in the midst of purer elements ;, while the hues of youth,of the rising tempest. In the second act, we Carnation'd like a sleeping infant's cheek, find him in the cottage of this peasant, and in Rock'd by the beating of her mother's heart, a still wilder state of disorder. His host Upon the lofty glacier's virgin snow,
Or the rose tints, which summer's twilight leaves offers him wine; but, upon looking at the cup, The blush of earth embracing with her heaven,he exclaims
Tinge ihy celestial aspect, and make tame
The beauties of the sunbow which bends o'er thee! Away, away! there's blood upon the brim ! Beautiful Spirit! in thy calm clear brow, Will it then never-never sink in the earth? Wherein is glass'd serenity of soul, C. Hun. What dost thou mean? thy senses Which of itself shows immortality, wander from thee.
I read that thou wilt pardon to a Son
At times to commune with them if that he
Son of Earth! And this was shed: but siill it rises up,
I know thee, and the Powers which give thee power! Colouring the clouds that shut me out from heaven, I know thee for a man of many thoughts, Where thou art noi-and I shall never be !
And deeds of good and ill, extreme in boih, C. Hun. Man of strange words, and some half. Fatal and fared in thy sufferings. maddening sin, &c.
I have expected this—what wouldst thou wilh me! Man. Think'st ihou existence doth depend on Man. To look upon thy beauty!-nothing furIt doth ; but actions are our epochs: mine [time ? ther."-pp. 31, 32. Have made my days and nighıs imperishable, Endless, and all alike, as sands on the shore,
There is something exquisitely beautiful, to Innumerable atoms; and one desert,
our taste, in all this passage; and both the Barren and cold, on which the wild waves break, apparition and the dialogue are so managed, But nothing rests, save carcasses and wrecks, that the sense of their improbability is swalRocks, and the salt-surf weeds of bitterness. C. Hun. Alas! he's mad—but yet I must not
lowed up in that of their beauty ;-and, withleave him.
out actually believing that such spirits exist Man. I would I were-for then the things I see or communicate themselves, we feel for the Would be but a distempered dream.
moment as if we stood in their presence.
What follows, though extremely powerful, Made him a thing, which I, who pity not, and more laboured in the writing, has less Yet pardon those who pity. He is mine, charm for us. He tells his celestial auditor And thine, it may be-be it so, or not, the brief story of his misfortune; and when A soul like his or power upon his soul.”
No other Spirit in this region haih he mentions the death of the only being he
pp. 47, 48. had ever loved, the beauteous Spirit breaks in with her superhuman pride.
At his desire, the ghost of his beloved As
tarte is then called up, and appears—but re"And for ibis fuses to speak at the command of the Powers A being of the race ihou dost despise,
who have raised her, till Manfred breaks out The order which thine own would rise above, Mingling with us and ours, thon dost forego
into this passionate and agonising address. The gifts of our great knowledge, and shrink'st back
“ Hear me, hear me, To recreant mortality- -Away!
[hour-Astarte! my beloved ! speak to me! Man. Daughter of Air! I iell thee, since that I have so much endured so much endureBut words are breath!-Look on me in my sleep, Look on me! the grave hath not changed thee more Or watch my watchings--Come and sit by me! Than I am changed for thee. Thou lovedst me My solitude is solitude no more,
Too much, as I loved thee: we were not made But peopled with the Furies !-I have gnash'd To torture ihus each oiher, though it were My leeth in darkness till returning morn,
The deadliest sin to love as we have loved. Then cursed myself till sunset; - I have pray'd Say that thou loath'st me not-hat I do bear For madness as a blessing—'ris denied me. This punishment for both--ihat ihou will be I have affronted Deaih-but in the war
One of the blessed--and that I shall die ! Of elements the waters shrunk from me,
For hitherio all hateful ihings conspire And fatal things pass'd harmless."'-pp. 36, 37. To bind me in existence-in a life
Which makes me shrink from immortalityThe third scene is the boldest in the exhi- A furure like the past ! I cannot rest. bition of supernatural persons. The three ! know not what I ask, nor what I seek: Destinies and Nemesis meet, at midnight, on
I feel bui what thou arı-and what I am; the top of the Alps, on their way to the hall And I would hear yet once, before I perish, of Arimanes, and sing strange ditties to the For I have callid on thee in the still night,
The voice which was my music.-Speak lo me! moon, of their mischiefs wrought among men. Startled the slumbering birds from the hush'd Nemesis being rather late, thus apologizes for
boughs, keeping them waiting.
And woke the mountain wolves, and made the
Acquainied with thy vainly echoed name, (caves "I was detain'd repairing shattered thrones, Which answered me-many things answered meMarrying fools, restoring dynasties,
Spirits and men-but thou wert silent still! Avenging men upon their enemies,
Yet speak to me! I have outwatch'd the stars, And making them repent their own revenge ; And gazed o'er heaven in vain in search of thee. Goading the wise to madness ; from the dull Speak to me! I have wandered o'er the earth Shaping out oracles to rule the world
And never found ihy likeness.-Speak to me! Afresh; for they were waxing out of date, Look on the fiends around they feel for me : And mortals dared to ponder for themselves, I fear them not, and feel for thee alone.To weigh kings in the balance, and to speak Speak to me! though it be in wrath ;--but sayOf freedom, the forbidden fruit.-Away !
I reck not what-but let me hear thee once-We have outsiaid the hour-mount we our clouds!" This once !-once more !
Phantom of Astarle. Manfred !
Say on, say onThis we think is out of place at least, if we I live but in the sound—it is thy voice ! [ills. must not say out of character; and though the Phan. Manfred! To-morrow ends thine earthly author may tell us that human calamities are Farewell!
Van. naturally subjects of derision to the Ministers
Yet one word more-am I forgiven?
Pham. Farewell ! of Vengeance, yet we cannot be persuaded
Say, shall we meet again ? that satirical and political allusions are at all Phan. Farewel! compatible with the feelings and impressions Mun. One word for mercy! Say, thou lovest me! which it was here his business to maintain. Phan. Manfred ! When the Fatal Sisters are again assembled
[The Spirit of Astarte disappears. before the throne of Arimanes, Manfred sud
Nem. She's gone, and will not be recalled.”
pp. 50–52. denly appears among them, and refuses the prostrations which they require. The first The last act, though in many passages very Destiny thus loftily announces him. beautifully written, seems to us less powerful.
It passes altogether in Manfred's castle, and " Prince of the Powers invisible! This nian
is chiefly occupied in two long conversations Is of no common order, as his port And presence here denote; his sufferings
between him and a holy abbot, who comes to Have been of an immortal nature, like
exhort and absolve him, and whose counsel Our own; his knowledge and his powers and will, he repels with the most reverent gentleness, As far as is compatible with clay,
and but few bursts of dignity and pride. The Which clogs the etherial essence, have been such following passages are full of poetry and As clay haih seldom borne ; his aspirations feeling. Have been beyond ihe dwellers of ihe earih, And they have only taught him what we know- “Ay-father! I have had those earthly visions, That knowledge is not happiness; and science And noble aspirations in my youth; But an exchange of ignorance for that
To make my own the mind of other men, Which is another kind of ignorance.
The enlightener of nations; and to rise This is not all;-the passions, attributes [being, I knew not whither-it might be to fall; Of earth and heaven, from which no power, nor Bui fall, even as the mouniain-cataract, Nor breath, from the worm upwards, is exempt, Which having leapt from its more dazzling height, Have pierced his heart; and in their consequence Even in the foaming strength of its abyss,
(Which casts up misty columns that become in this poem ;-but it is undoubtedly a work
perhaps, is, that it fatigues and overawes us Abbott. And why not live and act with other men ? by the uniformity of its terror and solemnity. Mun. Because my nature was averse from life ; Another is the painful and offensive nature of And yet not cruel; for I would not make,
the circumstance on which its distress is ultiBut find a desolation :-like the wind,
mately founded. It all springs from the disThe red-hot breath of the most lone Simoom, Which dwells but in the desert, and sweeps o'er
appointment or fatal issue of an incestuous The barren sands which bear no shrubs to blast,
passion; and incest, according to our modern And revels o'er their wild and arid waves,
ideas for it was otherwise in antiquity-is And seekeih vor, so that it is not sought,
not a thing to be at all brought before the But being met is deadly! Such hath been imagination. The lyrical songs of the Spirits The course of my existence; but there came are too long; and not all excellent. There Things in my path which are no more."'
is something of pedantry in them now and pp. 59, 60,
then; and even Manfred deals in classical There is also a fine address to the setting allusions a little too much. If we were to sun-aud a singular miscellaneous soliloquy, consider it as a proper drama, or even as a in which one of the author's Roman recol. finished poem, we should be obliged to add, lections is brought in, we must say somewhat that it is far too indistinct and unsatisfactory. unnaturally.
But this we take to be according to the design “The stars are forth, the moon above the tops and conception of the author. He contemOf the snow-shining mountains.-Beautiful! plated but a dim and magnificent sketch of a I linger yet with Nature, for the night
subject which did not admit of a more accuHath been to me a more familiar face
rate drawing, or more brilliant colouring. Its Than that of man; and in her starry shade Of dim and solitary loveliness,
obscurity is a part of its grandeur ;-and the I learn'd the language of another world!
darkness that rests upon it, and the smoky I do remember me, i hat in my youth,
distance in which it is lost, are all devices to When I was wandering-upon such a night increase its majesty, to stimulate our curiI stood within the Colosseum's wall,
osity, and to impress us with deeper awe. 'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome; The trees which grew along the broken arches
It is suggested, in an ingenious paper, in a Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
late Number of the Edinburgh Magazine, Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
that the general conception of this piece, and The watchdog bayed beyond the Tiber; and
much of what is excellent in the manner of More near, from out the Cæsars' palace came its execution, have been borrowed from "the The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Tragical History of Dr. Faustus” of Marlowe; Of distant sentinels the fiiful song Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
and a variety of passages are quoted, which Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
the author considers as similar, and, in many Appear'd 10 skirt the horizon; yet they stood respects, superior to others in the poem before Within a bowshot.
We cannot agree in the general terms And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon! upon of this conclusion ;-—but there is, no doubt, a All this, and cast a wide and tender light, certain resemblance, both in some of the Which soften'd down the hoar austerity of rugged desolation, and fill'd up,
topics that are suggested, and in the cast of As 'twere, anew, the gaps of centuries;
the diction in which they are expressed. Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
Thus, to induce Faustus to persist in his unAnd making that which was not, till the place lawful studies, he is told that the Spirits of Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
the Elements will serve him Wiih silent worship of the great of old !"
“Sometimes like women, or unwedded maids, In his dying hour he is beset with Demons, Than have the white breasts of the Queene of
Shadowing more beauty in their ayrie browes who pretend to claim him as their forfeit; Love." but he indignantly and victoriously disputes and again, when the amorous sorcerer com. their claim, and asserts his freedom from their thraldom.
mands Helen of Troy to be revived, as his
paramour, he addresses her, on her first ap"Must crimes be punish'd but by other crimes, And greater criminals ?-Back to thy hell!
pearance, in these rapturous linesThou hast no power upon me, that I feel;
“ Was this the face ihai launcht a thousand ships, Thou never shalt possess me, that I know: And burn'd the toplesse towers of Ilium ? What I have done is done ; I bear within
Sweet Helen! make me immortal with a kiss ! A torture which could nothing gain from thine : Her lips sucke forih my soule !--see where it flies! The mind which is immorial makes itself
Come, Helen, come, give me my soule againe ! Requital for its good or ill-derives
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in that lip,
0! Thou art fairer than the evening ayre, Born from the knowledge of its own desert, Clad in the beauty of a thousand starres ; Thou didst not tempi me, and thou couldst not More lovely ihan the monarch of the skyes tempt me:
In wanion Arethusa's azure arms !"
The catastrophe, too, is bewailed in verses of
“Cut is the branch that might have growne full
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough (straight, There are great faults, it must be admitted, That sometime grew within this learned man.
pp. 68, 69.