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pp. 24, 25.
Or horsemen, and lic din of muliitudes
Each where they fell; and blood-flakes, parch'd Moving to morial conilice, rung around;
The wolf and raven, and to impious food
Tempied the houseless dog."-p. 36. The slui ot Victory ... of Spain and Victory!"
While he is gazing on this dreadful scene,
with all the sympathies of admiration and In awaking froin this prophetic dream, he resolves to seek occasion of active service, from the ruins, and implores him to assist her
sorrow, a young and lovely woman rushes in such humble capacity as becomes his fallen in burying the bodies of her child, husband, fortune ; and turns from this first abode of his and parents, who all lie mangled at her feet. penitence and despair. The Third Book sets him on his heroic pil- heart and kindling eyes, to the vehement nar
He sadly complies; and listens, with beating grimage; and opens with a fine picture.
rative and losty vow of revenge with which "sT was now the earliest morning ; soon the Sun, this heroine closes her story. The story itself Rising above Albardos, pour’d his light
is a little commonplace; turning mainly upon Amid the forest, and with ray aslant
her midnight slaughter of the Moorish capEnt'ring its depih illum'd the branchless pines; Brighten'd their bark, ling'd with a redder hue
tain, who sought to make love to her after the Iis rusty stains, and cast along the floor
sacrifice of all her family; but the expression Long lines of shadow, where ihey rose erect, of her patriotic devotedness and religious arLike pillars of the temple. With slow foot dour of revenge, is given with great energy; Roderick pursued his way."-p. 27.
as well as the effect which it produces on the We do not know that we could extract from waking spirit of the King. He repeats the the whole book a more characteristic passage solemn vow which she has just taken, and than that which describes his emotion on his consults her as to the steps that may be taken first return to the sight of man, and the altered for rousing the valiant of the land to their asaspect of his fallen people. He approaches to sistance. The high-minded Amazon then the walls of Leyria.
asks the name of her first proselyte. - "The sounds, the sighi
.“ Ask any thing but that! Ofrurban, girdle, robe, and scymitar,
The fallen King replied. My name was lost And iawny skins, awoke contending Thoughts When froin the Goths the sceptre past away!" Of anger, shame, and anguish in the Goth! The unaccustom'd face of huunan-kind
She rejoins, rather less felicitously, “Then Confus'd him now, and through the streets he went be thy name Maccabee ;' and sends him on an With hagyed mien, and countenance like one embassage to a worthy abbot among the Craz'd or bewilder'd.
mountains; to whom he forthwith reports * One stopt him short,
what he had seen and witnessed. Upon hearPut alms into his hand, and then desir’d, In broken Goihic speech, the moon-struck man
ing the story of her magnanimous devotion, To bless him. With a look of vacancy
the worthy priest instantly divines the name Rodrick receiv'd ihe alms; his wand'ring eye
of the heroine. Feil on the money; and i he fallen King, Seeing his own royal impress on the piece,
"Oh none but Adosinda!.. none but she, .. Broke out into a quick convulsive voice,
None but that noble heart, which was the heart That seem'd like laughter first, but ended soon
Of Auria while it stood-iis life and strength, In hollow groans supprest!
More than her father's presence, or the arm
Of her brave lord, all valiant as he was.
Hers was the spirit which inspir'd old age,
Ambitious boyhood, girls in timid youth, Took bread, and following after call'd him back,
And virgins in the beauty of their spring, And placing in his passive hands the loaf,
And youthful mothers, doting like herself She said, Christ Jesus for his Mother's sake
With ever-anxious love: She breath'd through all Have mercy on thee! With a look that seem'd
That zeal and that devoted faithfulness, Like idiotcy, he heard her, and stood still,
Which to the invader's threats and promises Staring awhile; then bursting into tears
Turn'd a deaf ear alike," &c.—pp. 53–54. Wepi like a child !
The King then communes on the affairs of " But when he reach'd The open fields, and found himself alone
Spain with this venerable Ecclesiastic and his Beneath the starry canopy of Heaven,
associates; who are struck with wonder at the The sense of solitude, so dreadful late,
lofty mien which still shines through his sunk Was then repose and comfort. There he stopt and mortified frame. Beside a little rill, and brake the loaf; And shedding o'er that unaccustom'd food
• They scann'd his countenance : But not a trace Painful but quiet tears, with grateful soul
Betray'd the royal Goih! sunk was thai eye He breath a 'thanksgiving forth; then made his bed of sov’reignty; and on the emaciate check On heath and myrile."--pp. 28-30.
Had penitence and anguish deeply drawn
Their furrows premature, . . forestalling time, After this, he journeys on through deserted And shedding upon thirty's brow, more snows hamlets and desolated towns, till, on entering Than threescore winters in their natural course the silent streets of Auria, yet black with Might else have sprinkled there.”—p. 57. conflagration, and stained with blood, the At length, the prelate lays his consecrating vestiges of a more heroic resistance appear hands on him; and sends him to Pelayo, the before him.
heir-apparent of the sceptre, then a prisoner “Helmet and turban, scymitar and sword,
or hostage at the court of the Moorish prince, Christian and Moor in death promiscuous lay to say that the mountaineers are still unsub
dued, and look to him to guide them to “She bar'd her face, and, looking up, replied, vengeance.
Florinda!.. Shrinking then, with both her hands These scenes last through two books; and She hid herself, and bow'd her head abas'd at the beginning of the Fifth, Roderick sels Pelayo stood confus'd: He had not seen out on his mission. Here, while he reposes Couni Julian's daughter since, in Rod'rick's court, himself in a rustic inn, he hears the assem- Glittering in beauty and in innocence, bled guests at once lamenting the condition. A radiant vision, in her joy she mov'd! of Spain, and imprecating curses on the head More like a poet's dream, or form divine, of its guilty King. He says a few words vehe- / Heaven's prototype of perfect womanhood,
So lovely was the presence, than a thing mently for himself; and is supported by a Of earth and perishable elements.”—p. 110. venerable old man, in whom he soon recognises an ancient servant of his mother's house
She then tells him, that wretched as she is, --the guardian and playmate of his infant the renegade Orpas seeks her hand; and days. Secure from discovering himself, he begs his assistance to send her beyond his musters courage to ask if his mother be still reach, to a Christian land. He promised that alive; and is soothed to milder sorrow by she shall.share his own fate; and they part learning that she is. At dawn he resumes
The Tenth Book sends all the heroic party his course; and kneeling at a broken crucifix on the road, is insulted by a Moor, who po- of Asturia. Roderick and Siverian had gone
upon their night pilgrimage to the mountains litely accosts him with a kick, and the dignified address of “God's curse confound before. Pelayo, with Alphonso and Florinda,
Their thee!” for which Roderick knocks him down,
follow in the disguise of peasants. and stabs him with his own dagger
. The midnight march, in that superb climate, is worthy old man, whose name is Siverian,
well described :comes up just as this feat is performed, and
L" The favouring moon arose, is requested to assist in " hiding the carrion;" To guide them on their flight through upland paths after which they proceed lovingly together. Remote from frequentage, and dales retird, On their approach to Cordoba, the old man The fire-flies, swarming in the woodland shade,
Forest and mountain glen. Before their feet calls sadly to mind the scene which he had Sprung up like sparks, and twinkled round their witnessed at his last visit to that place, some
way; ten years before, when Roderick, in the pride The timorous blackbird, starting at their step, of his youthful triumph, had brought the Fled from the thicket, with shrill note of fear'; haughty foe of his father to the grave where When all the soothing sounds of eve had ceas'd,
And far below them in the peopled dell, his ashes were interred, and his gentle mother The distant watch-dog's voice at times was heard, came to see that expiation made. The King Answering the nearer wolf. All through the night listens to this commemoration of his past Among the hills they travell’d silenıly; glories with deep, but suppressed emotion : Till when the stars were setting, at what hour and enteriiig the chapel, falls prostrate on the The breath of Heaven is coldest, they beheld grave of his father. “A majestic figure starts Where Rod'rick and his comrade anxiously
Within a lonely grove the expected fire, forward at that action, in the dress of penitence Look for the appointed meeting. and mourning; and the pilgrims recognise
Bright rose the flame replenish'd; it illum'd Pelayo, to whom they both come commis- 'The cork-free's furrow'd rind, its rifts and swells sioned. This closes the Sixth Book.
And redder scars, .. and where its aged boughs The Seventh contains their account of the O'erbower'd i he travellers, cast upon the leaves state of affairs, and Pelayo's solemn accept- A floating, grey, unrealising gleam."-pp. 117, 118. ance of the dangerous service of leaving the The rest soon sink in serene and untroubled meditated insurrection. The abdicated mon- sleep: But Roderick and Florinda, little dream. arch then kneels down and hails him King ing of each other's presence, are kept awake of Spain ! and Siverian, though with mourn- by bitter recollections. At last she approaches ful remembrances, follows the high example. him ; and, awed by the sanctity of his air and
The Eighth Book continues this midnight raiment, kneels down before him, and asks if conversation; and introduces the young Al- he knows who the wretch is who thus grovels phonso, Pelayo’s fellow-prisoner, at the Moor- before him. He answers that he does not:ish court, who is then associated to their
" Then said she, · Here thou seest counsels, and enters with eager delight into one who is known too fatally for all, their plans of escape. These two books are The daughter of Count Julian!'... 'Well it was rather dull; though not without force and For Rod'rick that no eye beheld him now ! dignity. The worst thing in them is a bit of From head to foot a sharper pang than death rhetoric of Alphonso, who complains that his Thrill'd him: his heart, as at a mortal stroke, delight in watching the moon setting over his Ceas'd from its functions; his breath fail'd." --P. 120. native hills, was all spoiled, on looking up and
The darkness and her own emotions preseeing the Moorish crescent on the towers ! vent her, however, from observing him, and
The Ninth Book introduces an important she proceeds:person-Florinda, the unhappy daughter of "Father! at length she said, all tongues amid Count Julian. She sits muffled by Pelayo's This general ruin shed their bitterness way, as he returns from the chapel ; and begs On Rodrick; load his memory with reproach, a boon of him in the name of Roderick, the And with their curses persecute his soul. chosen friend of his youth. He asks who it
Why shouldst thou iell me this?' exclaim'd the
Goth, is that adjures him by that beloved but now From his cold forehead wiping as he spake (guilt unuttered name :
The death-like moisture : .. Why of Rod'rick's
Tell me? Or thinkest thou I know it not ? O'ercame him, thou wilt do for Roderick
All he could ask thee, all that can be done
On earth, and all his spirit could endure!' "There ! she cried, "Wilt thou join with me for his soul in prayer?'
Then, vent’ring towards her an imploring look, Drawing her body backward where she knelt,
He said, and trembled as he spake. That voice And stretching forth her arms with head uprais’d, .. or sympathy was like Heaven's influence, There! it pursues me still!.. I came to ihee,
Wounding at once and comforting the soul. Father, fur comfort and thou heapest fire
O Father! Christ require thee!' she exclaim'd; Upon my head! But hear me patiently,
'Thou hast set free the springs which with’ring And let me undeceive ihee! Self-abas'd,
Have clos'd too long.'
(griefs Not to arraign another, do I come! .
“ Then in a firmer speech, I come a self-accuser, sell-condemn'd,
• For Rod'rick, for Count Julian, and myself, To take upon myself the pain deserv'd;
Three wretchedest of all the human race! For I have drank the cup of bitterness,
Who have destroy'd each other and ourselves, And having drank therein of heavenly grace, I must not put away the cup of shame.
Mutually wrong'd and wronging-let us pray!"
pp. 133, 134. " Thus as she spake she falier'd at the close,
There is great power, we think, and great And in that dying fall her voice sent forth Somewhat of its original sweetness. Thou!..
dramatic talent, in this part of the poem. Thou seli-abas'd!' exclaiin'dihe astonish'd King;
The meeting of Roderick and Florinda was a 'Thou self-condemn'd!'.. The cup of shame for touchstone for a poet who had ventured on thee!
such a subject; and Mr. Southey, we must Thee .. thee, Florinda!' .. But the very excess say, has come out of the test, of standard Of passion check'd his speech."-pp. 121, 122., weight and purity. Still utterly unconscious of her strange con
The Eleventh Book brings them in safety fessor, she goes on to explain herself :- to the castle of Count Pedro, the Father of the -"'I lov'd the King!.:
young Alphonso, formerly the feudal foe, but
now the loyal soldier of Pelayo. They find Tenderly, passionately, madly lov'd him! Sinful it was to love a child of earth
him arming in his courts, with all his vassals, With such enure devotion as I lov'd
to march instantly against the Moors: And Rod'rick, the heroic Prince, the glorious Goth! their joyful welcome, and the parental delight He was the sunshine of my soul! and like
of father and mother at the return of their A flower, I liv'd and flourish'd in his light noble boy, are very beautifully described. Oh bear not with me thus impatiently!
The Twelfth Canto continues these prepaNo tale of weakness this, that in the act
rations. The best part of it is the hasty and Of penitence, indulgent to itself, With garrulous palliation half repeats
hopeful investiture of the young Alphonso, The sin it ill repents. I will be brief.'"
with the honours of knighthood. The mixpp. 123, 124.
ture of domestic affection with military arShe then describes the unconscious growth dour, and the youthful innocence, ingenuous of their mutual passion-enlarges upon her modesty, and unclouded hopes of ihat bloomown imprudence in affording him opportuni- ing age, are feelingly combined in the followties of declaring it—and expresses her con- ing amiable picture, in which the classical viction, that the wretched catastrophe was
reader will recognise many touches of true brought about, not by any premeditated guilt, Homeric description :but in a moment of delirium, which she had
“Rejoicing in their task, herself been instrumental in bringing on :
The servants of the house with emulous love
Dispute the charge. One brings the cuirass, one " Here ihen, O Father, at thy feet I own The buckler; this exulringly displays Myself the guiltier; and full well I knew
The sword, his comrade litis the helm on high : These were his thoughts! But vengeance master'd Greek artists in the imperial city forg'd And in my agony I curst the man
[me, That splendid armour, perfect in their craft ; Whom I lov'd best.'
With curious skill they wrought it, fram'd alike • Dost thou recall that curse ?' | To shine amid the pageantry of war, Cried Rod'rick, in a deep and inward voice, And for the proof of battle. Many a time Still with his head depress'd, and covering still Alphonso from his nurse's lap had stretch'd His countenance. “Recall it?' she exclaim'd; His infant hand toward it eagerly, • Father! I came to thee because I gave
Where, gleaming to the central fire, it hung
No season this for old solemnities!
The vigil, all preparatory rites Roderick again stops her enthusiastic self- Before the vassals of his father's house,
Omitted now, .. here in the face of Heaven, accusation, and rejects her too generous vin- With them in instant peril to partake dication of the King; and turning to Siverian, The chance of life or death, the heroic boy adds
Dons his first arms! the coated scales of steel
Which o'er the tunic to his knees depend; To that old man,' said he, The hose, the sleeves of mail: bareheaded then * And to the mother of the unhappy Goth, He stood. But when Count Pedro took the spurs, Tell, if it please thee, not what thou hast pour'd And bent his knee, in service to his son, Inio my secret ear, but that the child
Alphonso from that gesture half drew back, For whom they mourn with anguish unallay'd Starting in rev’rence, and a deeper hue Sinn'd not from vicious will, or heart corrupt, Spread o'er the glow of joy which Aush'd his cheeks. But fell by fatal circumstance betray'd!
Do thou the rest, Pelayo! said the Count And if, in charity to them, thou say’st
So shall the ceremony of this hour Something to palliate, something to excuse Exceed in honour what in form it lacks." An act of sudden frenzy, when ihe fiend
tone—the perpetual gloom with which all its pathos, is still too much speckled with strange scenes are overcast-and the tediousuess with words; which, whether they are old or new, which some of them are developed. There are not English at the present day—and we are many dull passages, in short, and a con- hope never will become so. What use or orsiderable quantity of heavy reading-somenament does Mr. Southey expect to derive for silliness, and a good deal of affectation. But his poetry from such words as avid and aureate, the beauties, upon the whole, preponderate;- and auriphrygiate? or leman and weedery, freand these, we hope, speak for themselves in quentage and youthhead, and twenty more as the passages we have already extracted. pedantic and affected? What good is there
The versification is smooth and melodious, either, we should like to know, in talking of though too uniformly drawn out into long and "oaken galilees," or "incarnadined poitrals," linked sweetness. The diction is as usual or "all-able Providence," and such other more remarkable for copiousness than force;- points of learning ?--If poetry is intended for and though less defaced than formerly with general delight, ought not its language to be phrases of affected simplicity and infantine generally intelligible ?
(Wecember, 1816.) Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto the Third. By LORD BYRON. 8vo. pp. 79. London: 1816.
The Prisoner of Chillon, and other Poems. By Lord Byron. 8vo, pp. 60. London: 1816.*
If the finest poetry be that which leaves strong emotion—the fire and air alone of our 'the deepest impression on the minds of its human elements. readers—and this is not the worst test of its In this respect, and in his general notion of excellence-Lord Byron, we think, must be the end and the means of poetry, we have allowed to take precedence of all his distin- sometimes thought that his views fell more guished contemporaries. He has not the va- in with those of the Lake poets, than of any riety of Scott-nor the delicacy of Campbell other existing party in the poetical common. ñor the absolute truth of Crabbe-nor the wealth : And, in some of his later productions polished sparkling of Moore; but in force of especially, it is impossible not to be struck diction, and inextinguishable energy of senti- with his occasional approaches to the style ment, he clearly surpasses them all. “Words and manner of this class of writers. Lord that breathe, and thoughts that burn,” are not Byron, however, it should be observed, like merely the ornaments, but the common staple all other persons of a quick sense of beauty, of his poetry; and he is not inspired or im- and sure enough of their own originality to pressive only in some happy passages, but be in no fear of paltry imputations, is a great through the whole body and tissue of his mimic of styles and manners, and a great composition. It was an unavoidable condition, . borrower of external character. He and Scott, perhaps, of this higher excellence, that his accordingly, are full of imitations of all the scene should be narrow, and his persons few. writers from whom they have ever derived To compass such ends as he had in view, it gratification ; and the two most original writers vas necessary to reject all ordinary agents, Pof the age might appear, to superficial oband all trivial combinations. He could not • servers, to be the most deeply indebted to possibly be amusing, or ingenious, or playful; their predecessors. In this particular instance, or hope to maintain the requisite pitch of in- we have no fault to find with Lord Byron: terest by the recitation of sprightly adventures, For undoubtedly the finer passages of Words. or the opposition of common characters. To worth and Southey have in them wherewithal produce great effects, in short, he felt that it to lend an impulse to the utmost ambition of was necessary to deal only with the greater rival genius; and their diction and manner of passions—with the exaltations of a daring writing is frequently both striking and original. fancy, and the errors of a lofty intellect—with But we must say, that it would afford us still the pride, the terrors, and the agonies of greater pleasure to find these tuneful gentle
men returning the compliment which Lord * I have already said so much of Lord Byron with Byron has here paid to their talents; and reference to his Dramatic productions, that I cannot forming themselves on the model rather of now afford to republish more than one other paper his imitations, than of their own originals.on the subject of bis poetry in general: And I se. In those imitations they will find that, though lect this, rather because it refers to a greater variety he is sometimes abundantly mystical, he of these compositions, than because it deals with such as are either absolutely the best, or the most never, or at least very rarely, indulges in abcharacteristic of his genius. The truth is, however, solute nonsense-never takes his lofty flights that all his writings are characteristic; and lead, upon mean or ridiculous occasions — and, pretty much alike, to those views of the dark and above all, never dilutes his strong concepthe bright parts of his nature, which have led me, I tions, and magnificent imaginations, with a more personal to the character of the author, than flood of oppressive verbosity. On the conshould generally be permitted to a mere literary trary, he is, of all living writers, the most
concise and condensed; and, we would fain
hope, may go far, by his example, to redeem by one character—not only in all the acts of the great reproach of our modern literature, each several drama, but in all the different its intolerable prolixity and redundance. In dramas of the series ;-—and, grand and imhis nervous and manly lines, we find no elab-pressive as it is, we feel at last that these very orate amplification of common sentiments, qualities make some relief more indispensable, no ostentatious polishing of pretty expres- and oppress the spirits of ordinary mortals sions; and we really think that the brilliant with too deep an impression of awe and resuccess which has rewarded his disdain of pulsion. There is too much guilt in short, and those paltry artifices, should put to shame for too much gloom, in the leading character ;ever that puling and self-admiring race, who and though it be a fine thing to gaze, now can live through half a volume on the stock and then, on stormy seas, and thunder-shaken of a single thought, and expatiate over divers mountains, we should prefer passing our days fair quarto pages with the details of one te-in sheltered valleys, and by the murmur of dious description. In Lord Byron, on the con- calmer waters. trary, we have a perpetual stream of thick- We are aware that these metaphors may be coming fancies-an eternal spring of fresh- turned against us—and that, without metablown images, which seem called into exist- phor, it may be said that men do not pass ence by the sudden flash of those glowing their days in reading poetry—and that, as they thoughts and overwhelming emotions, that may look into Lord Byron only about as often struggle for expression through the whole flow as they look abroad upon tempests, they have of his poetry-and impart to a diction that is no more reason to complain of him for being often abrupt and irregular, a force and a charm grand and gloomy, than to complain of the which frequently realise all that is said of in- same qualities in the glaciers and volcanoes spiration.
which they go so far to visit. Painters, too, With all these undoubted claims to our it may be said, have often gained great repu. admiration, however, įt is impossible to deny tation by their representations of tigers and that the noble author before us has still some others ferocious animals, or of caverns and thing to learn, and a good deal to correct. He banditti—and poets should be allowed, withis frequently abrupt and careless, and some- out reproach, to indulge in analogous exertimes obscure. There are marks, occasion- cises. We are far from thinking that there is ally, of effort and straining after an emphasis, no weight in these considerations; and feel which is generally spontaneous; and, above how plausibly it may be said, that we have all, there is far too great a monotony in the no better reason for a great part of our commoral colouring of his pictures, an too much plaint, than that an author, to whom we are repetition of the same sentiments and maxims. already very greatly indebted, has chosen He delights too exclusively in the delineation rather to please himself
, than us, in the use of a certain morbid exaltation of character and he makes of his talents. feeling-a sort of demoniacal sublimity, not This, no doubt, seems both unreasonable without some traits of the ruined Archangel. and ungrateful : But it is nevertheless true, He is haunted almost perpetually with the that a public benefactor becomes a debtor to image of a being feeding and fed upon by the public; and is, in some degree, responsiviolent passions, and the recollections of the ble for the employment of those gifts which catastrophes they have occasioned: And, seem to be conferred upon him, not merely though worn out by their past indulgence, for his own delight, but for the delight and unable to sustain the burden of an existence improvement of his fellows through all genewhich they do not continue to animate :-full rations. Independent of this, however, we of pride, and revenge, and obduracy-disdain- think there is a reply to the apology. A great ing life and death, and mankind and himself living poet is not like a distant volcano, or an -and trampling, in his scorn, not only upon occasional tempest. He is a volcano in the the falsehood and formality of polished life, heart of our land, and a cloud that hangs over but upon its tame virtues and slavish devo- our dwellings; and we have some reason to tion : Yet envying, by fits, the very beings he complain, if, instead of genial warmth and despises, and melting into mere softness and grateful shade, he voluntarily darkens and compassion, when the helplessness of child- inflames our atmosphere with perpetual fiery hood or the frailty of woman make an appeal explosions and pitchy vapours. Lord Byron's to his generosity: Such is the person with poetry, in short, is too attractive and too whom we are called upon almost exclusively famous to lie dormant or inoperative; and, to sympathise in all the greater productions therefore, if it produce any painful or perniof this distinguished writer:-In Childe Harold cious effects, there will be murmurs, and -in the Corsair-in Lara-in the Siege of ought to be suggestions of alteration. Now, Corinth — in Parisina, and in most of the though an artist may draw fighting tigers and smaller pieces.
hungry lions in as lively and natural a way as It is impossible to represent such a charac- he can, without giving any encouragement to ter better than Lord Byron has done in all human ferocity, or even much alarm to human these productions—or indeed to represent any fear, the case is somewhat different, when a thing more terrible in its anger, or more attrac- poet represents men with tiger-like dispositive in its relenting. In point of effect, we tions:-and yet more so, when he exhausts readily admit, that no one character can be the resources of his genius to make this terrimore poetical or impressive :-But it is really ble being interesting and attractive, and to too much to find the scene perpetually filled represent all the lofty virtues as the natural