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Tbe nerlicently grand, the fruitful bloom Of crjmiiur ripeness, the white city's sheen. Tar rolling stream, the precipice's gloom, Tbe forest's growth, and Gothic walls between, The wild rocks shaped as they had turrets been la mockery of man's art; and these withal A race of faces happy as the scene, Whose fertile bounties here extend to all, Sell springing o'er thy banks, though Empires near them fall.
But these recede. Above me are the Alps, Tbe palaces of Nature, whose vast walls Bare pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps, And throned Eternity In icy halls Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls The avalanche—the thunderbolt of snow 1 AD that expands the spirit, yet appals, Gather around these summits, as to show [below. Huw Earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man
But ere these matchless heights I dare to scan, There is a spot should not be pass'd in vain,— Mont! the proud, the patriot field! where man May gaze on ghastly trophies of the slain, Nor blush for those who conquer'd on that plain; Here Burgundy bequeathed his tombless host, A bony heap, through ages to remain. Themselves their monument;—the Stygian coast Casepulehred they roam'd, and shriek'U each wandering ghost.1
While Waterloo with CannaVs carnage vies, Mont and Marathon twin names shall stand; They were true Glory's stainless victories, Von by the unambitious heart and hand Of a proud, brotherly, and civic band, All unbought champions in no princely cause Of vice-entail'd Corruption; they no land Doom'd to bewail the blasphemy of laws Making kings' rights divine, by some Draconic clause.
r^^fTcent. cot to the brow of the hill, whence they had their ins view of th* Rhine. They instantly halted — not a gun *n fired — not a voice heard : but they stood gazing on the river with those feelings which the events of the last fifteen Mrs at ooee called up. Prince Schwartzcuberg rode up to zxmrw tbe cause of this sudden stop; then they gave three rushed after the enemy, and drove them into the
• The chapel is destroyed, and the pyramid of bones dlml'to a small number by the Burgumlian legion In the of France; who anxiously effaced this record of their 'less successful Invasions. A few still remain, not' Burgundlans for ages to their own the Swiss posoff to sell for knife-handles ; a purthe whiteness imbibed by the bleaching of rendered them in great request Of these relics 1 * ve made
1 not, the
wwhsTsruVirig the pains taken by the Burgunc laH wtao passed that way removing a hone eoszatrjl. and the less justifiable larcenies of t)
seatnrrd to bring away as much as may have made n quarter at a aero, for which the sole excuse is, that if 1 had not, the ■tal passer by might have perverted them to worse uses than tat careful preservation which I intend lor them.
T Areuricum. near Mnrat, was the Roman capital of Helvetia, where Avenches now stands.
'Jatta Alpinula, a young Aventian priestess, died soon ater ■ varn endeavour to save her father, condemned to death at a traitor by Aulus Ca-cina. Her epitaph was discovered taoy rears ago ; — it is thus — "Julia Alpinula: Hie jaceo.
By a lone wall a lonelier column rears A gray and grief-worn aspect of old days; 'T is the last remnant of the wreck of years, And looks as with the wild-bcwildcr'd gaze Of one to stone converted by amaze, Yet still with consciousness; and there it stands Making a marvel that it not decays, When the coeval pride of human hands, Lcvell'd Aventicum*, hath strew'd her subject lands.
And there—oh! sweet and sacred be the name!— Julia—the daughter, the devoted—gave Her youth to Heaven ; her heart, beneath a claim Nearest to Heaven's, broke o'er a father's grave. Justice is sworn 'gainst tears, and hers would crave The life she lived in; but the judge was just, And then she died on him she could not save. Their tomb was simple, and without a bust, And held within their urn one mind, one heart, one dust'
But these are deeds which should not pass away, And names that must not wither, though the earth Forgets her empires with a just decay, [birth j The enslavers and the enslaved, their death and The high, the mountain-majesty of worth Should be, and shall, survivor of its woe, And from its immortality look forth In the sun's face, like yonder Alpine snow, * Imperishably pure beyond all things below.
Lake Lcman woos me with its crystal face,* The mirror where the stars and mountains view The stillness of their aspect in each trace Its clear depth yields of their far height and hue: There is too much of man here, to look through With a fit mind the might which I behold; But soon in me shall Loneliness renew Thoughts hid, but not less cherish'd than of old. Ere mingling with the herd had penn'd me In their fold.
Infelicls patris infelix proles. Dece Avcntiee Sacerdos. Exorare patris ncccm non potui: Male morl in fatis illc erat. Vixi annos Xxiii."—1 know of no human composition so affecting as this, nor a history of deeper interest These are the names and actions which ought not to perish, and to which we turn with a true and healthy tenderness, from the wretched and glittering detail of a conlused mass of conquests and battles, with which the mind is roused for a time to a falso and feverish sympathy, from whence it recurs at length with all the nausea consequent on such intoxication.
* This Is written in the eve of Mont Blanc (June 3d, 1816),
which even at this distance dazzles mine (July 20th.) I this
day observed lor some time the distinct reflection of Mont Blanc and Mont Arttcntiere in the calm of the lake, which I was crossing in my boat; the distance of these mountains from their mirror is sixty miles.
5 In the exquisite lines which the port, at this time, nddrcssed to his sister, there is the following touching stanza: —
** I did remind thee of our own dear lake.
To fly from, need not be to hate, mankind: All arc not fit with them to stir and toil, Nor is it discontent to keep the mind Deep in its fountain, lest it overboil In the hot throng, where we become the spoil Of our Infection, till too late and long We may deplore and struggle with the coil, In wretched interchange of wrong for wrong 'Midst a contentious world, striving where none are strong.
There, in a moment, we may plunge our years In fatal penitence, and in the blight Of our own soul, turn all our blood to tears. And colour things to come with hues of Night; The race of life becomes a hopeless flight To those that walk in darkness: on the sea The boldest steer but where their ports invite > But there are wanderers o'er Eternity [be. Whose bark drives on and on, and anchor'd ne'er shall
Is it not better, then, to be alone. And love Earth only for its earthly sake? By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone, > Or the pure bosom of its nursing lake. Which feeds it as a mother who doth make A fair but froward infant her own care. Kissing Its cries away as these awake; — Is it not better thus our lives to wear, Than join the crushing crowd, doom'd tn inflict or bear?
I live not in myself, but I become Portion of that around mc; and to me High mountains are a feeling *, but the hum Of human cities torture: I can see Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be A link reluctant in a fleshly chain, Class'd among creatures, when the soul can flee, And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.
And thus I am absorb'd, and this is life:
1 The colour of the Rhone at Geneva is blue, to a depth of tint which I have never seen equalled in water, salt or fresh, except in the Mediterranean and Archipelago. — [See Don Juan, c xiv. st. 87. for a beautiful comparison :— "There was no great disparity of years.
Though much In temper; but they never clash'd:
Or like the Rhone by Lcman's waters vvash'd,
The river from the lake, all blucly dash'd Through the serene and placid glassy deep, Which fain would lull its river child*to sleep."] 7 [" Mr. Hobhouse and myself are just returned from a journey of lakes and mountains. We have been to the Grindrlwnld, and the Jungfrau, and stood on the summit of the Wcngen Alp; and seen torrents of 900 ffet in fall, and glaciers of all dimensions; we have heard shepherds' pipes, and avalanches, and looked on the clouds foaming up from the valleys below us like the spray of the ocean of helL Chamouni, and that which It inherits, we saw a month ago; but. though Mont Blanc is higher, it is not equal in wildness to the Jungfrau, the Eighers, the Shreckhorn, and the Rose Glaciers." — B. Letters, Sept. 1S16.]
With a fresh pinion; which I feel to spring, Though young, yet waxing vigorous, as the blast Which it would cope with, on delighted wing. Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling.
And when, at length, the mind shall be all free From what it hates in this degraded form, Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be Existent happier in the fly and worm,— When elements to elements conform, And dust is as It should be, shall I not Feel ail I see, less dazzling, but more warm? The bodiless thought? the Spirit of each spot? Of which, even now, I share at times the immortal lot?
Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part Of me and of my soul, as I of them? Is not the love of these deep in my heart With a pure passion? should I not contemn All objects, if compared with these? and stem A tide of suffering, rather than forego Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm Of those whose eyes are only turn'd below. Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare not glow?
But this is not my theme; and I return
Here the self-torturing sophist, wild Rousseau,' The apostle of affliction, he who threw Enchantment over passion, and from woe Wrung overwhelming eloquence, first drew The breath which made him wretched; yet he knew How to make madness beautiful, and cast O'er erring deeds and thoughts a heavenly hue * Of words, like sunbeams, dazzling as they pass'd The eyes, which o'er them shed tears feelingly and fast.
3 t" I have traversed all Rousseau's ground with the 'Helolse' before me, and am struck to a degree that I cannot express with the force and accuracy of his descriptions, and the beauty of their reality. Melllerie, Clarens, and Vevay, and the Chateau de Cliillon, are places of which I shall say little : because alt 1 could say must fall short of the impressions they stamp."—B. Letteri.]
* [" It is evident that the impassioned parts of Rousseau's romance had made a deep impression upon the feelings of the noble poet. Tho enthusiasm expressed bv Lord Byron is no small tribute to the power possessed by Jean Jacques over the passions: and, to say truth, we needed some such evidence; for, though almost ashamed to avow the truth, — still, like the barber of Midas, we must sneak or die, — we have never been able to feel the interest or discover the merit of this far-famed performance. That there is much eloquence In the letters we readily admit: there lay Rousseau's strength. But his lovers, the celebrated St. 1 reux and Julie, have, from the earliest moment we have heard the tale (which we well remember), down to the present hour, totally failed to interest us. There migh*. be some constitutional hardness of heart; but like Lance's iH-bble-hearted cur. Crab, we remained dryeyed white all wept around us. And still, on resuming the
r'd, were in him the same.
Hi's breathed itself to life in Julie, thi> Invested her with all that's wild and sweet, This hallow'd, too, the memorable kiss' Which every mom his fever'd lip would greet, from hers, who but with friendship his would meet; But to that gentle touch, through brain and breast Flash'd the thrUl'd spirit's love-devouring heat; In that absorbing sigh perchance more blest Than vulgar minds may be with all they seek possest.'
His life was one long war with self-sought foes,
he raced with fury strange and blind. ; was phrensied,—wherefore, who may know? Since cause might be which skill could never find; But he was phrensied by disease or woe To that worst pitch of ail, which wears a reasoning
, even now, we can see little in the loves of these two *vonie pedants to interest our feelings for either of them. I state our opinion in language (see Burke's Reflections) i better than our own, we are unfortunate enough to rcprd tfats far-famed history of philosophical gallantry as an 'sKjasslonrd, indelicate, sour, gloomy, ferocious medley of H*wrT and lewdness ; of metaphysical speculations, blended fu the ouarsest sensuality."'— Sir Walter Scott.] 1 Tats refers to the account in his " Confessions" of his d'Houdetot (the mistress of St. I his long walk every morning, for the sake of which was the common salutation of French u's description of his feelings on this 1 as the most passionate, yet not 1 expression of love that ever Kindled which, after all, must be felt, from their very
But this will not endure, nor be endured 1 Mankind have felt their strength, and made it felt. They might have used it better, but, allured By their new vigour, sternly have they dealt On one another; pity ceased to melt With her once natural charities. But they, Who in oppression's darkness caved had dwelt, They were not eagles, nourished with the day; What marvel then, at times, if they mistook their prey?
What deep wounds ever closed without a scar?
Silence, but not submission: in his lair
Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake, With the wild world I dwelt in, is a thing Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring. This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing To waft me from distraction; once I loved Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring Sounds sweet as If a Sister's voice reproved, That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.
force, to be inadequate to the delineation: a painting can give no sufficient idea of the ocean.
a [" Lord Byron's character of Rousseau is drawn with great force, great power of discrimination, and great eloquence. 1 know not that he says any thing which has not been said before ;— hut what be says issues, apparently, from the recesses of his own mind. It is a little laboured, which, possibly, may be caused by the form of the stanza into which it was necessary to throw it; but it cannot be doubted that the poet felt a sympathy for the enthusiastic tenderness of Rousseau's genius, which he could not have recognised with such extreme fervour, except from a consciousness of having at least occasionally experienced similar emotions."—Sir E. Bbyogeh.j
3 [During Lord Byron's stay in Switxerland, he took up his residence at the Campagne-Diodati, in the village of
Te stars! which arc the poetry of heaven! If in your bright leaves we would read the fate Of men and empires, — 't is to be forgiven, That in our aspirations to be great, Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state, And claim a kindred with you; for ye are A beauty and a mystery, and create In us such love and reverence from afar. That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.
All heaven and earth are still—though not in sleep, But breathless, as we grow when feeling most; And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep : — All heaven and earth are still: From the high host Of stars, to the lull'd lake and mountain-coast, All is concentcr'd In a life intense, Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost, But hath a part of being, and a sense Of that which is of all Creator and defence.
Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt In solitude, where we are least alone; A truth, which through our being then doth melt, And purifies from self: it is a tone, The soul and source of music, which makes known Eternal harmony, and sheds a charm, Like to the fabled Cytherea's zone, Binding all things with beauty ; —'t would disarm The spectre Death, had he substantial power to harm.
Not vainly did the early Persian make His altar the high places and the peak Of earth-o'ergazing mountains', and thus take A fit and unwall'd temple, there to seek The Spirit, in whose honour shrines are weak, Uprear'd of human hands. Come, and compare Columns and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek, With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air, Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy pray'r!
The sky is changed!—and such a change! Oh night.
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
Colleny. It stands at the too of a rapidly descending vineyard; the windows commanding, one way, a noble view of the lake and of Geneva; the other, up the lake. Every even, ing, the poet embarked on the lake; and to the feelings created by these excursions we owe these delightful stanzas. Of his mode of passing a day, the following, from his Journal, is a pleasant specimen : —
'September Is. Called. Got up at five. Stopped at Vevay two hours. View from the churchyard superb; within it Ludlow (the regicide's) monument — black marble — long inscription; Latin, but simple. Near him Broughton (who read King Charles's sentence to Charles Stuart) is buried, with a queer and rather canting inscription. Ludlow's hou."e shown. Walked down to the lake side ; servants, carriages, saiMlc-horses, — all set off, nnd left us plan/el Id, by some mistake. Hobhouse ran on before, and overtook them. Arrived at Clarens. Went to Chltlon through scenery worthy of I know not whom; went over the castle again. Met an English party tn a carriage; a lady in it fast asleep — fast asleep in the most anti.nnrcotlc spot in tno world,—excellent! After a slight and short dinner, visited the Chateau de Clarens. Saw all worth seeing, and then descended to the * Bosquet de Julie,* Ac. Ate. : our guide full of Rousseau, whom he is eternally confounding with St. Prcux. and mixing the man and the book. Went again as far as Chlllon, to revisit the little
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among Leaps the live thunder I Not from one lone cloud. But every mountain now hath found a tongue, And Jura answers, through her misty shroud, Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!
And this is in the night: — Most glorious night! Thou wert not sent for slumber! let mc be A sharer in thy fierce and far delight, — A portion of the tempest and of thee !2 How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea, And the big rain comes dancing to the earth! And now again 'tis black,—and now, the glee Of the loud hills shakes with Its mountain-mirth. As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.*
Now, where the swift Rhone cleaves his way between | Heights which appear as lovers who have parted In hate, whose mining depths so Intervene, That they can meet no more, though broken-hearted; Though in their souls, which thus each other thwarted,; Love was the very root of the fond rage [parted:— j Which blighted their life's bloom, and then deItself expired, but leaving them an age Of years all winters,—war within themselves to wage.
Now, where the quick Rhone thus hathcleft his way, The mightiest of the storms hath ta'en his stand; , For here, not one, but many, make their play, And fling their thunder-bolts from hand to hand. Flashing and cast around: of all the band, The brightest through these parted hills hath fork'd His lightnings,—as if he did understand, That in such gaps as desolation work'd, There the hot shaft should blast whatever therein lurk'd.
Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings! ye! With night, and clouds, and thunder, and a soul To make these felt and feeling, well may be Things that have made mc watchful; the far roll Of your departing voices, Is the knoll Of what in me is sleepless,—if I rest. 4 But where of ye, O tempests! is the goal? Are ye like those within the human breast? Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest?
torrent from the hill behind it. The corporal who showed the wonden of Chillon was as drunk at Blucher, and [to my mind) as great a man • he was deaf also ; and, thinking every one else 10, roared out the legends of the castle so fearfully, that Hobhouse got out of humour. However, we saw things, from the gallows to the dungeons. Sunset reflected in the lake. Nine o'clock — going to bed. Have to get up at five to-morrow. "J
'Sec Appendix, Note [FJ.
s The thundor-storm to which those lines refer occurred on the 13th of June, 1816, at midnight. I have seen, among the Acroceraunian mountains of Chimari, several more terrible, but none more beautiful.
3 r_" This is one of the most beautiful passages of the poem. The 'fierce and far delight' of a thunder-storm is here described in verse almost as vivid As its lightnings. The live thunder 'leaping among the rattling crags' — the voiee of mountains, as if shouting to pach other — the plashing of the big rain — the gleaming of the wide lake, lighted like a phosphoric sea — present a picture of sublime terror, yet of enjoyment, often attempted, but nevrr so welt, certainty never better, brought out in poetry.*' — Sir Walter Scott.}
* [The Journal of his Swiss tour, which Lord Byron kept
Could I embody and unbosom now That which is most within me,—could I wreak My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or weak, AH that I would have sought, and all I seek, Bear, know, feel, and yet breathe—into one word, And that one word were Lightning, I would speak; But as it is, I live and die unheard, , With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword.
The morn is up again, the dewy morn,
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom,
Laughing the clouds away with playful scorn,
And living as If earth contain'd no tomb, —
And glowing into day: we may resume
The march of our existence: and thus I,
Still on thy shores, fair Leman 1 may find room
And food for meditation, nor pass by
that may give us pause, if pondcr'd fittingly.
Cbrens! sweet Clarens', birthplace of deep Love! Thine air is the young breath of passionate thought; Thy trees take root in Love; the snows above Toe very Glaciers have his colours caught, And sun-set into rose-hues sees them wrought By rays which sleep there lovingly: the rocks, The permanent crags, tell here of Love, who sought In them a refuge from the worldly shocks, Which stir and sting the soul with hope that woos, then mocks.
Cbnms! by heavenly feet thy paths are trod,— Undying Love's, who here ascends a throne To which the steps are mountains; where the god Is a pervading life and light, — so shown Xot on those summits solely, nor alone In the still cave and forest; o'er the flower Bis eye is sparkling, and his breath hath blown, His soft and summer breath, whose tender power Swes the strength of storms in their most desolate
All things are here of him; from the black pines, Which are his shade on high, and the loud roar Of torrents, where he listeneth, to the vines
i slope his green path downward to the 9hore, ! the bow'd waters meet him, and adore,
with the following mournful passage: — ■ la tto weather, for this tour, of thirteen days, I have been •»tv fommate — fortunate in a companion" (Sir. Hobhouse) — ~ fortunate In our prospects, and exempt from even the laLm setty accidents and delays which often render journeys is a Ms* wild country disappointing. I was disposed to be sfaaMo. I am a lo%-er of nature, and an admirer of beauty. 1 rwi t>esu> fatigue, and welcome privation, and have seen some «" Co* aobleat views in the world. But in all this, — the reft of bitterness, and more especially of recent and more I desolation, which must accompany me through life, has ; and neither the music of the shepherd, * of the avalanche, nor the torrent, the mountain, , nor the cloud, have for one moment
iToTniMit Use weight upon my heart, nor enabled me to lose Btv <rra wretched identity, In the majesty, and the power, and cat fiery, around, above, and beneath me. "3
1 tstaasas xcix. to cxv. are exquisite. They have every i-rj a:.jrh makes a poetical picture of local and particular
Kissing his feet with murmurs; and the wood, The covert of old trees, with trunks all hoar, But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it stood, Offering to him, and his, a populous solitude,
A populous solitude of bees and birds,
And innocently open their glad wings,
He who hath loved not, here would learn that lore,
For't is his nature to advance or die;
'T was not for fiction chose Rousseau this spot, Peopling it with affections; but he found It was the scene which passion must allot To the mind's purified beings; 'twas the ground Where early Love his Psyche's zone unbound, And hallow'd it with loveliness: 't is lone, And wonderful, and deep, and hath a sound, And sense, and sight of sweetness; here the Rhone Hath spread himself a couch, the Alps have rear'd a throne.
Lausanne! and Forney ! ye have been the abodes
Of Heaven, again assail'd, if Heaven the while On man and man's research could deign do more than smile.
scenery perfect. Th."y exhibit a miraculous brilliancy and force of fancy ; but the very fidelity causes a little constraint and labour ol language. The poet seems to have been so engrossed by the attention to give vigour and fire to tho Imagery, that he both neglected and disdained to render himself more harmonious by diffuscr words, which, while they might have improved the effect upon the ear, might have weakened the impression upon the mind. This mastery over new matter — this supply of powers equal not only to an untouched subject, hut that subject one of peculiar and unequalled grandeur and beauty — was sufficient to occupy the strongest poetical faculties, young as the author was', without adding to It ail the practical skill of the artist. The stanzas, too, on Vol. taire and Gibbon are discriminative, sagacious, and just. They are among the proofs of that very great variety of talent which this Canto of Lord Byron exhibits.— Sir E. Bhydges.]
• Sec Appendix, Note [OJ
a Voltaire and Gibbon.