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such a relation what should we infer? not the probability of so decided a revolution of feeling; yet during this period he has a learnt to love,» and when we again encounter him, looks upon nature with a much kindlier
So much for the character of Harold, surely the only blemish in the enchanting work which bears his name. The genius of our great poet throughout, when absolved from adherence to so churlish a subject,
Springs upward like a pyramid of fire.»
Although the first canto of Childe Harold does not abound in that richness of imagery, those sublime conceptions clothed in words of liquid sweetness, that are found in the succeeding cantos, yet it still contains the elements of the highest order of poetry. The personification of «Red Battle,» in this canto, is highly wrought:
.Lo! where the giant on the mountain stands,
For on this morn three potent nations meet,
The following too is a fine specimen of Lord Byron's descriptive powers :
« The horrid crags, by toppling convent crown'd,
The vine on high, the willow branch below,
And again, in canto the second :
He that has sail'd upon the dark blue sea
The dullest sailor wearing bravely now,
There are many very fine passages in this canto, which, however, I must pass over, to enumerate more at length the pre-eminent beauties of the two last cantos.
The opening stanzas of the third canto are beautifully affecting:-—The feelings of the fond father's heart
are there finely and naturally exprest in all its anxious yearnings towards his « fair child;v and the break in the fifth line of the first stanza is highly and sublimely poetical :
« Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child!
eyes they smiled,
Awaking with a start,
Whither I know not; but the hour 's gone by,
Whoever can read these lines unmoved must have a heart as dry as summer's dust. In the abounding beauties of this, the most poetical and most perfect canto of the poem, I would particularly point out stanza xlv, from lxix to Lxxvi, from Lxxxvi to xcvili, and from cxy to the conclusion of the canto, which ends as it begun with his a daughter»--that dear and tenderly haunting theme of the poet and the parent.—With what emotion will she one day peruse the following lines :
My daughter! with thy name this song begun-
To whom the shadows of far
brow thou never should'st behold,
And reach into thy heart, - when mine is cold,-
« To aid thy mind's developement,—to watch
- as it is,
During the composition of the first cantos of Childe Harold, the author had but a confused idea of the character he wished to delineate, nor did he, perhaps, distinctly comprehend the scope and tendencies of his own genius. Two conceptions, distinct from each other, seem therein to be often blended; one of ideal human beings made up of certain troubled
passions,-and one of himself, ranging the world of nature and man, in wonder and delight, and agitation, in his capacity of a poet. These conceptions, which frequently jostled and interfered with each other, he subsequently unfolded more distinctly in separate poems. His troubled imaginary beings, possessing much of himself, and far more not of himself, he made into
Giaours, Laras, and Alps', and his conception of himself became expanded into Childe Harold—the Childe Harold of the two last cantos. In these it is a nobler creature who is before us. Theill-sustained misanthropy and disdain of the two first cantos but faintly glimmers through the third, and may be said to disappear wholly from the fourth, which reflects the high and disturbed visions of earthly glory, as a dark-swollen tide images the splendour of the sky, in portentous colouring and broken magnificence.
The beginning of the fourth canto, where the bard laments over the fallen greatness of Venice, is very fine.
In stanzas xxvii, xxviii, and xxix, Byron seems to open his whole heart to the genial impulses of
The delight with which the Pilgrim contemplates the ancient Greek statues at Florence, and afterwards at Rome, is such as might have been expected from any great poet whose youthful mind had, like his, been imbued with those classical ideas and associations, which afford so many sources of pleasure through every period of life. He gazed upon those master-pieces of art with a more susceptible and, in spite of his disavowal, with a more learned eye, than can be traced in the effusions of any poet who had previously