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•Rod'rick, thy wife is dead !--the Church hath
• • In this,--and all things else,'power
Pelayo answer'd, looking wistfully To free thee from thy vows! The broken heart Upon the Goth, 'thy pleasure shall be done!' Might yet be heal'd, ihe wrong redress'd, the throne | Then Rod’rick saw that he was known and turn'd Rebuilt by that same hand which pull'd it down! His head away in silence. But the old man Ard these curst Africans ... Oh for a month Laid hold upon his bridle, and look'd up. Of that waste life which millions misbestow!.. In his master's face-weeping and silently!
pp. 311, 312.
Thereat the Goch with fervent pressure took
His hand, and bending down towards him, said, Returning weakness then admonishes him, "My good Siverian, go not thou this day however, of the near approach of death; and To war! I charge thee keep thyself from harm! he begs the friendly hand of Roderick to cut Thou art past the age for combats ; and with whom short his pangs, by drawing forth the weapon Hereafter should thy mistress talk of me, which clogs the wound in his side. He then If thou wert gone?'”—p. 330. gives him his hand in kindness-blesses and He then borrows the defensive armour of this kisses his heroic daughter, and expires. The faithful servant; and taking a touching and concluding lines are full of force and tender- affectionate leave of him, vaults again on the ness.
back of Orelio; and placing himself without “ When from her father's body she arose,
explanation in the van of the army, leads them Her cheek was flush'd, and in her eyes there beam'd on to the instant assault. The renegade lead. A wilder brighiness. On the Goth she gaz'd! ers fall on all sides beneath his resistless While underneath the emotions of that hour blows. Exhausted life gave way! O God!' she said,
“ And in the heat of fight, Lifung her hands, thou hast restor'd me all, .. All.. in one hour!'... and around his neck she Rejoicing and forgetful of all else,
cry as he was wont in youth, (well! Her arms and cried, "My Roderick! mine in Hea. Rod'rick THE Goth!'... his war-cry, known so Groaning, he claspi her close! and in that act
Pelayo eagerly took up the word,
And shouied out his kinsman's name belov'd, And agony her happy spirit fled!"--p. 313.
Rod'rick the Goth! Rod'rick and Victory! The Last Book describes the recognition Rod'rick and Vengeance!' Odoar gave it forth ; and exploits of Roderick in the last of his bat-Urban repeated it; and through his ranks tles. After the revolt of Julian's army, Orpas, of his great victory, when Witiza fell,
Count Pedro sent the cry. Not from the field by whose counsels it had been chiefly occa. With louder acclamations had that name sioned, is sent forward by the Moorish leader, Been borne abroad upon the winds of heaven.” to try to win them back; and advances in
"O'er the field it spread, front of the line, demanding a parley, mount. All hearts and tongues uniting in the cry; ed on the beautiful Orelio, the famous war Mountains, and rocks, and vales re-echo'd round; horse of Roderick, who, roused at that sight, | And he rejoicing in his strength rode on, (smote, obtains leave from Pelayo to give the renegade Laying on the Moors with that good sword; and his answer; and after pouring out upon him And trampled down ! and suill at every blow some words of abuse and scorn, seizes the Exultingly he sent the war-cry forih. reins of his trusty steed; and
*Rod'rick the Goth! Rod'rick and Victory!
Rod'rick and Vengeance !'"-pp. 334, 335. • How now,' he cried, • Orelio! old companion, .. my good horse!'. The carnage at length is over, and the field Off with this recreant burihen!' ... And with that is won !-but where is he to whose name and He rais'd his hand, and rear'd, and back'd the steed, To that remember'd voice and arm of power
example the victory is owing? Obedient. Down the helpless traitor fell,
“Upon the banks Violently thrown; and Roderick over him, or Sella was Orelio found; his legs Thrice led, with just and unrelenting hand, And flanks incarnadin'd, his poitral smear'd The trampling hoofs. “Go, join Wiriza now, With froth, and foam, and gore, his silver mane Where he lies howling,' the avenger cried, Sprinkled with blood, which hung on every hair, * And tell him Roderick sent thee!'"-pp. 318,319. Aspers'd like dew-drops : trembling there he stood
From the toil of battle ; and at times sent forth He then vaults upon the noble horse; and His tremulous voice far-echoing loud and shrill; fitting Count Julian's sword to his grasp, rushes A frequent anxious cry, with which he seem'd in the van of the Christian army into the thick To call the master whom he lov'd so well, array of the Infidel, — where, unarmed as he And who had thus again forsaken him. is, and clothed in his penitential robes of Siverinn's helm and cuirass on the grasg waving black, he scatters death and terror | Clorted with blood! But where was he whose hand
Lay near; and Julian's sword, its hilt and chain around him, and cuts his way clean through Had wielded it so well that glorious day?.. the whole host of his opponents. He there Days, months, and years, and generations pagsid, descries the army of Pelayo advancing to co- And centuries held iheir course, before, far off operate; and as he rides up to them with his within a hermitage near Viseu's walls, wonted royal air and gesture, and on his well- A humble Tomb was found. which bore inscrib'd known steed of royalty, both the King and In ancient characters, King Rod'rick's name !" Siverian are instantaneously struck with the
pp. 339, 340. apparition; and marvel that the weeds of These copious extracts must have settled penitence should so long have concealed their our readers' opinion of this poem; and though sovereign. Roderick, unconscious of this re- they are certainly taken from the better parts cognition, briefly informs them of what has of it, we have no wish to disturb the forcible befallen, and requests the honourable rites of impression which they must have been the Christian sepulture for the unfortunate Julian means of producing. Its chief fault undoubt. and his daughter.
edly is the monotony of its tragic and solemn 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-some nament does Mr. Southey expect to derive for silliness, and a good deal of affectation. But his poetry from such words as avid ard aureute, 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 "incarnadíned 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 ?
(December, 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 commonnor 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 was necessary to reject all ordinary agents, of the age might appear, to superficial oband all trivial combinations. He could not servers, to be the most deepiy 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 Wordsor 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 his 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 concep. the bright parts of his nature, which have led me, I tions, and magnificent imaginations, with a fear (though almost irresistibly) into observations more personal to the character of the author, than
food of oppressive verbosity. On the con Rhould 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 repuadmiration, however, it 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, abové 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, and 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 10 too much to find the scene perpetually filled | represent all the lofty virtues as the natural allies of his ferocity. It is still worse when however, to dwell upon observations so genehe proceeds to show, that all these precious ral—and we shall probably have better means gifts of dauntless courage, strong affection, of illustrating these remarks, if they are really and high imagination, are not only akin to well founded, when we come to speak of the guilt, but the parents of misery ;-and that particular publications by which they have those only have any chance of tranquillity or now been suggested. happiness in this world, whom it is the object We had the good fortune, we believe, to be of his poetry to make us shun and despise. among the first who proclaimed the rising of
These, it appears to us, are not merely a new luminary, on the appearance of Childe errors in taste, but perversions of morality; Harold on the poetical horizon,-and we purand, as a great poet is necessarily a moral sued his course with due attention through teacher, and gives forth his ethical lessons, several of the constellations. If we have in general with far more effect and authority lately omitted to record his progress with the than any of his graver brethren, he is peculi- same accuracy, it is by no means because we arly liable to the censures reserved for those have regarded it with more indifference, or who turn the means of improvement to pur- supposed that it would be less interesting to poses of corruption.
the public—but because it was so extremely It may no doubt be said, that poetry in gene- conspicuous as no longer to require the noral tends less to the useful than the splendid tices of an official observer. In general, we qualities of our nature-that a character po- do not think it necessary, nor indeed quite etically good has long been distinguished from fair, to oppress our readers with an account one that is morally so—and that, ever since of works, which are as well known to them the time of Achilles, our sympathies, on such as to ourselves; or with a repetition of senoccasions, have been chiefly engrossed by per- timents in which all the world is agreed. sons whose deportment is by no means ex- Wherever, a work, therefore, is very popular, emplary; and who in many points approach and where the general opinion of its merits to the temperament of Lord Byron's ideal appears to be substantially right, we think hero. There is some truth in this suggestion ourselves at liberty to leave it out of our also. But other poets, in the first place, do chronicle, without incurring the censure of not allow their favourites so outrageous a mo- neglect or inattention. A very rigorous ap. nopoly of the glory and interest of the piece plication of this maxim might have saved our —and sin less therefore against the laws readers the trouble of reading what we now either of poetical or distributive justice. In write—and, to confess the truth, we write it the second place, their heroes are not, gene- rather to gratify ourselves, than with the hope rally, either so bad or so good as Lord Byron's of giving them much information. At the -and do not indeed very much exceed the same time, some short notice of the progress standard of truth and nature, in either of the of such a writer ought, perhaps, to appear in extremes. His, however, are as monstrous his contemporary journals, as a tribute due and unnatural as centaurs, and hippogriffs to his eminence;-and a zealous critic can and must ever figure in the eye of sober rea- scarcely set about examining the merits of son as so many bright and hateful impossi- any work, or the nature of its reception by bilities. But the most important distinction the public, without speedily discovering very is, that the other poets who deal in peccant urgent cause for his admonitions, both to the heroes, neither feel nor express that ardent author and his admirers. affection for them, which is visible in the Our last particular account was of the Corwhole of this author's delineations; but mere- sair ;-—and though from that time to the publy make use of them as necessary agents in lication of the pieces, the titles of which we the extraordinary adventures they have to have prefixed, the noble author has produced detail, and persons whose mingled vices and as much poetry as would have made the forvirtues are requisite to bring about the catas- tune of any other person, we can afford to trophe of their story. In Lord Byron, how. take but little notice of those intermediate ever, the interest the story, where there performances; which have already passed happens to be one, which is not always the their ordeal with this generation, and are case, is uniformly postponed to that of the fairly committed to the final judgment of poscharacter itself—into which he enters so deep- terity. Some slight reference to them, bow. ly, and with so extraordinary a fondness, that ever, may be proper, both to mark the prohe generally continues to speak in its lan- gress of the author's views, and the history guage, after it has been dismissed from the of his fame. stage; and to inculcate, on his own authority, LARA was obviously the sequel of the Cor. the same sentiments which had been pre- sair—and maintained, in general, the same viously recommended by its example. We tone of deep interest, and lofty feeling ; do not consider it as unfair, therefore, to say though the disappearance of Medora from the that Lord Byron appears to us to be the zeal scene deprives it of the enchanting sweetous apostle of a certain fierce and magnificent ness, by which its terrors were there redeemed, misanthropy; which has already saddened and make the hero on the whole less captihis poetry with too deep a shade, and not vating. The character of Lara, too, is rather only led to a great misapplication of great too laboriously finished, and his nocturnal entalents, but contributed to render popular some counter with the apparition is worked up too very false estimates of the constituents of hu- ostentatiously. There is infinite beauty in man happiness and merit. It is irksome, the sketch of the dark page-and in many of
the moral or general reflections which are It beats!' Away, thou dreamer! he is gone! interspersed with the narrative. The death It once was Lara which thou look'st upon. of Lara, however, is by far the finest pas- He gaz'd, as if not yet had pass'd away sage in the poem, and is fully equal to any The haughty spirit of that humble clay; thing else which the author has ever written. And those around have rous'd him from his trance, Though it is not under our immediate cog. But cannot tear from thence his fixed glance; nisance, we cannot resist the temptation of And when, in raising him from where he bore transcribing the greater part of the passage He saw the head his breast would still sustain,
Within his arms the form that felt no more, in which the physical horror of the event, Roll down, like earth to earth, upon the plain! though described with a terrible force and He did not dash himself thereby nor tear fidelity, is both relieved and enhanced by the The glossy tendrils of his raven hair, beautiful pictures of mental energy and re- But sirove to stand and gaze; but reel'd and fell, deeming affection with which it is combined. Scarce breathing more than that he lov'd so well! Our readers will recollect, that this gloomy The breast of Man such trusty love may breathe !
Than that He lov'd! Oh! never yet beneath and daring chief was mortally wounded in That trying moment hath at once reveal'd battle, and led out of it, almost insensible, by The secret, long and yet but half-conceal'd; that sad and lovely page, whom no danger In baring to revive that lifeless breast, could ever separate from his side. On his re- Its grief seem'd ended, but the sex confest! treat, slaughter and desolation falls on his And life return'd, and Kaled felt no shame
What now to her was Womanhood or Fame ?" disheartened follovers; and the poet turns from the scene of disorder
We must stop here;—but the whole sequel
of the poem is written with equal vigour and “ Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene, Where but for him that strife had never been,
feeling; and may be put in competition with A breathing but devoted warrior lay :
any thing that poetry has ever produced, in 'Twas Lara bleeding fast from life away!
point either of pathos or energy. His follower once, and now his only guide,
The SIEGE OF CORINTH is next in the order Kneels Kaled watchful o'er his welling side, of time; and though written, perhaps, with And with his scarf would staunch the tides that rush, too visible a striving after effect, and not very With each convulsion, in a blacker gush;
well harmonised in all its parts, we cannot And then, as his faint breathing waxes low, In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow :
help regarding it as a magnificent composiHe scarce can speak; but motions him 'tis vain, tion. There is less misanthropy in it than And merely adds another throb to pain.
in any of the rest; and the interest is made He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage, up of alternate representations of soft and And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page solemn scenes and emotions
and of the tuWho nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees, mult, and terrors, and intoxication of war. Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees; These opposite pictures are perhaps too vioSave that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim, Held all the light that shone on earth for him! lently contrasted, and, in some parts, too
The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field, harshly coloured'; but they are in general Their triumph nought till Lara too should yield;
exquisitely designed, and executed with the They would remove him; but they see 'twere vain, utmost spirit and energy. What, for in. And he regards them with a calm disdain, stance, can be finer than the following nightThat rose to reconcile him with his fate,
The renegade had left his tent in And that escape to death from living hate :
moody musing, the night before the final And Otho comes, and leaping from his steed, assault on the Christian walls. Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed, And questions of his state : He answers not; "'Tis midnight! On the mountain's brown Scarce glances on him as on one forgot,
The cold, round moon shines deeply down; And turns to Kaled :-each remaining word,
Blue roll the waters; blue the sky They understood not, if distinctly heard;
Spreads like an ocean hung on high, His dying tones are in that other tongue,
Bespangled with those isles of light,
Who ever gaz'd upon them shining,
And turn’d to earth without repining, Their import those who heard could jucige alone ;
Nor wish'd for wings to flee away, From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's death
And mix with their eternal ray? More near than Lara's, by his voice and breath;
The waves on either shore lay there,
Calm, clear, and azure as the air ;
And scarce their foam the pebbles shook, But Lara's voice though low, at first was clear
But murmur'd meekly as ihe brook. And calm, till murm'ring death gasp'd hoarsely
The winds were pillow'd on the waves ; But from his visage little could we guess,
The banners droop'd along their staves,
[near: So unrepentant, dark, and passionless,
And, as they fell around them furling,
Above them shone the crescent curling; Save that when struggling nearer to his last,
And that deep silence was unbroke,
Save where the watch his signal spoke,
Save where the steed neigh'd oft and shrill,
And echo answer'd from ihe hill,
In midnight call to wonted prayer."-
The transition to the bustle and fury of the With the cold grasp ! but feels, and feels in vain, morning muster, as well as the moving picture For that faint throb which answers not again. of the barbaric host, is equally admirable.