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of it, rather than the mental superiority by
This breath'd itself to life in Julie, this which it is obtained, that interferes with iheir Invested her with all that's wild and sweet," &c. enjoyment. Distinction, however won, usually • Clarens! sweet Clarens, birth-place of deep leads to a passion for more distinction; and is
Love! apt to engage us in laborious efforts and anx- Thine air is the young breath of passionate ious undertakings: and those, even when suc
thought! cessful, seldom repay, in our judgment at
Thy trees take root in Love; the snows above
The very Glaciers have his colours caught, least, the ease, the leisure, and tranquillity, And sun-set into rose-hues sees them wrought of which they require the sacrifice : but it By rays which sleep there lovingly! The rocks, really passes our imagination to conceive, that The permanent crags, tell here of Love; who the very highest degrees of intellectual vigour, sought or fancy, or sensibility, should of themselves which stir and suing the soul with hope that woos,
In them a refuge from the worldly shocks, be productive either of unhappiness or general then mocks. dislike. Harold and his poet next move along the
“ All things are here of him ; from the black pines,
Which are bis shade on high, and the loud roar lovely banks of the Rhine, to which, and all
Of torrents, where he listeneih, to the vines their associated emotions, due honour is paid Which slope his green path downward to the in various powerful stanzas.
We pass on,
shore, however, to the still more attractive scenes Where ihe bow'd waters meet him, and adore, .of Switzerland. The opening is of suitable
Kissing his feet with murmurs; and the wood, grandeur.
The covert of old trees, with irunks all hoar,
But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it “But these recede. Above me are the Alps,
stood, The palaces of Nature, whose vast walls Offering to him and his, a populous solitude." Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps, And throned Eternity in icy halls,
Our readers may think, perhaps, that there Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls
is too much sentiment and reflection in these The avalancherihe thunderbolt of snow! extracts; and wish for the relief of a little All that expands the spirit, yet appals,
narrative or description : but the truth is, that Gather around ihese summiis, as to show How Earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain the descriptions are blended with the expres
there is no narrative in the poem, and that all man below."
sion of deep emotion. The following picture, On this magnificent threshold, the poet however, of an evening calm on the lake of pauses, to honour the patriot field of Morat, Geneva, we think, must please even the love and the shrine of the priestess of Aventicum; ers of pure descriptionand then, in congratulating himself on his
Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake, solitude, once more moralises his song with
With the wide world I dwelt in, is a thing something of an apology for its more bitter Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake misanthropies.
Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring.
This quiet sail is a noiseless wing " To fly from, need not be to hate mankind;
To waft me from distraction ! Once I lov'd All are not fit with them to stir and toil,
Torn ocean's roar; but thy soft murmuring Nor is it discontent to keep the mind
Sounds sweet, as if a sister's voice reprov'd, Deep in its fountain, lest il overboil
That I with stern delights should e'er have been In the hot throng," &c.
B0 moy'd. "The race of life becomes a hopeless fight
“ It is the hush of night ; and all between To those that walk in darkness ; on the sea, Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear, The boldest steer but where their poris invite, Mellow'd and mingling, yet distinctly seen, But there are wanderers o'er Eternity (shall be. Save darken'd Jura, whose capt heights appear Whose bark drives on and on, and anchor'd he'er
Precipitously steep! and drawing near, Is it not better, ihen, to be alone,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore, And love Earth only for its earihly sake?
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood ; on the ear By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone, Drops the light drip of the suspended oar, (more! Or ihe pure bosom of its nursing lake,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol Which seeds it as a mother who doth make A fair but froward infant her own care,
“ Al intervals, some bird from out the brakes, Kissing its cries away as these awake.”'
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill; The cliffs of Meillerie, and the groves But that is fancy !--for the starlight dews of Clarens of course, conjure up the shade All silently their tears of love instil, of Rousseau; whom he characterises very
Weeping ihemselves away, till they infuse
Deep into nature's breast the spirit of her hues." strongly, but charitably, in several enchanting stanzas ;-one or two of which we shall The following sketch of a Midsummer cite as a specimen of the kindred rapture night's thunder storm in the same sublime with which the Poet here honours the Apostle region, is still more striking and originalof Love.
“The sky is chang'd!-and such a change! Oh “His love was passion's essence! As a tree
(strong! On fire by lightning, with ethereal flame
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous Kindled he was, and blasted; for 10 be
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light Thus, and enamour'd, were in him the same. of a dark eye in woman! Far along, But his was not the love of living dame,
From peak io peak, the rattling crags among Nor of the dead who rise upon our dreams, Leaps i he live ihunder! Not from one lone cloud, But of ideal beauty; which became
But every mountain now baih fo and a tongue, In him existence, and o'erflowing teems (seems. And Jura answers, through her misty shroud, dong his burning page, distemper'd though it Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud . " And this is in the night :-Most glorious night! | length liberated, when worn out with age Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
and misery-and is supposed, in his joyless A sharer in thy fierce and far delight,
liberty, to tell, in this poem, the sad story of A portion of the tempest and of thee! How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea !
his imprisonment. The picture of their first And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
feelings, when bound apart in this living And now again 'uis black,--and now, the glee tomb, and of the gradual sinking of their Of the loud hills shake with its mountain-mirth.” cheery fortitude, is full of pity and agony.
In passing Ferney and Lausanne, there is a “We could not move a single pace; fine account of Voltaire and Gibbon; but we We could not see each other's face, have room for but one more extract, and must
But with that pale and livid light take it from the characteristic reflections with
That made us strangers in our sight;
And thus together-yet apart, which the piece is concluded. These, like
Fetter'd in hand, and pin'd in heart; most of the preceding, may be thought to 'Twas still some solace in the dearth savour too much of egotism : But this is of Of the pure elements of earth, the essence of such poetry; and if Lord By- To hearken to each other's speech, ron had only been happier, or in better hu
And each turn comforter to each, mour with the world, we should have been
Wiih some new hope, or legend old,
Or song heroically bold; delighted with the confidence he has here
But even these at length grew cold ! reposed in his readers :—as it is, it sounds too Our voices took a dreary tone, like the last disdainful address of a man who An echo of the dungeon-stone, is about to quit a world which has ceased to A grating sound- not full and free have any attractions—like the resolute speech
As they of yore were wont to be. of Pierre
It might be fancy--but to me
They never sounded like our own." “For this vile world and I have long been jangling, And cannot part on better terms ihan now.'
The return to the condition of the younger
brother, the blooming Benjamin of the family, The reckoning, however, is steadily and is extremely natural and affecting. sternly made; and though he does not spare himself, we must say that the world comes
“I was the eldest of the three, off much the worst in the comparison. The
And to uphold and cheer the rest,
I ought to do—and did my best; passage is very singular, and written with
And each did well in his degree. much force and dignity.
The youngest, whom my father lov'd,
Because our mother's brow was giv'n “ Thus far I have proceeded in a theme
To him-with eyes as blue as heav'n,
For him my soul was sorely mov'd;
And truly might it be distrest
To see such bird in such a nest; The heart against itself; and to conceal,
For he was beautiful as dayWith a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught,
(When day was beautiful to me Passion or feeling, purpose, grief or zeal, Which is the tyrani spirit of our thought,
As to young eagles, being free)
And thus he was as pure and bright,
And then they flow'd like mountain rills.
The gentle decay and gradual extinction In worship of an echo. In the crowd They could not deem me one of such ; I stood
beautiful passage in the poem. Among them, but not of them,” &c.
“ But he, the favorite and the flow'r, “I have not lov'd the world, nor the world me' Most cherish'd since his natal hour, But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
His mother's image in fair face,
The infant love of all his race,
To hoard my life, that his might be
He, too, who yet had held untir'd That goodness is no name, and happiness no A spirit nalural or inspir'de dream."
He, too, was struck ! and day by day
Was wither'd on the stalk away. The closing stanzas of the poem are ex- He faded; and so calm and meek, tremely beautiful ;—but we are immoveable
So softly worn, so sweetly weak, in the resolution, that no statement of ours So tearless, yet so tender-kind, shall ever give additional publicity to the
And griev'd for those he left behind ; subjects of which they treat.
Wiih all the while a cheek whose bloom We come now to "The Prisoner of Chillon."
Was as a mockery of the tomb,
Whose tints as gently sunk away It is very sweet and touching-though we
As a departing rainbow's raycan afford but a short account of it. Chillon
An eye of most transparent light, is a ruined castle on the Lake of Geneva, in That almost made the dungeon bright, the dungeon of which three gallant brothers
And not a word of murmur! not were confined, each chained to a separate
A groan o'er his untimely lot,
A little talk of better days, pillar, till, after long years of anguish, the
A lille hope my own to raise, two younger died, and were buried under the
For I was sunk in silence-lost cold floor of the prison. The eldest was at In this last loss, of all the most;
And then the sighs he would suppress And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
The pall of a past world! and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth, and howl'd!"
Then they eat each other: and are extin. I only stirr'd in this black spot,
guished ! I only liv'd-I only drew
The world was void, Th' accursed breath of dungeon-dew."
The populous and the powerful was a lump: After this last calamity, he is allowed to be Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay! et large in the dungeon.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still, "And it was liberty to stride
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depihs ; Along my cell from side to side,
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
[dropp'd And up and down, and then athwart,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: As they And Iread it over every part;
They slept on the abyss without a surgeAnd round the pillars one by one,
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave, Returning where my walk begun,
The moon their mistress had expir'd before ; Avoiding only, as I irod,
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air, My brothers' graves without a sod.'
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness bad no need He climbs up at last to the high chink that of aid from them-She was the universe." admitted the light to his prison; and looks There is a poem entitled “The Dream,” out once more on the long-remembered face full of living pictures, and written with great of nature, and the lofty forms of the eternal beauty and genius—but extremely painfulmountains.
and abounding with mysteries into which we "I saw them and they were the same,
have no desire to penetrate. “The IncantThey were not chang'd like me in frame;
ation” and “Titan' have the same distressing I saw their thousand years of snow
character—though without the sweetness of On high-their wide long lake below,
the other. Some stanzas to a nameless friend, And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;
are in a tone of more open misanthropy. This I heard the torrents leap and gush
is a favourable specimen of their tone and O'er channell'd rock and broken bush ; I saw the white-wall'd distant town,
temper. And whiter sails go skimming down;
• Though human, thou didst not deceive me, And then there was a little isle,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake, Which in my very face did smile,
Though lov'd, thou foreborest to grieve me, The only one in view;
Though slander'd, thou never couldst shake,A small green isle ; it seem'd no more,
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me, Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,
Though parted, it was not to fly, But in it there were three tall trees,
Though watchful, 'twas not to delame me,
Nor mule, that the world might belie."
Beautiful as this poetry is, it is a relief at Of gentle breath and hue.
last to close the volume. We cannot maintain The fish swam by the castle wall,
our accustomed tone of levity, or even speak And they seem'd joyous, each and all; like calm literary judges, in the midst of these The eagle rode the rising blast; Methought he never flew so fast
agonising traces of a wounded and distempered As then to me he seem'd to fly.”
spirit. Even our admiration is at last swal
lowed up in a most painful feeling of pity and The rest of the poems in this little volume, of wonder. It is impossible to mistake these are less amiable-and most of them, we fear, for fictitious sorrows, conjured up for the pur. have a personal and not very charitable ap- pose of poetical effect. There is a dreadful plication. One, entitled " Darkness,” is free tone of sincerity, and an energy that cannot at least from this imputation. It is a grand be counterfeited, in the expression of wretchand gloomy sketch of the supposed conse- edness and alienation from human kind, which quences of the final extinction of the Sun and occurs in every page of this publication; and the Heavenly bodies-executed, undoubtedly, as the author has at last spoken out in his own with great and fearful force—but with some- person, and unbosomed his griefs a great deal thing of German exaggeration, and a fantas- 100 freely to his readers, the offence now tical selection of incidents. The very con- would be to entertain a doubt of their reality. ception is terrible, above all conception of We certainly have no hope of preaching him known calamity—and is too oppressive to the into philanthropy and cheerfulness ; but it is imagination, to be contemplated with pleas- impossible not to mourn over such a catasure, even in the faint reflection of poetry.
trophe of such a mind; or to see the prodigal “ The icy earth gifts of Nature, Fortune, and Fame, thus Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.” | turned to bitterness, without an oppressive
Cities and forests are burnt, for light and feeling of impatience, mortification, and surwarmth.
prise. Where there are such elements, how"The brows of men by the despairing light
ever, it is equally impossible to despair that Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
they may yet enter into happier combinations, The flashes fell upon them! Some lay down
-or not to hope this “that puissant spirit" And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
“yet shall reascend Their ching upon their clenched hands, and smil'd! Self-rais'd, and repossess its native seat.”
(November, 1817.) Lalla Rookh ; an Oriental Romance. By Thomas MOORE. 4to. pp. 405.: London : 1817.
There is a great deal of our recent poetry stitution of genius. While it is more splendid derived from the East : But this is the finest in imagery—and for the most part in very Orientalism we have had yet. The land of good taste)-more rich in sparkling thoughts the Sun has never shone out so brightly on the and original conceptions, and more full indeed children of the North-nor the sweets of Asia of exquisite pictures, both of all sorts of beaubeen poured forth, nor her gorgeousness dis- ties and virtues, and all sorts of sufferings and played so profusely to the delighted senses of crimes, than any other poem that has yet come Europe. The beauteous forms, the dazzling before us; we rather think we speak the sense splendours, the breathing odours of the East, of most readers, when we add, that the effect seem at last to have found a kindred poet in of the whole is to mingle a certain feeling of that green isle of the West; whose Genius disappointment with that of admiration to has long been suspected to be derived from a excite admiration rather than any warmer warmer clime, and now wantons and luxuri- sentiment of delight—to dazzle, more than 10 ates in those voluptuous regions, as if it felt enchant—and, in the end, more frequently to that it had at length regained its native ele- startle the fancy, and fatigue the attention, by ment. It is amazing, indeed, how much at the constant succession of glittering images home Mr. Moore seems to be in India, Persia, and high-strained emotions, than to maintain and Arabia; and how purely and strictly a rising interest, or win a growing sympathy, Asiatic all the colouring and imagery of his by a less profuse or more systematic display book appears. He is thoroughly embued with of attractions. the character of the scenes to which he trans- The style is, on the whole, rather diffuse, ports us; and yet the extent of his knowledge and too unvaried in its character. But its is less wonderful than the dexterity and ap- greatest fault, in our eyes, is the uniformity parent facility with which he has turned it to of its brilliancy—the want of plainness, sim. account, in the elucidation and embellishment plicity, and repose. We have heard it observed of his poetry. There is not, in the volume by some very zealous admirers of Mr. Moore's now before us, a simile or description, a name, genius, that you cannot open this book witha trait of history, or allusion of romance which out finding a cluster of beauties in every page. belongs to European experience; or does not Now, this is only another way of expressing indicate an entire familiarity with the life, the what we think it's greatest defect. No work, dead nature, and the learning of the East. consisting of many pages, should have detachNor are these barbaric ornaments thinly scat- ed and distinguishable beauties in every one tered to make up a show. They are showered of them. No great work, indeed, should have lavishly over all the work; and form, perhaps many beauties: If it were perfect, it would too much, the staple of the poetry—and the have but one; and that but faintly perceptible, riches of that which is chiefly distinguished except on a view of the whole. Look, for ex. for its richness.
ample, at what is perhaps the most finished We would confine this remark, however, to and exquisite production of human art—the the descriptions of external objects, and the design and elevation of a Grecian temple, in allusions 10 literature and history—or to what its old severe simplicity. What penury of may be termed the materiel of the poetry be- ornament—what rejection of beauties of defore us. The Characters and Sentiments are tail !-what masses of plain surface-what of a different order. They cannot, indeed, be rigid economical limitation to the useful and said to be copies of European nature; but they the necessary! The cottage of a peasant is are still less like that of any other region. scarcely more simple in its structure, and has They are, in truth, poetical imaginations;- not fewer parts that are superfluous. Yet but it is to the poetry of rational, honourable, what grandeur—what elegance—what grace onsiderate, and humane Europe, that they and completeness in the effect! The whole is iselong--and not to the childishness, cruelty, beautiful-because the beauty is in the whole: and profligacy of Asia. It may seem a harsh But there is little merit in any of the parts, and presumptuous sentence, to some of our except that of fitness and careful finishing Cosmopolite readers : But from all we have Contrast this, now, with a Dutch pleasure. been able to gather from history or recent ob- house, or a Chinese—where every part is servation, we should be inclined to say that meant to be separately beautiful-and the rethere was no sound sense, firmness of purpose, sult is deformity !_where there is not an inch or principled goodness, except among the na- of the surface that is not brilliant with varied tives of Europe, and their genuine descendants. colour, and rough with curves and angles
There is something very extraordinary, we and where the effect of the whole is monstrous think, in the work before us—and something and offensive. We are as far as possible from which indicates in the author, not only a great meaning to insinuate that Mr. Moore's poetry exuberance of talent, but a very singular con- is of this description. On the contrary, we
could not ope
think his ornaments are, for the most part, (ceive of their proceedings, or to sympathise truly and exquisitely beautiful; and the gene- freely with their fortunes. The disasters to ral design of his pieces very elegant and in- which they are exposed, and the designs in genious: All that we mean to say is, that which they are engaged, are of the same am there is too much ornament—too many insu- bitious and exaggerated character; and all ·lated and independent beauties—and that the are involved in so much pomp, and splendour, notice, and the very admiration they excite, and luxury, and the description of their exhurt the interest of the general design; and treme grandeur and elegance forms so connot only withdraw our attention too importu- siderable a part of the whole work, that the nately from it, but at last weary it out with less sublime portion of the species can with their perpetual recurrence.
difficulty presume to judge of them, or to enIt seems to be a law of our intellectual con- ter into ihe concernments of such very exquistitution, that the powers of taste cannot be site persons. The incidents, in like manner, permanently gratified, except by some sustain- are so prodigiously moving, so excessively ed or continuous emotion; and that a series, improbable, and so terribly critical, that we even of the most agreeable excitements, soon have the same difficulty of raising our senticeases, if broken and disconnected, to give any ments to the proper pitch for them ;-and, pleasure. No conversation fatigues so soon as finding it impossible to sympathise as we that which is made up of points and epigrams; ought to do with such portentous occurrences, and the accomplished rhetorician, who are sometimes tempted to withhold our sym
pathy altogether, and to seek for its objects His mouth, but out there flew a trope,”
among more familiar adventures. Scenes of
voluptuous splendour and ecstasy alternate must have been a most intolerable companion. suddenly with agonising separations, atrocious There are some things, too, that seem so plainly crimes, and tremendous sufferings ;— battles, intended for ornaments and seasonings only, incredibly fierce and sanguinary, follow close that they are onlyągreeable, when sprinkled in on entertainments incredibly sumptuous and moderation over a plainer medium. No one elegant terrific tempests are succeeded by would like to make an entire meal on sauce pi- delicious calms at sea : and the land scenes quante; or to appear in a dress crusted over with are divided between horrible chasms and prediamonds; or to pass a day in a steam of rich cipices, and vales and gardens rich in eternal distilled perfumes. It is the same with the blooms, and glittering with palaces and temglittering ornaments of poetry-with splendid ples—while the interest of the story is mainmetaphors and ingenious allusions, and all the tained by instruments and agents of no less figures of speech and of thought that consti- potency than insanity, blasphemy, poisonings, tute its outward pomp and glory. Now, Mr. religious hatred, national antipathy, demoniMoore, it appears to us, is decidedly too lavish acal misanthropy, and devoted love. of his gems and sweets ;-he labours under a We are aware that, in objecting to a work plethora of wit and imagination-impairs his like this, that it is made up of such materials, credit by the palpable exuberance of his pos- we may seem to be objecting that it is made sessions, and would be richer with half his of the elements of poetry,--since it is no doubt wealth. His works are not only of costly ma- true, that it is by the use of such materials terial and graceful design, but ihey are every- that poetry is substantially distinguished from where glistening with small beauties and tran- prose, and that it is to them it is indebted for sitory inspirations—sudden flashes of fancy, all that is peculiar in the delight and the inthat blaze out and perish; like earth-born terest it inspires: and it may seem a little meteors that crackle in the lower sky, and un- unreasonable to complain of a poet, that he seasonably divert our eyes from the great and treats us with the essence of poetry. We have lofty bodies which pursue their harmonious already hinted, however, that it is not advisacourses in a serener region.
ble to live entirely on essences; and our obWe have spoken of these as faults of style: Ijection goes not only to the excessive strength But they could scarcely have existed in the of the emotions that are sought to be raised, style, without going deeper; and though they but to the violence of their transitions, and the first strike us as qualities of the composition want of continuity in the train of feeling that only, we find, upon a little reflection, that the is produced. It may not be amiss, however, same general character belongs to the fable, to add a ord or two more of explanation. the characters, and the sentiments,—that they In the first place, then, if we consider how all sin alike in the excess of their means of the fact stands, we shall find that all the great attraction, -and fail to interest, chiefly by poets, and, in an especial manner, all the being too interesting.
poets who chain down the attention of their In order to avoid the debasement of ordi- readers, and maintain a growing interest nary or familiar life, the author has soared to through a long series of narrations, have been a region beyond the comprehension of most remarkable for the occasional familiarity, and of his readers. All his personages are so very even homeliness, of many of their incidents, beautiful, and brave, and agonising—so totally characters and sentiments. This is the diswrapt up in the exaltation of their vehement tinguishing feature in Homer, Chaucer, Ari. emotions, and withal so lofty in rank, and so osto, Shakespeare, Dryden, Scott—and will be sumptuous and magnificent in all that relates found to occur, we believe, in all poetry that to their external condition, that the herd of has been long and extensively popular; or that ordinary mortals can scarcely venture to con- ( is capable of pleasing very strongly, or stirring