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The Life of Lord Byron.
O'er the harp, from earliest years beloved,
h was reserved for the present age to produce may be traced between Byron and Rousseau. ne distinguished example of the Muse having Both are distinguished by the most ardent and descended upon a bard of a wounded spirit, and vivid delineation of intense conception, and by ent her lyre to tell afflictions of no ordinary an intense sensibility of passion rather than of description, afflictions originating probably in that | affection. Both, too, by this double power, have ingular combination of feeling with imagination held a dominion over the sympathy of their which has been called the poetical temperament, and which has so often saddened the days of those n whom it has been conferred. If ever a man was entitled to lay claim to that character in all its strength and all its weakness, with its unbounded raze of enjoyment, and its exquisite sensibility f pleasure and of pain, that man was Lord Byron. Nor de it require much time or a deep acquaintance with human nature to discover why these extraordinary powers should in so many cases have contributed more to the wretchedness than to the happiness of their possessor.
readers, far beyond the range of those ordinary
- of prodigious capacity both of misery and
other great men stand out from them, like some-
clothed, no doubt, at different times, in dif-
The imagination all compact which the greatest poet who ever lived has assigned as the distinguishing badge of his brethren, is in every case a dangerous gift. It exaggerates, indeed, our expectations, and can often bid its possessor hope, where hope is lost to reason; but the deluave pleasure arising from these visions of ima-idea of themselves; and, while the productions of gination resembles that of a child whose notice is attracted by a fragment of glass to which a sun-beam has given momentary splendour. He bastens to the spot with breathless impatience, and finds the object of his curiosity and expectation is equally vulgar and worthless. Such is the man of quick and exalted powers of imagination: his fancy over-estimates the object of his wishes; and pleasure, fame, distinction, are alter[nately pursued, attained, and despised when in his power. Like the enchanted fruit in the palace of a sorcerer, the objects of his admiration lose their attraction and value as soon as they are grasped by the adventurer's hand, and all that remains is regret for the time lost in the chase, and astonishment at the hallucination un-condemnation is necessarily annexed, as to the der the influence of which it was undertaken. language or conduct of actual existence. It is the The disproportion between hope and possession character, so to speak, which is prior to conduct, ' which is felt by all men, is thus doubled to those and yet open to good and to ill,-the constituwhom nature has endowed with the power of tion of the being in body and in soul. Each of gilding a distant prospect by the rays of ima- these illustrious writers has, in this light, filled gination. his works with expressions of his own character, We think that many points of resemblance has unveiled to the world the secrets of his own
But this view of the subject, though universally felt to be a true one, requires perhaps a little explanation. The personal character of which we have spoken, it should be understood, is not altogether that on which the seal of life has been set, and to which, therefore, moral approval or