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which he is afraid to abandon himself. There is much strength, in short, and some impetuous feeling in this poem-but very little softness; some pity for mankind--but very little affection and no enthusiasm in the cause of any living men, or admiration of their talents or virtues. The author's inspiration does not appear to have brought him any beatific visions, nor to have peopled his fancy with any forms of loveliness; and tough his lays are ofien both loud and lofty, they neither “ lap us in Ely
sium,'nor give us any idea that it was in Elysium that they were framed.
The descriptions are often exceedingly good ; and the diction, though unequal and frequently faulty, has on the whole a freedom, copiousness and vigour, which we are not sure that we could match in any cotemporary poet. Scott alone, we think, possesses a style equally strong and natural; but Scott's is more made up of imitations, and indeed is frequently a mere cento of other writers-while Lord Byron's has often a nervous simplicity and manly freshness which reminds us of Dryden, and an occasional force and compression, in some of the smaller pieces especially, which afford no unfavourable resemblance of Crabbc.
The versification is in the stanza of Spencer; and none of all the imitators of that venerable bard have availed themselves znore extensively of the great range of tones and manners in which his example entitles them to indulge. Lord Byron has accordingly given us descriptions in all their extremes;—sonetimes compressing into one stanza the whole characteristic features of a country, and sometimes expanding into twenty the details of a familiar transaction ;-conde-cending, for pages together, to expatiate in minute and ludicrous representations, --and mingling long apostrophes, execrations, and the expression of personal emotion, with the miscellaneous picture which it is his main business to trace on the imagination of his readers. Nut satisfied cven with this license of variety, he has passed at will, and entirely, from the style of Spencer, to that of his own age, and interningkad various lyrical pieces with the solemn stanza of his general measure.
The poem begins with an account of Childe Harold's early profligacy, and the joyless riot in which he wasted his youthful days. - At last,
• Worse than adversity the Childe befall;
Ile tölt the fullness of satiety :
Then loathod he in his native land to dwell.' So he sets sail for Lisbon; and anuses himself on the way with inditing a sort of farewell ballad to his native country, in which there are some strong and characteristic stanzas. The
view of Lisbon, and the Portuguese landscape, is given with con, siderable spirit ;--the marking features of the latter are well summed up in the following lines.
• The horrid crags, by toppling convent crown'd,
The vine on high, the willow branch below,
There is then a digression, half in the style of invective and half of derision, on the Convention of Cintra; after which the Childe proceeds for Spain. The description of the upland frontier by which he enters, is striking and vigorous.
More bleak to view the hills at length recede,
For Spain is compass'd by unyielding foes,
After this comes a spirited invocation to the genius of Spain, and her ancient idol of Chivalry; followed by a rapid view of her present state of devastation ; which concludes with a bold personification of Battle.
‘Lo! where the giant on the mountain stands,
The following passage affords a good specimen of the force of Lord Byron's style; as well as of that singular turn of sentiment which we have doubted whether to rank among the defects or the attractions of this performance.
• Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice ;
To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,
There fret ;
There shall they rot-Ambition's honour'd fools!
Perished perchance in some domestic feud,
* Not so the rustic—with his trembling mate
Not in the toils of glory would ye
After this, there is a transition to the maid of Saragoza, and a rapturous encomium on the beauty of the Spanish women; in the very middle of which, the author, who wrote this part of his work in Greece, happens to lift up his eyes to the celebrated peak of Parnassus--and immediately, and without the slightest warning, bursts out into the following rapturous invocation, which is unquestionably among the most spirited passages of the poem. • Oh, thou Parnassus ! whom I now survey,
Not in the phrenzy of a dreamer's eye,
Would gladly woo thine echoes with his string,
Oft have I dream'd of thee! whose glorious name
When I recount thy worshippers of yore
But gaze beneath thy cloudy canopy
Though here no more Apollo haunts his grot,
Sighs in the gale, keeps silence in the cave,
The author then finds his way back to his subject; and gives us an animated picture of the loose and wanton gayeties of Cadiz, and the divertisements of her Sabbath, as contrasted with the sober enjoyments of a London Sunday. This introduces a very long and minute description of a bull-fight, which is executed, however, with great spirit and dignity, and then there is a short return upon Childe Harold's gloom and misery, which he explains in a few energetic stanzas addressed To Inez.' They exemplify that strength of writing and power of versification with which we were so much struck in some of Mr Crabbe's smaller pieces, and seem to us to give a very true and touching view of the misery that frequently arises in a soul surfeited with enjoyment.
• Nay, smile not at my sullen brow,
Alas ! I cannot smile again ;
Should'st weep, and haply weep in vain.
Nor low ambition's honours lost,
And fly from all I priz'd the most.
From all I meet, or hear, or see :
Thine eyes have scarce a charm for me.
The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore ;
But cannot hope for rest before. There are more of those verses; but we cannot now make room for them. The canto ends with a view of the atrocities of the French ; the determined valour of the Spanish peasantry; and some reflections on the extraordinary condition of that people,
Where all are noble, save Nobility ;
They fight for freedom who were never free;
True to the veriest slaves of Treachery.' The second canto conducts us to Greece and Albania; and opens with a solemn address to Athens—which leads again to those gloomy and uncomfortable thoughts which seem but too familiar to the mind of the author. • Ancient of days ! august Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul?
Vainly his incense soars, his victim bleeds ;
Bound to the earth, he lifts his eye to heaven---
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe?' &c. p. 62-63. The same train of contemplation is pursued through several stanzas: one of which consists of the following moralization on a skull which he gathers from the ruins-and appears to us to be written with great force and originality.
• Look on its broken arch, its ruin'd wall,
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul :
Can all, saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,