Images de page

voyage along the shores of Greece. His getting under


is described with great truth and spirit.

• He that has sail'd upon the dark blue sea,

Has view'd at times, I ween, a full fair sight;
When the fresh breeze is fair as breeze may be,
The white sail set, the gallant frigate tight;
Masts, spires, and strand retiring to the right,
The glorious main expanding o'er the bow,
The convoy spread like wild swans in their flight,

The dullest sailer wearing bravely now, So gaily curl the waves before each dashing prow.' p. 69. The quiet of the still and lonely night, however, draws the author back again to his gloomy meditations. There is great power, we think, and great bitterness of soul, in the following stanzas.

• To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,

To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been ;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold ;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean ;

This is not solitude ; 'tis but to hold
Converse with nature's charms, and see her stores unroll d.

But midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tir'd denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless ;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less

Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued :
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude !' p. 73-74.
Childe Harold cares little for scenes of battle ; and passes Ac-
mum and Lepanto with indifference.

. But when he saw the evening star above

Leucadia's far-projecting rock of woe,
And hail'd the last resort of fruitless love,
He felt, or deem'd he felt, no common glow :
And as the stately vessel glided slow
Beneath the shadow of that ancient mount,
He watch'd the billows' melancholy flow,

And, sunk albeit in thought as he was wont,
More placid seem'd his eye, and smooth his pallid front.

Morn dawns; and with it stern Albania's hills
Dark Sulis' rocks, and Pindus' inland peak,


Rob'd half in mist, bedew'd with snowy rills,
Array'd in many a dun and purple streak,
Arise; and as the clouds along them break,
Disclose the dwelling of the mountaineer :
Here roams the wolf, the eagle whets his beak,

Birds, beasts of prey, and wilder men appear, And gathering storms around convulse the closing year.' p.81, This is powerful description ;---and so is a great deal of what follows, as to the aspect of the Turkish cities, the costume of their warriors, and the characters and occupations of their women. But we must draw to a close with our extracts; and we prefer the commemoration of classic glories. After a solemn and touching exposition of the degraded and hopeless state of modern Greece, Lord Byron proceeds

• Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild,

Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smild;
And still his honied wealth Hymettus yields ;
There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain air ;
Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,

Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare :
Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair.
• Where'er we tread 'tis haunted, holy ground,

No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould ;
But one vast realm of wonder spreads around,
And all the Muse's tales seem truly told,
Till the sense aches with gazing to behold
The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon :
Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold

Defies the power which crush'd thy temples gone :
Age shakes Athena's tower, but spares gray Marathon.'

p. 104, 105. The poem closes with a few pathetic stanzas to the memory of a beloved object, who appears to have died during the author's wanderings among the Grecian cities.

The extracts we have now made, will enable our readers to judge of this poem for themselves; nor have we much to add to the general remarks which we took the liberty of offering at the beginning. Its chief fault is the want of story, or object; and the dark, and yet not tender spirit which breathes through almost every part of it. The general strain of the composition, we have already said, appears to us remarkably good; but it is often very diffuse, and not unfrequently tame and prosaic. We can scarcely conceive any thing more mean and flat, for instance, than this encomium on the landscapes of Illyria.

• Yet

• Yet in fam'd Attica such lovely dales

Are rarely seen; nor can fair Tempe boast
A charm they know not ; lov’d Parnassus fails,

Though classic ground and consecrated most,
To match some spots that lurk within this lowering coast.' p. 83.
Though even this is more tolerable to our taste than such a line
as the following-

• Death rides upon the sulphury Siroc ;' and several others that might be collected with no great trouble. The work, in short, bears considerable marks of haste and carelessness; and is rather a proof of the author's powers, than an example of their successful exertion. It shows the compass of his instrument, and the power of his hand ; though we cannot say that we are very much delighted either with the air he has chosen, or the style in which it is executed. The Notes are written in a flippant, lively, tranchant and assuming style-neither very deep nor very witty ; though rather entertaining, and containing some curious information as to the character and qualifications of the modern Greeks ; of whom, as well as of the Portuguese, Lord Byron seems inclined to speak much more favourably in prose than in verse.

The smaller pieces that conclude the volume, are in general spirited and well versified. The three last, which are all a kind of elegies in honour of the same lady whose loss is deplored in the concluding stanzas of the Pilgrimage, are decidedly the best ; and appear to us to be written with great beauty and feeling, though not in the most difficult style of composition. The reader may take the following specimens. One struggle more, and I am free

From pangs that rend my heart in twain ;
One last long sigh to love and thee,

Then back to busy life again,
It suits me well to mingle now

With things that never pleas'd before :
Though every joy is fled below,

What future grief can touch me more ?
In vain my lyre would lightly breathe !

The smile that sorrow fain would wear
But mocks the woe that lurks beneath,

Like roses o'er a sepulchre.
Though gay companions o'er the bowl

Dispel awhile the sense of ill;
Though pleasure fires the madd’ning soul :

The heart----the heart is lonely still !
• My Thyrza's pledge in better days,

When love and life alike were new!
How different now thou meet'st my gaze !

How ting'd by time with sorow's hue!

The heart that gave itself with thee

Is silent----ah, were mine as still !
Though cold as e'en the dead can be,

It feels, it sickens with the chill.' p. 197---200.

Ours too the glance none saw beside ;

The smile none else might understand ;
The whisper'd thought of hearts allied,

The pressure of the thrilling hand;
The kiss so guiltless and refin'd

That Love each warmer wish forbore.---
Those eyes proclaim'd so pure a mind,

Ev'n passion blush'd to plead for more----
The tone, that taught me to rejoice,

When prone, unlike thee, to repine ;
The song, celestial from thy voice,

But sweet to me from none but thine.' p. 193---194,

« The voice that made those sounds more sweet

Is hush'd, and all their charms are fled ;
And now their softest notes repeat

A dirge, an anthem o'er the dead !
Yes, Thyrza ! yes, they breathe of thee,

Beloved dust! since dust thou art ;
And all that once was harmony

Is worse than discord to my heart ! p. 195.--196. The Appendix contains some account of Romaic, or moderni Greek authors, with a very few specimens of their language and literary attainments. There is a long note upon the same subject, at p. 149, in which Lord Byron does us the honour to controvert some opinions which are expressed in our ThirtyFirst Number; and to correct some mistakes into which he thinks we have there fallen. To these strictures of the noble author we feel no inclination to trouble our readers with any reply.But there is one paragraph, in which he not only disclaims any wish to conciliate our favour-but speaks of his private resentments ' against us; and declares, that he has no wish to cancel the remembrance of any syllable he has formerly published-upon which we will confess that we have been sorely tempted to make some observations. Our sense of propriety, however, has determined us to resist this temptation ; and we shall merely observe, therefore, that if we viewed with astonishment the immeasurable fury with which the minor poet received the innocent pleasantry and moderate castigation of our remarks on his first publication, we now feel nothing but pity for the strange irritability of temperament which can still cherish a private resentment for such a cause--or wish to perpetuate the memory of personalities so outrageous as to have been injurious only to their author. For our own parts, when we speak in our collective and public capacity, we have neither resentments nor predilections; and take no merit to ourselves for having spoken of Lord Byron's present publication exactly as we should have done, had we never heard of him before as an author.


ART. XI. Æschylı TRAGEDIE, er Editione Thomæ Stan

LEI. Accedunt Notæ VV, DD. quibus suas intertexuit SAMUEL BUTLER, S. T. P. Cantabrigiæ, Typis et Sumptibus Academicis. Tom. II, 4to. Tom. III. & IV. 8vo. 1811.

We reviewed the former volumes of this learned and labori

ous work with the freedom that is indispensable, both to the fairness and the effect of our criticisms; and, we hope, without any violation of the respect that is due to the skill and diligence of the Editor. Dr Butler, however, while he took benefit from several of our remarks, thought fit to take offence at them also ; and put forth an epistolary diatribe on the subject, to which, we are persuaded, he is now aware it would not be very difficult to reply. As we discharge the functions of Judges, however, we hope we shall not be found wanting in their temper: and neither the example of Dr Butler, nor the obvious advantages we should have in such a contest, shall tempt us into a war of personalities. We shall proceed, therefore, to examine the volumes before us with the same calmness and the same freedom, as if we were ignorant of the effect of our former animadversions; and, entertaining the most sincere respect for the industry and attainments of that reverend person, shall continue to think we do a service to the cause of good learning, to which his labours and ours are equally devoted, if we are enabled to correct any errors, or to supply any omissions with which he may be chargeable.

The two massy volumes before us contain only two plays; “ The Seven Chiefs against Thebes,” and the “ Agamemnon. For the satisfaction of Dr Butler, who complained of our want of specification on a former occasion, we shall go through these plays somewhat minutely; though the classical reader will easily see, that it is upon the tenor of these particular observations that we are to ground the character which we propose ultimately to give of this interesting publication. The words in inverted commas, immediately following what is cited from the text, are Dr Butler's.


« PrécédentContinuer »