« PreviousContinue »
ADDITION TO THE PREFAOE.
sans reproche.”-If the story of the institution of the “Garter” be not a fable, the knights of that order hare for seyeral centuries borne the badge of a Countese of Salisbury, of indifferent memory.
So much for chi, yalry. Burke need not have regretted that its days are over, though Maria Antoinette was quite as chaste as most of those in whose honours lances were shivered, and knights uphorsed.
Before the days of Bayard, and down to those of Sir Joseph Banks (the most chaste and celebrated of ancient and modern times,) few exceptions will be found to this statement, and I fear a little investigation will teach us pot to regret those monstrous mummeries of the middle ages.
I now leave “ Childe Harold" to live his day, such as he is, it had been more agreeable, and certainly more easy, to have drawn an amiable character. It had been easy to varnish over his faults, to make him do more and express less, but he never was intended as an example, further than to show that carly perversion of mind and moral, leads to satiety of past pleasure and disappointment in new ones, and ihat even the beauties of nature, and the stimulus of travel (except ambition, the most powerful of all excitements) are lost on a soul so constituted, or rather misdirected. Had I proceeded with the Poem, this character would have deepened as he drew to the close : for the outline which I once meant to fill up for him was, with some exceptions, the sketch of a modern Timon, perhaps a poetical Zelucco.
Not in those climes where I have late been straying, Though Beauty long hath there been matchless
deem'd; Not in those visions to the heart displaying Forms which it sighs but to have only dream'd, Hath aught like thee in truth or fancy seem'd: Nor, having seen thee, shall I vainly seek To paint those charms which varied as they beam'da
To such as see thee not my words were weak; To those who gaze on thee what language could they
Ah ! may'st thou ever be what now thou art,
Beholds the rainbow of her future years,
Young Peri of the West!'tis well for me
To those whose admiration shall succeed,
Oh ! let that eye, which wild as the Gazelle's,
To one so young my strain I would commend,
Such is thy name with this my verse entwin'd;
Such is the most my memory may desire;
less require ?
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE,
I. Oh, thou ! in Hellas deemed of heav'nly birth, Muse! form’d or fabled at the minstrel's will! Since sham'd full oft by later lyres on earth, Mine dares not call thee from thy sacred hill : Yet there I've wander'd by thy vaunted rill; Yes ! sighed o'er Delphi's long deserted shrine, (1) Where, save that feeble fouvtain, all is still ;
Nor inote my shell awake the weary Nine
Save concubines and carnal companie,
Nor florid prose, por honied lies of rbyme, Can blazou epil deeds, or consecrate a crime,
Thep, loatbed he in bis native land to dwell,
And spoild her goodly lands to gild his waste
With pleasure drugg'd he almost long'd for woe,