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dividual, or an outré fabrication. Those who think they can discover the original, will acknowledge him for a very good copy; others will set him down for an egregious fop, more top full of affected sensibility, and pitiful inconsistencies than any being they ever met in this breathing world. Our opinion of him is pretty well expressed in the following passage of the soi-disant editor ; which in spite of its acrimony, we confess, has not the effect of silencing the suspicions we ventured to hint as to the real bistory of the volume.
“ La grande question dans la vie, c'est la douleur que l'on cause, et la métaphysique la plus ingénieuse ne justifié pas l'homme qui à dechiré le cæur que l'aimait. Je hais d'ailleurs cette fatuité d'un esprit qui croit excuser ce qu'il explique. Je hais cette vanité qui s'occupe d'elle-même en racontant la mal qu'elle à fait qui à la pretention de se faire plaindre en se décrivant et qui planant indestructible au milieu des ruines s'analyse au lieu de se repentir. Je hais cette faiblesse qui s'en prend toujours aux autres de sa propre impuissance et qui ne voit pas que le mal n'est point dans ses alentours mais qu'il est en elle." P. 227.
A very simple inan avoids the most distant allusion to the besetting sin of which he is conscious, just as a young thief runs away from the bill which offers a reward for his apprehension; a very subtle one selects that frailty to decry most loudly and zealously, just as an experienced rogue places himself opposite a description of his person, to avoid the possibility of suspicion. Which of these characters best fits M. Constant, our readers will decide, and judge of the above passage accordingly.
Art. v. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Canto III. By'
Loril Byron. 8vo. pp. 80. 55. Od. Murray. 1816. Art. VI. Prisoner of Chillon, and other Poems. By Lord,
Byron. 8vo. pp. 60. 55. 6d. Murray. 1816. WE had cherished a hope, that of Lord Byron and of his muse, we should have heard no more, till time, at least, and meditation should have enlarged the soul of the poet, aud mellowed the powers of his song. But a very few months since bis Lordship and the public parted in no very pleasant inood; he called them forth not as arbitrators, but as parties in his domestic feuds; they obeyed the summons, but the cause which they espoused was not that of his Lordship; they gave their sentence with justice and, enforced it with spirit; and from that decision, after a vain, and,
in our opinion, a paltry appeal to their worst passions, he fled. We little thought that his Lordship would again have wo'ed so disdainful a mistress, especially when that mistress had begun to shew some signs of lassitude on the endless repetition of the same tedious and disgusting straiu. And yet his Lordship informs us
“ I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
In worship of an echo." This is all vastly indignant and vastly grand, yet we have now two witnesses before us who speak a very different language, and we find ten more in Mr. Murray's catalogue, who tell the same tale. The man who sends out into the world a single poem, the labour perhaps of years, may affect, with some pretence of probability, to scorn the voice of public censure or approbation, but he who, at intervals of only a few months, shall continue to court the expectations of the world with the successive fruits of bis poetic talent, not only exists a pensioner upon public fame, but lives even from hand to mouth upon popular applause. Every poem which he publishes is a living witness that be bows to the idolatry of the world a patient knee, and that he worships the very echo which he professes lo scorn,
The first publication of the noble Lord which claims our attention is the third part of Childe Harold. As the first and second parts of this poem appeared before we commenced our critical labours, we shall pass no opinion upon their merits, except that they were too generally over-rated by the fashion of the day. The poem before us is much more likely to find its level. The noble Lord has made such draughts upon public partiality, that little is now left him but the dregs of a cup which he once foudly thought to be inexhaustible. The hero of the poor is, as usual, himself: for he has now so unequivocally identified himself with his fictitious hero, that even in his most querulous moods, he cannot complaiu of our impertinence in tracing the resemblance. We really wish that the noble Lord would suppose that there was some other being in the world besides himself, and employ his imagination in tracing the lineament of some other character than his own). One would have imagined that in twelve several and successive efforts of his muse, something a little newer than this same inexo haustible self might have been invented. Wherever we turn, the same portrait meets our eye. We see it now glarıny in oils, now sobered in fresco, now dim in transparency. Sometines it frowns in the turban of the Turk, sometimes it struts in the buskins and
cloak cloak of the Spaniard, and sometimes it descends to fret in its native costume; but fowl, strut or fret where it will, the face is still but one, and the features are still the same. “ Nungo here, Mungo there, Mungo every where.” We are ever re.di io listen with all due patience to a long story, provided it be not too often repeated, but there is really a limit beyond which buman patience ceases to be a virtue.' We must cime at last to the question, What is Lord Byron to us, and ubat hare ve to do either with his sublimity or his sulks? It is liis portical not his personal characier which is the subject of our criticism, and when the latter is so needlessly and so unsparingly oltruded upon our attention, it betrays at once poverty of invention and lack of discretion. The noble Lord is ever informing us how vastly superior boih be and his genius are to the common herd of mankind; that he is a being of another and a higher order, whose scou) is sublimity, and whose fiown is majesty. We have the roble Lord's word for this and for a great deal more, and if he would have been content with telling us so not more than half a dozen tinies, to please bim, we would have believed it. But he has pressed his so unmercilulls, that we now begin to call for proof, and all the proof we can find is in his own assertion. The noble Lord has written a lew very time, and a few very pretty verses, which may be selected from a heap of crude, harshi, unpoetical sirains; farther than this we neither how nor wish to know of his Lord. ship's fame. His Lordship’s style, by a fortunate bit, caught ul. favourable moment in the 11 of the public tusic; his gull nas mistaken for spirit, bis affectation for feeling, and his harshness for originality. The world are now growing tired of their lumi. nary, and wait only for the rise of some new meteor, to transfer their admiration and applause. The noble Lord bad talents, which if they had been duly husbanded, might have ensured hiin a more permanent place in their estimation. His Lordship never could bave been a Millon, a Dryden, a Pope, or a Gray, but he might have been a star of the third or fourth magnitude, whose beains svouloi liave shone even upon posterity with no contemptible lustre. As the matter stands, he will now be too late conyinced thai he whose theme is only self, will find at last that self his only audience.
The first sixteen stanzas of the Poem before us, are dedicated to this one everlasting theme, and contain, like a repetition pye, nothing more than the scraps of his former strażns, seasoned ra. ther with the garlic of misanthrophy than the salt of wit. “ Sell: exiled' Harold” reaches the plain of Waterloo, but with a step not more auspicious than that of preceding poets, who have trod that bloody plain. We know not what strange fatality attends 3 theme so sacred, so sublime; whether it be that the grandeur of
reality reality overpowers the faint gleam of fiction, or that there are deeds tso mighty to be sung by living bards, the plains of Waterloo will live in the records of history not in the strains of po-iry. The description of the dance preceding the morning of the battle is well imagined, and excepting the fourth flat and rugged line, is happily expressed,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before! Arm! Arin! it is—it is-the cannon's opening roar!" P. 13. The noble Lord, as may easily be inagined, i, very indignant that order, peace, and legitimate sovereignty should have been restored to Europe. The reflections which succeed partake as little of patriotism as of poetry; let us take the following stanza for an example,
Whose spirit antithetically mixt
Even now to re-assume the imperial mien,
If this be philosophy, it is unintelii ;ible ; if it be sentiment, it is unberrable; if it be pretiy, it is unreadable. When we come to " spirits antithetically mixel,' our only idea is that of “ Cordial compound." The whole of the address to Buona
parte is at once crude and common place. In one stanza the noble Lord has clearly been a plagiarist from W. Scott.
But these and half their fame have pass’d away,
But o'er the blackened memory's blighting dream
Our readers will readily call to mind the following beautiful. lines in the Lay of the Last Minstrel.
“ Sweet Teviot, on thy silver tide
The glaring bale fires blaze no more,
Is stained with past and present tears." llere we have precisely the same idea, but far better expressed; we scarcely know six better lines than those which close the simile. But when we read of “ waves rolling o'er the blighted dream of a blackened memory," we are lost in the mazes of metaphorical confusion.
The noble Lord cannot find it in his heart to pay the tribute even of a passing line to the heroic commander, who stands confessed, even by his very foes, the sword of Britain, and the shield of Europe. The poetry of Byron stands in far greater need of the name of Wellington, than the name of Wellington does of the poetry of Byron.
From Waterloo the noble Lord travels by Coblentz down the Rhine to Switzerland. The magnificent scenery which the banks of that river present is but tamely and ruggedly drawn : he is attended with better success when he enters the territories of the Swiss. The following description of a night sail on the Lake of Lausanne is perhaps the most brilliant passage in the poem.