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For—Heaven forgive that thought! the while \
Which made me both to weep and smile;
I sometimes deemed that it might be
My brother's soul come down to me;
But then at last away it flew,
And then 'twas mortal—well I knew,
For he would never thus have flown,
And left me twice so doubly lone,—
Lone—as the corse within its shroud,
Lone—as a solitary cloud, ^
A single cloud on a sunny day.
When skies are blue, and earth is gay.'
We must be brief in adverting to the remaining poems. Lord Byron has presented to us in this collection two specimens of blank verse, which shew that he is as competent to master that difficult rhythm in all its varied harmony, as any form of metrical verse. The first is entitled 'Darkness,' and represents the effects which the poet imagines would be consequent on the extinction of the sun and the heavenly bodies. It is Fuseli out-Fuselied; horror accumulated upon horror in naked hideousness, up to the highest point of exaggeration. It required indeed a very extraordinary power of conception, to make such a rabble of misshapen and ghastly ideas pass before the mind in any order, and submit to be defined into form, and cohere together for the purpose of the poet. But few persons, we think, will be inclined to read it twice: it is any thing but pleasing, and can answer no purpose but that of exhibiting the ingenuity of the Author in investing with a sort of spectral sublimity a subject which otherwise must have been purely absurd.
The other poem in blank verse is entitled 'The Dream.' It is obviously intended to convey in the language of allegory, some secret history, to which many of his Lordship's minor pieces have apparently an indistinct reference; and it would seem that it was designed to intimate just so much to the reader, as might disarm him of any indignant feelings which circumstances of public notoriety might have drawn forth towards the hero of this tale of pity and mystery. The Author betrays a consciousness of how much tbere exists which needs all the extenuation that this soul-harrowing record, if faithful, would involve. But this is a subject on which we have no desire to enter. Lord Byron has produced a very touching and beautiful poem: it tells us he is wretched, and if he be so, in whatever his unhappiness originates, he must command our. sympathy; but this is all that poetry can do.
Vol. VII. N.S. 2 B
1 The Incantation' is distinguished by great rhythmical beauty; and though the fire which gleams and sparkles in the verse, is stolen from the cuitdron, it charms ns by its horrific lustre. Coleridge's Lady GerahJine might envy the inventive felicity of such a spell.
We transcribe a few stanzas. .. r
4 When the moon is on the wave,
And the meteor on the grave,
When the falling stars, are shooting,
And the answered owls are hooting,
And the silent leaves are still
In the shadow of the bill, .'/
Shall my soul be upon thine,
With a power and with a sign.
« Though thou seest me not pass by,
Thou shalt feel me with thine eye
As a thing that, though unseen,
Must be near thee, and hath been;
And when in that secret dread
Thou hast turn'd around thy head,
Thou shalt marvel I am not
As thy shadow on the spot,
And the power which thou dost feel
Shall be what thou must conceal.
'And a magic voice and verse
Hath baptized thee with a curse;
And a spirit of the air
Hath begirt thee with a snare;
In the wind there is a voice
Shall forbid thee to rejoice;
And to thee shall Night deny jl' All the quiet of her sky; ..
And the ,day shall have a sun, ,.(|> •
Which shall make thee wish it done. j
«from thy false tears I did distil
From thy own lip I drew the charm
is that entitled 'Stanzas to —': that is, pleasing, if dissociated from the circumstances to which they seem to allude. We must make room for a specimen. . :t
4 Though the rock of my last hope is shiver'd,
And its fragments are sunk in the wave, •
To pain—it shall not be its slave.
They may crush, but they shall not contemn—
'Tis of thee that I think—not of them.
* Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake,
Though slander d, thou never could'st shake,—
Though parted it was not to fly,
Nor, mute, that the world might belie.
* Yet I blame not the world, nor despise it.
Nor the war of the many with one—
'Twas folly not sooner to shun:
* * * # #'
'In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
Which speaks to my spirit of thee.'
We could easily have extended tins article by extracts of beauty equal to any we have made. In the third Canto of Childe Harold especially, the reflections on the field of Waterloo, the apostrophe to General Howard, and the subsequent stanza, are of surpassing merit: but they are already familiarized to many of our readers.
We have also forborne to comment on the moral sentiments interspersed through these poems, because we do not think they are calculated to spread infection, and the radical taint of his Lordship's feelings it is not in the power of sage philosophy to medicate. Lord Byron says,
'I have not loved the world, nor the world me—
It is obvious that there must be some affectation, or much ingratitude in this misanthropy. Lord Byron has taken the trouble to inform the public even of the names of many friends whose intimacy he professes to prize and to enjoy, and-we know that at any rate all these have not forsaken him. Lord Byron has had many friends, and it is his own fault if the world is not his friend, for to poets and to peers, especially to one like him, the world is in its disposition most friendly. It were easy to retort upon our English Timon, the demand—What Las he done to make the world love him? Have his labours, his words, his poetry, been directed to make that world better, which he esteems so bad? Even a critic might be allowed to start these questions; but he would ask them in vain. Our business, however, is not with Lord Byron, but with his readers and ours, who, we doubt not, will be able to discriminate, at the very height of their admiration, between the brilliant confiscations of sentiment, which flash from his Lordship's genius, and the legitimate evidence of correct principle. How very far more elevated in sentiment, whatsoever inferiority of poetical merit they display to the lines we have just quoted, is the apostrophe of a contemporary writer to this same world, on which Lord Byron looks back with misanthropic pride!
• O for a soul magnanimous to know,
'Poor world, thy littleness, and let thee go!
* To love mankind, and pour contempt on thee.'
Essays in Rhyme by Jane Taylor.
ERRATUM IN THE LAST NUMBER.
* Common Candour' will receive our thanks for his communication: but we are sure it will at once allay his fears, to be informed that the only articles in the February Number not written by a Pcedobaptist, were the second and the fifth. We occupy neither consecrated nor haunted ground, nor would such a ' ghost' dare approach us « for the life of him.'
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