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And oh, when stoops on Judah's path
modern manners, and the temperament of the In shade and storm the frequent night,
northern nations compared with that of the sunny Be Thou, long-suffering, slow to wrath,
south. Has the spell yet broke? Has the glory A burning and a shining light !
faded into the common light of day?' UnOur harps we left by Babel's streams,
doubtedly the later writings of the noble bard The tyrant's jest, the Gentile's scorn ;
helped to dispel the illusion. To competent No censer round our altar beams,
observers, these works added to the impression of And mute are timbrel, trump, and horn. Byron's powers as an original poet, but they But Thou hast.said, 'The blood of goat,
tended to exorcise the spirit of romance from his The flesh of rams, I will not prize ;
name and history; and what Don Juan failed to A contrite heart, a humble thought,
effect, was accomplished by the biography of Are mine accepted sacrifice.'
Moore. His poetry, however, must always have a powerful effect on minds of poetical and warm
sensibilities. If it is a rank unweeded garden,' GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON.
it also contains glorious fruits and plants of Scott retreated from poetry into the wide and celestial seed. The art of the poet will be a study open field of prose fiction as the genius of Byron for the ambitious few; his genius will be a source began to display its strength and fertility. A new, of wonder and delight to all who love to conor at least a more finished, nervous, and lofty style template the workings of human passion, in of poetry was introduced by the noble author, who solitude and society, and the rich effects of taste was as much a mannerist as Scott, but of a differ- and imagination. ent school. He excelled in painting the strong The incidents of Byron's life may be briefly and gloomy passions of our nature, contrasted with related. He was born in Holles Street, London, feminine softness and delicacy. Scott, intent upon on the 22d of January 1788, the only son of the development of his plot, and the chivalrous Captain John Byron of the Guards, and Catherine machinery of his Gothic tales, is seldom personally Gordon of Gight, an Aberdeenshire heiress. The present to the reader. Byron delighted in self- lady's fortune was soon squandered by her profportraiture. His philosophy of life was false and ligate husband, and she retired to the city of pernicious; but the splendour of the artist con- Aberdeen, to bring up her son on a reduced cealed the deformity of his design. Parts were so income of about £130 per annum. The little lame nobly finished, that there was enough for admira- boy, endeared to all in spite of his mischief, suction to rest upon, without analysing the whole. ceeded his grand-uncle, William, Lord Byron, in He conducted his readers through scenes of sur- his eleventh year; and the happy mother sold off passing beauty and splendour-by haunted streams her effects—which realised just £74, 175. 4d.and mountains, enriched with the glories of and left Aberdeen for Newstead Abbey. The ancient poetry and valour ; but the same dark seat of the Byrons was a large and ancient, but shadow was ever by his side-the same scorn and dilapidated structure, founded as a priory in the mockery of human hopes and ambition. The twelfth century by Henry II., and situated in the sententious force and elevation of his thoughts midst of the fertile and interesting district once and language, his eloquent expression of senti- known as Sherwood Forest. On the dissolution ment, and the mournful and solemn melody of his of the monasteries, it was conferred by Henry tender and pathetic passages, seemed, however, VIII. on Sir John Byron, steward of Manchester to do more than atone for his want of moral truth and Rochdale, who converted the venerable conand reality. The man and the poet were so vent into a castellated mansion. The family was intimately blended, and the spectacle presented ennobled by Charles I., in consequence of high by both was so touching, mysterious, and lofty, and honourable services rendered to the royal that Byron concentrated a degree of interest and cause during the Civil War. On succeeding to anxiety on his successive public appearances. the title, Byron was put to a private school at which no author ever before was able to boast. Dulwich, and from thence he was sent to Harrow. Scott had created the public taste for animated During his minority, the estate was let to another poetry, and Byron, taking advantage of it, soon party, but its youthful lord occasionally visited the engrossed the whole field. For a few years it seat of his ancestors; and whilst there in 1803, he seemed as if the world held only one great poet. conceived a passion for a young lady in the The chivalry of Scott, the philosophy of Words- neighbourhood, who, under her name of Mary worth, the abstract theory and imagination of Chaworth, has obtained a poetical immortality. Southey, and even the lyrical beauties of Moore So early as his eighth year, Byron fell in love with and Campbell, were for a time eclipsed by this a simple Scottish maiden, Mary Duff; and hearnew and greater light. The rank, youth, and mis- ing of her marriage, several years afterwards, was, fortunes of Byron, his exile from England, the he says, like a thunder-stroke to him. He had mystery which he loved to throw around his history also been captivated with a boyish love for his and feelings, the apparent depth of his sufferings cousin, Margaret Parker, one of the most beautiand attachments, and his very misanthropy and ful of evanescent beings,' who died about a year scepticism-relieved by bursts of tenderness and or two afterwards. He was fifteen when he met pity, and by the incidental expression of high and Mary Chaworth, and conceived an attachment holy feelings-formed a combination of personal which, young as he was even then for such a feelcircumstances in aid of the legitimate effects of ing, sunk so deep into his mind as to give a his passionate and graceful poetry, which is un- colour to all his future life. The father of the paralleled in the history of modern literature. lady had been killed in a duel by Lord Byron, the Such a result is even more wonderful than the eccentric grand-uncle of the poet, and the union laurelled honours awarded to Virgil and Petrarch, of the young peer with the heiress of Annesley if we consider the difference between ancient and Hall.would,' said Byron, ‘have healed feuds in
which blood had been shed by our fathers; it ures and excesses-studying by fits and starts would have joined lands broad and rich ; it would at midnight, to maintain the splendour of his have joined at least one heart, and two persons reputation. Satiety and disgust succeeded to this not ill-matched in years—she was two years my round of heartless pleasures, and in a better mood, elder--and-and-and-what has been the result?' though without any fixed attachment, he proposed Mary Chaworth saw little in the lame boy, and and was accepted in marriage by a northern became the betrothed of another. They had one heiress, Miss Milbanke, daughter of Sir Ralph parting interview in the following year, which, in Milbanke, a baronet in the county of Durham. his poem of the Dream, Byron has described in The union cast a shade on his hitherto bright the most exquisite colours of descriptive poetry.
A twelvemonth's extravagance, embar
rassments, and misunderstandings, dissolved the I saw two beings in the hues of youth
union, and the lady retired to the country seat of Standing upon a hill; a gentle hill,
her parents from the discord and perplexity of her Green and of mild declivity, the last
own home. She refused, like the wife of Milton, As 'twere the cape of a long ridge of such,
to return, and the world of England seemed to Save that there was no sea to lave its base But a most living landscape, and the wave
applaud her resolution. One child-afterwards Of woods and corn-fields, and the abodes of men
Countess of Lovelace—was the fruit of this unScattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke
happy marriage. Before the separation took place, Arising from such rustic roofs; the hill
Byron's muse, which had been lulled or deadened Was crowned with a peculiar diadem
by the comparative calm of domestic life, was Of trees, in circular array, so fixed,
stimulated to activity by his deepening misforNot by the sport of nature, but of man :
tunes, and he produced the Siege of Corinth These two, a maiden and a youth, were there and Parisina. Miserable, reckless, yet conscious Gazing—the one on all that was beneath,
his own newly-awakened strength, Byron left Fair as herself—but the boy gazed on her ; EnglandAnd both were young, and one was beautiful : And both were young-yet not alike in youth.
Once more upon the waters, yet once more !-As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge, The maid was on the eve of womanhood;
and visiting France and Brussels, pursued his The boy had fewer summers, but his heart
course along the Rhine to Geneva. Here, in six Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye
months, he had composed the third canto of There was but one beloved face on earth,
Childe Harold, and the Prisoner of Chillon. His And that was shining on him.
mental energy gathered force from the loneliness
of his situation, and his disgust with his native This boyish idolatry nursed the spirit of poetry country. The scenery of Switzerland and Italy in Byron's mind. He was recalled, however, next breathed its inspiration : Manfred and the from his day-dreams and disappointment, by his Lament of Tasso were produced in 1817. In the removal to Trinity College, Cambridge, in October following year, whilst residing chiefly at Venice, 1805. At Harrow he had been an idle irregular and making one memorable visit to Rome, he scholar, though he eagerly devoured all sorts of completed Childe Harold, and threw off his light learning excepting that which was prescribed for humorous poem of Beppo, the first-fruits of the him ; and at Cambridge he pursued the same more easy and genial manners of the continent on desultory course of study. In 1807 appeared his his excitable temperament. At Venice, and afterfirst volume of poetry, printed at Newark, under wards at Ravenna, Byron resided till 1821, writing the title of Hours of Idleness. There were indica- various works-Mazeppa, the first five cantos of tions of genius in the collection, but many errors Don Juan, and his dramas of Marino Faliero, of taste and judgment. The vulnerable points Sardanapalus, the Two Foscari, Werner, Cain, were fiercely assailed, the merits overlooked, in a the Deformed Transformed, &c. The year 1822 short critique in the Edinburgh Review-under- he passed chiefly at Pisa, continuing Don Juan, stood to be written by Lord Brougham-and the which ultimately extended to sixteen cantos. We young poet replied by his vigorous satire, English have not touched on his private history or indulgBards and Scotch Reviewers, which disarmed, if it ences. At Venice he plunged into the grossest did not discomfit, his opponent. While his excesses, and associated (says Shelley) with name was thus rising in renown, Byron left 'wretches who seemed almost to have lost the England for a course of foreign travel, and in two gait and physiognomy of man.' From this state years visited the classic shores of the Mediter- of debasement he was partly rescued by an attachranean, and resided some time in Greece and ment to a young Romagnese lady of twenty, Turkey. In the spring of 1812 appeared the first recently married to an old and wealthy nobleman, two cantos of Childe Harold, the fruit of his Count Guiccioli. The license of Italian manners foreign wanderings, and his splendidly enriched permitted the intercourse until the lady took the and matured poetical taste. 'I awoke one morn- bold step of deserting her husband. She was then ing,' he said, and found myself famous. A rapid thrown upon Byron, and they continued to live succession of eastern tales followed—the Giaour together until the poet departed for Greece. His and the Bride of Abydos in 1813; the Corsair and genius had begun to 'pale its fire :' his dramas Lara in 1814. In the Childe, he had shewn his were stiff, declamatory, and undramatic; and the mastery over the complicated Spenserian stanza : successive cantos of Don Juan betrayed the downin these he adopted the heroic couplet, and the ward course of the poet's habits. The wit and lighter verse of Scott, with equal freedom and knowledge of that wonderful poem-its passion, success. No poet had ever more command of the variety, and originality-were now debased with stores of the English language. At this auspicious inferior matter; and the world saw with rejoicing and exultant period, Byron was the idol of the gay the poet break away from his Circean enchantcircles of London. He indulged in all their pleas- ments, and enter upon a new and nobler field of