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transpired. During the succeeding years he resided chiefly in Italy, and published in rapid succession a great number of poems, most of which indicated a progressive power and a progressive taste, except where the latter was corrupted by moral weakness.
In 1823 Lord Byron formed the generous resolution of joining the struggle of Greece for independence; and to this cause he devoted strenuous efforts for the remainder of his life. Besides assisting the Greeks with large sums of money, he joined them in arms at Missolonghi; before, however, he had time to do more than display extraordinary talents of a political and administrative order, he caught a fever produced by the exhalations from the marshes, and died on the 19th of April 1824, in the thirty-seventh year of his age. He was buried in the family vault at Hucknall, near Newstead Abbey.
Lord Byron's poetry is of the oratorical rather than of the purely poetic character. It is deficient in spirituality, sincerity, and refinement; and though often highly intellectual, there is so little of truth or wisdom in his thoughts,—which, indeed, aim but at brilliancy and effect,—that it has in this respect no high value. It has been praised for its passionateness; but in the serious depths of true passion it is as deficient as in pathos and tenderness; and it is to its fiery eloquence, and the rhetorical energy of its style, that it chiefly owes its impressiveness. In this respect Lord Byron resembles Rousseau, as in wit he resembles Voltaire; nor is it a little remarkable that in a single English poet, and one who died at such an early age, the characteristics of the two most noted French writers of the last century-men utterly opposed to each other in the character of their genius-should have been united. Another singular combination in Lord Byron, as a poet, is that of the man of romance and the man of the world; for by nothing except its rhetori. cal emphasis and melodramatic contrasts is his poetry more marked than by a keen shrewdness, and that knowledge of the world which too often passes for knowledge of man. In the latter species of knowledge Byron is far surpassed by several among his compeers in poetry whom he considered but visionaries; but who, whether they used the gift little or much, exerted, on occasion, a genuine insight into the human heart as well as into outward nature. The turgid and inflated style of his earlier compositions he had soon the tact to exchange for one lighter, stronger, and more natural: but in the spirit of his poetry his later works rather fell off than advanced ; and the cynicism which he threw into them, and which probably should be regarded as, in part, an affectation, is a quality as much at variance with poetry as with wisdom and virtue. That Lord Byron's poetry abounds in manifold ability is as undeniable as that its attractions are of a superficial and dangerous character. So eminently, indeed, was he a man of various and versatile abilities, that he would easily have succeeded in most pursuits, whether practical or liter. ary, to which he had devoted himself; and he himself doubted whether poetry was his proper calling. His great popularity proceeded in part from the degree in which a poetry at once sensual and intellectual provided those stimulants needed by an age less poetical than craving imaginative excitement. It was increased doubtless by the boldness with which his poetry occasionally braved public opi. nion, as well as by the tact with which it habitually flattered popular taste. That popularity stimulated him, however, to a rapidity of composition inconsistent with the production of such poetry as comes from the depths of the poet's being, and abides the test of time. In estimating Lord Byron's character, whether literary or personal, if it be a duty to denounce the evil that lurks under a fair disguise, it is no less a matter of justice to make allowance for his youth, for the defects of his education, and for the adulation with which the world spoilt its favourite. As much in him which passed for original genius was but that imitation which belongs to imaginative sympathy, so his faults were in a large measure but those of the circle in which he moved. Profligacy and scepticism destroyed the intrinsic value of his poetry; and an engrossing self-love narrowed the range, while it corrupted the quality, of his genius: but he was not without generous impulses and high aspirations, which lacked for their due growth a nobler soil than that of luxury and early fame.
[From Don Juan.) It stood embosom'd in a happy valley
Crown'd by high woodlands, where the Druid oak Stood, like Caractacus in act to rally
His host, with broad arms 'gainst the thunder-stroke; And from beneath his boughs were seen to sally
The dappled foresters—as day awoke,
Broad as transparent, deep, and freshly fed
In currents through the calmer water spread
And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed ;
Sparkling with foam until, again subsiding,
Quiet-sank into softer ripples, gliding Into a rivulet; and thus allay'd,
Pursued its course, now gleaming, and now hiding
Its windings through the woods : now clear, now blue, According as the skies their shadows threw.
A glorious remnant of the gothic pile
(While yet the church was Rome's) stood half-apart In a grand arch, which once screen'd many an aisle :
These last had disappear'd—a loss to art; The first yet frown'd superbly o’er the soil,
And kindled feelings in the roughest heart, Which mourn'd the power of time's or tempest’s march, In gazing on that venerable arch. Within a niche, nigh to its pinnacle,
Twelve saints had once stood sanctified in stone : But these had fallen, not when the friars fell,
But in the war which struck Charles from the throne, When each house was a fortalice-as tell
The annals of full many a line undone, The gallant cavaliers, who fought in vain For those who knew not to resign or reign.
A mighty window, hollow in the centre,
Shorn of its glass of thousand colourings, Through which the deepen'd glories once could enter,
Streaming from off the sun like seraph's wings, Now yawns all desolate : now loud, now fainter,
The gale sweeps through its fretwork, and oft sings The owl his anthem, where the silenced quire Lie with their hallelujahs quench'd like fire.
But in the noontide of the moon, and when
The wind is winged from one point of heaven,
Is musical-a dying accent driven
Some deem it but the distant echo given
Shaped by decay perchance, hath given the power (Though less than that of Memnon's statue, warm
In Egypt's rays, to harp at a fix'd hour) To this gray ruin, with a voice to charm,
Sad, but serene, it sweeps o'er tree or tower :
The cause I know not, nor can solve ; but such
Symmetrical, but deck'd with carvings quaint-
And here perhaps a monster, there a saint:
And sparkled into basins, where it spent
THE ISLES OF GREECE.
[From the same.]
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Their place of birth alone is mute
And Marathon looks on the sea;
I dream'd that Greece might still be free ;
Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
And men in nations ;-all were his;
My country? On thy voiceless shore
The heroic bosom beats no more !
And must thy lyre, so long divine,
'Tis something in the dearth of fame,
Though link'd among a fetter'd race,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face ;
Must we but weep o'er days more blest ?
Must we but blush ? Our fathers bled. Earth, render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead ! Of the three hundred grant but three, To make a new Thermopylæ !
What, silent still ? And silent all ?
Ah! no ;-the voices of the dead Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
And answer, “Let one living head, But one arise,—we come, we come !" 'Tis but the living who are dumb.
In vain, in vain : strike other chords ;
Fill high the cup with Samian wine ! Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
And shed the blood of Scio's vine! Hark! rising to the ignoble call, How answers each bold bacchanal !
You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet;
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone ? Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one ? You have the letters Cadmus gaveThink ye he meant them for a slave ?
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
We will not think of themes like these ! It made Anacreon's song divine;
He served—but served Polycrates,