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sketches of Gibbon and Voltaire, who had Conceive in boyhood and pursue as menlong lived within sight of that beautiful
The unreached Paradise of our despair, scenery, come like a cloud over the mind
Which o'er-informs the pencil and the pen,
And which had just been reveling in the laugh
overpowers the page, where they should
bloom again ?” ing sunshine of a Swiss landscape. Ap
C. IV., st. 122. plied to graver scenes, the same matchless power nearly rivals the merit of invention,
The quiet and gentle caveat of Schiller, and when by the lake of Thrasymene (C. in the "Lay of the Bell,” may excite a IV., VV. 62, 63, 64) he recalls the strife sigh and a smile in those who have expethat made Rome to reel on her seven-hilled rienced its truth, and is perhaps more throne, and strove with inexorable fate to suited to the sobriety of the disenchanted, reverse her stern decree, the ancient battle who alone are likely to appreciate it: comes before us as by a lightning-flash darted into the abysses of the past, as the
"Ach! des Lebens schönste Feier soldiers of Carthage and of Rome pass be
Endigt auch des Lebens Maifore us in their deadly struggle.
Mit dem Gurtel, mit dem Schleier,
Reisst der schöne wahn entzwei." Nothing can be more exquisite than the
Das Lied von der Glocke. various harmony of the stanzas from 86 to 104 of canto III.: in these every variety The strong sensual impulses of Lord of emotion and of feeling is characterized ; Byron's character communicated to much of admiration, reverence, love, awe; and of his poetry its vivid charm. Tasso has in the apostrophe to “Clarens, sweet somewhere said : Clarens," that passion which he felt with so much of its earthly alloy is exalted to
“ Poi dietro a sensi a refinement almost unearthly, and to a
Vedi, che la Ragione ha corte l'ali." dignity which truly belongs to it, as in its purity the least selfish of human desires.
And, certainly, the poets and orators Was there ever a tribute to the Divini- who most strongly rivet attention, are ty of Love so exquisite as that contained those in whom intellectual and animal viin stanza 100 of canto III. ?
gor concur. The illustration of the ab
stract by the concrete is an essential ele“ O'er the flower
ment both of poetry and oratory; but His eye is sparkling, and his breath hath the choice of illustrations will depend blown
upon something besides the intellectual His soft and summer breath, whose tender nature of the man. The similes which power
abound in Homer are indicative of a Passes the strength of storms in their most martial or combative disposition, and a desolate hour.”
propensity to observe the grander or Such language may fairly excite a raptur- rush of waters, or the destructive rage of
more striking phenomena of nature—the ous admiration, resembling that which he professes, and only professes to have felt, fire; while the illustrations of the droopwhen beholding the marble loveliness of ing poppy, and the uprooted olive, show the Medicean Venus.
that neither grace nor tenderness were But in a different mood, and with feel- wanting to deck the creations of that imings disappointed or blunted, he atter perial genius. Milton's numerous similes, wards recurs to this, the dream of youth, too, are in harmony with his austere and and the disenchantment of maturity; and somewhat harsh character, sometimes as a warning against the indulgence of little heedful of beauty or grace. Lord that passionate and eager credulity, what Byron's very numerous comparisons, all homily or maxim likely to prove so effect- admirable, and often under the form of a ive as the wild strains of the poet of the prosopopeia, are indicative of the warm passion :
imagination which clothed inanimate
shapes with the breathing realities of life; “Of its own beauty is the mind diseased for example, where the Medicean Venus And fevers into false creation ; where, is described, in stanza 48, canto 4: Where are the charms the sculptor's soul has seized ?
“Here, too, the goddess loves in stone, and fills In him alone, could nature show as fair. The air around with beauty ; we inhale Where are the charms and virtues which we The ambrosial aspect, which beheld, instills dare
Part of its immortality.”
The comparison is here delicately insin- through “Childe Harold” are forcible uated rather than stated, and the fra- and just, giving nerve and vigor to the grance of flowers, addressed to another more subjective portions of the poem. sense, suggested as an illustration of the That of Napoleon particularly is probably effect produced by this matchless statue as true and comprehensive as will ever be on that of sight. Again, in stanza 28 of made, even if his life shall ever be written the same canto, another simile as exquisite, as it should be. That of Gibbon is excelas refined, and as eminently sensual, oc- lent and characteristic; and the tributes curs :
to Italian genius in Galileo, Dante, Ariosto, “ Gently flows
and Tasso, are graceful and truthful. It The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instill is not easy, however, to understand Lord Which streams upon the stream, and glassed Byron's sympathy with Tasso, though he within it glows."
is truer to history in his estimate of the
Duke of Ferrara than the more politic or One sense is here, too, brought in to more charitable Goethe, who, in gratitude implement another, and the colors that for his favorable experience of ducal glow in the clouds of an Italian sunset are courts, flung the mantle of his genius over presented in twofold reality, before the one to whom history and Lord Byron may reader by a ready, familiar, and charming have been somewhat unjust ; for Tasso object of comparison. In stanza 94 of the was through life too conscious of his third canto another illustration
genius, and too sensitive of wrongs or
occurs, marked by the same vigorous traits, and slight, lacking that mental robustness admirably in harmony with the object to which has characterized the greatest of be illustrated.
our species. He who is conscious of that But in that wonderful stanza, the 87th within which can court the Rhadamanof the third canto, which conveys to the thine justice of posterity, should surely, mind by description all and more than all in calm self-reliance, disdain to conciliate our own senses could do, we have a simile the pity, or solicit the tardy suffrages of as exquisite as it is difficult :
cotemporaries. Byron himself, perhaps,
indulged something too much in similar “ The star-lit dews
complaints, which could but serve to graAll silently their tears of love instill,
tify the malice of enemies, or provoke the Weeping themselves away, till they infuse contempt of fools; yet no one better than Deep into nature's breast the spirit of their he has stigmatized this weak egotism of hues."
suffering: The simile is so subtle, as for a moment
“Each has his wrong, but feeble sufferers to elude perception; like the odor of vio
groan lets or sweet-briar, it is too exquisite to be
With brain-born dreams of evil, all their fixed.
own.” But the finest comparison in “Childe
-Childe Harold. Harold,” perhaps the most perfect in the world of poetry, occurs in stanza 72 of
And in the “Prophecy of Dante,” he the fourth canto, where the perpetual has with much skill and truth to the narainbow that spans the flashing waters of ture of him whose verse he imitates, Terni, is compared to love watching mad- launched severe and prophetic strains on ness :
the part of one whose history had some “ But on the verge,
points of resemblance with his own. The From side to side, beneath the glittering moon, denunciation of the ingratitude of Florence An Iris sits amidst the infernal surge,
to its greatest bard, harshly driven into Like Hope upon a death-bed—and unworn exile, was not the less sincere that the unIts steady dyes, while all around is torn
grateful capital which had witnessed his By the distracted waters, bears serene Its brilliant hues with all its beams unshorn,
own literary triumphs, and the land that Resembling 'mid the torture of the scene,
should have been proud of his birth, were Love watching madness, with unalterable perhaps indicated in their southern protomien.”
There was a great resemblance, too, in This simile is in itself immortal; instinct their domestic infelicities; and if Boccaccio with unfading, deathless beauty.
more than hinted that poets would do The character sketches scattered well to abstain from matrimony, past
question, the wives of some of the most omnipotence of Olympus : but the fable is eminent had reason to regret that they too transparent to be of deep or permahad not practically contributed to the nent poetic interest ; for Truth is as much maintenance of Boccaccio's opinion. the essence of the highest Poetry, as of
Lord Byron speaks for Dante as the Science itself. latter might well have spoken in his own Primitive human nature invented a god person, had he written in a language less in its own likeness, knowing no better or Hexible than his own. In spite of the ob- higher model-a jealous and a brutal god, scurity, even the occasional bizarrerie of who used his omnipotence as the worst his great poem, and the minute historical Cæsar afterwards used his scepter, and by knowledge requisite for its right appreci- immolating on its altar a victim nobler ation, Dante has exerted even an exoteric than the god, justified itself in irreverence. influence, which attests the grandeur of But we, wiser than our fathers, may rehis intellect. We know that Goethe cognize a Prometheus who triumphs not speaks of him with reverence, calling him vainly in defying a tyrannical omnipo
Nature;" and the high prophetic po- tence, or in proclaiming the sufferings etic spirit which pervades the “Divine which baffled desire of power or of knowComedy,” more even than this magnificent ledge, must inflict -a Prometheus not eulogium, might justify his addition as a equaling himself with God, and raging in fourth to the grand trio, which has alone his baffled impotentiality, but a mightier obtained the difficult suffrage of German Titan, who, if he has not succeeded in the criticism.
autogenic creation of man, has yet brought As there have been actors who have down fire from heaven unrebuked, and only wanted a stage, so there must have who has wrung from matter its eternal been
many, before the invention and dif- secrets; and has made the modern man fusion of printing, who wanted a theme more potent than the gods of the ancient or an opportunity to claim such share of Olympus; who has taught him to defy immortality as may fall to the lot of hu- the tempest, to curb and direct the lightmanity, and like the mass of common men, ning, to eradicate the most fatal and demust be content to be as though they had solating disease, to call from their dark never been; a tribute to such unknown homes the genii of the lamp of knowledge, potentialities, comes with peculiar grace as patient and docile slaves of that Reason from one who had early achieved a bril- which has taught him that through obeliant reputation
dience, and not defiance, lies the road to
power. “Many are poets who have never penned The elder Prometheus was a true but
Their inspiration, and perchance the best, unintended symbol of antique human reaThey felt
, and loved, and died, but would not son striving to obtain knowledge in its
lend Their thoughts to meaner beings; they activity, 'while all around lay, awaiting
own way, by questioning itself with barren compressed The god within them, and rejoined the stars
the efforts of the modern Titan, those Unlaureled upon earth.”
great but unsuspected secrets which have -Prophecy of Dante, C. 4, been the magnificent reward of a wiser
desire for Truth. There is a thoughtful melancholy wis- The exquisite music of the “Hebrew dom pervading the four cantos of the Melodies," and the half-reverential, half“ Prophecy,” which, like passages of a sensual tone which pervades them, are as similar character in “ Childe Harold,” are favorable and beautiful an example of in favorable contrast with the careless Lord Byron's powers as the finest paslevity which pervades the “ Vision of sages in “ Childe Harold;" even as in Judgment,” and the polemical portions of them, the objective and subjective ele“Don Juan."
ments of poetry blend in perfect harmony, The idea of Prometheus attracted By- and leave an impress on the mind and on ron, as it had done Æschylus, Goethe, and the feelings which abstract, or merely cold Shelley-and if the wrongs, the woes, the representations of tenderness or reverence wrath and defiance of the Titan were to but feebly imitate. be set forth in verse, none better than he If it is the whole scope and aim of the could have arrayed these emotions in drama, as surely it must be, to hold the words, more fitted to brave the sensual“ mirror up to Nature,” then it is useless to criticise Lord Byron's dramatic works, ism and resolution, that defiance of pain, as such; of female tenderness, self-denial, danger, and hardest of all, disgrace, which and heroism, there are many examples in we know women can exhibit better than his dramas; they are the heroines of his ourselves, because impelled thereto by a earlier poetical tales, with a little more of more disinterested affection, or a purer the detail and amplification required by a love, do not constitute the natural or different form of writing; the female ele- principal features of the sex, and as ment in our living world is like air and broader and more striking traits, less difwater in the natural world, indispensable ficult to delineate, than the gentle, graceand all-pervading, but best calm and tran-ful, and useful qualities which they posquil, ministering to the daily requirements sess for our advantage. of our lives, not often rising into passion to the male actors the same remarks and vehemence; by so much the more as apply; there is much of what is poetical it possesses these latter characteristics, by in the sentiments they utter, little of what so much the less is it feminine, or entitled is natural or tangible in their characters; to the privileges of the sex; so that hero- they are voices more than entities.
DRY STICKS FA GOT E D.
HOOKS AND EYES.
VIRTUE AND VICE.
SONE four years ago,
when we reviewed | by him but for the fact that some of them “The Last Fruit off an Old Tree,” by got into other hands, and may have apWalter Savage Landor, we termed the peared in other guise. The old radical work “latest, but not concluding” We turns conservative in this instance, and knew then, as we know now, that the bars the chance of any innovation. He tough old poet will die in harness; that so takes "precaution against subtraction, or, long as his eloquent tongue can speak it what is worse, addition.” The volume is will denounce tyrants of every creed and mainly noticeable for its epigrammatic country, and as long as his hand can grasp force, such as a pen, it will grasp it as the heroic soldier grasps a sword, keeping the honor of his name and country stainless. This fanciful
Fair spinsters! be ye timely wise, title, Dry Sticks Fagoted, serves to
Where men bring hooks do you bring eyes ! waken our delight that there have been more sticks left for binding, or, to speak Or: more commercially, that there have been more Landoric ideas for the printer to set Virtue and Vice look much the same; in visible forms. In his two latest works If Truth is naked, so is Shame. Mr. Landor has represented himself under the figure of a tree, as Swift did, but, unlike Swift, it is gratifying to see that the old political fierceness, and so far as
Some of the political hits have much of he does not die first at the top
The intellect is still critical, the imagination still In this case Time seems fairly matched,
we see, all the
keen edge of former satire. vivid, as the Idyl of “Europa and her and he does not carry on his lean shoulMother” plainly shows, and the political der a sharper scythe than Walter Savage bias scarcely suppressed by the weight of Landor. The difference lies in this, that years. If we omit the Idyl we have just Time mows down alike the oppressed and mentioned, and “ Achilles and Hellena on the oppressor, whereas Walter Savage Ida,” there is nothing in this volume of a Landor keeps his weapon bright and keen high cast. Mr. Landor admits that none to do battle on the side of weakness only. of the poems would have been collected May this aged poet, brave of heart and
tough of brain, live yet longer to bind * . Dry Sticks Fagoted. By WALTER SAVAGE the sake of old memories, are cheering to
other“ dry sticks.” Such fagots, even for LANDOR. Edinburgh: Nichol. London: and Co.
the domestic hearth.-Critic.
Lady travelers are enterprising and the guards thrown around her delicacy expert - sometimes ambitious too. Un by the general opinion of an age of ripe like her sister of the East, so tender civilization. We may be called oldand delicate” that she will “not adven- fashioned, yet we will venture to say, that ture to set the sole of foot upon the it would not give us unmixed pleasure to ground for delicateness and tenderness ;| meet one of our fair countrywomen sitour Western woman is trained to tread in ting à la Zouave on a mountain pony, man's footsteps the world over. Making with her “tresses unconfined, wooed by up by spirit and elasticity what she lacks each” Norwegian “ wind.” in hardihood and strength, she braves Doubtless there are occasions when, for peril and endures fatigue. She has even a great object, a sacrifice should be made. ventured among the floating ice-islands of Conventional proprieties must not be a the Arctic Ocean, and found foothold on bar to a work of mercy which woman the hard, slippery, glistening side of Mont only can do. Florence Nightingale did Blanc. It is man's business to pioneer, well when, undeterred by thoughtless and his glory; c'est le premier pas qui laugh, or witty word, or the whispered coûte ; but, the first step taken, with doubt of her sympathizing yet timid felaspiring aim and ready imitative faculty, low-countrywomen, she crossed the threshwoman enters the open door, and pursues old of a lady-like retirement, and bore the newly-tracked path. So has she been the gaze of the world. And so with that man's follower and rival in the various other who, (if the story tells truly,) in a branches of literature, science, and art; ruder and less scrupulous age, conquered with what occasional success is attested her shrinking woman's modesty by her by such names, among many others, as strong woman's compassion, and bowed to those of Elizabeth Smith, and Elizabeth a cruel and shameless behest. Barrett Browning, Mary Somerville and
“ Then she rode forth, clothed on with chastity : Rosa Bonheur. Even where she has
She took the tax away, failed, her very efforts seem to bint that
And built herself an everlasting name.” there may be a good time coming-a time that neither skill nor strife of hers And the principle which we apply to can hasten—when enfranchised woman, great occasions, may serve us also in the with larger powers and larger scope for lesser concerns of daily occurrence. When their development, shall be the more a woman's motive in breaking through equal associate of him whom she has been ordinary restraint is the good of others, schooled to regard as her ruler and guide we either approve or excuse; but where it ever since in Eden she pressed be- is clear that there is no self-sacrifice in the fore him into sin. Be that as it may, case, where we believe her to be promptwhile on this earth, and in the body, she ed by a love of pleasure, or a desire for must fill a secondary place, and do a dif- notoriety, we neither praise nor pardon : ferent kind of work. It is her interest we condemn. Thus, on taking up the and happiness to be content with this books at the head of this article, we conposition. Woman loses something in fess to more immediate sympathy with dignity and grace when she breaks down the Frenchwoman who traveled under
her husband's escort, than with the * Unprotected Females in Norway; or, The English woman who, voting men useless on pleasantest Way of travelling there
, passing through a journey, set forth unattended by father, Denmark and Sweden. With Scandinavian Sketches husband, brother, or servant. And our from Nature. London: G. Routledge & Co. 1857. Voyage d'une Femme
feeling gathers strength as we proceed.
au Spitzberg. Par MADAME LÉONIE D'AUNET. Paris : Librairie de L.
The “Unprotected”-she, we mean, who Hachette et Cie. Deuxième Edition. 1855.
writes the book, for the other lady ap