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When I recount thy worshippers of yore
But gaze beneath thy cloudy canopy
Though here no more Apollo haunts his grot, :: And thou, the Muses' seat, art now their grave!
Some gentle Spirit still pervades the spot,
Sighs in the gale, keeps silence in the cave,
The author then finds his way back to his subject; and gives us an animated picture of the loose and wanton gayeties of Cadiz, and the divertisements of her Sabbath, as contrasted with the sober enjoyments of a London Sunday. This introduces a very long and minute description of a bull-fight, which is exe cuted, however, with great spirit and dignity; and then there
is a short return upon Childe Harold's gloom and misery, which - he explains in a few energetic stanzas addressed « To Inez.'
They exemplify that strength of writing and power of versification with which we were so much struck in some of Mr Crabbe's smaller pieces, and seem to us to give a very true and touching view of the misery that frequently arises in a soul surfeited with enjoyment.
• Nay, smile not at my sullen brow, ,
Alas! I cannot smile again;
Should’st weep, and haply weep in vain.
Nor low ambition's honours lost,
“And fly from all I priz'd the most.
From all I meet, or hear, or see :
Thine eyes have scarce a charm for me.
The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore;
But cannot hope for rest before.' p. 50-52. There are more of those verses; but we cannot now make ' room for them. The canto ends with a view of the atrocities
of the French; the determined valour of the Spanish peasan* try; and some reflections on the extraordinary condition of that people,
• Where all are noble, save Nobility;
They · They fight for freedom who were never free;
A kingless people for a nerveless state,
True to the veriest slaves of Treachery.' The second canto conducts us to Greece and Albania ; and opens with a solemn address to Athens--which leads again to those gloomy and uncomfortable thoughts which seem but too familiar to the mind of the author. • Ancient of days ! august Athena! where, Where are thy men of might ? thy grand in soul ? Gone---glimmering through the dream of things that were. First in the race that led to glory's goal, They won, and pass'd away---is this the whole ? A school-boy's tale, the wonder of an hour ! Son of the morning, rise ! approach you here ! Come---but molest not yon defenceless urn: Look on this spot---a nation's sepulchre ! Abode of gods, whose shrines no longer burn, Even gods must yield---religions take their turn : "Twas Jove's---'tis Mahomet's---and other creeds Will rise with other years, till man shall learn
Vainly his incense soars, his victim bleeds ; .
Bound to the earth, he lifts his eye to heaven---
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe ? ? &c. p. 62-63. The same train of contemplation is pursued through several stanzas : one of which consists of the following moralization on a skull which he gathers from the ruins--and appears to us to be written with great force and originality.
• Look on its broken arch, its ruin'd wall, .'
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul : :
Can all, saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
There is then a most furious and unmeasured invective on Lord Elgin, for his spoliation of the fallen city; and when this is exhausted, we are called upon to accompany Harold in his
voyage along the shores of Greece. His getting under way is described with great truth and spirit. You
• He that has sail'd upon the dark blue sea, is write
Has view'd at times, I ween, a full fair sight;
The white sail set, the gallant frigate tight;
The dullest sailer wearing bravely now, So gaily curl the waves before each dashing prow.' p. 69. The quiet of the still and lonely night, however, draws the author back again to his gloomy meditations. There is great power, we think, and great bitterness of soul, in the following stanzas.
! To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell, is
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene, vil DAT
Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued : leord
! But when he saw the evening star above t he Soul
Leucadia’s far-projecting rock of woe, low on SAT
Morn dawns: and with it stern Albania's hills
Rob'd half in mist, bedew'd 'with snowy rills,
Birds, beasts of prey, and wilder men appear, And gathering storms around convulse the closing year;' p. 81. This is powerful description ;-and so is a great deal of what follows, as to the aspect of the Turkish cities, the costume of their warriors, and the characters and occupations of their women. But we must draw to a close with our extracts; and we prefer the commemoration of classic glories. After a solemn and touching exposition of the degraded and hopeless state of modern Greece, Lord Byron proceeds
- Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild,
Still in his beam Mendeli’s marbles glare:
No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould;
'p. 104, 105. The poem closes with a few pathetic stanzas to the memory of a beloved object, who appears to have died during the author's wanderings among the Grecian cities.
The extracts we have now made, will enable our readers to judge of this poem for themselves ; nor have, we much to add to the general remarks which we took the liberty of offering at the beginning. Its chief fault is the want of story, or object ; and the dark, and yet not tender spirit which breathes through almost every part of it. The general strain of the composition, we have already said, appears to us remarkably good; but it is often very diffuse, and not unfrequently tame and prosaic. We can scarcely conceive any thing more mean and flat, for instance, than this encomium on the landscapes of Illyria,
" Yet in fam'd Attica such lovely dales ,
Are rarely seen ; nor can fair. Tempe boast
Though classic ground and consecrated most, To match some spots that lurk within this lowering coast.' p. 83. Though even this is more tolerable to our taste than such a line as the following! • Death rides upon the sulphury Siroc ;'. and several others that might be collected with no great trouble. The work, in short, bears considerable marks of haste and carelessness; and is rather a proof of the author's powers, than an example of their successful exertion. It shows the compass of his instrument, and the power of his hand; though we cannot say that we are very much delighted either with the air he has chosen, or the style in which it is executed. The Notes are written in a flippant, lively, tranchant and assuming style neither very deep nor very witty; though rather entertaining, and containing some curious information as to the character and qualifications of the modern Greeks; of whom, as well as of the Portuguese, Lord Byron seems inclined to speak much more favourably in prose than in verse.
The smaller pieces that conclude the volume, are in general spirited and well versified. The three last, which are all a kind of elegies in honour of the same lady whose loss is deplored in the concluding stanzas of the Pilgrimage, are decidedly the best ; and appear to us to be written with great beauty and feeling, though not in the most difficult style of composition. The reader may take the following specimens. .. • One struggle more, and I am free
From pangs that rend my heart in twain ; .,!. .
With things that never pleas'd before :
What future grief can touch me more?,
The smile that sorrow fain would wear
Dispel awhile the sense of ill; ? .
The heart----the heart is lonely still !
When love and life alike were new! i
How ting'd by time with sorow's hue !