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This is true keeping-an Eastern picture perfect in its foreground, and distance, and sky, and no part of which is so dwelt upon or laboured as to obscure the principal figure. It is often in the slight and almost imperceptible touches that the hand of the master is shewn, and that a single spark, struck from his fancy, lightens with a long train of illumination that of the reader.

It is another remarkable property of the poetry of Lord Byron, that although his manner is frequently varied-although he appears to have assumed for an occasion the characteristic stanza and style of several contemporaries, yet not only is his poetry marked in every instance by the strongest cast of originality, but in some leading particulars, and especially in the character of his heroes, each story so closely resembled the other, that managed by a writer of less power, the effect would have been an unpleasing monotony.》| All, or almost all, his heroes, have somewhat the attributes of Childe Harold :-all, or almost all, have minds which seem at variance with their fortunes, and exhibit high and poignant feelings of pain and pleasure; a keen sense of what is noble and honourable, and an equally keen susceptibility of injustice or injury, under the garb of stoicism or contempt of mankind. The strength of early passion, and the glow of youthful feeling, are uniformly painted as chilled or subdued by a train of early imprudences or of darker guilt, and the sense of enjoyment tarnished, by too intimate and experienced an acquaintance with the vanity of human wishes. These general attributes mark the stern features of all Lord Byron's heroes, from those which are shaded by the scalloped hat of the illustrious Pilgrim, to those which lurk under the turban of Alp, the Renegade. The public, ever anxious in curiosity or malignity to attach to fictitious characters real prototypes, were obstinate in declaring that in these leading traits of character Lord Byron copied from the individual features reflected in his own mirror. On this subject the noble author entered, on one occasion, a formal protest, though, it will be observed, without entirely disavowing the ground on which the conjecture was formed.

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With regard to my story, and stories in general, I should have been glad to have rendered my personages more perfect and amiable, if possible, inasmuch as I have been sometimes criticised, and considered no less responsible for their deeds and qualities than if all had been personal. Be it so if I have deviated into the gloomy vanity of "drawing from self," the pictures are probably like, since they are unfavourable; and if not, those who know me are undeceived, and those who do not, I have little interest in undeceiving. I have no particular desire that any but my acquaintance should think the author better than the beings of his imagining; but I cannot help a little surprize, and perhaps amusement, at some odd critical exceptions in the present instance, when I see several bards, (far more deserving, I allow,) in very reputable

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plight,

plight, and quite exempt from all participation in the faults of those heros, who, nevertheless, might be found with little more morality than "The Giaour," and perhaps—but no-I must admit Childe Harold to be a very repulsive personage; and as to his identity, those who like it must give him whatever "alias" they please.'

It is difficult to say whether we are to receive this passage as an admission or a denial of the opinion to which it refers: but Lord Byrou certainly did the public injustice, if he supposed it imputed to him the criminal actions with which many of his heroes were stained. Men no more expected to meet in Lord Byron the Corsair, who knew himself a villain,' than they looked for the hypocrisy of Kehama on the shores of the Derwent Water, or the profligacy of Marmion on the banks of the Tweed: yet even in the features of Conrad, those who have looked on Lord Byron will recognise some likeness.

to the sight

No giant frame sets forth his common height;
Yet, in the whole, who paused to look again,
Saw more than marks the crowd of vulgar men ;
They gaze and marvel how-and still confess
That thus it is, but why they cannot guess.
Sun-burnt his cheek, his forehead high and pale
The sable curls in wild profusion veil;
And oft perforce his rising lip reveals
The haughtier thought it curbs, but scarce conceals.
Though smooth his voice, and calm his general mien,
Still seems there something he would not have seen :
His features' deepening lines and varying hue
At times attracted, yet perplexed the view.'

The Corsair, p. 11. And the ascetic regimen which the noble author himself observed, was no less marked in the description of Conrad's fare.

'Ne'er for his lip the purpling cup they fill,
That goblet passes him untasted still-
And for his fare-the rudest of his crew

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Would that, in turn, have passed untasted too;

Earth's coarsest bread, the garden's homeliest roots,

And scarce the summer luxury of fruits,

His short repast in humbleness supply'

With all a hermit's board would scarce deny.'-Id. p. 4.

The following description of Lara suddenly and unexpectedly returned from distant travels, and reassuming his station in the society of his own country, has in like manner strong points of resemblance to the part which the author himself seemed occasionally to bear amid the scenes where the great mingle with the fair. 'tis quickly seen Whate'er he be, 'twas not what he had been;

That

That brow in furrow'd lines had fix'd at last,
And spake of passions, but of passions past;
The pride, but not the fire, of early days,
Coldness of mien, and carelessness of praise;
A high demeanour, and a glance that took
Their thoughts from others by a single look;
And that sarcastic levity of tongue,

The stinging of a heart the world hath stung,
That darts in seeming playfulness around,
And makes those feel that will not own the wound;
All these seem'd his, and something more beneath
That glance could well reveal, or accent breathe:
Ambition, glory, love, the common aim

That some can conquer, and that all would claim,
Within his breast appear'd no more to strive,
Yet seem'd as lately they had been alive;
And some deep feeling it were vain to trace

At moments lighten'd o'er his livid face.'-Lara, pp. 6, 7. .

We are not writing Lord Byron's private history, though from the connection already stated between his poetry and his character, we feel ourselves forced upon considering his literary life, his deportment, and even his personal appearance. But we know enough even of his private story to give our warrant that, though his youth may have shared somewhat too largely in the indiscretions of those left too early masters of their own actions and fortunes, falsehood and malice alone can impute to him any real cause for hopeless remorse or gloomy misanthropy. To what, then, are we to ascribe the singular peculiarity which induced an author of such talent, and so well skilled in tracing the darker impressions which guilt and remorse leave on the human character, so frequently to affix features peculiar to himself to the robbers and and corsairs which he sketched with a pencil as forcible as that of Salvator?-More than one answer may be returned to this question; nor do we pretend to say which is best warranted by the facts. The practice may arise. from a temperament which radical and constitutional melancholy has, as in the case of Hamlet, predisposed to identify its owner with scenes of that deep and arouzing interest which arises from the stings of conscience contending with the stubborn energy of pride, and delighting to be placed in supposed situations of guilt and danger, as some men love instinctively to tread the giddy edge of a precipice, or, holding by some frail twig, to stoop forward over the abyss into which the dark torrent discharges itself. Or it may be that these disguises were assumed capriciously as a man might chuse the cloak, poniard, and dark-lantern of a bravo, for his disguise at a masquerade. Or feeling his own powers in painting the sombre and the horrible, Lord Byron assumed in his

fervour

fervour the very semblance of the characters he describes, like an actor who presents on the stage at once his own person and the tragic character with which for the time he is invested. Nor is it altogether incompatible with his character to believe that, in contempt of the criticisms which on this account had attended Childe Harold, he was determined to shew to the public how little he was affected by them, and how effectually it was in his power to compel attention and respect, even when imparting a portion of his own likeness and his own peculiarities to pirates, and outlaws.

But although we do not pretend to ascertain the motive on which Lord Byron acted in bringing the peculiarities of his own sentiments and feeling so frequently before his readers, it is with no little admiration that we regard these extraordinary powers, which, amidst this seeming uniformity, could continue to rivet the public attention, and secure general and continued applause. The versatility of authors who have been able to draw and support characters as different from each other as from their own, has given to their productions the inexpressible charm of variety, and has often secured them against that neglect which in general attends what is technically called mannerism. But it was reserved to Lord Byron to present the same character on the public stage again and again, varied only by the exertions of that powerful genius, which searching the springs of passion and of feeling in their innermost recesses, knew how to combine their operations, so that the interest was eternally varying, and never abated, although the most important personage of the drama retained the same lineaments. It will one day be considered as not the least remarkable literary phenomenon of this age, that during a period of four years, notwithstanding the quantity of distinguished poetical talent of which we may be permitted to boast, a single author, and he managing his pen with the careless and negligent ease of a man of quality, and chusing for his theme subjects so very similar, and personages bearing so close a resemblance to each other, did, in despite of these circumstances, of the unamiable attributes with which he usually invested his heroes, and of the proverbial fickleness of the public, maintain the ascendency in their favour, which he had acquired by his first matured production. So however it indisputably has been; and those comparatively small circles of admirers excepted, which assemble naturally around individual poets of eminence, Lord Byron has been for that time, and may for some time continue to be, the Champion of the English Parnassus. If his empire over the public mind be in any measure diminished, it arises from no literary failure of his own, and from no triumph of his competitors, but from other circumstances so

frequently

frequently alluded to in the publications before us, that they cannot pass without some notice, which we will study to render as brief as it is impartial.

The poet thus gifted, thus honoured, thus admired, no longer entitled to regard himself as one defrauded of his just fame, and expelled with derision from the lists in which he had stood forward a candidate for honour, but crowned with all which the public could bestow, was now in a situation apparently as enviable as could be attained through mere literary celebrity. The sequel may be given in the words in which the author, adopting here more distinctly the character of Childe Harold than in the original poem, has chosen to present it to us, and to assign the cause why Childe Harold has resumed his pilgrim's staff when it was hoped he had sat down for life a denizen of his native country. length of the quotation will be pardoned by those who can feel The at once the moral interest and poetical beauty with which it abounds.

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VIII.

Something too much of this :-but now 'tis past,
And the spell closes with its silent seal.

Long absent HAROLD re-appears at last ;

He of the breast which fain no more would feel,
Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er heal;
Yet Time, who changes all, had altered him

In soul and aspect as in age: years steal
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb;
And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.

IX.

'His had been quaff'd too quickly, and he found
The dregs were wormwood; but he fill'd again,
And from a purer fount, on holier ground,
And deem'd its spring perpetual; but in vain!
Still round him clung invisibly a chain
Which gall'd for ever, fettering though unseen,
And heavy though it clank'd not; worn with pain,
Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen,
Entering with every step, he took, through many a scene.

X.

'Secure in guarded coldness, he had mix'd
Again in fancied safety with his kind,
And deem'd his spirit now so firmly fix'd
And sheath'd with an invulnerable mind,
That, if no joy, no sorrow lurk'd behind;
And he, as one, might midst the many stand
Unheeded, searching through the crowd to find
Fit speculation! such as in strange land
He found in wonder-works of God and Nature's hand.

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