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Enough of battle's minions !-let them play
Their game of lives, and barter breath for fame;
Fame, that will scarce reanimate their clay,
Though thousands fall to deck some single name.
In sooth, 'twere sad to thwart their noble aim,

Who strike, blest hirclings! for their country's good,
And die, that living might have proved her shame.' - St. 41, 42, 44.

he would not delight
(Born beneath some remote inglorious star)

In themes of bloody fray, or gallant fight,
But loath'd the bruvo's trade, and laughed at martial wight...

C.11. St. 39. Now surely, it was not worth while to conjure a 'Childe Harold' out of some old tapestry, and to bring him into the field of Talavera, for the purpose of indulging in such meditations as these. It is undoubtedly true that the cannon and the musketry must often anticipate the stroke of time; and carry off, in the vigour of life, many who might have been rese:ved at home to a long protracted decay. It is moreover true that the buried will rot; that the unburied may become food for crows, and consequently, that the man who has bartered life for fame has no chance, when once killed, of coming to life again. But these truths, we apprehend, are so generally admitted that it is needless to inculcate them. It is certainly untrue that fame is of little value. It is something to be honoured by those whom we love. It is something to the soldier when he returns to the arms of a mother, a wife, or a sister, to see in their eyes the tears of exultation mixing with those of affection, and of pious gratitude to heaven for his safety. These joys of a triumph, it may be said, are mere illusions; but for the sake of such illusions is life chiefly worth having. When we read the preceding sarcasms on the 'bravo's trade, we are induced to ask, not without some anxiety and alarm, whether such are indeed the opinions which a British peer entertains of a British army.

The second feature in Childe Harold's character, which was introduced, we presume, for the purpose of giving to it an air of originality, renders it, if not quite unnatural, at least very unpoetical. Of this indeed the author seems to have been aware; but instead of correcting what'was harsh and exaggerated in his sketch of the woman hater, he has only had recourse to the expedient of introducing, under various pretexts, those delineations of female beauty which a young poet may be naturally supposed to pen with much complacency. This we think ill judged. The victim of violent and unrequited passion, whether crushed into the sullenness of apathy, or irritated into habitual moroseness, may become, in the hands of an able poet, very generally and deeply interestiug; the human heart

England, as La Fontaine in France, the creators of that style which our neighbours have so aptly denominated le genre naif. The flowers which he scatters over his subject are, indeed, all of native growth: and they have a life and, fragrance which is not always found in those more gaudy exotics, imported by succeeding poets, with which our language has been enriched and perhaps overloaded. Hence, though it is easy to catch his manner in short and partial imitations, it is almost impossible to preserve, throughout a long poem, his peculiar exuberance united with his characteristic simplicity. Lord Byron has shewn himself, in some passages, a tolerably successful copyist; but we like him much better in those where he forgets or disdains to copy; and where, without sacrificing the sweetness and variety of pause by which Spencer's stanza is advantageously distinguished from the heroic couplet, he employs a pomp of diction suited to the splendour of the objects which he describes.' We rejoice when, dismissing from his memory the ' wretched scraps of a musty glossary, he exhibits to us, in natural and appropriate language, the rich scenery and golden sunshine of countries which are the

* Boast of the aged, lesson of the young;

Which sages venerate, and bards adore,

As Pallas and the Muse unveil their awful lore.' But we have not yet exhausted our complaints against the way. ward hero of the poem, whose character, we think, is most capriciously and uselessly degraded. The moral code of chivalry was not, we admit, quite pure and spotless; but its laxity in some points was redeemed by the noble spirit of gallantry which it inspired; a gallantry which courted personal danger in the defence of the sovereign, because he is the fountain of honour; of women because they are often lovely and always helpless; and of the priesthood because they are at once disarmed and sanctified by their profession. Now Childe Harold, if not absolutely craven and recreant, is at least a mortal enemy to all martial exertions, a scoffer at the fair sex, and apparently disposed to consider all religions as different modes of superstition.

The reflections which occur to him, when he surveys the preparations for the conflicts between the French and the allied armies, are that these hosts

Are met (as if at home they could not die)
To feed the crow on Talavera's plain.
There shall they rot ; ambition's honours' fools !

Yes, honour decks the turf that wraps their clay!"
Vain sophistry! in these behold the tools,
The broken tools that tyrants cast away, &c.-

Enough

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Enough of battle's minions!- let them play
Their game of lives, and barter breath for fame;
Fame, that will scarce reanimate their clay,
Though thousands fall to deck some single name.
In sooth, 'twere sad to thwart their noble aim,

Who strike, blest hirclings! for their country's good,
And die, that living might have proved her shame.' - St. 41, 42, 44.

he would not delight
(Born beneath some remote inglorious star)

In themes of bloody fray, or gallant fight,
But loath'd the bravo's trade, and laughed at martial wight.*--

C.11. St. 39. Now surely, it was not worth while to conjure a 'Childe Harold' out of some old tapestry, and to bring him into the field of Talavera, for the purpose of indulging in such meditations as these. It is undoubtedly true that the cannon and the musketry must often anticipate the stroke of time; and carry off, in the vigour of life, many who might have been rese:ved at home to a long protracted decay. It is moreover true that the buried will rot; that the unburied may become food for crows, and consequently, that the man who has bartered life for fame has no chance, when once killed, of coming to life again. But these truths, we apprehend, are so generally admitted that it is needless to inculcate them. It is certainly untrue that fame is of little value. It is something to be honoured by those whom we love. It is something to the soldier when he returns to the arms of a mother, a wife, or a sister, to see in their eyes the tears of exultation mixing with those of affection, and of pious gratitude to heaven for his safety. These joys of a triumph, it may be said, are mere illusions; but for the sake of such illusions is life chiefly worth having. When we read the preceding sarcasms on the 'bravo's trade, we are induced to ask, not without some anxiety and alarm, whether such are indeed the opinions which a British peer entertains of a British army.

The second feature in Childe Harold's character, which was introduced, we presume, for the purpose of giving to it an air of originality, renders it, if not quite unnatural, at least very unpoetical. Of this indeed the author seems to have been aware; but instead of correcting what'was harsh and exaggerated in his sketch of the woman bater, he has only had recourse to the expedient of introducing, under various pretexts, those delineations of female beauty which a young poet may be naturally supposed to pen with much complacency. This we think ill judged. The victim of violent and unrequited passion, whether crushed into the sullenness of apathy, or irritated into habitual moroseness, may become, in the hands of an able poet, very generally and deeply interestiug ; the human heart

.

is certainly disposed to beat in unison with the struggles of strong and concentrated feeling; but the boyish libertine whose imagination is chilled by his sated apetites, whose frightful gloom is only the result of disappointed selfishness; and 'whose kiss had been pollution,' cannot surely be expected to excite any tender sympathy, and can only be viewed with unmixed disgust. Some softening of such a character would become necessary even if it were distinguished by peculiar acuteness of remark, or by dazzling flashes of wit. But there is not much wit in designating women aswanton things,' or as “lovely harmless things; or in describing English women as Remoter females famed for sickening prate;' nor is there much acuteness in the observation that

Pomp and power alone are woman's care,
And where these are, light Eros finds a feere;

Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare,

And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.' We utterly dislike the polyglot line compounded of Greek, Saxon, and modern English; and do not much admire the confusion of images in the others; but we wish to abstain from minute criticism, and are only anxious to remonstrate against those blemishes which, in our opinion, detract from the general beauty of the poem.

Having already given our reasons for thinking that the perversity of character attributed to the hero of the piece is far too highly coloured, it is needless to comment on that settled despair,

That will not look beyond the tomb,

But cannot hope for rest before!-(p. 52.) This is the consummation of human misery; and if it had been the author's principal object, in delineating this fictitious personage, to hold him up to his young readers as a dreadful example of early profligacy, such a finishing to the picture might be vindicated as consistent and useful. In that case, however, it would have been doubly essential to divest the Childe' of his chivalrous title and attributes; and the attention of the poet and of the reader being engrossed by one dismal object, it would have become necessary to sacrifice a large portion of that elegance and animation by which the present work is confessedly distinguished.

We certainly do not suspect Lord Byron of having made a pilgrimage to mount Parnassus for the sole purpose of wooing the muses to assist him in the project of reforming his contemporaries; but as we are, on the other hand, most'unwilling to impute to him the intention of giving offence to any class of his readers, we much wish that he had assigned to his imaginary Harold, instead of uttering as his own, the sentiments contained in the following stanzas.

• 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;
Poor child of doubt and death, whose hope is built on reeds.

IV.
Bound to the earth, he lifts his eye to heaven-
Is't not enough, unhappy thing! to know
Thou art? Is this a boon so kindly given,
That being, thou wouldst be again, and go,
Thou know'st not, reck’st not to what region, so
On earth no more, but mingled with the skies?
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe ?

Regard and weigh yon dust before it flies :
That little urn saith more than thousand homilies.

V.
Or burst the vanish'd Hero's lofty mound;
Far on the solitary shore he sleeps :*
He fell, and falling, nations mourn’d around;
But now not one of saddening thousands weeps,
Nor warlike-worshipper his vigil keeps
Where demi-gods appear’d, as records tell.
Remove

yon

skull from out the scatter'd heaps :
Is that a temple where a God may

dwell?
Why ev’n the worm at last disdains her shatter'd cell!

VI.
Look on its broken arch, its ruin'd wall,
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul :
Yes, this was once Ambition's airy hall,
The dome of thought, the palace of the soul:
Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
The gay recess of wisdom and of wit,
And passion's host, that never brook'd control :

Can all saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?

VII.
Well didst thou speak, Athena's wisest son!
"All that we know is, nothing can be known."
Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun?
Each has his pang, but feeble sufferers groan
With brain-born dreams of evil all their own.

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• It was not always the custom of the Greeks to burn their dead; the greater Ajax in particular was interred entire. Almost all the chiefs became gods after their decease, and he was indeed neglected, who had not annual games near his tomb, or festivals in honour of his memory by his countrymen, as Achilles, Brasidas, &c. and at last oven Antinous, whose death was as heroic as his life was infamous.'

N 3

Pursue

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