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were elsewhere ; and he was but awakened by the congratulations of the bystanders to find that he was married.” Jeaffreson (“The Real Lord Byron.' 176 ff., 379), however, argues strenuously that there is little of autobiographic value in the poem, especially in the passage relating to the poet's own marriage.
Mrs. Chaworth-Musters was in fact unhappy in her married life, and after a separation from her husband became for a time mentally deranged (section vii). She however did not "end in madness (l. 206), but was soon cured of her ailment. The prose of the whole story is given in the following passage from a letter of Byron's written in July, 1823 (originally in Italian) :
" It is singular enough, that when very young, I formed a strong attachment for the grand-niece and heiress of Mr. Chaworth (whom Byron’s grand-uncle had killed in a duel], who stood in the same degree of relationship as myself to Lord Byron (the grand-uncle aforesaid); and at one time it was thought that the two families would have been united in us. She was two years older than I was, and we were very much together in our youth. She married a man of an old and honourable family; but her marriage was not a happier one than my
Her conduct, however, was irreproachable, but there was no sympathy between their characters, and a separation took place. I have not seen her for many years. When an occasion offered, I was upon the point, with her consent, of paying her a visit, when my sister, who has always had more influence over me than anyone else, persuaded me not to do it. 'For,' said she, “if you go, you will fall in love again, and then there will be a scene ; one step will lead to another, et cela fera un éclat, etc.' I was guided by these reasons,* and shortly after I married; with what result it is useless to say. Mrs. C., some time after, being separated from her husband, became insane; but she
*Cf. the verse (“Well! thou art happy”) addressed to Mrs. Chaworth in 1808, on the occasion of his last visit:
“I deem'd that time, I deem'd that pride
Had quench'd at length my boyish flame;
My heart in all, ,-save hope,-the same.
has since recovered her reason, and is, I believe, reconciled to her husband.”
It was while living at Nottingham in 1803 (he was then hardly fifteen) that his attachment to Miss Chaworth, whose family resided at Annesley, near Nottingham and Newstead, began. Their intimacy lasted for but six weeks. In the following year he bade her the last” farewell from the hill near Annesley, as described in the poem. In 1805 she was married to Mr. John Musters. Her death occurred in 1832.
In rhetorical structure the matter of the poem is skilfully disposed. Like some modern spectacular plays the poem presents a series of scenes or episodes without much connecting material. But that is not inappropriate for a “Dream.” The metrical form is blank verse, a form which Byron generally handles with only moderate success. Here it seems but indifferently adapted to the lyrical impulse of the poem, especially as the verse is rather epical or dramatic in form and abounds in “run-on” lines; although its plainness suggests, appropriately enough, sombreness and the monotony of a heavy dream. This effect is enforced by the absence of ornament and the restrained harmony of the diction. Devices of repetition, as in the formulas for opening each section (** A change came over the spirit of my dream”), or in the lines
“And both were young, and one was beautiful;
And both were young, yet not alike in youth,” help out the lyrical effect. 213 : 12. Cf. «Childe Harold' II, ii :
“Gone, glimmering through the dream of things that were." 213 : 18. Cf. • Parisina’ III, 82 :
“ The past is nothing—and at last
The future can but be the past.” 213 : 19-22. Cf. ·Childe Harold' IV, v (p. 93, above).
213: 25. Capable of years. An elliptical phrase partly explained in the next line.
214 : 28 ff. The scene described is after Nature--the hill (1. 35) near Annesley, as now, except that the “peculiar diadem of trees has been cut down,
214 : 44-45. What is the full import of this simile ?-how many qualities of “the maid ” are implied in it?
215: 84. This description of his emotions, however heightened poetically, helps us to understand one point at least in Byron's peculiar temperament. Compare · Don Juan’ VI, cvi:
“ It was but a convulsion, which, though short,
Can never be described ; we all have heard,
216 : 105 ff. Cf. •Childe Harold' I, vi.
216 : 114-125. “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” (Sir Walter Scott). Prof. Kölbing thinks that the scene can be identified with the ruins of Corinth. Cf. Byron's poem • The Siege of Corinth,' esp. sect. xviii.
218: 179. Melancholy, the malady which has afflicted the lady's lover, the narrator, as contrasted with the phrenzy' of the lady herself. The one robs things of their illusion and glamour ; the other at least leaves one monarch of a fantastic realm.'
218 : 185 ff. A picture of the poet's situation in the evil days after the death of his mother and so many of his earlier friends, and especially after the separation from his wife and the quarrel with her family (“ beings which ... were at war with him "). The untempered ill-will of the public after this event is doubtless also glanced at.
218: 191. Mithridates of Pontus, who is said to have circumvented the plots of his enemies to poison him by so inuring his systein by degrees to the use of poisons that they came to have no effect upon
him when taken. 219:
: 195. Cf. •Childe Harold' III, xiii (p. 55 above) ; also IV, clxxvii-viii (p. 151).
219 : 199. Cf. “Manfred' II, ii, 70, and III, iv, 3 (above, pp 186, 207).
219 : 200-201 recall again Manfred' II, ii, 60–74 (p. 186).
Written in Switzerland in July, 1816. Published with “The Prisoner of Chillon' in the same year. Similar visions of the end of things were written in numbers both before and after Byron's poem. Many of these Prof. Kölbing describes in his edition of "The Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems.' Such were; (1) • The Last Man,' Lond. 1806, where the picture drawn has many points of resemblance with Byron's. Byron's immediate suggestion, however, may have been found in the Old Testament. Cf. · Jeremiah,' IV, 23, 24, 25.
“ I beheld the earth, and lo! it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. ... I beheld, and lo! there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and lo! the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down.
Ezekiel’ xxxii, 7, 8: “I will cover the heaven and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven I will make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.”
Cf. also Joel' II, 30-31; Revelation,' VI, etc. (2) Campbell's poem “The Last Man' (“ All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom," etc.) appeared in 1823. It bears a certain resemblance to Byron's poem, but doubtless, as Campbell claims, was written independently. (3) In the • Poetical Miscellanies of Harlequin Proteus' appeared a poem entitled • The World's End '; and (4) in • The European Magazine,' 1826, one on "The Death of the World,' both modelled on Byron. Better known is (5) Mrs. Shelley's romance • The Last Man,' 1826. (6) Thomas Hood's Last Man,' 1826, a burlesque poem on the same theme. For other treatments of the same subject the reader is referred to Prof. Kölbing's edition, 213, 222, 224, 234 ff.
The poem in the original MS. was first entitled “A Dream.'
So far as relates to the structure of the poem, three stages are apparent in the description: (1) the condition of things just before the end (11. 1-54); (2) the end of the two last men (11. 55-69), and (3) the state of the world when life has finally disappeared (11. 69-82).
221 : 50. Till hunger clung them. Cf. Macbeth' V, v, 40 : " Till famine cling thee,” i.e., “Till famine shrivel thee up.'
222 : 73 ff. Byron here may have taken the description of the calm (11. 110 ff.) in the · Ancient Mariner' as a model.
Written mainly in the latter part of 1818. Not published till 1819. The first eight sections give the setting of the poem, which is based on historical events. After the battle of Pultowa in 1709, in which Peter the Great defeated the Swedish forces under Charles XII, the latter, accompanied, among others, by his ally, the Cossack chieftain Mazeppa, Aled to take refuge among the Turks. In the course of their flight they snatch a night's repose in the depth of the forest. Charles praises Mazeppa's endurance and horsemanship.
Mazeppa answer'd—I'll betide
This answer excites Charles' curiosity, and he induces the seventy-year-old chieftain to recall the days when he was twenty and to relate the tale. In his youth Mazeppa was a page at the court of the Polish king, John Casimir. On account of an intrigue with Theresa, the lady of a powerful Polish count, he was seized at the count's castle, and condemned to the punishment and fate related in sections ix and following of the poem.
It is not improbable that, as Elze maintains (“Life of Byron,' p. 138), “in · Mazeppa' we have the idealized reflex of Byron's relation to the Countess Guiccioli; like her the object of Mazeppa's love is called Theresa, and the old Polish Count is perhaps the old Count Guiccioli.” Against this supposition merely stands the fact that · Mazeppa 'was begun before September 24, 1818, when the poem is mentioned in a letter of Byron's as still incomplete, while his acquaintance with the Countess Guiccioli did not begin till the spring of 1819. But the first part of the poem, where Theresa is mentioned, may have been written last. For the portion of the story related in sections ix-xx, however, there is nothing to correspond in Byron's life. Here his treatment is objective. The source of this portion as well as of the whole of