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much pleasure from "Childe Harold,' which has no story, and is mainly discursive on themes which it requires reading and reflection to follow out. But the case was widely different when he entered upon that series of tales which includes • The Giaour,' The Bride of Abydos,' 'The Corsair,' Lara,' “The Siege of Corinth,' and Parisina.' Then he was read with rapt interest throughout the length and breadth of the land ; then he was scrambled for at the circulating libraries; then his applauding public comprised the indiscriminating many as well as the select and discriminating few. They concurred in this instance, and they were right in concurring. Their delight in a story and a plot was simply a return to the wholesome taste of the olden times, the golden ages of poetry, the days of Homer and the Homeridæ, the Troubadours, the Minnesingers, the Bards, who were neither more nor less than story-tellers in verse, and bound, like the lady in the Arabian Nights,' to be provided with an inexhaustible supply. The only wonder is, that the reign of the didactic, speculative, and descriptive poets was prolonged till it was interrupted by Scott and terminated by Byron. The taste for exciting or sensational fiction may be meretricious or carried to excess; both mental and bodily stimulants must be used with caution; but to inspire breathless and sustained interest is one of the rarest and most enviable faculties of inventive genius, and it is hard on a poet to be denied credit for the beauties he scatters by the way because we are lured along too fast and in too satisfied a state to dwell

upon

them; because we first read for the story, and then re-read for the imagery and thought. Nor, on re-reading either Scott's or Byron's rhymed romances, is it always to the episodes that we turn for genuine poetry. To blend passion and sentiment with rushing events. and action is their charm. In “The Giaour,' for example :

On-on he hasten'd, and he drew
My gaze of wonder as he flew :
Though like a demon of the night
He pass'd, and vanish'd from my sight,
His aspect and his air impress'd
A troubled memory on my breast,
And long upon my startled ear
Rung his dark courser's hoofs of fear.
He spurs his steed; he nears the steep,
That, jutting, shadows o'er the deep;
He winds around; he hurries by ;
The rock relieves him from mine eye;
For well I ween unwelcome he
Whose glance is fix'd on those that floe;

And

And not a star but shines too bright
On him who takes such timeless flight.
He wound along; but ere he pass'd
One glance he snatch'd, as if his last,
A moment check'd his wheeling speed,
A moment breathed him from his steed,
A moment on his stirrup stood-
Why looks he o'er the olive wood ?

He stood -some dread was on his face,
Soon Hatred settled in its place:
It rose not with the reddening flush
Of transient Anger's hasty blush,
But pale as marble o'er the tomb,
Whose ghastly whiteness aids its gloom.
His brow was bent, his eye was glazed;
He raised his arm, and fiercely raised,
And sternly shook his hand on high,
As doubting to return or fly;
Impatient of his flight delayed,
Here loud his raven charger neigh'd-
Down glanced that hand, and grasped his blado;
That sound had burst his waking dream,
As Slumber starts at owlet's scream.
The spur hath lanced his courser's sides;
Away, away, for life he rides.
'Twas but an instant he restrain'd
That fiery barb so sternly rein'd;
'Twas but a moment that he stood,
Then sped as if by death pursued;
But in that instant o'er his soul
Winters of Memory seem'd to roll,
And gather in that drop of time
A life of pain, an age of crime.
O'er him who loves, or hates, or fears,
Such moment pours the grief of

years :
What felt he then, at once opprest
By all that most distracts the breast ?
That pause, which ponder'd o'er his fate,
Oh, who its dreary length shall date !
Though in Time's record nearly nought,

It was Eternity to Thought!' Although we write principally for those who are not familiar with Byron, we will give them credit for having fallen in, at some time or other in their lives, with the renowned episodes of “He who hath bent him o'er the dead,' and Know'st thou the land, but there is another in the Giaour') which we have reason to believe is less known and unappreciated :

As

As rising on its purple wing
The insect-queen of eastern spring,
O'er emerald meadows of Kashmeer
Invites the young pursuer near,
And leads him on from flower to flower
A weary chase and wasted hour,
Then leaves him, as it soars on high,
With panting heart and tearful eye :
So Beauty lures the full-grown child,
With hue as bright, and wing as wild ;
A chase of idle hopes and fears,
Begun in folly, closed in tears.
If won, to equal ills betray'd,
Woe waits the insect and the maid;
A life of pain, the loss of peace,
From infant's play, and man's caprico:
The lovely toy so fiercely sought
Hath lost its charm by being caught,
For every touch that woo'd its stay
Hath brush'd its brightest hues away,
Till charm, and hue, and beauty gone,
'Tis left to fly or fall alone,
With wounded wing, or bleeding breast,
Ah! where shall either victim rest?
Can this with faded pinion soar
From rose to tulip as before?
Or Beauty, blighted in an hour,
Find joy within her broken bower ?
No: gayer insects fluttering by
Ne'er droop the wing o'er those that die,
And lovelier things have mercy shown
To every failing but their own,
And every woe a tear can claim

Except an erring sister's shame.' The four concluding lines are nearly as familiar as Scott's Oh woman in our hours of ease,' as Moore's Oh ever thus from childhood's hour.' But a short time since, on their being quoted in a numerous group, a lady, not long past her meridian, turned round to a friend of her own standing with the remark, You and I are the only persons present who know where those lines come from.' She proved right. The analogy between beauties and butterflies as objects of chase is obvious enough ; and it may be said) the incident which gave rise to the Rape of the Lock' was only a piece of not over-refined gallantry. It is the exquisite workmanship and the delicate handling which give choice works of fancy their value and their charm. What ineffably enhances the effect of Byron's narratives

and

and descriptions, however rapid and condensed or however replete with thought and feeling, is the idiomatic ease of the language, its lucid clearness, and the utter absence of inversion, affectation, or obscurity. You are never obliged to dig for his meaning, never obliged to construe or translate his sentences; whilst there are modern poets who make you work as hard as if you were solving a problem or discovering an acrostic, not unfrequently reminding you of the Irishman's horse, which (he said) was very difficult to catch and when caught not worth having. Mr. Browning is one of the most incorrigible offenders in this line; and this is the more provoking, because he is a man of truly original genius. A patient diver into the depths of his rich and capacious mind has always a fair chance of bringing up pearls. Certainly the most extensively popular of Mr. Tennyson's minor poems is · Locksley Hall,' and we can hardly err in attributing the marked preference given to it by the uninitiated, to the spirit, vivacity, and simplicity of the language, and the natural unbroken flood of thought. It reads as if it had been thrown off spontaneously and impulsively, unlike so many of his most admired poems, where the lime labor may almost invariably be traced.

Byron's command of language is equally observable in every variety of metre which he attempted, and on the appearance of * The Corsair,' critics of all parties hastened to recognise and applaud the flexibility of the heroic couplet in his hands. This poem abounds in passages of beauty and force, the only puzzle ·being what range of feelings is most strikingly expressed. The parting scene with Medora is replete with the pathos of tenderness :

• She rose—she sprung-she clung to his embrace,
Till his heart heaved beneath her hidden face,
He dared not raise to his that deep-blue eye,
Which downcast droop'd in tearless agony.
Her long fair hair lay floating o'er his arms,
In all the wildness of dishevelld charms ;
Scarce beat that bosom where his image dwelt
So fullthat feeling seem'd almost unfelt!
Hark-peals the thunder of the signal-gun!
It told 'twas sunset—and he cursed that sun.
Again—again—that form he madly press'd,
Which mutely clasp’d, imploringly caress'd !
And tottering to the couch his bride he bore,
One moment gazed—as if to gaze no more :
Felt-that for him earth held but her alone,
Kiss'd her cold forehead-turn'd—is Conrad gone ?'

What

What a startling picture of Remorse is presented by Conrad imprisoned, chained, and destined to the stake:

• There is a war, a chaos of the mind,
When all its elements convulsed-combined-
Lie dark and jarring with perturbed force,
And gnashing with impenitent Remorse ;
That juggling fiend—who never spake before-
But cries “I warn'd thee!” when the deed is o'er.
No single passion, and no ruling thought
That leaves the rest as once unseen, unsought;
But the wild prospect when the soul reviews---
All rushing through their thousand avenues.
Ambition's dreams expiring, love's regret,
Endanger'd glory, life itself beset;
The joy untasted, the contempt or hate
'Gainst those who fain would triumph in our fate;
The hopeless past, the hasting future driven
Too quickly on to guess if hell or heaven;
Deeds, thoughts, and words, perhaps remember'd not
So keenly till that hour, but ne'er forgot ;
Things light or lovely in their acted time,
But now to stern reflection each a crime;
The withering sense of evil unreveald,
Not cankering less because the more conceal'd--
All, in a word, from which all eyes must start,
That opening sepulchre—the naked heart
Bares with its buried woes, till Pride awake,

To snatch the mirror from the soul—and break.' The scene in which Conrad throws off his disguise is instinct with fire:

• Up rose the Dervise with that burst of light,
Nor less his change of form appall’d the sight:
Up rose that Dervise—not in saintly garb,
But like a warrior bounding on his barb,
Dash'd his high cap, and tore his robe away-
Shone his mail'd breast, and flash'd his sabre's ray !
His close but glittering casque, and sable plume,
More glittering eye, and black brow's sabler gloom,
Glared on the Moslems' eyes some Afrit sprite,
Whose demon death-blow left no hope for fight.
The wild confusion, and the swarthy glow
Of flames on high, and torches from below;
The shriek of terror, and the mingling yell-
For swords began to clash, and shouts to swell-
Flung o'er that spot of earth the air of hell!

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He saw their terror—from his baldric drew

His bugle- brief the blast—but shrilly blew; Vol. 131.-No. 262.

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