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fore him, at universal dominion, we had almost said, universal tyranny, over the minds of men.
Childe Harold is now in Italy; and his first strain rises from Venice, the City of the Sea.' There is, unquestionably, much vigour in his lament over her fallen greatness,—yet we confess, that, during the first thirty stanzas of this Canto, the poet's mind seems scarcely to have kindled into its perfect power; and that there is not much in them beyond the reach of a far inferior intellect. It seems to us, also, the only part of the poem in which he forces his own individual feelings into reluctant words, instead of giving vent to them, as is usual with him, in impassioned music. The following stanzas are fine.
Statues of glass-all shiver'd--the long file
Too oft remind her who and what enthrals,
When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
Starts from its belt-he rends his captive's chains,
Thus, Venice, if no stronger claim were thine,
Abandon Ocean's children ; in the fall
I lov’d her from my boyhood—she to me
Perchance even dearer in her day of woe, Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show. p. 10–12. Escaping from Venice, he presents us with an exquisite moonlight landscape on the banks of the Brenta. Indeed, the whole of this Canto is rich in description of Nature. The love of Nature now appears as a distinct passion in his mind. It is a love that does not rest in beholding, nor is satisfied with describing what is before him. It has a power and being, blending itself with the poet's very life. Etherially and ideally beautiful and perfect, and therefore satisfying the longings of a poet's soul, Nature yet seems to woo with delight his very senses—to love him, frail, weak and lowly as he is, and to breathe upon him the blessedness and glory of her own deep, calm, and mighty existence. Though Byron had, with his real eyes, perhaps seen more of Nature than ever was before permitted to any great poet, yet he never before seemed to open his whole heart to her genial impulses. But in this he is changed; and, in the third and fourth Cantos of Harold, he will stand a comparison with the best descriptive poets, in this age of descriptive poetry.
The Moon is up, and yet it is not night-
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
A single star is at her side, and reigns
The odorous purple of a new-born rose,
Fill'd with the face of heaven, which, from afar,
With a new colour as it gasps away,
Passing through Arqua, the mountain-village where Petrarch " went down the vale of years,' he beautifully muses over the remains of his simple mansion and his sepulchre, and then starts away from the peacefulness of the hallowed scene, into one of those terrible fits, which often suddenly appal us in his poetry.
There is a tomb in Arqua ;-rear'd in air,
Watering the tree which bears his lady's name
They keep his dust in Arqua, where he died ;
A feeling more accordant with his strain
And the soft quiet hamlet where he dwelt
For they can lure no further; and the ray
Developing the mountains, leaves, and flowers,
It hath no flatterers ; vanity can give
Or, it may be, with Demons, who impair
And loved to dwell in darkness and dismay,
Making the sun like blood, the earth a tomb, The tomb a hell, and hell itself a murkier gloom. 18-20. In Ferrara, he vents his pity over the fate of Tasso, and his wrath against the tyrant Alphonso; and after some eloquent eulogiums on Italy and her finest spirits, we find him at Florence. The delight with which the pilgrim contemplates the ancient Greek statues there, and afterwards at Rome, is such as might have been expected from any great poet, whose youthful mind had, like his, been imbued with those classical ideas and associations, which afford so many sources of pleasure, through every period of life. He has gazed upon these masterpieces of art with, as it seems to us, a more susceptible, and in spite of his disavowal, we had almost said with a more learned eye, than can be traced in the effusions of any poet who had previously expressed, in any formal manner, his admiration of their beauty. It may appear fanciful to say so ;-but we think the genius of Byron is, more than that of any other modern poet, akin to that peculiar genius, which seems to have been diffused among all the poets and artists of ancient Greece; and in whose spirit, above all its other wonders, the great specimens of Sculpture seem to have been conceived and executed. Modern poets, in general, delight in a full assemblage of persons or ideas or images, and in a rich variety of effect, something not far dissimilar from which is found and admired in the productions of Painters. Byron alone seems to be satisfied with singleness, simplicity and unity. He shares, what some consider to be the disadvantages of Sculpture, but what we conceive to be, in no small degree, the sources of that power, which, unrivalled by any other productions, save only those of the poet, breathes from the inimitable monuments of that severest of the arts. His creations, whether of beauty or of strength, are all single creations. He requires no grouping to give effect to his favourites, or to tell his story. His heroines are solitary symbols of loveliness, which require no foil; his heroes stand alone as upon marble pedestals, displaying the naked power of passion, or the wrapped up and reposing energy of grief. The artist who would illustrate, as it is called, the works of any of our other poets, must borrow the mimic splendours of the pencil. He who would transfer into another vehicle the spirit of Byron, must pour the liquid metal, or hew the stubborn rock. What he loses in case, he will gain in power. He might draw from Medora, Gulnare, Lara, or Manfred, subjects for relievos, worthy of enthusiasm almost as great as Harold
has himself displayed on the contemplation of the loveliest, and the sternest relics, of the inimitable genius of the Greeks.
But Arno wins us to the fair white walls,
Was modern Luxury of Commerce born,
The air around with beauty ; we inhale
And to the fond idolaters of old
We gaze and turn away, and know not where,
Appear'dst thou not to Paris in this guise?
With lava kisses melting while they burn,
From what has been, or might be, things which grow