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its very unadornment, such as our later art in words or colours has rarely reached

- He lay
Reposing from the noontide sultriness,
Couch'd among fallen columns, in the shade
Of ruin'd walls that had survived the names
Of those who rear'd them; by his sleeping side
Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds
Were fasten'd near a fountain; and a man,
Clad in a flowing garb, did watch the while,
While many of his tribe slumber'd around :
And they were canopied by the blue sky,
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in heaven.

Byron's landscape, however, as we have said, is most copiously exhibited in Childe Harold. And as the writing of this poem was spread over some seven or eight years, it exhibits a very marked progressive advance in power. The landscape of Canto II is much above that of Cintra in Portugal in Canto I, which is hardly more than a simple list—

The horrid crags, by toppling convent crown'd,
The cork-trees hoar that clothe the shaggy steep;

and so forth. But in the next book we have a meditation, truly felt, though the touch may be still somewhat immature, on the sense of solitude and its charm for man

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,

Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold

Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unroll'd.

Beautiful and brilliant is the landscape of Attica, even in its desolation

Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild ;
Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled,
And still his honey'd wealth Hymettus yields;
There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain air;
Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendeli's 1 marbles glare;
Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair.

It is, however, in the last two cantos that Byron shows his full force of wing; and well known as they are, or perhaps I should say, ought to be, a few specimens may be here given.

If in the stanza last quoted he shows his peculiar gift of uniting the landscape with historical associations, in the following from Canto III it is pure human love for a relation dead at Waterloo which inspired a little picture of singular tenderness and beauty :—

There have been tears and breaking hearts for thee,
And mine were nothing, had I such to give;
But when I stood beneath the fresh green tree,
Which living waves where thou didst cease to live,
And saw around me the wide field revive
With fruits and fertile promise, and the Spring
Come forth her work of gladness to contrive,
With all her reckless birds upon the wing,

I turn'd from all she brought to those she could not bring.

In the powerful Swiss scenes which follow, it has been said that Byron was influenced by Wordsworth, brought under his notice whilst he was accompanied in that country by Shelley. If so, however, the manner is all his own. The mountain pictures which the lake of Geneva suggested, the effects of sky and storm in particular, are executed with a noble carelessness; alive in every touch, dashed in with the vigour of Tintoret or Rubens; in their faults and merits equally remote from the fashion of our day. Let me here also add that many of the unsatisfactory passages in Childe 1 Anciently, Mount Pentelicus.

Harold are clearly due to the peculiar difficulties presented by the Spenserian stanza-the least appropriate metrical form, we may venture to say, which could have been chosen by a poet whose force lay, not in Spenser's long-drawn musical diffuseness of style, but in terseness and rapidity of diction. Perhaps in the gentler scenes the poet appears at his best; he is then less tempted to rhetoric. Such is the following Lake landscape :

It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellow'd and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darken'd Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more.

Let us now pass to a companion picture in Canto IV from Venice, that "fairy city of the heart," as Byron called it in a phrase which must have been in the mind of many English travellers

The moon is up, and yet it is not night—
Sunset divides the sky with her a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seems to be
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
Where the Day joins the past Eternity;
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the azure air—an island of the blest!

A single star is at her side, and reigns

With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still
Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains
Roll'd o'er the peak of the far Rhaetian hill.

Byron's enthusiasm for the sea (let me repeat) has been curiously rare among our poets; we have to go back to the


verse before the Conquest to find it painted with the fullness of song, natural, one might say, to Englishmen. The episode which ends Childe Harold is splendid for force of diction and varied imagery, yet strangely marred by forced syntax and forced expression. Perhaps the poet's idea is best concentrated in the three beautiful lines—

Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play-
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow-
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

The Landscape of Don Juan, notably in the magnificent shipwreck scene of the second Canto,-almost overwhelming in its forthright, volcanic, force,-ranks with the best of Byron's other work. But it is difficult to disentangle these descriptive elements from the cynical humour which blends in the whole action of that unique poem.

To conclude: Byron's love of landscape was a passion, deep and sincere perhaps as that of any poet. One rendering of this we have already quoted. Let me end with the graceful lines addressed to his justly loved sister, in which also we may note how his energetic mind leads him back perforce to human feeling

The world is all before me; but I ask
Of Nature that with which she will comply-
It is but in her summer's sun to bask,

To mingle with the quiet of her sky,

To see her gentle face without a mask,

And never gaze on it with apathy.

She was my early friend, and now shall be-
My sister-till I look again on thee.



SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834) presents a new, a more complex and difficult problem to us than his four great contemporaries. Every poet's treatment of Nature, we should often remind ourselves, like his treatment of Man, must always and inevitably be governed by his whole character, his heart, and head; what, in brief, was comprehensively named by the Greeks his os. Scott, Byron, Keats, offer little analysis of human character, little ethical interpretation of life; nor can any serious validity be justly assigned to Shelley's incoherently eloquent boyish essays in philosophy. But Coleridge, as our lamented W. H. Pater notes, in an admirable sketch,1 to which I am here indebted, was a "subtle-souled psychologist, as Shelley calls him," "that is, a more minute observer "than other men of the phenomena of mind." This habit, when the landscape is concerned, takes the form, Pater remarks, "of a singular watchfulness for the minute fact and ex



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pression of natural scenery," as if physically piercing to the inner soul of Nature; or, perhaps, in Bishop Berkeley's fashion, almost thinking of the landscape itself, or at least its beauty, as half created by the observing eye and mind; in Coleridge's own phrase

We receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does Nature live.

Hence, perhaps, his landscape rarely takes the form of descrip1 Ward's English Poets, vol. iv.

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