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Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun ? Each hath his pang, but feeble sufferers groan With brain-born dreams of evil all their own. Pursue what chance or fate proclaimeth best; Peace waits us on the shores of Acheron: There no forced banquet claims the sated guest, But silence spreads the couch of ever-welcome rest.
Yet if, as holiest men have deemed, there be
The ": Samian sage, and all who taught the
The third canto of Childe Harold is more deeply imbued with a love of nature than any of his previous productions. A new power had been imparted to him on the shores of the ‘Leman lake. He had just escaped from the strife of London and his own domestic unhappiness, and his conversations with Shelley might have turned him more strongly to this pure poetical source. The poetry of Wordsworth had also unconsciously lent its influence. An evening scene by the side of the lake is thus exquisitely described:
It is the hush of night; and all between Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear, Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen— Save darkened Jura, whose capped 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;
He is an evening reveller, who makes His life an infancy, and sings his fill ! At intervals, some bird from out the brakes, Starts into voice a moment—then is still. There seems a floating whisper on the hillBut that is fancy, for the star-light dews All silently their tears of love instil, Weeping themselves away, till they infuse Deep into nature's breast the spirit of her hues.
A forcible contrast to this still scene is then given in a brief description of the same landscape during a thunder-storm :
The sky is changed —and such a change | 0 night, And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong, Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light Of a dark eye in woman | Far along From peak to peak, the rattling crags among, Leaps the live thunder ! not from one lone cloud, But every mountain now hath found a tongue, And Jura answers, through her misty shroud, Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!
And this is in the night: most glorious night ! Thou wert not sent for slumber ! let me be A sharer in thy fierce and far delight— A portion of the tempest and of thee! How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea, And the big rain comes dancing to the earth ! And now again ’tis black-and now the glee Of the loud hill shakes with its mountain-mirth, As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.
In the fourth canto there is a greater throng of
The Greek statues at Florence are then inimitably described, after which the poet visits Rome, and revels in the ruins of the Palatine and Coliseum, and the glorious remains of ancient art. His dreams of love and beauty, of intellectual power and majesty, are here realised. The lustre of the classic age seems reflected back in his glowing pages, and we feel that in this intense appreciation of ideal beauty and sculptured grace—in passionate energy and ecstasy—Byron outstrips all his contemporaries. The poem concludes abruptly with an apostrophe to the sea, his ‘joy of youthful sports, and a source of lofty enthusiasm and pleasure in his solitary wanderings on the shores of Italy and Greece. The greatness of Byron's genius is seen in Childe Haroldits tenderness in the tales and smaller poems—its rich variety in Don Juan. A brighter garland few poets can hope to wear—yet it wants the unfading flowers of hope and virtue.
I see before me the gladiator lie:
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch
He heard it, but he heeded not; his eyes Were with his heart, and that was far away: He recked not of the life he lost nor prize, But where his rude hut by the Danube lay; There were his young barbarians all at play, There was their Dacian mother—he, their sire, Butchered to make a Roman holiday. All this rushed with his blood. Shall he expire, And unavenged? Arise, ye Goths, and glut # ire ! [Apostrophe to the Ocean.]
y There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
y Roll on, thou deep and dark-blue Ocean-roll!
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
His steps are not upon thy paths—thy fields Are not a spoil for him—thou dost arise And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields For earth's destruction thou dost all despise, Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies, And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray, And howling to his gods, where haply lies His petty hope in some near port or bay, And dashest him again to earth: there let him lay.
* The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
* Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee-
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
- Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
And I have loved thee, Ocean' and my joy Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me Were a delight; and if the freshening sea Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear; For I was as it were a child of thee, And trusted to thy billows far and near, A'id my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.
[An Italian Evening on the Banks of the Brenta.] [From Childe Harold.]
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
Which streams upon her stream, and glassed within
Filled with the face of heaven, which, from afar, Comes down upon the waters; all its hues, From the rich sunset to the rising star, Their magical variety diffuse: And now they change; a paler shadow strews Its mantle o'er the mountains; parting day Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues With a new colour as it gasps away, The last still loveliest, till—'tis gone—and all is gray.
[Midnight Scene in Rome—the Coliseum.] [From Manfred.]
The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
The ruling passion, such as marble shews
She woke at length, but not as sleepers wake,
She looked on many a face with vacant eye,
Her handmaids tended, but she heeded not;
And then a slave bethought her of a harp:
At the first notes, irregular and sharp,
Then to the wall she turned, as if to warp
Anon her thin wan fingers beat the wall
Twelve days and nights she withered thus; at last,
Thus lived—thus died she; never more on her
That isle is now all desolate and bare,
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY was the son and heir of a wealthy English baronet, Sir Timothy Shelley of Castle Goring, in Sussex, and was born at Field Place, in that county, on the 4th of August 1792.
Percy Bysshe Shelley.
In worldly prospects and distinction the poet therefore surpassed most of his tuneful brethren; yet this only served to render his unhappy and strange destiny the more conspicuously wretched. When ten years of age, he was put to a public school, Sion House, where he was harshly treated both by his instructors and by tyrannical school-fellows. He was fond of reading, especially wild romances and tales of diablerie; and when very young he wrote two novels, Zastrozzi, and St Irvyne, or the Rosicrucian. From Sion House, Shelley was removed to Eton, where his sensitive spirit was again wounded by ill-usage and by the system of fagging tolerated at Eton. His resistance to all established authority and opinion displayed itself while at school, and in the introduction to his Revolt of Islam, he has portrayed his early impressions in some sweet and touching stanzas:
Thoughts of great deeds were mine, dear friend, when first The clouds which wrap this world from youth did pass. I do remember well the hour which burst My spirit's sleep: a fresh May-dawn it was, 55 3