Page images
PDF
EPUB

rests

Here closes our account of the We should remember Fortune can take Assyrian story; and though it will nought astonish the world, we will close it Save what she gave,—the rest was nawith a moral from the pen of Lord

kedness, Byron! - Sardanapalus, parting for the And lasts, and appetites, and vanities, last time from bis wife, whom he has

The universal heritage, to battle • not seen for years, exclaims,

With as we may, and least in humblest

stations, “ Zarina!

Where hunger swallows all in one low I must pay dearly for the desolation

want, Now brooght upon thee. Had I never

And the original ordinance, that man loved

Must sweat for his poor pittance, keeps Bat thee, I should have been an unop

all passions posed

Aloof, save fear of famine! All is low, Monarch of honouring nations. To what And false, and hollow,-clay from first to

last, gulphs A single deviation from the track The prince's urn no less than potter's Of human duties leads even those who

vessel. claim

Our fame is in men's breath, our lives The homage of mankind as their born due, upon And find it, till they forfeit it themselves!

Less than their breath ; our durance upon

days, We add not a syllable of comment. Our days on seasons; our whole being on - The story of The Two Foscari” is Something which is not us ! _So, we are “ brief as woman's love," and it is slaves, quite unnecessary for us to be more The greatest as the meanest,-nothing tedious. The son of a Doge of Venice, suspected of murder, and ba- Upon our will; the will itself no less nished for his imputed crime; return. Depends upon a straw than on a storm ; ing home, was again tortured, and

And when we think we lead, we are most again sent forth to exile, where he And still towards death, a thing which

led, dicd. Lord Byron's tragedy embraces

comes as much only the latter part of this tragic tale, Without our act or choice, as birth, so and it's only incidents are Jacopo

that Foscari's renewed tortures, his second Methinks we must have sinn'd in some old doom of banishment, and the deposing world, and death of his aged father, who is And this is hell: the best is, that it is not indeed the principal character of the Eternal.” drama. Like Sardanapalus, this tragedy very far exceeds any reasonable his dungeon, is equally or more pa

The soliloquy of the son, Jacopo, in acting length, though it is certainly in

thetic:every respect a far preferable poem ; and as we have space for but a few “ No light, save yon faint gleam, which

shows me walls quotations, we select the best;.com

Which never echoed but to sorrow's menciug with the Doge's reply to his daughter-in-law's reproaches of apa- The sigh of long imprisonment, the step

sounds, thy :

Of feet on which the iron clank'd, the “ Doge. I am what yon bchold.

groan Marina. And that's a mystery. Of death, the imprecation of despair ! Dage. All things are so to mortals; who . And yet for this I have return'd to can read them

Venice, Save he who made? or if they can, the few With some faint hope, 'tis true, that And gifted spirits, who have studied long tine, which wears That loathsoene volume-man, and pored The marble down, had worn away the apon

hate Those black and bloody leaves, his heart of men's hearts ; but I knew them not, and brain,

and here But learn a magic which reeoils upon Must I consume my own, which neyer The adept who pursues it: all the sios

beat We find in others, natare made onr own;

For Venice but with such a yearning as All our advantages are those of fortune; The dove has for lier distant nest, when Birth, wealth, health, beanty, are her wheeling acridents,

High in the air on her return to greet And when we cry out against Fate, 'twere Her callow

brood. What letters are these well

whicha

sorrow

1

Are scrawl'd along the inexorable wall? his own feelings must, or he woefully
Will the gleam let me trace them? Ah! belies them, be directly the reverse:

the names
Of my sad predecessors in this place, “ That melody, which out of tones and
The dates of their despair, the brief tunes
words of

Collects such pasture for the longing
A grief too great for many. This stone
page

Of the sad mountaineer, when far away
Holds like an epitaph their history, From his snow canopy of cliffs and clouds,
And the poor captive's tale is graven on That he feeds on the sweet, but poison-
His dungeon barrier, like the lover's ré ous thought,
cord

And dies. You call this weakness ! It is
Upon the bark of some tall tree, which strength,
bears

I say,--the parent of all honest feeling,
His own and his beloved's name. Alas! He who loves not his country, can love
I recognize some names familiar to me,

nothing!
And btighted like to mine, which I will
add,

The Foscari die of grief, and it is · Fittest for such a chronicle as this,

with sorrow we say that we can select Which only can be read, as writ, by nothing more which seems needful for wretches.

our Review. There are no doubt [He engraves his name."

many other speeches and descriptions His yearnings for Venice are also of considerable merit, but they would of the purest poetry :-

only crowd our pages from a book

which is in general circulation, and it's Ah! you never yet slight inaccuracies are not worth point. Were far away from Venice, never saw ing out.--Lord Byron's long note about Her beautiful towers in the receding dis: Politics and the Poet Laureate, is too tance,

little to our taste, and too unconnected While every furrow of the vessel's track

with our present subject, to demand Seem'd ploughing deep into your heart ; much notice. His Lordship appears

you never Saw day go down upon your native spires under Mr. Southey's meritorious at

to writhe with considerable uneasiness So calmly with it's gold and crimson tack upon “ The Satanic School," and

glory, And after dreaming a disturbed vision

retorts in a way very unbecoming the Of them and theirs, awoke and found peerage ; to which Mr. S. bas replied them not.”

in the newspapers, certainly far more

coolly than his Right Honourable anIn a subsequent passage, Jacopo, tagonist, and has summed up bis arbewailing banishment from one's na. guments with this stinging conclutive land, says,

sion :-“ I have held up that School to

public detestation, as enemies to the ReWe but hear

ligion, the Institutions, and the domestie Of the survivors' toil in their new lands, morals of their country. I have given Their numbers and success; but who can them a designation to which their founnumber

der and leader answers. I have sent a The hearts which broke in silence of that parting,

stone from my sling which has smitten Or after their departure ; of that malady their Goliak in the forehead. I have Which calls up green and native fields to fuslened his name upon the gibbet, for view

reproach and ignominy, as long as it From the rough deep, with such identity shall endure. Take it down who can!" To the poor exile's fever'd eye, that he -Leaving Lord Byron to digest and Can scarcely be restrain'd from treading answer this as be best way, we now them.”

come to the most powerful, but at the

same time the worst portion of the This, however, is a false illustra- Volume, as giving it's every claim to tion. The calenture is not a maladie du being a most legitimate offspring of pays, but a disease of climate incident the Satanic School, the fearful mysto sailors after long voyages; and it is tery of Cain.curious enough to hear the author in We have seen many books in our his dramatic creation mourning the time, aimed by the infidel philosopher absence from country in such good set and the atheistical bard at the strong terms as the following, when in reality bulds of the Christian faith ; which

[ocr errors]

any

however, have rather confirmed us in mortal sceptics, on the original cause the better doctrines of the wise aud of evil, and the punishnient of inhethe good of all ages; but a more di- rited sin. Milton was indeed a Levite rect, more dangerous, or more fright- worthy to touch the altar, a priest fal production, than this miscalled whose officiating prevented, and did Mystery, it bas never been our lot to not bring down, plague upon the peo, encounter. God forbid that we should ple ; Byron is the stranger forbidden impute it to the Author that his inten- to meddle with holy things, the Uzzah tion was to aim at the subversion of to be smitten for daring but to put forth all religious principle; but we mast bis hand into the Ark.--We are well say, if such had been his purpose, he aware of the ready apology for words cold not have laboured with greater and thoughts which man ought not to ingenuity, diligence, and perversion utter : we are told that a Devil or an to effect his object:

Apostate are the Dialogists, and that " "Tis true, 'tis pity; pity 'tis, 'tis true." they are made to say what is consistent

with their attributes and characters, Lord Byroo either was sensible of But this is a false position,-it cannot this, or had some kind of presenti, -it ought not to be tolerated, that ment that such would be the impres

fictitious personage should, as Cain sion on a large proportion of readers ;

does, in broad and horrible language, for in his preface he tries to palliate

directly curse not only the earthly the offence in a way peculiar to him

author of his being, but the Almighty self, that is, by an apology so like a God himself, in language which wo jest, that it may be taken according to

dare not extract. Lord Byron has ibe dictates of fancy, as an excuse or indeed given to Cain the sentiments as an aggraration. He tells us

and words of hell, but from whom do “ With regard to the language of they come ?-from a writer, who to Lucifer, it was difficult for me to make impart verisimilitude and energy to bin talk life a Clergyman upon the same his lines, puts himself in the place of sabjects ; but I have done what I could to

a Lucifer, and is for a season that restrain him within the bounds of spiritual which he imagines. It must certainly politeness."

he confessed tbat the poet has sucu' Milton, a master genius among the ceeded beyond conception in assuming brightest of immortal bards,-Milton, these shapes, for neither Satan, nor into the opposite scale with whom' the First of Murderers in their own Lord Byron has had the boldness to form, could have delivered more thrust himself upon this occasion, did shocking profanations and more diabonot try to make his Lucifer “ talk like, lical blasphemies. Aberrations the a. Clergyman,” or to " restrain him

more lamentable in a pocm in which within the bounds of spiritual polite- there are, abstractedly, many beauDrss;" and why? because he felt the ties and proofs of genius, which might loftness of his theme; because he adorn the noblest and the purest kaew it would be not merely deroga- themes. tory but contemptible to make the The noble writer's daring opinions * Archangel fallen " approach in lan- arc, unhappily, so well known, that guage to so paltry an idea; and finally, while every well regulated mind must because his imagination grasped the lament over the debasement of his grandeur and immensity of his sub- mighty talents, as displayed in this ject, and his elevated draught of the series of heartless and indefensible character was consonantly splendid : , tirades against the Almighty :--every waile that of bis soccessor presents idle sceptic will seize with a vidity on only the portrait of a miserable tiend, the language of fiction, and interpret , resembling a mortal sinner in his so it as a text to his pernicious creed, phistry, his impiety, and his blas- Lord Byron is thus not likely to conphemy. In the one it is the Prince ciliate public opinion, which may be of Darkness who speaks and acts in a , affected to be sneered at, but can ne, manner becoming his still mighty ver be despised, by tliis effort ; and ihongh degraded nature; and in the though the work doubtless boasts other, except in one solitary passage, many beauties that are common to it's it is the quibbling demon, " the least noble lineage, we are yet of opinion exrcted spirit that fell from Heaven," that considered as a whole it cannot sbo repeats the stale arguments of contribute to his fame. His LordEur. Mag. Vol. 81. Jan. 1822.

K

seems

ship's genius is essentially romantic, Whom have we here?-A shape like to aud, when attempted to be contined the angels, by the trammels of truth, he is too apt Yet of a sterner and a sadder aspect to break forth into long metaphysical Of spiritual essence : why do I quake? disquisitions, usually combining at Why should I fçar lim inore than other once all that is most dry in prose, Whom I see daily wave their fiery swords

spirits, inost pernicious in morals, and most

Before the gates round which I linger ott, aburd in poetry:

In twilight's hour, to catch a glimpse of Throughout the whole of the Pre

those face, his Lordship shews a most in Gardens which are my just inheritance, dustrious anxiety to assure us that he Ere the night closes o'er the inhibited has not read Milton since he was

walls twenty, nor Gesner's Abel since he And the immortal trees which overtop was eight; thus anticipating any The clerubim-detended battlements ? charges of plagiary with respect to

If I shrink pot from these, the fire-arm'd which the Noble Poet appears most

angels, woefully sore and sensitive. We are Why should 'I quail from him who now much disposed indeed on internal

approaches ? evidence to credit his assertion of Yet he seems mightier far than them, nor

less general ignorance of our great Poet,

Beauteous, and yet not all as beautiful for the first family of Byron bear as

As he hath been, and might be; sorrow little resemblance to our first parents of Milton, as to a modern family of Half of his immortality. And is it the present day. The drama opens So? and can aught grieve save humanity? with a sacrifice offered up by Adam He cometh. and his assisting family, in which

Enter Lucifer. Cain alone witbholds the expression

Luc. Mortal! of gratitude, and is made at once to

Cain. Spirit, who art thou ? display the discontent and mososeness

Luc. Master of spirits. of a churlish ill-regulated spirit.-His

Cain. And being so, canst thou following soliloquy speaks the temper Leave them, and walk with dust? of a mind well prepared for the bane Luc. I know the thoughts ful workings of the Prince of Dark- of dust, and feel for it, and with you. ness : and unfortunately speaks vo Cain.

How ! lumes also of the tenets of it's au You know my thoughts ? thor :

Luc. They are the thoughts of all

And this is Worthy of thought ;-'tis your immortal Life!—Toil! and wherefore should I toil?

part -because

Which speaks within you. My father could not keep his place in

Cain.

What immortal part ? Eden.

This has not been reveal'd; the tree of What had I done in this ?-I was unborn,

life I sought not to be born; nor love the Was withheld from us by my father's state

folly, To which that birth has brought me. Why

Wbile that of knowledge, by my mother's did he

haste, Yield to the serpent and the woman ? or,

'as pluck'd too soon; and all the fruit Yielding, why suffer? What was there

is death? in this?

Luc. They have deceived thee; thou The tree was planted, and why not for

shalt live, him?

Cain.

I live, If not, why place him near it, where it

But live to die : and, living, see no thing

To make death hateful, save an innate grew, The fairest in the centre? They have but

clinging, One answer to all questions, •'twas his

A loathsome and yet all invincible will,

Instinct of life, which I abhor, as I And he is good.' 'How know I that?

Despise myself, yet cannot overcome,Because

And so I live. Would I had never lived !" He is all-powerful, must all-good too, follow:

There is great impetuosity of sentiI judge but by the fruits,--and they are

ment and lofty daring in the opening bitter,

speech; and the concluding passage, Which I must feed on for a fault not though not very new, is given with mine.

great vigour and felicity of expression.

56 Cain.

Lucifer subsequently leads Cain to is sporting with him, and that his Hades, and shews him visions of a silence is mockery, is very happy ; former world, which have the effect of and had he passed from this delurendering bim yet more impious, and ‘sion, by slow gradations, to the dreadof inducing the fatal catastrophe offul certainty that what he saw was Abel's murder. However we may dis- death, the grandeur of the scene must scat from the entire aim and object of have been considerably heightened. this piece, we must not, therefore, There is little dignity in the reproaches deay it the merit of containing much which the primitive family subsebrilliant poetry, and the following quently shower on Abel, when Zillah dialogue certainly boasts considerable enters, and her grief brings the other poetic splendour

human personages to the scene, * Aduk.

amongst whom Eve pronounces a

Our father Saith that he has beheld the God liimself dreadfully emphatic curse on Cain. Who made him and our mother.

May all the curses Lue. Hast thou seen him?

Of life be on him! and his agonies Aduh. Yes,- in his works.

Drive him forth o'er the wilderness, like 118 Lu. But in his being ?

From Eden, till his children do by him ddah.

No,

As he did by his brother! May the swords Save in my father, who is God's own And wings of tiery cherubim pursue him image;

By day and night,-snakes spring up in Or in his angels, who are like to thee,-- his path, And brighter, yet less beautiful and pow Earth's fruits be ashes in his mouth,- the erful

leaves In seeming: as the silent sunny noon On which he lays his head to sleep be All light they look upon us; but thou seem'st

strew'd Like an ethereal night, where long white With scorpions ! May his dreams be of his clouds

victim ! Streak the deep porple, and unnumber'd His waking a continual dread of death! stars

May the clear rivers turn to blood as he Spangle the wonderful mysterious vanlt Stoops down to stain them with his raging With things that look as if they would be

lip! suns ;

May every element shun or change to him! So beautiful, unnumber'd, and endearing, May he live in the pangs which others die Not dazzling, and yet drawing us to them, with! They fill my eyes with tears, and so dost And death itself wax something worse thou.

than death Thou seem'st unhappy; do not make us so, To him who first acquainted him with And I will weep for thee."

man !

Hence, fratricide! henceforth that word The idea of resembling Lucifer to is Cain! stars, which look as if they would be Throngh all the coming myriads of mansuns, though bighly fanciful, is not, kind, perhaps, strictly appropriate ; as it Who shall abhor thee, though thou wert conveys a sense of the ambition of the

their sire! fallen angel, far beyond the ken of May the grass wither from thy feet! the Adah. The murder of Abel is also

woods represented with remarkable infeli- Deny thee shelter ! earth a home! the

dust city ; there is too much short and

A grave! the sun his light! and heaven smart dialogue, a sort of wordy con

her God!" test thrown about the act of blood; by wbieb the fine opportunity for Adam, however, does not curse, Lord Byron to have described the but pronounces the doom of everlastoperation of the hue and aspect of ing banishment upon his son ; when Death on the first murderer is compa- the angel of God ratifies the sentence, ratively lost, by the injudicious expe- and brands the brow of the murderer. dient of making Abel speak to forgive Adah's character is alone well prehis marderer, so long after he has served throughout; for she only keeps been strack to the ground ; and thus to the last her gentleness and her love interrupting the grand and imposing unshaken ; and presents that steadfast contemplation of death on the part of spirit of devotion to the object of her Cain, so well adapted to call forth affection, that so peculiarly marks and Lord Byron's best powers. The idea elevates the character of womm. The of Cain's conceiving that his brother going forth of Cain and his fawily is

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »