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THE First and Second Cantos of Childe Harold's Pil. grimage, published in 1812, at once ranked Lord Byron among the great poets of his country. Cantos III. and IV.
the former written in Switzerland in 1816, and the latter at Venice in 1818—display the full force and elevation of his poetic powers.
Scott's three great romance poems had quickened the public appetite for poetry; and Byron's brilliant poetical diary, combining the interests of a romantic and striking individuality with picturesque descriptions of scenes and events which were then attracting the eyes of Europe, caught the public imagination, as it was becoming satiated with Scott's purely ideal creations.
Byron's plan, or more properly want of plan or combination in his structure, was admirably adapted to his disposition, and left him at perfect liberty in the choice of the subjects he took up, and his manner of treating them, provided the result was striking. The connecting thread of the poet's personality-the only continuous subject of · the poem-is taken up or dropped at pleasure without affecting its interest.
Regarding Childe Harold's moral consistency, Byron candidly remarks, that he never was intended as an example, further than to shew, that early perversion of mind and morals leads to satiety of past pleasures and disappointment in new ones; and that even the beauties of nature and the stimulus of travel (except ambition, the most powerful of all excitements) are lost on a soul so constituted, or rather misdirected.'
LIFE OF BYRON.
G CEORGE GORDON, Lord Byron, a great English poet,
was born in Holles Street, London, on the 22d of January 1788. He was the only son of Captain John Byron of the Guards, and Catherine Gordon of Gight, an heiress in Aberdeenshire. Captain Byron and his wife did not live happily together, and, a separation taking place, the lady retired to the city of Aberdeen with her little lame boy, whom she passionately loved, her sole income at this time being about £130 per annum. In his eleventh year, Byron succeeded his grand-uncle, William, Lord Byron; and mother and son immediately left the north for Newstead Abbey, the ancient seat of the family, situated a few miles distant from Nottingham. On succeeding to the title, Byron was placed in a private school at Dulwich, and thereafter sent to Harrow. In 1805, he removed to Trinity College, Cambridge; and two years thereafter his first volume of verse, entitled Hours of Idleness, was printed at Newark. The volume was fiercely assailed by Lord (then Mr) Brougham in the Edinburgh Review, and his sarcasms stung Byron into a poet. The satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, was written in reply to the article in the Edinburgh, and the town was taken by a play of wit and a mastery of versification un. equalled since the days of Pope. In the chorus of praise that immediately arose, Byron withdrew from England, visited the shores of the Mediterranean, and sojourned in Turkey and Greece. On his return in 1812, he published the first two cantos of Childe Harold, with immense success, and was at once enrolled among the great poets of his country. During the next two years, he produced The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, and Lara. While these brilliant pieces were flowing from his pen, he was indulging in all the revelries and excesses of the metropolis. What was noblest in the man revolted at this mode of life, and in an effort to escape from it, he married Miss Milbanke, daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, a baronet in the county of Durham. This union proved singularly infelicitous. It lasted only a year, and during