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But who would soar the solar height,
The following is the best stanza in the poem:
And she, proud Austria's mournful flower,
How bears her breast the torturing hour?
Must she too bend, must she too share
Thy late repentance, long despair,
Thou throneless homicide?
If still she loves thee, hoard that gem-
The prediction in the latter of the two following stanzas has been verified, but hardly so soon as the bard perhaps fancied. Such prophecies are always on the safe side, so rapid is the course of mortality, and the chances were quite as much in favour of the death of one as of the other, of the soothsayer and of the fallen emperor :
Then haste thee to thy sullen isle,
That Earth is now as free!
What thoughts will there be thine,
But one- The world was mine:'
We now approach a period of Lord Byron's life, on which it is impossible to expatiate, and which it is difficult even to touch, without wounding feelings which ought to be respected, and inflicting pain on ourselves. He had been long attached to Miss Milbanke, the only child of Sir Ralph Noel Milbanke. He had proposed for her hand, and his offer had been declined, but at the same time with professions of great respect on the part of the lady. This was before Lord Byronwent abroad: on his return his intimacy with the lady's family was renewed, and even a correspondence was kept by his lordship with Miss Milbanke, which was solely relating to literary and indifferent subjects, but no mention was made of that affection which his lordship had entertained for the lady.
Perhaps the sentiment which he had professed for her never amounted to passion,-perhaps (although this suggestion may startle those persons who look upon a man's writings as the transcript of his heart) Lord Byron was not capable of a very ardent passion, nor of great constancy. However this may be, the correspondence between his lordship and Miss Milbanke was continued for many months without disturbing their tranquillity, although it was, of course, very agreeable to both parties. Lady Byron's acquirements and her natural abilities are superior to those of most women of her own rank, and Lord Byron, who was penetrated with a great regard for her, found considerable gratification in answering her letters.
In this state affairs remained when, by means which it is not necessary to explain, Lord Byron learned that the reason which had induced Miss Milbanke to refuse the offer he had made her of his hand was the want of competent fortune as well on her own as on his side. The knowledge of such a circumstance was quite enough to induce a man like Lord Byron to renew his pretensions. It was well known that, although his own estate was encumbered, and Sir Ralph Milbanke's was not of that description which enabled him to give his daughter a large fortune, yet that the lapse of a few years must add very considerably to their joint property, and that reversions, of which there was the greatest probability, must make them comparatively rich. In the mean time economy, and the love of quietness, which was common to Miss Milbanke and to Lord Byron, would enable them to bear
the little privations to which they might be exposed with cheerfulness and with very little inconvenience.
Lord Byron lost no time, after he became acquainted with the fact to which we have alluded, in renewing his offer to Miss Milbanke. A short explanation sufficed to ensure his pretensions-already very agreeable—a favorable reception. His lordship went to Seaham, Sir Ralph Milbanke's seat, and, after a residence there of a few months, he was married on the 2d of January, 1815.
Such an union presented as fair a prospect for the happiness of both parties as could be imagined. Without being beautiful, Lady Byron's person is highly agreeable. Good sense, talents-even genius, on the part of the lady, and the corresponding qualities which his lordship was known to possess, might, one should have thought, have ensured domestic felicity; and although that fervent passion, which is of its nature short-lived, was wanting, the more lasting sentiment of esteem might have supplied its place.
Circumstances, however, happened, which disturbed the tranquillity of the menage, and put the good temper of both parties to a test which they could not bear. Lord Byron had borrowed money, under the disadvantageous terms upon which minors can alone borrow money. The repayment of such loans is always difficult in proportion to the facility with which they are raised. Jews and attorneys, money agents, and, at last, sheriffs' officers, beset his lordship's house in town. He knew nothing of business; the people who had the management of his affairs did as all such people do,—that is to say, they took care to keep him in their own clutches. His embarrassments, therefore, were never removed, and not always relieved. No man stays at home while bailiffs are billetted on him.-No lady likes to see sheriffs' officers in her servants' hall. Lord Byron, therefore, was a good deal from home, and Lady Byron was discontented. The most important things in the world often begin from very insignificant causes; and from trumpery pecuniary embarrassments in Lord Byron's family sprung first those disagreements which afterwards assumed a growth so fatal to the happiness of both-perhaps to the life of one of the parties.
In the midst of these affairs, however, and in spite of the res angusta domi, Lord Byron found time to compose some lyrical poems, of a character very different from any that he had hitherto written, and which, being of a devotional character, were hardly expected from him.
Mr. Nathan and Mr. Braham, who either are or have been Jews, and who, whether they still profess that religion in which they were
born, or have adopted some other, are intimately connected with the Jews in England, had got up some music which they called Hebrew Melodies,' and which were intended for the use of the modern Israelites. Lord Byron was asked by his friend, the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird, to write some melodies for this music, and he complied. It would be difficult to guess at the motive which induced his lordship to lend his aid to this purpose; but the poetry is not so good, compared with his other productions, as to make the inquiry worth the trouble it would cost.
The following extracts will give our readers an idea of the worthiest poems in the collection :
THE WILD GAZELLE.
The wild gazelle où Judah's bills
And drink from all the living rills
A step as fleet, an eye more bright,
The cedars wave on Lebanon,
But Judah's statelier maids are gone!
More blest each palm that shades those plains
In solitary grace:
It cannot quit its place of birth,
But we must wander witheringly,
Our temple hath not left a stone,
OH! SNATCHED AWAY IN BEAUTY'S BLOOM.
Oh! snatched away in beauty's bloom,
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom :
And oft by you blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Away; we know that tears are vain,
That Death nor heeds nor hears distress :
Will this unteach us to complain,
Or make one mourner weep the less?