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And when at length the winged wanderers stoop,
Then is the prey-bird's triumph, ¿hen they share
Yet some have been untouched, who learned to bear,
And task most hopeless! but some such have been,
And if my name amongst the number were,
Were prouder than more dazzling fame unblest ;
The Alps' snow summit uearer heaven is seeu
Whose splendour from the black abyss is fluug,
While the scorched inountain, from whose burning breast
Shines for a night of terror, then repels
sprung The hell which in its entrails ever dwells. The fourth and last canto relates more particularly to Italy in its present state, and is full of pity for its sufferings and degradation, and of invective against the tyrants—as Lord Byron makes Dante call them-by whom it is ruled; and anticipating that time
When Truth shall strike their eyes through many a tear,
And make them owu the prophet in his tomb. With this ends the fourth and last canto of the prophecy. It was intended by the poet to continue this work at some future period, but that intention was never carried into execution. Its chief faults are that it is too abrupt and precipitate ; often, indeed, so much so as to be obscure and mystical. Its great fault with common readers must be that it is not sufficiently intelligible, either in its general drist, or in particular passages; and even those who are qualified to enter into its spirit, and can raise themselves to the height of the temper in which it is conceived, will be entitled to complain of the lengthened periods and endless interlacing of the diction, and of the general crudity of the composition. It is, however, beyond all question, the work of a man of great genius; and, if the author had only digested his matter a little more carefully, and somewhat concentrated the potent spirit of poetry which he here poured abroad so lavishly in its unrectified state, there is no doubt that this would have been another laurel to his wreath, and an addition to the fame he had already acquired.
LORD BYRON'S · Don Juan' was too great an offence to all those persons, who, however they may respect talenls and admire wit, have yet some regard for the decencies and the morals of society, to be passed over. It became, indeed, every man who held the place of a literary censor, to express openly and honestly his sense of the bad effect which that poem might produce, and of the degrading crime which the author had committed in sending it into the world accompanied with all the authority of his fame, as well as with all the powers of his genius.
Mr. Southey felt that the publication of this poem formed a sort of era in the literature of this nation. This was the first time that a work of a lascivious and improper nature had ever been openly published. The literature of England had always been preserved from the disgrace which rests upon that of every other country; and, until this unfortunate example, there was no such work openly admitted into decent society. Lord Byron's name, however, served as a passport for his iudecency, and Don Juan' was found upon the tables of persons who ought to liave blushed at the name of such a book, and who were soon induced to discard it for ever.
It needed little to open the eyes of the thinking and moral part of the public to the impropriety of this book; and, this once done, its fate was settled for ever. No modest woman will now confess to have read • Don Juan ;' and, for those of any other description, it matters very little what they read. For our own part we are glad that we have an opportunity of saving, from the pollution of that bad company in which they have hitherto been alone to be found, those parts of the poem, which, for their beauty and elegance, deserve to be known, and which are so pure that they may be universally read with no less safety than delight.
Mr. Southey, in his · Vision of Judgment,' took occasion to notice, in strong but just terms, the reprehensible conduct of Lord Byroa. He did so, however, without any thing like a personal expression, and, as we are ready to believe, without any personal feeling. He spoke of Lord Byron's offence, but he did not mention his name; he denounced the book, but spared the author. We shall quote the whole of the passage in which Mr. Southey did this service to the literature and to the society of England.
After speaking at some length of the use of hexameters, in which the Vision of Judgment is written, and alluding to the probable opposition which might be made to the introduction of that style, he says:
• I am well aware that the public are peculiarly intolerant of such innovations ; not less so than the populace are of any foreign fashion, whether of foppery or convenience. Would that this literary intolerance were under the influence of a saner judgment, and regarded the morals more than the manner of a composition—the spirit rather than the form! Would that it were directed against thosc monstrous combinations of horrors and mockery, lewdness and impiety, with which English poetry has, in our days, first been polluted! For more than half a century English literature had been distinguished by its moral purity-the effect, and in its turn the cause, of an improvement in national manners. A father might, without apprehensiou of evil, have put into the hands of his children any book which issueil from the press, if it did not bear, either in its title-page or frontispiece, manifest signs that it was intended as furniture for the brothel. There was no danger in any work which bore the name of a respeclable publisher, or was to be procured at any respectable bookseller's. This was particularly the case with regard to our poetry. It is now no longer so; and woe to those by whom the offence cometh! The greater the talents of the offender, the greater is his guiit, aud the more enduring will be his slame. Whether it be that the laws are in themselves unable to abate an evil of this magnitude, or whether it be that they are remissly administered, and with such injustice that the celebrity of an offender serves as a privilege whereby he obtains impunity, individuals are bound to consider that such pernicious works would neither be published nor written, if they were discouraged, as they might and ought to be, by public feeling: every person, therefore, who purchases such books, or admits them into his house, promotes the mischief, and thereby, as far as in hin lies, becomes an aider and abettor of the crime.
• The publication of a lascivious book is one of the worst offences which can be committed against the well-being of society. It is a sin, to the consequences of which no limits can be assigned, and those consequences no after-repentance in the writer can couuteract. Whatever remorse of conscience he may feel when his hour comes (and come it must !) will be of no avail. The poignancy of a death-bed repentance cannot cancel one copy of the thousands which are sevt abroad; and, as long as it continues to be read, so long is he the pander of posterity, and so long is he hcaping up guilt upon his soul in perpetual accumulation.
• These remarks are not more severe than the offence deserves, even when applied to those immoral writers who have not been conscious of any evil intention in their writings, who would acknowledge a little levity, a little warmth of colouring, and so forth, in that sort of language with which men gloss over their favorite vices, and deceive themselves. What then should be said of those for whom the thoughtlessness and inebriety of wanton youth can no longer be pleaded, but who have written in sober manhood and with deliberate purpose ?-men of diseased hearts and depraved imaginations, who, forming a system of opinions to suit their own unhappy course of conduct, bave rebelled against the holiest ordinances of human society, and, hating that revealed religion, which, with all their efforts and bravadoes, they are unable entirely to disbelieve, labour to make others as miserable as themselves, by infecting them with a moral virus that eats into the soul! The school which they have set up may properly be called the Satanic school; for though their productions breathe the spirit of Belial in their lascivious parts, and the spirit of Moloch in those Joathsome images of atrocities and horrors which they delight to represent, they are more especially characterized by a Satanic spirit of pride and audacious impiety, which still betrays the wretched feeling of hopelessness wherewith it is allied.
• This evil is political as well as moral, for indeed moral and political evils are inseparably connected. Truly has it been affirmed, by one of our ablest and clearest reasoners, that “the destruction of governments may be proved and deduced from the general corruption of the subjects' manners, as a direct and natural cause thereof, by a demotstration as certain as any in the mathematics." There is no maxim more frequently enforced by Machiavelli, than that, where the manners of a people are generally corrupted, there the government cannot long subsist,-a truth which all history exemplifies; and there is no means whereby that corruption can be so surely and rapidly diffused as by poisoning the waters of literature.
· Let rulers of the state look to this in time! But, to use the words of South, if “our physicians think the best way of curing a disease is to pamper it, the Lord in mercy prepare the kingdom to suffer what He by miracle only can prevent.”
• No apology is offered for these remarks. The subject led to them; and the occasion of introducing them was willingly taken, because it is the duty of every one, whose opinion may have any influence, to expose the drist and aim of those writers who are laboring to subvert the foundations of human virtue and of human happiness.'
Under this merited castigation Lord Byron seems to have smarted soundly; and, as he was not much in the practice of putting up tamely with any attack, he took his revenge upon Mr. Southey in the appendix to the • Two Foscari'—a tragedy which he published soon afterwards. This reply we must also give, in justice to the parties litigant:
• Mr. Southey, in his pious preface to a poem whose blasphemy is as harmless as the sedition of “Wat Tyler,” because it is equally absurd with that sincere production, calls upon the “ legislature to look to it,” as the toleration of such writings led to the French revolution : not such writings as “Wat Tyler," but as those of the “Satanic school.” This is not true, and Mr. Southey knows it to be not true. Every French writer of any freedom was persecuted; Voltaire and Rousseau were exiles, Marmontel and Diderot were sent to the Bastile, and a perpetual war was waged with the whole class by the existing despotism. In the next place the French revolution was not occasioned by any writings whatsoever, but must have occurred bad no such writers ever existed. It is the fashion to attribute every thing to the French revolution, and the French revolution to every thing but its real cause. That cause is obvious—the government exacted too much, and the people could neither gide nor bear more. Without this, the Encyclopedists might have written their fingers off without the occurrence of a single alteration. And the English revolution-(the first, I mean)—what was it occasioned by ? The puritans were surely as pious and moral as Wesley or his biographer. Acts—acts on the part of government, and not writings against them-have caused the past convulsions, and are tending to the future.
• I look upon such as inevitable, though no revolutionist : I wish to see the English constitution restored, and not destroyed. Born an aristocrat, and naturally one by temper, with the greater part of my present property in the funds, what have I to gain by a revolution ? Perhaps I have more to lose in every way than Mr. Southey, with all his places and presents for panegyrics and abuse into the bargain. But that a revolution is inevitable, I repeat. The government may exult over the repression of petty tumults; these are but the receding waves repulsed and broken for a moment on the shore, while the great tide is still rolling on and gaining ground with every breaker. Mr.