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LXI. The negligently grand, the fruitful bloom Of coming ripeness, the white city's sheen, The rolling stream, the precipice's gloom, The forest's growth, and Gothic walls between, The wild rocks shaped as they had turrets been In mockery of man's art; and these withal A race of faces happy as the scene,
Whose fertile bounties here extend to all, Still springing o'er thy banks, though Empires near
LIV. By a lone wall a lonelier column rears A gray and grief-worn aspect of old days; 'Tis the last remnant of the wreck of years, And looks as with the wild-bewilder'd gaze Of one to stone converted by amaze, Yet still with consciousness; and there it stands Making a marvel that it not decays,
When the coeval pride of human hands, Levell'd Aventicun, hath strew'd her subject lands.
Gather around these summits, as to show (below. How Earth may picrce to Heaven, yet leave vain man
LXVI. And there-ob! sweet and sacred be the name !Julia — the daughter, the devoted - gave Her youth to heaven; her heart, beneath a claim Nearest to Heaven's, broke o'er a father's grave. Justice is sworn 'gainst tears, and hers would crave The life she lived in; but the judge was just, And then she died on him she could not save.
Their tomb was simple, and without a bust, And held within their urn one mind, one heart, one
LXIII. But ere these matchless heights I dare to scan, There is a spot should not be pass'd in vain, Morat ! the proud, the patriot field ! where man May gaze on ghastly trophies of the slain, Nor blush for those who conquer'd on that plain ; Here Burgundy bequeath'd his tombless host, A bony heap, through ages to remain,
Themselves their monument; - the Stygian coast Unsepulchred they roam'd, and shriek'd each wan
LXVII. But these are deeds which should not pass away, And names that must not wither, though the earth Forgets her empires with a just decay, [birth; The enslavers and the enslaved, their death and The high, the mountain-majesty of worth Should be, and shall, survivor of its woe, And from its immortality look forth
In the sun's face, like yonder Alpine snow, Imperishably pure beyond all things below.
Doom'd to bewail the blasphemy of laws
LXVIII. Lake Leman woos me with its crystal face, 5 The mirror where the stars and mountains view The stillness of their aspect in each trace Its clear depth yields of their far height and hue : There is too much of man here, to look through With a fit mind the might which I behold; But soon in me shall Loneliness renew
Thoughts hid, but not less cherish'd than of old, Ere mingling with the herd had penn'd me in their
engagement, got to the brow of the hill, whence they had their Erst view of the Rhine. They instantly halted -- not a gun was fired - not a voice heard: but they stood gazing on the river with those feelings which the events of the last fifteen years at once called up. Prince Schwartzenberg rode up to know the cause of this sudden stop ; then they gave three cheers, rushed after the enemy, and drove them into the water.)
| The chapel is destroyed, and the pyramid of bones diminished to a small number by the Burgundian legion in the service of Fracce; who anxiously effaced this record of their ancestors' less successful invasions. A few still remain, not. withstanding the pains taken by the Burgundians for ages (all who passed that way removing a hone to their own cwuery), and the less justifiable larcenies of the Swiss pos. tilious, who carried them off to sell for knife-handles ; a purpose for which the whiteness imbibed by the bleaching of years had rendered them in great request. Of these relics I rentuired to bring away as much as may have made a quarter of a hero, for which the sole excuse is, that if I had not, the next passer by might have perverted them to worse uses than the careful preservation which I intend for them.
• Arenticum, near Morat, was the Roman capital of Hel. vetia, where Avenches now stands.
9 Julia Alpinula, a young Aventian priestess, died soon after a vain endcarour to save her father, condeinned to death as a traitor br Aulus Crcina. Her epitaph was discovered many years ago ; - it is thus : -"Julia alpinula : Ilic jaceo.
Infelicis patris infelix proles. Deæ Aventiæ Sacerdos. Exo. rare patris necem non potui : Male mori in fatis ille erat. Vixi annos xxn." - I know of no human comprsition so affecting as this, nor a history of deeper interest. These are the names and actions which ought not to perish, and to which we turn with a true and healthy tenderness, from the wretched and glittering detail of a confused mass of conquests and battles, with which the mind is roused for a time to a false and feverish sympathy, from whence it recurs at length with all the nausea consequent on such intoxication.
4. This is written in the eye of Mont Blanc (June 30, 1816), which even at this distance dazzles mine. — (July 20th.) I this day observed for some time the distinct reflection of Mont Blanc and Mont Argentiere in the calm of the lake, which I was crossing in my boat ; the distance of these mountains from their mirror is sixty miles.
5 In the exquisite lines which the poet, at this time, addressed to his sister, there is the following touching stanza:
"I did remind thee of our own dear lake,
By the old hall which may be mine no more.
With a fresh pinion; which I feel to spring, Though young, yet waxing vigorous, as the blast
Which it would cope with, on delighted wing, Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling.
The bodiless thought ? the Spirit of each spot ?
LXXV. Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part Of me and of my soul, as I of them ? Is not the love of these deep in my heart With a pure passion ? should I not contemn All objects, if compared with these ? and stem A tide of suffering, rather than forego Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm
Of those whose eyes are only turn'd below, Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare
LXXVI. But this is not my theme ; and I return To that which is immediate, and require Those who find contemplation in the urn, To look on One, whose dust was once all fire, A native of the land where I respire The clear air for a while - a passing guest, Where he became a being, — whose desire
Was to be glorious; 't was a foolish quest, The which to gain and keep, he sacrificed all rest.
LXXVII. Here the self-torturing sophist, wild Rousscau, s The apostle of affliction, he who threw Enchantment over passion, and from woe Wrung overwhelming eloquence, tirst drew The breath which made him wretched; yet he knew How to make madness beautiful, and cast O'er erring deeds and thoughts a heavenly huet
Of words, like sunbeams, dazzling as they past The eyes, which o'er them shed tears feelingly and
In wretched interchange of wrong for wrong 'Midst a contentious world, striving where none are strong.
LXX. There, in a moment, we may plunge our years In fatal penitence, and in the blight Of our own soul, turn all our blood to tears, And colour things to come with hues of Night; The race of life becomes a hopeless fight To those that walk in darkness : on the sea, The boldest steer but where their ports invite,
But there are wanderers o'er Eternity (be. Whose bark drives on and on, and anchor'd ne'er shall
Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
LXXII. I live not in myself, but I become Portion of that around me; and to me High mountains are a feeling?, but the hum Of human cities torture : I can see Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be A link reluctant in a fleshly chain, Class'd among creatures, when the soul can flee,
And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
1 The colour of the Rhone at Geneva is blue, to a depth of tint which I have never seen equalled in water, salt or fresh, except in the Mediterranean and Archipelago. – [See Don Juan, c. XIV. st. 87. for a beautiful comparison :
" There was no great disparity of years,
Though much in temper : but they never clash'd :
Or like the Rhone by Leman's waters wash'd,
The river from the lake, all bluely dash'd
Which fain would luil its river child to sleep."'] ? [" Mr. Hobhouse and myself are just returned from a journey of lakes and mountains. We have been to the Grindelwald, and the Jungfrau, and stood on the summit of the Wengen Alp; and seen torrents of 900 feet in fall, and glaciers of all dinensions; we have heard shepherds' pipes, and avalanches, and looked on the clouds foaming up from the valley's below us like the spray of the ocean of hell. Cha• mouni, and that which it inherits, we saw a month ago ; but, though Mont Blanc is higher, it is not equal in wilduess to the Jungfrau, the Eighers, the Shreckhorn, and the Rose Glaciers." — B. Letters, Sept. 1816.)
[“ I have traversed all Rousseau's ground with the 'Héloise' before me, and am struck to a degree that I cannot express with the force and accuracy of his descriptions, and the beauty of their reality. Meillerie, Clarens, and Vevay, and the Chateau de Chillon, are places of which I shall say little : because all I could say must fall short of the impressions they stamp." — B. Letters.]
" (" It is evident that the impassioned parts of Rousseau's romance had made a deep impression upon the feelings of the noble poet. The enthusiasm expressed by Lord Bytop is no small tribute to ti power possessed by Jean Jacques over the passions: and, to say truth, we needed some such evidence ; for, though almost ashamed to avow the truth, - still, like the barber of Midlas, we must speak or die, — we have never been able to feel the interest or discover the merit of this far-famed performance. That there is much eloquence in the letters we readily admit: there lay Rousseau's strength. But his lovers, the celebrated St. Preux and Julie, have, from the earliest moment we have heard the tale (which we well remember), down to the present hour, totally failed to interest us. There might be some constituticnal hardness of heart; but lihe Lance's pebble-hearted cur, Crab, we remained dryeyed while all wept around us. And still, on resuming the
In him existence, and o'erflowing teems
LXXXIII. But this will not endure, nor be endured ! Mankind have felt their strength, and made it felt. They might have used it better, but, allured By their new vigour, sternly have they dealt On one another; pity ceased to melt With her once natural charities.
But they, Who in oppression's darkness caved had dwelt,
They were not eagles, nourish'd with the day; What marvel then, at times, if they mistook their prey ?
LXXXIV. What deep wounds ever closed without a scar ? The heart's bleed longest, and but heal to wear That which disfigures it; and they who war With their own hopes, and have been vanquish'd,
It came, it cometh, and will come, -
LXXX. His life was one long war with self-sought foes, Or friends by him self-banishd; for his mind Had grown Suspicion's sanctuary, and chose For its own cruel sacrifice the kind, 'Gainst whom he raged with fury strange and blind. But he was phrensied, wherefore, who may know? Since cause might be which skill could never find;
But he was phrensied by disease or woe To that worst pitch of all, which wears a reasoning show.
As from the Pythian's mystic cave of yore, -- Those oracles which set the world in fame,
Nor ceased to burn till kingdom.s were no more :
Till by the voice of him and his compeers,
grown fears ?
Sounds sweet as if a Sister's voice reproved, That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.
LXXXVI. It is the hush of night, and all between Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear, Mellow'd and mingling, yet distinctly seen, Save darken'd Jura, whose capt 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;
LXXXII. They made themselves a fearful monument ! The wreck of old opinions -- things which grew, Breathed from the birth of time: the veil they rent, And what behind it lay, all earth shall view. But good with ill they also overthrew, Leaving but ruins, wherewith to rebuild Upon the same foundation, and renew
Dungeons and thrones, which the same hour re-fillid, As heretofore, because ambition was self-will’d.
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
volume, even now, we can see little in the loves of these two tiresome pedants to interest our feelings for either of them. To state our opinion in language (sce Burke's Reflections) much better than our own, we are unfortunate enough to re. gard this far-famed history of philosophical gallantry as an * unfashioned, indelicate, sour, gloomy; ferocious medley of pedantry and lewdness; of metaphysical speculations, blended with the coarsest sensuality." - SIR WALTER SCOTT.]
I This refers to the account in his “ Confessions" of his passion for the Comtesse d'Houdetot (the mistress of St. Lambert, and his long walk every morning, for the sake of the single kiss which was the common salutation of French acquaintance. Rousseau's description of his feelings on this occasion may be considered as the most passionate, yet not impure, description and expression of love that ever kindled into words, which, after all, must be felt, from their very
force, to be inadequate to the delineation : a painting can give no sufficient idea of the ocean.
? ("Lord Byron's character of Rousseau is drawn with great force, great power of discrimination, and great eloquence. I know not that he says any thing which has not been said before ;- but what he says issues, apparently, from the recesses of his own mind. It is a little laboured, which, possibly, may be caused by the form of the stanza into which it was necessary to throw it; but it cannot be doubted that the poet felt a sympathy for the enthusiastic tenderness of Rousseau's genius, which he could not have recognised with such extreme ferrour, except from a consciousness of having at least occasionally experienced similar emotions." — SIR E. BHYDGES.]
3 [During Lord Byron's stay in Switzerland, he took up his resideuce at the Campagne-Diodati, in the village of
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
XCIII. And this is in the night :- Most glorious night! Tliou 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 't is black, and now, the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth, As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.s
In us such love and reverence from afar, That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.
But hath a part of being, and a sense
Binding all things with beauty ; - 't would disarm Thie spectre Death, had he substantial power to harm.
Come, and compare
With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air, Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy pray'r !
XCIV. Now, where the swift Rhone cleaves his way between Heights which appear as lovers who have parted In hate, whose mining depths so intervene, That they can meet no more, though broken-hearted; Though in their souls, which thus each other thwarted, Love was the very root of the fond rage (parted :Which blighted their life's bloom, and then de
Itself expired, but leaving them an age Of years all winters,- - war within themselves to wage.
XcY. Now, where the quick Rhone thus hath cleft his way, The mightiest of the storms hath ta'en his stand : For here, not one, but many, make their play, And fing their thunder-bolts from hand to hand, Flashing and cast around: of all the band, The brightest through these parted hills hath fork'd His lightnings, - as if he did understand,
That in such gaps as desolation work'd, There the hot shaft should blast whatever therein
XCVI. Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings ! ye ! With night, and clouds, and thunder, and a soul To make these felt and feeling, well may be Things that have made me watchful; the far roll Of your departing voices, is the knoll Of what in me is sleepless, - if I rest. 4 But where of ye, oh tempests! is the goal ?
Are ye like those within the human breast ? Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest ?
Coligny. It stands at the top of a rapidly descending vineyard ; the windows commanding, one war, a noble view of The lake and of Genera; the other, up the lake. Every even. ing, the poet embarked on the lake ; and to the feelings created by these excursions we owe these delightful stanzas. Of his mode of passing a day, the following, from his Journal, is a pleasant specimen :
“ September 18. Called. Got up at five. Stopped at Vevay' two hours. View from the churchyard superb ; within it Ludlow (the regicide's) monument - black marble - long inscription ; Latin, but simple. Near him Broughton (who read King Charles's sentence to Charles Stuart) is buried, with a queer and rather canting inscription. Ludlow's house shown. Walked down to the lake side ; servants, carriages, saddle-horses, -all set off, and left us plantés là, by some istake. Hobhouse ran on before, and overtook them. Ar. rived at Clarens. Went to Chillon through scenery worthy of I know not whom; wen: over the castle again. Met an English party in a carriage; a lady in it fast asleep – fast asleep in the most anti-narcotic spot in the world, - excellent! After a slight and short dinner, visited the Château de Clarens. Saw all worth seeing, and then descended to the Bosquet de Julie,' &c. &c. : our guide full of Rousseau, whom he is eternally confounding with St. Preux, and mixing the man and the book. Went again as far as Chillon, to revisit the little
torrent from the hill behind it. The corporal who showed the wonders of Chillon was as drunk as Blucher, and to my mind) as great a man: he was deaf also ; and, thinking every one else so, roared out the legends of the castle so fearfully, that Hobhouse got out of humour. However, we saw things, from the gallows to the dungeons. Sunset reflected in the lake. Nine o'clock - going to bed. Have to get up at five to-morrow.")
1 See Appendix, Note [F]. ? The thunder-storm to which these lines refer occurred on the 13th of June, 1816, at midnight. I have seen, among the Acroceraunian mountains of Chimari, several more terrible, but none more beautiful.
3 [" This is one of the most beautiful passages of the poem. The fierce and far delight' of a thunder-storm is here de. scribed in verse almost as vivid as its lightnings. The lire thunder leaping among the rattling crags' - the voice of mountains, as if shouting to each other, the plashing of the big rain - the gleaming of the wide lake, lighted like a phos. phoric sea — present a picture of sublime terror, set of enjoy. ment, often attempted, but never so well. certainly never better, brought out in poetry." - SIR WALTER SCOTT:)
*[The Journal of his Swiss tour, which Lord Byron kept
Kissing his feet with murmurs; and the wood,
But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it stood, Offering to him, and his, a populous solitude,
XCVII. Could I embody and unbosom now That which is most within me, - could I wreak My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or weak, All that I would have sought, and all I scek, Bear, know, feel, and yet breathe - into one word, And that one word were Lightning, I would speak;
But as it is, I live and die unheard, With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword.
The swiftest thought of beauty, here extend, Mingling, and made by Love, unto one mighty end.
CIII. He who hath loved not, here would learn that lore, And make his heart a spirit; he who knows That tender mystery, will love the more, For this is Love's recess, where vain mnen's woes, And the world's waste, have driven him far from
those, For 't is his nature to advance or die ; He stands not still, but or decays, or grows
Into a boundless blessing, which may vie With the immortal lights, in its eternity!
XCIX. Clarens ! sweet Clarens!, birthplace of deep Love! Thine air is the young breath of passionate thought; Thy trees take root in Love ; the snows above The very Glaciers have his colours caught, And sun-set into rose-hues sees them wrought By rays which sleep there lovingly: the rocks, The permanent crags, tell here of Love, who sought
In them a refuge from the worldly shocks, Which stir and sting the soul with hope that woos,
- So shown
His soft and summer breath, whose tender power Passes the strength of storms in their most desolate
CI. All things are here of him; from the black pines, Which are his shade on high, and the loud roar Of torrents, where he listeneth, to the vines Which slope his green path downward to the shore, Where the bow'd waters meet him, and adore,
CV. Lausanne ! and Ferney ! ye have been the abodes Of names which unto you bequeath'd a name ;3 Mortals, who sought and found, by dangerous roads, A path to perpetuity of fame : They were gigantic'minds, and their steep aim Was, Titan-like, on daring doubts to pile Thoughts which should call down thunder, and
the flame Of Heaven, again assail'd, if Heaven the while On man and man's research could deign do more
for his sister, closes with the following mournful passage:
la the weather, for this tour, of thirteen days, I have been very fortunate - fortunate in a companion" (Mr. Hobhouse)
fortunate in our prospects, and exempt from even the little petty accidents and delays which often render journeys in a less wild country disappointing. I was disposed to be please ,
bear fatigue, and welcome privation, and have seen some of the noblest views in the world. But in all this, the recollection of bitterness, and more especially of recent and more home desolation, which must accompany me through life, has prered uçon me here; and neither the music of the shepherd, the crashing of the avalanche, nor the torrent, the mountain, the placier, the forest, nor the cloud, have for one moment lightened the weight iipon my heart, nor enabled me to lose my own wretched identity, in the majesty, and the power, and the glory, around, above, and beneath me."]
! (Stanzas xcix. to cxv. are exquisite. They have every thing which makes a poetical picture of local and particular
scenery, perfect. They exhibit a miraculous brilliancy and force of fancy; but the very fidelity causes a little constraint and labour of language. The poet seems to have been so engrossed by the attention to give vigour and fire to the imagery, that he both neglected and disdained to render himself more harmonious by diffuser words, which, while they might have improved the effect upon the ear, might have weakened the impression upon the mind. This mastery over new matter - this supply of powers equal not only to an untouched subject, but that subject one of peculiar and unequalled grandeur and beauty -- was sufficient to occupy the strongest poetical faculties, young as the author was, without adding to it all the practical skill of the artist. The stanzas, too, on Vol. taire and Gibbon are discriminative, sagacious, and just. They are among the proofs of that very great variety of talent which this Canto of Lord Byron exhibiis. - SIR E. BRYDGES.)
? See Appendix, Note [G]. 3 Voltaire and Gibbon.