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CVT. The one was fire and fickleness, a child, Jost mutable in wishes, but in mind A wit as various, – gay, grave, sage, or wild, — Historian, bard, philosophier, combined; He multiplied himself among mankind, The Proteus of their talents : But his own Breathed most in ridicule, - which, as the wind,
Blew where it listed, laying all things prone, – Now to o'erthrow a fool, and now to shake a throne.
CVII. The other, deep and slow, exhausting thought, And hiving wisdom with each studious year, In meditation dwelt, with learning wrought, And shaped his weapon with an edge severe, Sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer; The lord of irony,- that master-spell, Which stung his focs to wrath, which grew from fear,
And doom'd him to the zealot's ready Hell, Which answers to all doubts so eloquently well.
CVIII. Yet, peace be with their ashes, — for by them, If merited, the penalty is paid; It is not ours to judge, - far less condemn; The hour must come when such things shall be made Known unto all, - or hope and dread allay'd By slumber, on one pillow,- in the dust, Which, thus much we are sure, must lie decay'd ;
And when it shall revive, as is our trust, 'T will be to be forgiven, or suffer what is just.
To their most great and growing region, where The earth to her embrace compels the powers of air.
СХ. Italia! too, Italia ! looking on thee, Full flashes on the soul the light of ages, Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee, To the last halo of the chiefs and sages,
Who glorify thy consecrated pages ;
Her thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her fill,
Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought,
As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot;
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still
That two, or one, are almost what they seein,
« If it be thus, For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind."- MACBETH. ? It is said by Rochefoucault, that "there is always something in the misfortunes of men's best friends not displeasing to them."
3 [" It is not the temper and talents of the poet, but the use to which he puts them, on which his happiness or misery is grounded. A powerful and unbridled imagination is the author and architect of its own disappointments. Its fascina. tions, its exaggerated pictures of good and evil, and the mental distress to which they give rise, are the natural and necessary evils attending on that quick susceptibility of feeling and fancy incident to the poetical temperament. But the Giver of all talents, while he has qualified them each with its separate and peculiar alloy, has endowed the owner with the power of purifying and retining them. But, as is to moderate the arrogance of genius, it is justly and wisely made requisite, that he must regulate and tame the fire of his fancy, and de. scend from the heights to which she exalts him, in order to obtain ease of mind and tranquillity. The materials of happiness, that is, of such degree of happiness as is consistent with our present state, lie around us in profusion. But the man of talents must stoop to gather them, otherwise they would be beyond the reach of the mass of society, for whose benefit, as well as for his, Providence has created them. There is no
royal and no poetical path to contentment and heart's-ease:
I have thought
A whirling gulf of phantasy and flame
• Seinita certe Tranquillæ per virtutem patet unica vitæ.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.)
not extraordinary that I should recur to one still older My daughter ! with thy name this song begun and better, - to one who has beheld the birth and My daughter! with thy name thus much shaliend- eath of the other, and to whom I am far more inI see thee not, - I hear thee not, - but none debted for the social advantages of an enlightened Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend friendship, than -- though not ungrateful -- I can, or To whom the shadows of far years extend :
could be, to Childe Harold, for any public favour Albeit my brow thou never should'st behold, reflected through the poem on the poet, - to one, My voice shall with thy future visions blend, whom I have known long, and accompanied far,
And reach into thy heart, - when mine is cold, - whom I have found wakeful over my sickness and A token and a tone, even from thy father's mould. kind in my sorrow, glad in iny prosperity and firm
in my adversity, true in counsel and trusty in peril, CXVI.
- to a friend often tried and never found wanting; To aid thy mind's developement,- to watch - to yourself. Thy dawn of little joys, – to sit and see
In so doing, I recur from fiction to truth; and in Almost thy very growth, — to view thee catch dedicating to you, in its complete or at least concluded knowledge of objects, — wonders yet to thee ! state, a poetical work which is the longest, the most To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
thoughtful and comprehensive of my compositions, I And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss, – wish to do honour to myself by the record of many This, it should seem, was not reserved for me ; years' intimacy with a man of learning, of talent, of Yet this was in my nature : --- as it is,
steadiness, and of honour. It is not for minds like I know not what is there, yet something like to this. ours to give or to receive flattery ; yet the praises of
sincerity have ever been permitted to the voice of CXVII.
friendship; and it is not for you, nor even for others,
And an attainment, - all would be in vain, - day of my past existence, but which cannot poison Still thou would'st love me, still that more than life my future while I retain the resource of your friend. retain.
ship, and of my own faculties, will henceforth have a CXVIII.
more agreeable recollection for both, inasmuch as it The child of love, — though born in bitterness, will remind us of this my attempt to thank you for And nurtured in convulsion. Of thy sire
an indefatigable regard, such as few men have ex-
Fain would I waft such blessing upon thee, (me !! and what Athens and Constantinople were to us a
recently. The poem also, or the pilgrim, or both, have accompanied me from first to last; and perhaps it may be a pardonable vanity which induces me to reflect with complacency on a composition which in
some degree connects me with the spot where it was Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.
produced, and the objects it would fain describe ; and however unworthy it may be deemed of those magical
and memorable abodes, however short it may fall of CANTO THE FOURTH.
our distant conceptions and immediate impressions,
yet as a mark of respect for what is venerable, and Visto ho Toscana, Lombardia, Romagna,
of feeling for what is glorious, it has been to me a Quel Monte che divide, e quel che serra
source of pleasure in the production, and I part with Italia, e un mare e l'altro, che la bagna.
it with a kind of regret, which I hardly suspected that Ariosto, Satira iii.
events could have left me for imaginary objects.
With regard to the conduct of the last canto, there
will be found less of the pilgrim than in any of the TO JOHN HOBHOUSE, ESQ. A. M. F.R.S. &c.
preceding, and that little slightly, if at all, separated Venice, January 2, 1818.
from the author speaking in his own person. The MY DEAR HOBHOUSE,
fact is, that I had become weary of drawing a line
which every one seemed determined not to perceive : AFTER an interval of eight years between the com
like the Chinese in Goldsmith's “ Citizen of the position of the first and last cantos of Childe Harold,
World," whom nobody would believe to be a Chinese, the conclusion of the poem is about to be submitted
it was in vain that I asserted, and imagined that I to the public. In parting with so old a friend, it is
had drawn, a distinction between the author and the [** Byron, July 4. 1816. Diodati.” – MS.)
pilgrim; and the very anxiety to preserve this dif
ference, and disappointment at finding it unavailing, labourers' chorus, “ Roma! Roma! Roma! Roma so far crushed my efforts in the composition, that non è più come era prima," it was difficult not to determined to abandon it altogether — and have done contrast this melancholy dirge with the bacchanal
The opinions which have been, or may be, roar of the songs of exultation still yelled from the formed on that subject, are now a matter of indiffer- London taverns, over the carnage of Mont St. Jean, ence; the work is to depend on itself, and not on the and the betrayal of Genoa, of Italy, of France, and writer; and the author, who has no resources in his of the world, by men whose conduct you yourseif own mind beyond the reputation, transient or per- have exposed in a work worthy of the better days oi manent, which is to arise from his literary efforts, our history. For me, deserves the fate ot' authors.
“ Non movero mai corda In the course of the following canto it was my
Ove la turba di sue ciance assorda." intention, either in the text or in the notes, to have
What Italy has gained by the late transfer of natouched upon the present state of Italian literature,
tions, it were useless for Englishmen to inquire, till and perhaps of manners. But the text, within the
it becomes ascertained that England has acquired limits I proposed, I soon found hardly sufficient for
something more than a permanent army and a susthe labyrinth of external objects, and the consequent
pended Habeas Corpus; it is enough for them to look reflections; and for the whole of the notes, excepting
at home. For what they have done abroad, and espea few of the shortest, I am indebted to yourself, and
cially in the South, “ Verily they will hare their rethese were necessarily limited to the elucidation of
ward," and at no very distant period. the text. It is also a delicate, and no very grateful task, to
Wishing you, my dear Hobhouse, a safe and agree. dissert upon the literature and manners of a nation so
able return to that country whose real welfare can be
dearer to none than to yourself, I dedicate to you this dissimilar; and requires an attention and impartiality
poem in its completed state ; and repeat once more which would induce us — - though perhaps no inat
how truly I am ever, tentive observers, nor ignorant of the language or
Your obliged customs of the people amongst whom we have recently
And affectionate friend, abode - to distrust, or at least defer our judgment,
BYRON. and more narrowly examine our information. The state of literary, as well as political party, appears to run, or to hare run, so high, that for a stranger to steer impartially between them is next to impossible. It may be enough, then, at least for my purpose, to quote from their own beautiful language -“ Mi
I. pare che in un paese tutto poetico, che vanta la lin- I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; gua la più nobile ed insieme la più dolce, tutte tutte A palace and a prison on each hand : le vie diverse si possono tentare, e che sinche la I saw from out the wave her structures rise patria di Alfieri e di Monti non ha perduto l'antico As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand : valore, in tutte essa dovrebbe essere la prima.” Italy A thousand years their cloudy wings expand has great names still -- Canova, Monti, Ugo Foscolo, Around me, and a dying Glory smiles Pindemonte, Visconti, Morelli, Cicognara, Albrizzi, O'er the far times, when many a subject land Mezzophanti, Mai, Mustoxidi, Aglietti, and Vacca, Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles, (isles ! will secure to the present generation an honourable Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred place in most of the departments of Art, Science, and Belles Lettres; and in some the very highest –
II. Europe -- the World — has but one Canova.
She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean, It has been somewhere said by Alfieri, that “La Rising with her tiara of proud towers pianta uomo nasce più robusta in Italia che in qua- At airy distance, with majestic motion, lunque altra terra -e che gli stessi atroci delitti che A ruler of the waters and their powers : vi si commettono ne sono una prova.” Without sub- And such she was ; - her daughters had their dowers scribing to the latter part of his proposition, a dan. From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East gerous doctrine, the truth of which may be disputed Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers. on better grounds, namely, that the Italians are in no In purple was she robed, and of her feast respect more ferocious than their neighbours, that Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increased. man must be wilfully blind, or ignorantly heedless, who is not struck with the extraordinary capacity of
III. this people, or, if such a word be admissible, their In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more, s capabilities, the facility of their acquisitions, the ra- And silent rows the songless gondolier ; pidity of their conceptions, the fire of their genius, Her palaces are crumbling to the shore, their sense of beauty, and, amidst all the disadvantages And music meets not always now the ear: of repeated revolutions, the desolation of battles, and Those days are gone — but Beauty still is here. the despair of ages, their still unquenched "longing States fall, arts fade— but Nature doth not die, after immortality," — the immortality of independ- Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear, ence. And when we ourselves, in riding round The pleasant place of all festivity, the walls of Rome, heard the simple lament of the The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy !
I See Appendix, * Historical Notes," No.1.
• Sabellicus, describing the appearance of Venice, has made use of the above image, which would not be poetical were it not true. -- “ Quo fit ut qui superne urbem contempletur,
turritam telluris imaginem medio Oceano figuratam se putet inspicere.”
3 See Appendix, “ Historical Notes," No. II.
IV. But unto uis she hath a spell beyond Her name in story, and her long array Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms despond Above the dogeless city's vanish'd sway; Ours is a trophy which will not decay With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor, And Pierre, can not be swept or worn away —
The keystones of the arch! though all were o'er, For us repeopled were the solitary shore.
I planted, - they have torn me, and I bleed : I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.
And monarchs gazed and envied in the hour When Venice was a queen with an unequallid dower.
Watering the heart whose early flowers have died, And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.
VI. Such is the refuge of our youth and age, The first from Hope, the last from Vacancy; And this worn feeling peoples many a page, And, may be, that which grows beneath mine eye: Yet there are things whose strong reality Outshines our fairy-land ; in shape and hues More beautiful than our fantastic sky,
And the strange constellations which the Muse O'er her wild universe is skilful to diffuse :
XII. The Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reigns An Emperor tramples where an Emperor knelt; Kingdoms are shrunk to provinces, and chains Clank over sceptred cities; nations melt From power's bigh pinnacle, when they have felt The sunshine for a while, and downward go Like lauwine loosen'd from the mountain's belt;
Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo !4 'Th' octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe.
VII. I saw or dream'd of such, - but let them go, They came like truth, and disappear'd like dreams; And whatsoe'er they were — are now but so : I could replace them if I would; still teens My mind with many a form which aptly seems Such as I sought for, and at moments found; Let these too go — for waking Reason deems
Such over-weening phantasies unsound, And other voices speak, and other sights surround.
XIII. Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass, Their gilded collars glittering in the sun ; But is not Doria's menace come to pass ? 5 Are they not bridled! - Venice, lost and won, Her thirteen hundred years of freedom done, Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose ! Better be whelm'd beneath the waves, and shun,
Even in destruction's depth, her foreign focs, From whom submission wrings an infamous repose.
VIII. I've taught me other tongues — and in strange eyes Have made me not a stranger; to the mind Which is itself, no changes bring surprise ; Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find A country with — ay, or without mankind; Yet was I born where men are proud to be, Not without cause ; and should I leave behind
The inviolate island of the sage and free, And seek me out a home by a remoter sea,
XIV. In youth she was all glory, - a new Tyre,Her very by-word sprung from victory, The “ Planter of the Lion 6," which through fire And blood she bore o'er subject earth and sea; Though making many slaves, herself still free, And Europe's bulwark 'gainst the Ottomite ; Witness Troy's rival, Candia ! Vouch it, ye
Immortal waves that saw Lepanto's fight! For ye are names no time nor tyranny can blight.
XV. Statues of glass -all shiver'd—the long file Of her dead Doges are declined to dust; But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pile Bespeaks the pageant of their splendid trust; Their sceptre broken, and their sword in rust, Have yielded to the stranger : empty balls, Thin streets, and foreign aspects, such as must
Too oft remind her who and what enthrals, 7 Have flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely walls.
6 That is, the Lion of St. Mark, the standard of the republic, which is the origin of the word Pantaloon - Piantaleone, Pantaleon, Pantaloon.
See Appendix, “ Historical Notes," No. VII.
In vain should such example be; if they, Things of ignoble or of savage mood,
Endure and shrink not, we of nobler clay May temper it to bear, – it is but for a day.
XXII. All suffering doth destroy, or is destroy'd, Even by the sufferer; and, in each event, Ends : – Some, with hope replenish'd and rebuoy'd, Return to whence they came — with like intent, And weave their web again; some, bow'd and bent, Wax
gray and ghastly, withering ere their time, And perish with the reed on which they leant;
Some scek devotion, toil, war, good or crime, According as their souls were form'd to sink or climb.
XXIII. But ever and anon of griefs subdued There comes a token like a scorpion's sting, Scarce seen, but with fresh bitterness imbued ; And slight withal may be the things which bring Back on the heart the weight which it would fing Aside for ever: it may be a sound A tone of music — summer's eve — or spring — A flower - the wind - - the ocean - which shall wound,
[bound; Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly
XXIV. And how and why we know not, nor can trace Home to its cloud this lightning of the mind, But feel the shock renew'd, nor can efface The blight and blackening which it leaves behind, Which out of things familiar, undesign'd, When least we deem of such, calls up to view The spectres whom no exorcism can bind, The cold — the changed — perchance the dead anew,
(how few! The mourn'd, the loved, the lost — too many 1-yet
Wherein were cast the heroic and the free,
XXVI. The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome ! And even since, and now, fair Italy ! Thou art the garden of the world, the home Of all Art yields, and Nature 4 can decree ; Even in thy desert, what is like to thee ? Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste More rich than other climes' fertility ;
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced With an immaculate charm which can not be defaced.
Starts from its belt - he rends his captive's chains, And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains.
Abandon Ocean's children; in the fall
XVIII. I loved her from my boyhood - she to me Was as a fairy city of the heart, Rising like water-columns from the sea, Of joy the sojourn, and of wealth the mart; And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakspeare's art, ? Had stamp'd her image in me, and even so, Although I found her thus, we did not part,
Perchance even dearer in her day of woe, Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show.
XIX. I can repeople with the past - and of The present there is still for eye and thought, And meditation chasten'd down, enough; And more, it may be, than I hoped or sought; And of the happiest moments which were wrought Within the web of my existence, some From thee, fair Venice ! have their colours caught :
There are some feelings Time can not benumb, Nor Torture shake, or mine would now be cold and dumb.
XX. But from their nature will the tannen grow Loftiest on loftiest and least shelter'd rocks, Rooted in barrenness, where nought below Of soil supports them 'gainst the Alpine shocks Of eddying storms; yet springs the trunk, and mocks The howling tempest, till its height and frame Are worthy of the mountains from whose blocks
Or bleak, gray granite, into life it came, And grew a giant tree; - the mind may grow the same.
1 The story is told in Plutarch's Life of Nicias.
; Venice Preserved ; Mysteries of Cdolpho; the GhostSecr, or Armenian ; the Merchant of Venice; Othello,
3 Tannen is the plural of tanne', a species of fir peculiar to the Alps, which only thrives in very rocky parts, where scarcely soil suficient for its nourishment can be found. On these spots it grows to a greater height than any other mountain tree.
[The whole of this canto is rich in description of Nature. The love of Nature now appears as a distinct passion in Lord Byron's mind. It is a love that does not rest in beholding, nor is satisfied with describing, what is before him. It has a power and being, blending itseli with the poet's very lite. Though Lord Byron had, with his real eyes, perhaps, seen more of Nature than ever was before permitted to any great poet, yet he never before seemed to open his whole heart to