« AnteriorContinuar »
The following poem was written, for the most part, amidst the scenes which it attempts to describe. It was begun in Albania; and the parts relative to Spain and Portugal were composed from the author's observations in those countries. Thus much it may be necessary to state for the correctness of the descriptions. The scenes attempted to be sketched are in Spain, Portugal, Epirus, Acarnania, and Greece. There for the present the poem stops : its reception will determine whether the author may venture lo conduct his readers lo the capital of the East, through Ionia and Phrygia: these two cantos are merely experimental.
A ficiitious character is introduced for the sake of giving some connexion to the piece; which, however, makes no pretension to regularity. It has been suggested to me by friends, on whose opinions I set a high value, that in this fictitious character, « Childe Harold,» I may incur the suspicion• of having intended some real personage : this I beg leave, once for all, to disclaim—Harold is the child of imagination, for the purpose I have stated. In some very trivial particulars, and those merely local, there might be grounds for such a notion ; but in the main points, I should hope, none whatever.
It is almost superfluous to mention that the appellation <. Childe, » as « Childe Waters, » « Childe Childers,» etc. is used as more cousonarit with the old structure of versification which. I have adopted. The « Good Night, » in the beginning of the first canto, was suggested by « l^ord Maxwell's Good Night, » in the Border Mihstrelsy, edited by Mr. Scott.
the different poems which have been published on Spanish subjects, there may be Found some slight coincidence in the first part, which treats of the Peninsula, but it can only be casual; as, with the exception of a few concluding stanzas, the whole of this poem was written in the Levant.
The stanza of Spenser, according to one of our most successful poets, admits of every variety. Dr. Beattie makes the following observation: « Not long ago I began a poem in the style and stanza of Spenser, in which I propose to give full scope to my inclination, and be either droll or pathetic, descriptive or sentimental, tender or satirical, as the humour strikes me ; for, if I mistake not, the measure which 1 have adopted admits equally of all these kinds of composition (i). » —Strengthened in my opinion by such authority, and by the exam
fle of some in the highest order of Italian poets, shall make no apology for attempts at similar variations in the following composition ; satisfied that, if they are unsuccessful, their failure must be in the execution, rather than in the design sanctioned by the practice of Ariosto, Thomson and Beattie.
(i) Seattle's Letters.
TO I AN THE.
Not iu those climes where I have late been straying,
Ah ! may'st thou ever be what now thou art,
Young Peri of the West!—'tis well for me
Happy, I ne'er shall see them in decline; • Happier, that while all younger hearts shall bleed, Mine shall escape the doom thine eyes assign To those whose admiration shall succeed, But mixed with pangs to Love's even loveliest hours decreed.
Oh ! let that eye, which, wild as the Gazelle's, Now brightly bold or beautifully shy, Wins as it wanders, dazzles where it dwells, Glance o'er this page ; nor to my verse deny That smile for which my breast might vainly sigh, Could I to thee be evermore than friend: This much, dear maid, accovd ; nor question why To one so young my strain I would commend, Put bid me with my wreath one matchless lily blend.
Such is thy name with this my verse entwined; And long as kinder eyes a look shall cast On Harold's page, lanthe's here enshrined Shall thus be first beheld, forgotten last: My days once numbered, shoufd this homage past Attract thy fairy fingers near the lyre Of him who hailed thee, loveliest as thou wast, Such is the most my memory may desire; Though more than Hope can claim, could Friendship less require.
Oh, thou! in Hellas deemed of heav'nly birth,
Whilome in Albion's isle there dwelt a youth, Who ne in virtue's ways did take delight; But spent his days in riot most uncouth, And vexed-with mirth the drowsy ear of Night. Ah, me! in sooth he was a shameless wight, Sore given to revel and ungodly glee; Few earthly things found favour in his sight Save concubines and carnal rompanie, And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.