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Hotices and Reviews.

In order to convey some idea of the nature and extent of the criticism called forth by “Don Juan,” we give a selection from the reviews which appeared, beginning with the newspapers.

THE MORNING POST. “If it is not-and truth compels us to admit it is not)-the most moral production in the world, but more in the ‘Beppo' style, yet is there nothing of the sort which Scandal with her hundred tongues whispered abroad, and Malignity joyfully believed and repeated, contained in it. 'Tis simply a tale and righte merrie conceit, flighty, wild, extravagant-immoral too, it must be confessed; but no arrows are levelled at innocent bosoms, no sacred family peace invaded, and they must have, indeed, a strange self-consciousness, who can discover their own portrait in any part of it." (July, 1819.)

MORNING HERALD. “It is hardly safe or discreet to speak of 'Don Juan,' that truant offspring of Lord Byron's muse. It may be said, however, that, with all its sins, the copiousness and flexibility of the English language were never before so triumphantly approved--that the same compass of talent the grave, the gay, the great, the small,' comic force, humour, metaphysics, and observation-boundless fancy and ethereal beauty, and curious knowledge, curiously applied, have never been blended with the same felicity in any other poem.”

ST JAMES'S CHRONICLE. “Of indirect testimony, that the poem comes from the pen of Lord Byron, there is enough to enforce conviction. The same full command of our language, the same thorough knowledge of all that is evil in our nature, the condensed energy of sentiment, and the striking boldness of imagery-all the characteristics by which Childe Harold,' the ‘Giaour,' and the ‘Corsair, are distinguished-shine with kindred splendour in Don Juan. Would we had not to add another point of resemblance, in the utter absence of moral feeling, and the hostility to religion which betray themselves in almost every passage of the new poem But “Don Juan’ is, alas! the most licentious poem which has for many years issued from the English press."

NEW TIMES. “The work is clever and pungent, sometimes reminding us of the earlier and more inspired day of the writer, but chiefly characterised by his latter style of scattered versification and accidental poetry. Lord Byron knows the additional vigour to be found in drawing from the life; and his portraiture of the literary matron, who is, like Michael Cassio, a great arithmetician, some touches on the folly of female studies, and a lament over the henpecked husbands who are linked to 'ladies intellectual,' are obviously the results of domestic recollections."

LITERARY GAZETTE (then edited by William Jerdan, who will be remembered for his seizure of Bellingham, the assassin of Perceval, and the establishment of the first Weekly Journal of Criticism in England).

There is neither author's nor publisher's name to this book; and the large quarto titlepage looks quite pure, with only seventeen words scattered over its surface: perhaps we cannot say that there is equal purity throughout; but there is not much of an opposite kind, to offend even fastidious criticism, or sour morality. Even when we blame the too great laxity of the poet, we cannot but feel a high admiration of his talent. Far superior to the libertine he paints, fancifulness and gaiety gild his worst errors, and no brute force is employed to overthrow innocence. Never was English festooned into more luxuriant stanzas than in 'Don Juan.' Like the dolphin sporting in its native waves, at every turn, however grotesque, displaying a new hue and a new beauty, the noble author has shown an


absolute control over his means; and at every cadence, rhyme, or construction, however whimsical, delighted • us with novel and magical associations. The style and nature of this poem appear to us to be a singular mixture of burlesque and pathos, of humorous observation and the higher elements of poetical composition. In ribaldry and drollery, the author is surpassed by many writers who have had their day and sunk into oblivion ; but in highly wrought interest, and overwhelming passion, he is himself alone.'

THE CHAMPION. “Don Juan' is undoubtedly from the pen of Lord Byron; and the mystery in the publication seems to be nothing but a bookseller's trick to excite curiosity and enhance the sale; for although the book is infinitely more immoral than the publications against which the prosecutions of the Society for the Suppression of Vice are directed, we find nothing in it that could be likely to be regarded as actionable. Some, while they war against religion, pay homage to morality; and others, while they subvert all morals, cant about religion ; Lord Byron displays at once all the force and energy of his faculties, all the powers of poetry, and the missiles of wit and ridicule, against whatever is respectable in either. Though, in those parts which affect to be critical, the wantonness of wit is sometimes more apparent than the sedateness of impartial judgment; and Though the politics occasionally savour more of caustic misanthropy, than of that ardent patriotic enthusiasm which constitutes the charm of that subject-upon both these topics, on the whole, we find much more to commend than to censure.

MONTHLY REVIEW. Don Juan' is a poem, which, if originality and variety be the surest test of genius, has certainly the highest title to it; and which, we think, would have puzzled Aristotle, with all his strength of poetics, to explain, have animated Longinus with some of its passages, have delighted Aristophanes, and have choked Anacreon with joy instead of with a grape. We might almost imagine that the ambition had seized the author to please and to displease the world at the same time. He has here exhibited that wonderful versatility of style and thought, which appears almost incompatible within the scope of a single subject; and the familiar and the sentimental, the witty and the sublime, the sarcastic and the pathetic, the gloomy and the droll, are all touched with so happy an art, and mingled together with such a power of union, yet such a discrimination of style, that a perusal of the poem appears more like a pleasing and ludicrous dream, than the sober feeling of reality."

LONDON MAGAZINE. “Lord Byron's poem of 'Don Juan,' though a wonderful proof of the versatility of his powers, is avowedly licentious. It is a satire on decency, on fine feeling, on the rules of conduct necessary to the conservation of society, and on some of his own near connections. Vivacious allusions to certain practical irregularities are things which it is to be supposed innocence is strong enough to resist ; but the quick alternation of pathos and profaneness,-of serious and moving sentiment and indecent ribaldry,-of afflicting, soul-rending pictures of human distress, rendered keen by the most pure and hallowed sympathies of the human breast, and absolute jeering of human nature, and general mockery of creation, destiny, and heaven itself—this is a sort of violence, the effect of which is either to sear or to disgust the mind of the reader, and which cannot be fairly characterised but as an insult and outrage.”

ECLECTIC REVIEW. “We have had enough of that with which Lord Byron's poetry is replete-himself. The necessary progress of character, as developed in his last reputed production, has conducted him to a point at which it is no longer safe to follow him even in thought for fear we should be beguiled of any portion of the detestation due to this bold outrage. Poetry which it is impossible not to read without admiration, yet which it is equally impossible to admire without losing some degree of self-respect, can be safely dealt with only in one way,-by passing it over in silence,

“He writes like a man who has that clear perception of the truth of things which is the result of the guilty knowledge of good and evil; and who, by the light of

that knowledge, has deliberately preferred the evil, with a proud malignity of purpose, which would seem to leave little for the last consummating change to accomplish. When he calculates that the reader is on the verge of pitying him, he takes care to throw him back the defiance of laughter, as if to let him know that all the Poet's pathos is but the sentimentalism of the drunkard between his cups, or the relenting softness of the courtesan, who the next moment resumes the bad boldness of her degraded character. With such a man who would wish to laugh or to weep? And yet, who that reads him can refrain alternately from either ? "

THE BRITISH CRITIC. “A satire was announced, in terms so happily mysterious, as to set the town on the very tiptoe of expectation. A thousand low and portentous murmurs preceded its birth. At one time it was declared to be so intolerably severe, that an alarming increase was to be apprehended in the catalogue of our national suicides; at another, it was stated to be of a complexion so blasphemous, as even in these days of liberality, to endanger the personal security of the bookseller. After all this portentous parturition, out creeps 'Don Juan,' -and, doubtless, much to the general disappointment of the town, as innocent of satire as any other Don in the Spanish dominions. Of the four hundred and odd stanzas which the two Cantos contain, not a tittle could, even in the utmost latitude of interpretation, be dignified by the name of poetry. It has not wit enough to be comic; it has not spirit enough to be lyric: nor is it didactic of anything but mischief. The versification and morality are about upon a par; as far, therefore, as we are enabled to give it any character at all, we should pronounce it a narrative of degrading debauchery in doggrel rhyme. The style which the noble lord has adopted is tedious and wearisome to a most insufferable degree. In the present thick and heavy quarto, containing upwards of four hundred doggrel stanzas, there are not a dozen places that, even in the merriest mood, could raise a smile."

MY GRANDMOTHER'S REVIEW, THE BRITISH.” “This poem is sold in the shops as the work of Lord Byron ; but the name of neither author nor bookseller is on the title page: we are, therefore, at liberty to

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