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in the productions of his muse which have succeeded to the Childe Harold a suppression at least of those morbid doubts with which no man has a right, by the rules of coinmon charity, to invade the repose of other men, unless in the place of that which he endeavours to extirpate he can propose a better and a brighter belief.
We are sorry, under these circumstances, not to be able to say, that any thing has been produced by Lord Byron since his Childe Harold, at all answerable to the high promise of that performance. In the Childe Harold we found something extremely affecting in the proximity of contrast between Turkish and Grecian objects; between the vestiges of ancient grandeur that lie strewed upon the ground, and the proud structures of despotic ignorance which insult the memory of prostrate antiquity; between the dull dispositions of the existing order of things, and the forms of departed excellence with which fancy still peoples those consecrated regions. The images which such moral and natural pictures produce on the mind are instructive by the lessons they afford of the short destiny of the greatest human things, and of the mighty wisdom of that Being who has placed every thing under this law of change, in fulfilment of his ultimate immutable plan. The vivacity of this opposition of sentiment is one of those legitimate springs of poetic delight which Lord Byron has known well how to use in his Childe Harold. Turkish despotism, sensuality and ignorance filled up the dark parts of the picture, and gave tone, intensity and relief to every descripțion which brought the orators, captains, poets and artists of Greece to our recollection, and presented the image (certainly a flattering one) of those ages which gave the first employment to our infant fancy, and are associated with recollections which shed a gentle, mellow pleasure round the heart. Although the Turkish costume and manners may, in a general way, combine with and improve the interest of classic description, yet of themselves, and standing alone, they offer materials of such inflexible sameness, at once so sad, so savage, and so torpid, that the graces of poetry disclaim the alliance. Something, however, of such peculiar poetical attraction has been discovered by Lord Byron in the characters and manners of Turkey, that, in the neighbourhood of Parnassus and Pieria, his genius has preferred the haram and serai. If we could flatter ourselves that our remarks upon the Giaour, in the last number of our Review, had found their way to the noble poet, and operated to reform his practice in the smallest of those errors in taste on which we there animadverted, we should consider ourselves as having laid the literary world under some obligation. From whatever cause it may have arisen (if from the castigation of his own judgment, so much the better), .we are pleased to see that his lordship has abandoned the indolent method of writing in fragments. He now appears in a whole skin. „We have still, however, a general objection to those Turkish habiliments with which he delights to encumber himself. All the glittering oriental names of dress, caparisons and arms have lost their fascination by becoming familiar, and we begin to feel, that in his haram, his kiosk, or his serai, the Turk exhibits an inferior specimen of his kind; reaching neither in his virtues nor his vices the standard of the poetical character. But there is another sort of character of which Lord Byron seems to be extremely fond, and which, under different disguises, employs the principal force of his genius. Such was the Giaour, and such is Selim, the hero of this new poem ; and even the Childe Harold was not without the marks of a family resemblance.
It is not, we believe, until within these last forty or fifty years, that the pirate, the robber, and the man of blood, have shewn -themselves in our poems and novels to be tender lovers, generous friends, and persons altogether of the highest sentimental
cast; who, in short, if it were not for the exclusive spirit of our laws in respect to person and property, marriage and succession, might' possibly live among their fellow creatures without crime or reproach. These sturdy sentimentalists, these elegant outlaws, these stately despisers of form, are a class of entities that owe their existence principally to the ideal in morals so well known to the German philosophers, who have shewn how easy it is for a man to be the perpetrator of the deepest crimes, and, at the same time, to be actuated by feelings the most disinterested and exalted.
We have several objections to the last-mentioned character in sa poem; especially when it is designed to be the most conspicious and attractive personage; to be the individual, in short, in whose fortunes it is the object of the poet to force his reader to feel the most sensible interest. Such characters are unnatural at . best, because the law of our nature forbids this preposterous union of violence with tenderness, of habitual ferocity with gentle propensities. And, in a moral view, surely the tendencies must be
very bad of all such pictures as confound the relations of conduct and sentiment, and exhibit virtue as the fortuitous offspring of vagrant feelings rather than as the fair daughter of truth and conscience.
The great masters of imagination and sentiment among the ancients never thought of these strange combinations. They did not represent what they did not find in nature: and although they were often defective in the purity, and even the decencies of
morality, yet to none of them did it ever occur to dress up a motley pageant of opposite qualities, demi-god and devil united; every thing but man as he is.
Neither does that peculiar cast of sentiment which owes its birth in Europe to the chivalrous æra of society vindicate these aspersions of virtue or sensibility by representing them in alliance with rapine and outrage. The lawless condition of society in the feudal periods of modern bistory was such as greatly to encourage and shelter a tumultuous career of action, but still virtue was never debased by her connexions, and the true and honourable passion for the sex was always allied to “higherected thoughts seated in a heart of courtesy.
To love right furiously, and to press forward courageously to the possession of the fair one, are sufficient to constitute that chartered sort of hero which has been so great a favourite with our modern poets. And we are somewhat afraid, that many of the softer sex suffer themselves to contemplate, with feelings too like admiration, these tempestuous lovers, without considering for a moment, whether their intents are wicked or charitable," or whether they bring with them, “airs from heaven or blasts from hell."
We thought the Childe Harold an impudent, blaspheming sensualist, who was equally angry with nature and nature's God, for having stinted his voracity of pleasure. We were sorry to be obliged to travel in such low company to scenes so fruitful in moral instruction, so inviting to pensive meditation, and so doubled in interest by the graces of sentimental poetry. We have passed our judgment, also, upon the Giaour; and we now feel ourselves constrained to say, that we are in no better humour with Selim.
The events of this story are as follow. Giaffir, and Abdallah his brother, governed each a pachalick on the shores of the Hellespont. The former, a rapacious and cruel man, having contrived to procure his brother's death, by causing poison to be mixed in a cup of coffee, or some liquor given to him while in the bath, obtained the grant of his pachalick, and possessed himself of his treasures. Haroun, the chief eunuch in the serai of Abdailah, having an affection for his master's house, brought Selim, the only son of the murdered pacha, to Giaffir, and supplicated his mercy and protection. The young prince being received into the palace of his father's murderer, was brought up as his own and only son, and, as was supposed and intended by (riuffir, in total ignorance of his real father's fate. Selim was afterwards made acquainted with the dismal truth concerning the fate of Abdallah by Haroun, who had also been received into the horain of Gieffir, and who secretly attached himself to the son of
deas old unfortunate master. The young man, notwithstanding the care with which the jealous Giaftir contined him to the palace, and assigned him occupations calculated to render him inert and effeminate, had, with the help of Haroun, found means to make a tour among the islands of the Archipelago, and during this excursion had engaged himself with a band of pirates, who had chosen him for their leader, and with whom, for some time, he managed to carry on the trade of blood and plunder. Still, however, in the palace of his reputed father he maintained the character of a young prince of unwarlike disposition and effeminate habits. Zuleika, a young lady of exquisite beauty, was the only daughter of Giaffir, who, supposing herself to be the sister of Selim, allowed herself to live with him in an intercourse of the most affectionate familiarity; and though there was a difference in the nature of the attachment with which they regarded each other (Seliin being alone acquainted with the secret of his own birth), yet that attachment was equally devoted on both sides. Things being in this state, Zuleika was awakened one fine morning, by her brother's voice (for this brother had access to the harain at all hours) summoning her to accompany him in a walk into the garden groves, to enjoy the cool breezes of the sea, and read a poem of the Persian Sadi. Old Giaffir comes to the knowledge of this interesting ramble, and ordering the parties successively into his presence, rebukes Seline for his effeminate addiction to the luxuries of the garden, and the society of females, accompanying these reproofs with the charge of cowardice; at which the young man fires with indignation, and scarcely conceals his meditated revenge. After this conversation with the supposed son, another, of a less angry kind, takes place with Zuleika, to whom the father declares his intention to give her immediately in marriage to a powerful neighbouring pacha. As soon as Selim discovers this intention, the execution of which would be so fatal to his peace, in an interview with Zuleika he reveals to her the mysterious fact of his not being her brother, reserving the remainder of his story for a meeting which he appoints with her in a grotto of the garden of the haram, near the sea shore, and which was to take place after the evening drum had summoned the guards to supper and repose. The appointment is of course punctually kept, and the bold Selim and the trembling Zuleika reach the grotto in safety. Here, by the dim light of a solitary lamp, the gentle maid discovers in a nook piles of arms of " foreign hilt and blade," one of which was red with recent blood, and a cup on the board of soine potent beverage. Her lover, too, appears in his piratical dress, and appals her by his military aspect and figure. Here, while the arrival of his band is momen
tarily expected, he reveals to the astonished Zuleika the whole secret of his birth and breeding, and gives her to understand, that her destinies were to be woven with those of one whose life was a constant scene of peril and exposure ; being, as he described himself,
“ A leader of those pirate hordes
Would make thy waning cheek more pale.”. This affecting disclosure is scarcely finished, when Giaffir, with a numerous band of followers, appears in the garden in search of the fugitives. Selim, having first fired his pistol as a signal to hasten his comrades, now approaching the shore, encounters the whole hostile force; and, after killing several, gains the water's edge, his boat being now only five oars' length from the strand. Just at this moment, however, he turns to cast a parting look on his Zuleika, and receives the contents of Giaffir's pistol in his breast, which lays him a corse upon the waves. During this contest Zuleika, overcome by the shock of the dreadful scene, yielded up her gentle breath" in one wild cry—and all
The poem concludes with a very fanciful and poetical application of the eastern belief of the migration of the souls of the departed into the bodies of birds, and the elegant fable of the loves of the nightingale and the rose, to the sad separation of this hapless pair. We wish we could say that the other parts of the poem were equally deserving of praise.
“Within the place of thousand tombs
That shine beneath, while dark above
And withers not, though branch and leaf
Like early unrequited Love!
Evin in that deadly grove.
It's lonely lustre, meek and pale,
So white--so faint-the slightest gale
And yet, though storms and blight assail,
May wring it from the stem in vain-
The stalk some spirit gently rears,