Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

pages i Rogers thought Byron's finest passage was that on Solitude, in the second canto of the poem :

To sit on rocks, to muse o’er food and fell,

To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,

And mortal foot hath ne’er, or rarely, been;

To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;

Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean ;
This is not solitude ; 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and see her stores unrolld.

But midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,

To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tired denizen,

With none who bless us, none whom we can bless ;

Minions of splendour shrinking from distress !
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,

If we were not, would seem to smile the less,
Of all that fattered, followed, sought, and sued:
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude !

Here are his moral reflections on a skull:

Look on its broken arch, its ruined wall,

Its chambers desolate, and portals foul :
Yes, this was once ambition's airy hall,

The dome of thought, the palace of the soul :
Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
The gay recess of wisdom and of wit,

And passion's host, that never brook'd control:
Can all saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?

How vividly he presents to us the scene of a Spanish bullfight :

The lists are oped, the spacious area cleared,

Thousands on thousands piled are seated round;
Long ere the first loud trumpet's note is heard,

No vacant space for lated wight is found;
Here dons, grandees, but chiefly dames, abound,

[ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Skill'd in the ogle of a roguish eye,

Yet ever well inclined to heal the wound:
None through their cold disdain are doom’d to die,
As moon-struck bards complain, by love's sad archery.

Hushed is the din of tongues—on gallant steeds,

With milk-white crest, gold spur, and light-poised lance,
Four cavaliers prepare for venturous deeds,

And lowly bending to the lists, advance :
Rich are their scarfs, their chargers featly prance :

If in the dangerous game they shine to-day,

The crowd's loud shout and ladies' lovely glance,
Best prize of better acts, they bear away,
And all that kings or chiefs e'er gain, their toils repay.

In costly sheen and gaudy cloak arrayed,

But all a-foot, the light-limb’d Matadore Stands in the centre, eager to invade

The lord of lowing herds; but not before

The ground, with cautious tread, is traversed o’er,
Lest aught unseen should lurk to thwart his speed:

His arms a dart, he fights aloof, nor more
Can man achieve without the friendly steed, -
Alas! too oft condemn’d for him to bear and bleed.

Thrice sounds the clarion ; lo ! the signal falls,

The den expands, and Expectation mute Gapes round the silent circle's peopled walls.

Bounds with one lashing spring the mighty brute,

And, wildly staring, spurns, with sounding foot,
The sand, nor blindly rushes on his foe :

Here, there, he points his threatening front, to suit
His first attack, wide waving to and fro
His angry tail ; red rolls his eye’s dilated glow.

Sudden he stops : his eye is fix’d: away,

Away, thou heedless boy! prepare the spear : Now is thy time to perish, or display

The skill that yet may check his mad career.

With well-timed croupe the nimble coursers veer ; On foams the bull, but not unscathed he goes;

Streams from his flank the crimson torrent clear ; He Aies, he wheels, distracted with his throes; Dart follows dart; lance, lance; loud bellowings speak his woes.

*

*

Foiled, bleeding, breathless, furious to the last,

Full in the centre stands the bull at bay,
Mid wounds and clinging darts, and lances brast,

And foes disabled in the brutal fray ;

And now the Matadores around him play,
Shake the red cloak, and poise the ready brand :

Once more through all he bursts his thundering way-
Vain rage! the mantle quits the conynge hand,
Wraps his fierce eye—'tis past—he sinks upon the sand !

[ocr errors]

Byron was a facile writer,—he composed his Bride of Abydos in a single night, and, it is said, without once mending his pen : this is not improbable, since his chirography was not remarkably distinct. The Corsair, which has been thought by some critics his best production, was written in three weeks. Byron is said to have received from Murray, his publisher, for the entire copyrights of his works, upwards of thirty thousand guineas.

Among the numerous fine images which adorn Byron's poetry, Wordsworth considered the two following the most felicitous :

Yet, Freedom! yet thy banner, torn, but Aying,
Streams like the thunder-storm against the wind !

For Freedom's battle, once begun,
Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft, is ever won!

C

Here are some more beautiful gems :

Between two worlds life hovers like a star,

'Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge : How little do we know that which we are !

How less what we may be! The eternal surge

ешта у

surg

Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar

Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge,
Lash'd from the foam of ages; while the graves
Of empires heave but like some passing waves.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar :

I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal

From all I may be, or have been before,

To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

The Rainbow :

A heavenly chameleon,
The airy child of vapour and the sun,
Brought forth in purple, cradled in vermilion,

Baptized in molten gold, and swathed in dun,
Glittering like crescents o'er a Turk’s pavilion,

And blending every colour into one.

CO

n

[ocr errors]

a

e

WI

Poetry has been sometimes styled the “flower of experience ;” and we have an illustration of this in the case of Crabbe, who so well knew, from his own early struggles and privations, both how to pity and portray those of others. He was the poet of the poor, and for the fidelity of his sketches has been called “the Hogarth of verse.” Well might Washington Irving-referring to the numerous instances in which the poetic gift has been cradled in obscurity and poverty—quaintly remark, “Genius delights to nestle its off

ге

[ocr errors]

S

« AnteriorContinuar »