« AnteriorContinuar »
f the world, though divided by distas:
ion and adoration, was a Christian-
the devious mind of man, by showing
, ity is an exalted commentary upon
it ose life was a glorious example of its -wn from the pure fountain of the Chris e, in all ages, a subject of the highest
There are some names in literary history that we would gladly pass over in silence, were it not that their talents and genius demand some notice from the chronicler of letters. This is the case with Lord Byron. Such was his waywardness of character, such his vicious propensities, and such his gross licentiousness and open infidelity, that we would gladly do our part that his name should be forever buried in oblivion, were it not that, in consequence of his brilliant genius and his uncommon mental endowments, the interest of the public mind was so generally, and for so long a time, concentrated upon him. We must, therefore, give him a place among the authors of the nineteenth century.
George Gordon Byron, the only son of Captain Byron and Catharine, sole child and heiress of George Gordon, Esq., of Gight, in Scotland, was born in London on the 22d of January, 1788. After preparing for the University at Harrow School, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, 1805, with a reputation for general information very rare in one of his age. Indeed, we have his own record of an almost incredible list of works, in many departments of literature, which he had read before the age of fifteen. At the university, be neglected the prescribed course of study, but was by no means idle. In 1807, appeared his first published work, “ The Hours of Idleness," a collection of poems in no way remarkable, and now chiefly remembered through the castigation which it received through the “ Edin. burgh Review." To this critique, which galled, but did not depress him, we owe the first spirited outbreak of his talents, in the satire entitled “ English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," which was published in 1809. Able and vigorous as this was, and creditable to his talents, it contained so many harsh and absurd judgments, that he was afterwards anxious to sup
uthor that the Christian fable is but the
superstitions of the world, and may be er understanding of the mythologies of en understand those mythologies? Wis Paine in the superstitions of the world
, or ille
A few days before the publication of this satire, he took his seat in the House of Lords ; but he was ill qualified to shine in politics, and made no impression. The same year he left England, and travelled on the continent. In 1811, he returned home, his private affairs being much embarrassed, and having lost his mother. He brought with him the two first cantos of “Childe Harold," which he had written abroad. They were published in March, 1812, and were received by the public with the most unbounded admiration, so that Byron emerged at once from a state of loneliness and neglect, unusual for one in his sphere of life, to be the magnet and idol of society. As he tersely says in his memoranda, “I awoke one morning, and found myself famous." In May of the next year, appeared his “Giaour;" and in November, the “Bride of Abydos" (written in a week); and, about three months afterwards, the " Corsair," written in the astonishingly short space of ten days. On the 2d of January, 1815, he was married to Miss Milbanke, the only daughter and heiress of Sir Ralph Milbanke, the only issue of which marriage was Augusta
ons, yet joining as it were in one sub-
Ada, born on the 10th of December of that year. On the 15th of January of the next year, the husband and wife separated for ever. The cause of this was, and still is, a mystery. But most of those who composed the circles in which Lord Byron moved declared against him, and society with. drew its countenance. Deeply stung by the verdict, he resolved to leave his country, and on the 25th of April, 1816, he quitted England for the last time. His course was through Flanders, and along the Rhine to Switzer. land, where he resided until the close of the year, and where he composed some of his most powerful works-the third canto of “Childe Harold,” the “Prisoner of Chillon,” “ Darkness," "The Dream,” part of “Manfred," and a few minor poems. The next year he went to Italy, where, for a course of years, he gave himself up to the grossest species of libertinism; and where, as might be expected, he wrote his most licentious and blasphemous works.
In 1823, he interested himself warmly in the cause of the Greeks, then struggling to throw off the Turkish yoke; and in December of that year, sailed for Greece, with all the funds he could command, to aid the oppressed in their efforts for freedom. This was, certainly, a redeeming trait in his character, and we are glad to record it. On the 5th of January, 1824, he arrived at Missolonghi, where his reception was enthusiastic, the whole population coming out to meet him. But he had scarcely arranged his plans to aid the nation he had so befriended, when he was seized with a sever, and expired on the 191h of April, 1824.
Of the character of Lord Byron's poetry, there can be but one opinion with every honest and pure mind-that, while it exhibits powers of description unusually great, and is full of passages of exquisite beauty, it cannot, as a whole, be read without the most injurious influence upon the moral sensibilities. The tendency of it is to shake our confidence in virtue, and to diminish our abhorrence of vice; to palliate crime, and to unsettle our notions of right and wrong. “Humiliating was the waste and degradation of his genius, and melancholy is the power which his poetry has exerted upon multitudes of minds.' The moral tendency of some of his poems is exceedingly pernicious: his complete works ought never to be purchased, and we may feel proud not to be acquainted with them, except by extracts and beauties.” Indeed, if any one should possess the fiendish desire to break down the principles of virtue in any young man or young woman, the best way to begin would be to put a copy of Byron's works into the hands of the destined victim. “Forewarned-forearmed.”
TIIE DYING GLADIATOR.
The seal is set.-Now welcome, thou dread power !
* And yet there are said to be schools where his works are regularly studied. Proh pridor !
9 We read with horror the accounts of the gladiatorial exhibitions among the
ence of vice; to palliate crime, and is
of that year. On the 15th of January wife separated for ever. The cause di But most of those who composed the declared against him, and society with. g by the verdict, he resolved to leave 1, 1816, he quitted England for the las nders, and along the Rhine to Srizer' close of the year, and where he cos. I works-the third canto of "Chille 7," " Darkness," "The Dream," part
poems. The next year he went ! 9, he gave himself up to the grosses! e, as might be expected, he wrote bis
Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight hour
That we become a part of what has been,
And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
Of worms-on battle-plains or listed spot?
I see before me the gladiator lie:
The arena swims around him; he is gone,
He heard it, but he heeded not; his eyes
All this rushed with his blood. Shall he expire,
warmly in the cause of the Greeks. urkish yoke; and in December of the ne funds he could command, to aid th: edom. This was, certainly, a redeco
are glad to record it. On the 3th
the Hih of April, 1824.
ong. · Humiliating was the wastes ancholy is the power which his pery nds.' The moral tendency of some art s: his complete works ought oud not to be acquainted with the
rinciples of virtue in any young man er
Romans, so barbarous, so brutal; and were not the historical evidence irrefutable, we could hardly believe that in one city alone (Capua) forty thousand were kept, and fed, and trained to butcher each other for the gratification of the Roman people. But let us be honest, and not have too much self-complacency. " Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull the mote out of thy brother's eye." What better, in principle, are the modern military schools”-the modern ludi gladiatorii-among so called Christian nations ? Are not young men trained in them, for years, to learn the art of human butchery—to learn how to kill their fellow men most scientifically? May the day speedily come when our land, by utterly abolishing such establishments, shall set, in this respect, a Christian example to all the nations of the earth!
I victim. “ Forewarned—forearmēt."
, thou dread power! which here
t'the gladiatorial exhibitions among the
APOSTROPHE TO THE OCEAN.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
thou deep and dark blue Ocean-roll!
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan-
His steps are not upon thy paths—thy fields
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee-
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow:
is woods, hore: tides,
roar; re more, jich I steal before, d feel ot all conceal.
Ocean-roll! thee in vain; - luis control watery plain doth remain his own, of rain, bbling groan
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
And I have loved thee, Ocean ! and my joy
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
NIGIIT AT CORINTII.1
ned, and unknown. -thy fields
ale strength he wields
Il despise, the skies, playful spray,
ere let him lay. ike the walls as quake, -pitals; ibs make ke
"Tis midnight: on the mountains browu
In 1715, Corinth, then in the possession of the Venetians, was besieged by the Turks. In the “Siege of Corinth,” Byron describes one of the delicious nights of that fine climate.