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What a magnificent picture does he give us in these descriptive lines, one of the finest passages in all poetry :

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll !

Ten thousand Aeets sweep over thee in vain ;
Man marks the earth with ruin-his control

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Stops with the shore ;—upon the watery plain

The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,

When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin'd, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields

Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields

For earth’s destruction, thou dost all despise,

Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering, in thy playful spray,

And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth : there let him lay.

The armaments which thunder-strike the walls

Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake, And monarchs tremble in their capitals ;

The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make

Their clay creator the vain title take Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;

These are thy toys, and as the snowy Aake, They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar Alike the Armada’s pride, or spoils of Trafalgár.

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Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee

Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they? Thy waters wasted them while they were free, And many a tyrant since; their shores obey

The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay Has dried up realms to deserts :—not so thou,

Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' playTime writes no wrinkle on thine azure browSuch as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form

Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or storm,

Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving ;-boundless, endless, and sublime-

The image of Eternity—the throne

Of the Invisible ; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made ; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy

Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy

I wanton’d with thy breakers—they to me

Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear,

For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.

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The foregoing suggests another beautiful passage, The Shipwreck,—in Don Juan :

Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell —

Then shriek'd the timid, and stood still the brave,-
Then some leap'd overboard with dreadful yell,

As eager to anticipate their grave;
And the sea yawn’d around her like a hell,

And down she suck'd with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.
And first one universal shriek there rush’d,

Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash
Of echoing thunder : and then all was hush’d,

Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gush’d,

Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.

Another vivid picture is that of an Alpine storm :

The sky is changed !--and such a change! O night,

And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong :
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light

Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,

From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,

But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud !

And this is in the night :-Most glorious night!

Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight,-

A portion of the tempest and of thee!
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!

And now again ’tis black,—and now the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.

Here is another fine allusion to the grandeur of Alpine scenery :

Above me

Above me are the Alps,
The palaces of Nature, whose vast walls
Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps,

And throned eternity in icy halls

Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls
The avalanche,—the thunderbolt of snow!

All that expands the spirit, yet appals,
Gathers around these summits, as to show
How earth may pierce to heaven, yet leave vain man below.


Byron's power is seen in the following passage, because it admirably exemplifies the union of great simplicity, both in conception and expression, with true poetic sublimity. The scene which excites the emotion is the memorable plain of Marathon, situated between a range of mountains on the one side, and the sea on the other :

The mountains look on Marathon, and Marathon looks on the sea ; And musing there an hour alone, I dreamed that Greece might still

be free;

For, standing on the Persian's grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

A king sat on the rocky brow which looks o’er sea-born Salamis ;
And ships, by thousands, lay below, and men in nations ; all were his!

He counted them at break of day;
And when the sun set, where were they?

Campbell used to say, that the lines which first convinced him that Byron was a true poet, were these, from the Childe Harold :

Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild;

Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled,

And still his honeyed wealth Hymettus yields ;

There the 'blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The free-born wanderer of thy mountain air ;

Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendali’s marbles glare ;
Art, glory, freedom fail, but Nature still is fair !

The Childe Harold, which appeared at various intervals, is generally supposed to be a narration of the author's life and travels. Shall we cite more of the brilliant passages which sparkle over its

* Childe is the old word for Knight.

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