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These reverential lines have a tender significance when we remember that this early feeling of Byron's is one with the later generosity that led him to sacrifice his life for Greece.

Good as the first and second cantos are, they are completely surpassed by the third and fourth. Says Mr. Nichol:

" Had Lord Byron's public career closed when he left England, he would have been remembered for a generation as the author of some musical minor verses, a clever satire, a journal in verse exhibiting flashes of genius, and a series of fascinating romances - also giving promise of higher power — which had enjoyed a marvellous popularity. The third and fourth cantos of Childe Harold placed him on another platform, that of the Dii Majores of English verse. These cantos are separated from their predecessors, not by a stage, but by a gulf.”

In the third canto we find ourselves on the field of Waterloo. The high-water mark of Byron's descriptive power is here attained. It is well to remember that the poet is here touching upon contemporary history. When these lines were written the echoes of Waterloo were still reverberating through Europe; Napoleon was still living. To write great poetry about contemporary events is one of the most precarious and difficult of tasks.

“There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her Beauty and her Chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,

And all went merry as a marriage-bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell.”

From Waterloo we turn to reflections on Napoleon, descriptions of the Rhine, “the castled crag of Drachenfels,” to Coblentz, Ehrenbreitstein, Lake Leman, where the poet pauses to pay his tribute to Rousseau. Every charming scene has its notablity to whom tribute is given. For

the stability of the book demands on its being a Temple of Fame, as well as a Diorama of Scenery. It is no mere versified guide, because every

resting-place in the pilgrimage is made interesting by association with illustrious memories. Coblentz introduces the tribute to Marceau; Clarens, an almost complete review, in five verses, of Rousseau; Lausanne and Ferney, the quintessence of criticism of Gibbon and Voltaire; a tomb in Arqua suggests Petrarch; the grass-grown streets of Ferrara lead to the lines on Tasso; the white walls of the Etrurian Athens brings back Alfieri and Michael Angelo, and the prose bard of the hundred tales, and Dante."

It is in this third canto that Byron reveals himself in his tenderer moods, in a certain simplicity of self-revelation brought about by the contemplation of nature. The stanzas now to be quoted show the range of Byron's descriptive power, passing from the depiction of the melancholy charm of the dying day to the awfulness of the storm on the Alps.

“It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darkened Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and, drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear

Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more."

“The sky is changed !- and such a change! Oh 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 wild 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 !”

A study of these lines might reveal the qualities that have made Byron the popular poet of that inexplicable something known as “the average man.” The fourth canto begins with the oft-repeated

“I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand,"

and devotes itself to the celebration of the glories of Italy Florence, the “woody Apennine,” and Rome,

"The Niobe of Nations! there she stands,
Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe:
An empty urn within her withered hands.”

A celebrated Englishman said that every time he went to Rome he prepared himself to enter into the spirit of the imperial city by reading Hawthorne's Marble Faun. It and Childe Harold have caught the spirit of the place. It is probable that more travelers who have stood within the massive shadows of the Colosseum have thought of Byron than of Hawthorne. “ The voice of Marius,” says Scott, “could not sound more deep and solemn among the ruins of Carthage, than the strains of the pilgrim among the broken shrines and fallen statues of her subduers !”

No passage in Childe Harold has been more admired than the lines referring to the dying gladiator :

“I see before me the Gladiator lie;
He leans upon his hand - his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his drooped head sinks gradually low -
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now

The arena swims around him — he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won.

- his eyes

“He heard it, but he heeded not
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He recked not of the life he lost, nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother - he, their sire,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday

All this rushed with his blood - Shall he expire
And unavenged? Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!”

Don Juan. — By many this poem is considered Byron's masterpiece. It is one of the longest poems in the English language,

consisting of sixteen cantos of 1,970 stanzas of eight lines each. The poem was not given to the public as a whole, for its composition extended over a long period of Byron's short life. “Begun at Venice, Sept. 6; finished Nov. I, 1818," wrote Byron himself.

But this refers only to the first two cantos. Upon the publication there was a storm of criticism. The poem shocked the British public by its blasphemy and indelicacy. Byron was sensitive; the criticism annoyed him to such an extent that he discontinued his poetic composition. However, by fits and starts he took up the story of the poem, and in August, 1821, Cantos III, IV, and V were published. Up to this time the author's name was not attached to the poem, but the public attributed the work to Byron. The last cantos appeared in March, 1824, the year of Byron's death.

Don Juan is the story of the adventures of a young man whose name, Don Juan, the public imagined to be a thin disguise to cover the intrigues and reflections of Byron himself. Don Juan is a young Spaniard whose escapades carry him from Spain to Russia, from the land of the Turks to the home of the English. He is handsome and fascinating, not vicious, perhaps not immoral, but rather like Falstaff, unmoral. He has intrigues in all lands and with all classes, from Haidee, the most beautiful of Byron's creations, to Catharine of Russia.

In plot Don Juan is as structureless as the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, with the exception that in the Canterbury Tales there are a number of unrelated stories, whereas in Don Juan there is a sort of unity dependent upon the adventures of a single hero. The episodes are separate and distinct. Long as the poem is, there was nothing in its organic structure to prevent it from going on indefinitely. This looseness of structure gave Byron a great opportunity to indulge the versatility of his genius, and so we find narration and description, sentiment and romance, satire and an occasional bit of philosophy.

“I rattle on exactly as I talk
With anybody in a ride or walk.

“I don't know that there may be much ability

Shown in this sort of desultory rhyme;
But there's a conversational facility,

Which may round off an hour upon a time.” *

In contrast with this colloquialism we may turn to the first canto and find stanzas that were not rattled off just as one talks. No lines of the poem are possibly more familiar than these:

'Tis sweet to hear
At midnight on the blue and moonlit deep
The song and oar of Adria's gondolier,

By distance mellowed, o'er the waters sweep;
'Tis sweet to see the evening star appear;

'Tis sweet to listen as the night-winds creep From leaf to leaf; 'tis sweet to view on high The rainbow, based on ocean, span the sky.

'Tis sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark

Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home; 'Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark

Our coming and look brighter when we come;
'Tis sweet to be awakened by the lark,

Or lulled by falling waters; sweet the hum
Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds,
The lisp of children, and their earliest words.

"'Tis sweet to win, no matter how, one's laurels,

By blood or ink; 'tis sweet to put an end
To strife; 'tis sometimes sweet to have our quarrels,

Particularly with a tiresome friend;
Sweet is old wine in bottles, ale in barrels;

Dear is the helpless creature we defend
Against the world; and dear the schoolboy spot
We ne'er forget, though there we are forgot.”

To call a poem dull is to damn it, not with faint praise, but with the one criticism that consigns it to the dusty shelves of unused libraries; to call it immoral is apt to give it an undeserved publicity. It is hardly fair to say that the fame of Don Juan is the fame of an immoral book; there is too much of wit,

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