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too much of brilliant satire on the foibles of society, too true an indictment of the hypocrisy of the self-righteous England of Byron's day, too much that is fine in description and narration to consign the poem to the class of those productions whose only merit is their salaciousness. But yet one has the feeling that much of the fame of Don Juan rests upon its nearness to the dangerous edge of things. From the day of its appearance the English and American public have resented the moral laxity of the poem. In America in 1823 the poem was characterized as “a terrible poem for youthful readers,” the work of a “titled profligate” and “licentious bard.” This, however, was not the universal opinion, for the North American Review considered Childe Harold and Don Juan “masterpieces respectively of the serious and comic order.” It is significant, on the other hand, that even in Italy, where the morality of Puritan England did not prevail, the women of literary judgment preferred Childe Harold to Don Juan. “What do you think a very pretty Italian lady

. said to me the other day," writes Byron to Murray, “when I remarked that it would live longer than Childe Harold? 'Ah, but I would rather have the fame of Childe Harold for three years than an immortality of D. J.'

Cain. - Some critics think Byron touched the high-water mark of his genius in the writing of Cain, a dramatic poem in three acts. This poem was begun at Ravenna, on the 16th of July, 1821, and completed (without the chorus) on the 9th of September. The poem was dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, one of the few living literary men whom Byron admired. Scott wrote an acceptance of the honor to Murray, the publisher. In his letter we read:

“I may be partial to it, and you will allow I have cause; but I do not know that his Muse has ever taken so lofty a flight amid her former soarings. He has certainly matched Milton on his own ground. Some part of the language is bold, and may shock one class of readers. ... But then they must condemn the Paradise Lost, if they have a mind to be consistent.”

Shelley wrote to a friend :

“What think you of Lord Byron's last volume? In my opinion it contains finer poetry than has appeared in England since the publication of Paradise Regained. Cain is apocalyptic; it is a revelation not before communicated to man.”

Although at present the critics are inclined to believe that Cain is a great dramatic poem, this was not the prevalent opinion at the time of its publication. Such a storm of hostile criticism arose that Murray was threatened with prosecution. Mr. Jeffrey writes that he regrets very much that it has been published. Bishop Heber declares that there is neither much vigor nor poetical propriety in the poem; that Adam moralizes without dignity; that Abel is as dull as he is pious.

What irritated Byron especially was the tendency of some readers to confuse the thoughts of his characters with the thoughts of the author. This is a common fault with the uncritical. They say that Shakspere thinks thus and thus, that Byron believes this, and that the Bible says that all a man hath will he give for his life. If this method of deducing what a dramatic writer actually thinks he permitted, then Shakspere can be charged with all the crimes of all his villains, for a dramatic writer, if charged with responsibility for the opinions of his characters, must also be held responsible for their acts.

Other Poems. In addition to the poems we have already mentioned, there were many other poems from the pen of the prolific Byron. Some of these were The Vision of Judgment, The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, Lara, The Siege of Corinth, Mazeppa, Manfred, Marino Faliero, The Two Foscari, and The Deformed Transformed. Some are in narrative, others in dramatic form. Of the dramatic, Manfred is, perhaps, the most noted. In Manfred there are resemblances to Faust, but this does not mean that Byron copied Goethe's idea, for Byron did not have a first-hand knowledge of Faust. Goethe himself wrote very admiringly of Manfred, saying, “Byron's tragedy, Manfred, was to me a wonderful phenomenon, and one that closely touched me.”. Even a great critic like Goethe may be carried away by a temporary enthusiasm, as is illustrated by his

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thinking that Hamlet's soliloquy has been surpassed by the one in Manfred beginning thus:

“We are the fools of time and terror: Days

Steal on us and steal from us; yet we live,
Loathing our life, and dreading still to die.
In all the days of this detested yoke -
This vital weight upon the struggling heart,
Which sinks with sorrow, or beats quick with pain,
Or joy that ends in agony or faintness
In all the days of past and future, for
In life there is no present, we can number
How few- how less than few - wherein the soul
Forbears to pant for death, and yet draws back
As from a stream in winter, though the chill
Be but a moment's.”

Byron and Wordsworth. These two poets are considered by Matthew Arnold as the two greatest forces in the poetry of the nineteenth century. In making this rating, Arnold is comparing their influence with that of Keats, Shelley, and Coleridge. If he were writing now, the names of Browning and Tennyson would require careful weighing in making such a comparison. For Tennyson and Browning are also a "glorious pair, among the poets of this century." Arnold is a fair and wise critic, , and we must pay respect to his judgment. The greatest of German poets, Goethe, gave expression to the highest appreciation of Byron's poetic ability, writing of him as “a personality, in eminence such as has never been yet and is not likely to come again." It is also known that Byron has proved a regenerative force upon the literature of modern Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. No English poet, save Shakspere, is so widely read and admired in Europe as Byron. One explanation of his immense vogue among foreign peoples is that his poetry is simple and direct, containing no subtleties, and therefore lending itself readily to translation; another, that his revolutionary, defiant, destructive spirit appeals to peoples whose hatred of tyranny and conventional despotism finds free and full expression in the iconoclasm of Byron's verse.

Byron is a great name in literature, but not one of the few greatest; and that not because he lacks artistic finish and broad scholarship. Shakspere was not a scholar, and much of his poetry lacks artistic finish. A great poet to be enrolled among the select few must have an adequate philosophy of life; he must be a thinker. Great as was Goethe's admiration for Byron, he says that when Byron reflects he is a child. Byron had never the patience and ability to think his way through his doubtings and discontents to the clear light of day. Shakspere, Chaucer, and Browning have a wholesome philosophy of life. Byron is too cynical, too vehement, too destructive; he sees life in fragments only. While we admire the noble eloquence that dignifies his stately verse, and the scorn with which he lashes the hypocrisy of his age, we resent the flippancy with which he treats the most sacred of feelings, and the blasphemy with which he shocks our religious sense.

A Friend's Estimate. The following account was written by Colonel Leicester Stanhope, a friend of Byron's, who often engaged in discussion with his distinguished poet-friend. The value of this account, written shortly after the death of Byron, is enhanced by the approval given it by Hobhouse, a man who knew Byron intimately.

“There were two circumstances which appear to me to have had a powerful influence on Byron's conduct. I allude to his lameness and his marriage. The deformity of his foot constantly preyed on his spirits and soured his temper. It is extraordinary, however, and contrary, I believe, to the conduct of the generality of lame persons, that he pitied, sympathized with and befriended those who laboured under similar defects.

“Lord Byron's mental and personal courage was unlike that of other men. To the superficial observer his conduct seemed to be quite unsettled; this was really the case to a certain extent. His genius was boundless and excursive, and in conversation his tongue went rioting on

From grave to gay, from lively to severe.' “Still upon the whole, no man was more constant, and, I may

almost say, more obstinate in the pursuit of some great objects. For example, in religion and politics he seemed firm as a rock. . .

“The assertions I have ventured to make of Lord Byron having fixed opinions on certain material questions are not according to his own judgment. From what fell from his own lips, I could draw no such conclusions, for, in conversing with me on government and religion, and after going widely over these subjects, sometimes in a grave and philosophical, and sometimes in laughing and humorous strain, he would say, “The more I think, the more I doubt; I am a perfect skeptic.' In contradiction to this assertion, I set Lord Byron's recorded sentiments, and his actions from the period of his boyhood to that of his death; and I contend that although he occasionally veered about, yet he always returned to certain fixed opinions; and that he felt a constant attachment to liberty, according to our notions of liberty, and that although no Christian, he was a firm believer in the existence of a God. It is, therefore, equally remote from truth to represent him as either an atheist or a Christian.

'Most persons assume a virtuous character. Lord Byron's ambition, on the contrary, was to make the world imagine that he was a sort of 'Satan,' though occasionally influenced by lofty sentiments to the performance of great actions. Fortunately for his fame, he possessed another quality, by which he stood completely unmasked. He was the most ingenuous of men, and his nature, in the main good, always triumphed over his acting

“There was nothing he detested more than to be thought merely a great poet, though he did not wish to be esteemed inferior as a dramatist 1o Shakspere. Like Voltaire, he was unco

consciously jealous of, and for that reason abused, our immortal bard. His mind was absorbed in detecting Shakspere's glaring defects, instead of being overpowered by his wonderful creative and redeeming genius.

“As a companion, no one could be more amusing; he had neither pedantry nor affectation about him, but was natural and playful as a boy. His conversation resembled a stream, sometimes smooth, sometimes rapid, and sometimes rushing down in cataracts; it was a mixture of philosophy and slang - of everything — like his Don Juan. He was a patient, and, in general, a very attentive listener. When, however, he did engage with earnestness in conversation, his ideas succeeded each other with such uncommon rapidity that he could not control them. They burst from him impetuously; and although he both attended to and noticed the remarks of others, yet he did not allow these to check his discourse for an instant.

“Lord Byron's reading was desultory, but extensive; his memory was retentive to an extraordinary extent. He was partial to the Italian poets,

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