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plete as a whole. The poet's preface (quoted below) suggests only the superficial aim of the composition. Its essential and poetical aim, to record and communicate the reaction of picturesque and stirring scenes and events upon the sensitive and powerful genius of the poet, is of course left unstated, but is the real aim with which the reader is concerned.
As to the relation of the poet to the hero of the poem, Byron's disclaimer of identity in his preface must fairly be accepted. Obviously the poet speaks directly through the lips of Childe Harold, and invests him with circumstances drawn from his own experience, at least occasionally and when it suits his purpose. But generally the Childe is a creature of the imagination, and speaks the poet's thoughts idealized, objectified, and transformed, and not in their prosaic reality.
Chapters dealing with the period in his career covered by 'Childe Harold' from any standard life of Byron may profitably be read in connection with the poem. See, preferably, ‘Byron's Works, the Letters and Journals,' edited by R. E. Prothero (London 1898) vol. I, ch. iv, vol. II, ch. v, vol. III, chs. xiii-xiv, and vol. IV, chs. xv-xvi. See also the appropriate chapters in the Lives by Moore, Nichol, Roden Noel, Elze, Jeaffreson, etc.
What distinguishes Byron's treatment of nature in this and other poems? Does he emphasize general features or details? What aspects does he characteristically present? Does he often practise "descriptive" poetry? Has he a discriminating eye and ear for color and for sounds? Does the treatment of nature in the several cantos differ? and in what respects? What is the
prevailing tone of sentiment in each canto?
Other subjects connected with Childe Harold' which may be investigated with interest and profit are the following:
1. The poetic style of Childe Harold': use of contrast, antithesis, apostrophe, climax, transition, ellipsis, and the other figures of speech.
2. Its use of tropes: does it abound in simile and metaphor ? Comparative amount of each; special qualities of; sources whence they are drawn; personification; poetical epithets,—favorite forms, and how may they be classified?
3. Grammatical irregularities.
4. Versification: Byron's handling of the Spenserian stanza;
use of rhyme; pauses; alliteration.
cantos, and explanation thereof.
5. Analysis of the structure of the poem: subjects of the several parts of each canto.
The difference in style and tone between the first two and the last two cantos of the whole poem, separated as they are by six or seven years in date of composition, is noteworthy. In the contrast we study the development of the poet's mind and art. What (with reference to the modern characterization of Shakspere's several periods) should be named as the distinguishing traits of Byron's art and mind in their development in each of the periods given in the outline of his life, at pp. li-liv, above?
Difference in the several
(Abridged, for Cantos I and II, from E. H. Coleridge's edition of Byron's Poems, 1899, vol. II.)
July 2. Sails from Falmouth in Lisbon packet (stanza xii). 6. Arrives Lisbon (sts. xvi, xvii). Visits Cintra (sts.
17. Leaving Lisbon, rides through Portugal and Spain to Seville (sts. xxx-xlii). Visits Albuera (st. xliii).
"21. Arrives Seville (sts. xlv, xlvi).
"25. Leaving Seville, rides to Cadiz, across the Sierra Morena (st. li). Cadiz (lxxi ff.).
Aug. 17. Sails from Gibraltar in Malta packet (stanzas xviixxvii).
Sept. 19-26. Sailing from Malta in brig-of-war Spider, passes between Cephalonia and Zante, and anchors off Petras.
Sept. 27. In the channel between Ithaca and the mainland (sts.
28. Anchors off Prevesa (st. xlv).
Oct. 5. Arrives Janina (st. xlvii). 11. Arrives Zitza (sts. xlviii-li). Delvinaki (st. liv).
Tepeleni (sts. lv-lxi).
20. Reception by Ali Pacha (sts. lxii-lxiv).
Nov. 8. Leaving Prevesa, anchors near Parga (sts. lxvii, lxviii).
9. Leaves Parga, and, returning by land, arrives Volon-
14. Arrives Utraikey=Lutraki (sts. lxx, lxxii, Song "Tam-
Dec. 16. Visits Delphi, the Pythian cave, and stream of Castaly
25. Passes Phyle, arrives Athens (Canto II, sts. i ff., lxxiv).
Jan. 16. Visits Mendeli=Pentelicus (st. lxxxvii).
23. Visits temple of Athene at Sunium (st. lxxxvi).
25. Visits plain of Marathon (sts. lxxxix, xc). May 13. Arrives Constantinople (sts. lxxvii-lxxxi).
Apr. 25. Sails for Ostend (st. ii).
26?-May 7? Passing through Ghent, Antwerp, and Mech-
May 7-25. Leaves Brussels and journeys along the Rhine to
May 25-June 10. At Sécheron, near Geneva, with the Shelleys.
June 23-July 1. Journey around Lake Leman in Byron's boat in
Oct. 8 Starts for Italy, passing through Martigny, Milan, and Verona, and arriving in Venice by the eleventh of November. Life in Venice (stanzas i-xix).
April 16? Leaves Venice for Rome, visiting Arquà and Ferrara (xxx-xxxix), Florence (xlviii-lxi), Lake Thrasimene (lxii-lxv), Foligno and the temple of Clitumnus (lxvi-lxviii), Terni (lxix-lxxii), and crossing the Apennines (lxxiii-lxxvii).
Apr. 29? Arrives in Rome (lxxviii ff.). Leaves, May 20.
CANTOS I AND II.
Begun at Janina, in Albania, October 31, 1809; finished, except for certain stanzas of later composition, at Smyrna, March 28, 1810. Stanzas i, xliii, and xc of Canto I, and stanzas ix, xci, xcii, xcv, xcvi of Canto II were added before printing, while others were revised or recast. The two cantos were published March 10, 1812. In the seventh edition, in 1814, appeared for the first time the Dedication and ten additional stanzas near the end of Canto II.
The following are the motto and the original preface which Byron prefixed to this poem:
"L'univers est une espèce de livre, dont on n'a lu que la première page quand on n'a vu que son pays. J'en ai feuilleté un assez grand nombre, que j'ai trouvé également mauvaises. Cet examen ne m'a point été infructueux. Je haissais ma patrie. Toutes les impertinences des peuples divers, parmi lesquels j'ai vécu, m'ont réconcilié avec elle. Quand je n'aurais tiré d'autre bénéfice de mes voyages que celui-là, je n'en regretterais ni les frais ni les fatigues."-LE CosMOPOLITE [by M. de Montbron, 'Londres,' 1753].
PREFACE TO THE FIRST AND SECOND CANTOS.
The following poem was written, for the most part, amidst the scenes which it attempts to describe. It was begun in Albania; and the parts relative to Spain and Portugal were composed from the author's observations in those countries. This much it may be necessary to state for the correctness of the descriptions. The scenes attempted
to be sketched are in Spain, Portugal, Epirus, Acarnania, and Greece. There, for the present, the poem stops: its reception will determine whether the author may venture to conduct his readers to the capital of the East, through Ionia and Phrygia: these two cantos are merely experimental.
A fictitious character is introduced for the sake of giving some connection to the piece; which, however, makes no pretensions to regularity. It has been suggested to me by friends, on whose opinions I set a high value, that in this fictitious character, “Childe Harold," I may incur the suspicion of having intended some real personage; this I beg leave, once for all, to disclaim—Harold is a child of imagination, for the purpose I have stated. In some very trivial particulars, and those merely local, there might be grounds for such a notion; but in the main points, I should hope, none whatever.
It is almost superfluous to mention that the appellation "Childe," as "Childe Waters,' ""Childe Childers," etc., is used as more consonant with the old structure of versification which I have adopted.1 The " Good Night," in the beginning of the first canto, was suggested by "Lord Maxwell's Good Night," in the "Border Minstrelsy," edited by Mr. Scott.
With the different poems which have been published on Spanish subjects, there may be found some slight coincidence in the first part which treats of the Peninsula; but it can only be casual, as, with the exception of a few concluding stanzas, the whole of this poem was written in the Levant.
The stanza of Spenser, according to one of our most successful poets, admits of every variety. Dr. Beattie makes the following observation: "Not long ago, I began a poem in the style and stanza of Spenser, in which I propose to give full scope to my inclination, and be either droll or pathetic, descriptive or sentimental, tender or satirical, as the humor strikes me; for, if I mistake not, the measure which I have adopted admits equally of all these kinds of composition." Strengthened in my opinion by such authority, and by the example of some in the highest order of Italian poets, I shall make no apology for attempts at similar variations in the following composition; satisfied that, if they are unsuccessful, their failure must be in the execution rather than in the design, sanctioned by the practice of Ariosto, Thomson and Beattie.2
LONDON, February, 1812.
1 In older English the term usually signifies a youth of gentle birth awaiting knighthood. Spenser frequently applies it to Prince Arthur in the Faerie Queene.' Cf. Browning's Childe Roland. [Ed.
2 Cf. Ariosto, 'Orlando Furioso '; Thomson, 'Castle of Indolence'; Beattie, 'The Minstrel.' [Ed.