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more irregular. The archaisms of the first two cantos are practically abandoned. The conventional device of the hero Childe Harold is kept up only through some dozen stanzas. Similes are more frequently introduced; as are feminine rhymes. The versification becomes more varied and less regular. Inversions in the rhythm are more frequent, and pauses within the line, with the corresponding run-on effect from line to line and even from stanza to stanza, are more often used. The poet, without perhaps having developed his instrument to its greatest technical perfection, dominates his material, and more than before subjects his form to his matter.
Of the new Childe Harold" (i.e. Canto III) Byron wrote to Moore Jan. 28, 1817: “I am glad you like it; it is a fine indistinct piece of poetical desolation, and my favourite. I was half mad during the time of its composition, between metaphysics, mountains, lakes, love unextinguishable, thoughts unutterable, and the night-mare of my own delinquencies."
51: Motto. The preceding part of the sentence runs: "Je voudrais fort qu'on vous proposât quelque problème bien difficile à résoudre, afin que,” etc.
51: i. Byron's daughter, Augusta Ada, was born Dec. 10, 1815; after Byron's death she was married to William King Noel, afterwards Earl of Lovelace, and died in 1852, leaving three children.
5. Awaking with a start, as if from the the preceding lines, and to find himself on England and all that had been dear to him. tion (the rhetorical shock), as here, is a favorite device of Byron's. Cf. stanza xvii, below.
dream suggested in shipboard, leaving The sudden transi
51: ii. The master-poet is revealed at once in the two intense emotional similes of this stanza ("as a steed, That knows its rider," and "as a weed, Flung from the rock"), the former perhaps suggested by the lines in 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' II, ii, 73:
Byron is one of the great sea-poets of England. See other passages in 'Childe Harold' (e.g. c. IV, st. clxxix), ‘Don Juan'
(The Shipwreck, c. II), 'The Corsair,' 'Siege of Corinth,' 'The Island,' etc. Cf. Mrs. Wm. Sharp, ed., ‘Sea-Music' (Canterbury Poets, 1887).
52: v. The concluding lines of the stanza suggest the romanticist explanation of the poetic impulse. The unhappy man alone, excluded from the consolations of the active life, is driven to take refuge in the ideal world of the imagination. So Dante, Shelley, Byron. But how was it with the conjectural Homer, with Sophocles, and with Chaucer? Byron always thought his real vocation was not poetry, but heroic action in the world of men. Acting partly on this conviction he sacrificed his life in the cause of Greek freedom. With this passage on the function of the creative imagination compare canto IV, stanzas v-vii. 53: vi. The explanation of the poetic impulse continued in this stanza is far more adequate. Byron here is writing as an idealist and an artist. So in The Dream' he writes (in 1816 also):
"The mind can make
Substance, and people planets of its own
53 viii. After this lyrical passage of undisguised personal confession, the poet turns to Harold, the idealized Byron and hero of the poem, and in the next seven stanzas, resuming the thread of the story, relates the imaginary state of Harold in the interval since we left him at the end of the second canto.
53 viii, I. Something too much of this. Another of the echoes of Hamlet with which Byron abounds. Cf. 'Hamlet,' III, ii, 69. 54 ix, 3. A purer fount. The inspiration of his travels in Greece.
55 xiii. Nature, in the sense of Rousseau, conceived as a place of solitude, in contrast with society, and a refuge from the uncongenial works of men. No longer decorative and pictorial, or chiefly interesting for its human or local-historical associations. Is there a difference thus between nature in Byron's first two and in his last two cantos? What is the essential difference between this and Wordsworth's conception of nature?
56: xvii. The battle of Waterloo had taken place only a year before these stanzas were written.
5. The monument (the mound with the Belgian lion) which now marks the spot was erected in 1823.
8. Red rain. Byron's power of metaphor, of condensed and penetrating phrase, was never better displayed than in this dreadful line:
"How the red rain hath made the harvest grow!"
57: xviii, 5. "Pride of place' is a term of falconry, and means highest pitch of flight. See Macbeth."
[“A falcon towering in her pride of place"]. [Byron's note. 6. First written by Byron
"Then tore with bloody beak the fatal plain."
For this passage an artist, R. R. Reinagle, drew "a pencilsketch of a spirited chained eagle, grasping the earth with his talons." When it was sent to Byron he wrote: "Reinagle is a better poet and a better ornithologist than I am; eagles and all birds of prey attack with their talons and not with their beaks"; and accordingly altered the line to the form in which it now appears.
The Eagle, of course, is Napoleon.
9. The chain with which he bound the world is now broken and used to fetter him (i.e., Napoleon at St. Helena).
57 xix, 5-9. Alluding to the so-called Holy Alliance and its reactionary tyranny, against which Byron was the embittered foe for the rest of his days.
57: xx, 9. B. C. 514, when Harmodius and Aristogeiton conspired against the tyrants Hippias and Hipparchus, and carrying swords concealed in myrtle borne in a religious procession, killed Hipparchus.
58 xxi. The Duchess of Richmond's ball, which took place June 15, 1815, on the eve of the Battle of Quatrebras. The Battle of Waterloo followed on June 18.
58 : xxiii. The Duke of Brunswick, nephew of George III, killed early in the battle. His father was killed at Auerbach (Auerstadt) in 1806.
59 : xxvi, 1-2. The slogan or rallying-cry of the regiment of Cameron Highlanders, whose chieftain was Lochiel, Albyn, Gaelic name for Scotland,
9. Sir Evan Cameron (1629-1719), who fought against Cromwell, and his grandson Donald Cameron of Lochiel, wounded at Culloden, 1746. His great-great-grandson commanded the 92d Highlanders and fell in the battle of Quatrebras.
"And Cameron, in the shock of steel,
6 (Scott, The Field of Waterloo ').
60 : xxvii, I. "The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the forest of Ardennes, famous in Boiardo's 'Orlando,' and immortal in Shakspeare's 'As You Like It.' It is also celebrated in Tacitus, as being the spot of successful defence by the Germans against the Roman encroachments. I have ventured to adopt the name connected with nobler associations than those of mere slaughter." [Byron's note.
60: xxix, 2-9. Major Howard, son of the Earl of Carlisle, Byron's unsympathetic guardian, whom the poet had satirized in
English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.'
62 xxxv, I. Cf. 'Psalms' xc, 10: "The days of our age are three-score years and ten."
2. tale, i.e. reckoning, or number.
63 : xxxvi.
For another estimate of Napoleon, see canto IV,
68 liii, 8. One fond breast. Byron's half-sister Augusta. 69 : lv, 9. these absent greetings: The song which follows, addressed to Byron's sister, was wrttten on the banks of the Rhine, May 11, 1816.
69: Song, I. The castle of Drachenfels stands on one of the summits of the Siebengebirge, on the right bank of the Rhine, above Bonn.
From this point the conventional figure of Childe Harold is dropped until near the very end of canto IV.
General Hoche and General Marceau, both leaders of the army of the young republic of France, were buried here in the same grave (1796-'97). Marceau took part in suppressing the insurrection of the Vendée ("the charter to chastise ").
71 lviii. Ehrenbreitstein, a fortress on the heights opposite Coblenz, taken by the French in 1799, after a prolonged siege,
the fortifications being destroyed in 1801, after the peace of Lunéville.
73: lxiii, 3. Morat-Murten, near Lake Neuchâtel, where the army of the Duke of Burgundy was defeated by the patriot Swiss in 1476, leaving twenty thousand slain upon the field of battle. The bones were afterwards collected and heaped up under the roof of an ossuary, built to contain them, where they remained till the present century. 74: lxv.
"Aventicum, near Morat, was the Roman capital of Helvetia, where Avenches now stands " [Byron's note. 74: lxvi. "Julia Alpinula, a young Aventian priestess, died soon after a vain endeavor to save her father, condemned to death as a traitor by Aulus Cæcina. Her epitaph was discovered many years ago. It is thus: 'Julia Alpinula: Hic jaceo. Infelicis patris infelix proles. Deæ Aventiæ Sacerdos. Exorare patris necem non potui: Male mori in fatis ille erat. Vixi annos xxiii.' I know of no human composition so affecting as this, nor a history of deeper interest. These are the names and actions which ought not to perish, and to which we turn with a true and healthy tenderness, from the wretched and glittering detail of a confused mass of conquests and battles, with which the mind is roused for a time to a false and feverish sympathy. [Byron's note.
Since Byron wrote these lines it has been discovered that this inscription was a sixteenth century fabrication.
75: lxx, 8. Wanderers o'er Eternity. This probably sug
gested to Shelley the phrase of "The Pilgrim of Eternity," which he applies to Byron in his Adonais'.
76: lxxii, 1-3. Here Byron shows the unmistakable influence of Wordsworth's ideas and phrasing. Cf. 'Tintern Abbey':
"The sounding cataract
That had no need of a remoter charm."
-But is the rest of the passage in Byron Wordsworthian ? I-2. I become portion of that around me. Cf. Tennyson's 'Ulysses':
"I am a part of all that I have met,"