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On every point, in earnest or in jest,

His judgment, and his prudence, and his wit,
Were deemed the very touchstone and the test
Of what was proper, graceful, just, and fit;
A word from him set everything at rest,
His short decisions never failed to hit ;
His silence, his reserve, his inattention,
Were felt as the severest reprehension;

His memory was the magazine and hoard,
Where claims and grievances, from year to year,
And confidences and complaints were stored
From dame and knight, from damsel, boor, and peer:
Loved by his friends, and trusted by his Lord,
A generous. courtier, secret and sincere,

Adviser-general to the whole community,

He served his friend, but watched his opportunity.





Meanwhile the solemn mountains that surrounded
The silent valley where the convent lay,
With tintinnabular uproar were astounded,
When the first peal burst forth at break of day:
Feeling their granite ears severely wounded,
They scarce knew what to think, or what to say;
And (though large mountains commonly conceal
Their sentiments, dissembling what they feel,

Yet) Cader-Gibbrish from his cloudy throne
To huge Loblommon gave an intimation,
Of this strange rumour, with an awful tone,
Thundering his deep surprise and indignation;
The lesser hills, in language of their own,
Discussed the topic by reverberation;
Discoursing with their echoes all day long,
Their only conversation was, 'ding dong.'

Those giant-mountains inwardly were moved,
But never made an outward change of place:
Not so the mountain-giants—(as behoved
A more alert and locomotive race),

Hearing a clatter which they disapproved,

They ran straight forward to besiege the place
With a discordant universal yell,

Like house-dogs howling at a dinner-bell.

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As Bees, that when the skies are calm and fair,

In June, or the beginning of July,

Launch forth colonial settlers in the air,

Round, round, and round about, they whiz, they fly, With eager worry whirling here and there,

They know not whence, nor whither, where, nor why, In utter hurry-scurry, going, coming,

Maddening the summer air, with ceaseless humming;

Till the strong Frying-pan's energic jangle

With thrilling thrum their feebler hum doth drown,
Then passive and appeased, they drop and dangle,
Clinging together close, and clustering down,
Linked in a multitudinous living tangle
Like an old Tassel of a dingy brown ;-
The joyful Farmer sees and spreads his hay,
And reckons on a settled sultry day :-

E'en so the Monks, as wild as sparks of fire,
(Or swarms unpacified by pan or kettle),
Ran restless round the Cloisters and the Quire,
Till those huge masses of sonorous metal
Attracted them towards the Tower and Spire;
There you might see them cluster, crowd, and settle,
Thronged in the hollow tintinnabular Hive;

The Belfry swarmed with Monks; it seemed alive.


[BORN Jan. 22, 1788. Educated at Harrow, and Trinity College, Cambridge. Published Hours of Idleness in 1807. A review of this book in the Edinburgh provoked the Satire English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, which was published in March 1809. After this date Byron travelled in Spain, Greece and Turkey for two years. On his return he published the two first Cantos of Childe Harold in 1812. During the years 1813-1815 he wrote The Giaour, Bride of Abydos, Corsair, Lara, Hebrew Melodies, Siege of Corinth, Parisina. The two last were published in the spring of 1816 shortly after Byron's separation from the wife whom he had married on Jan. 2, 1815. This year, 1816, was the most important epoch in his life. He left England never to return; settled first at Geneva, where he made the acquaintance of Shelley, composed the Third Canto of Childe Harold, Prisoner of Chillon, and Prometheus, and began Manfred. In 1817 he removed to Venice, finished Manfred, wrote the Lament of Tasso, the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, and Beppo. In the years 1818 and 1819, still residing at Venice, he produced the Ode on Venice, Mazeppa, and the first four Cantos of Don Juan. In 1820 and 1821, while living at Ravenna, he wrote the Prophecy of Dante, Marino Faliero, Sardanapalus, The Two Foscari, Cain, Heaven and Earth, and A Vision of JudgPart of the two next years was spent at Pisa in close intimacy with Shelley. Werner, The Deformed Transformed, The Island, and the remaining Cantos of Don Juan, on which Byron had been from time to time at work during his Ravenna residence, were completed. On July 13, 1823, Byron sailed from Genoa for Greece, in order to take active part in the liberation of that country from Turkish rule. He died of fever at Missolonghi on the 19th of April, 1824, at the age of thirty-six years and three months.]


The first thing that strikes a student of Byron's collected works is the quantity of poetry produced by him in a short lifetime. The second is the variety of forms attempted-the scope and range of intellectual power displayed. The third is the inequality of the

performance, due apparently in certain cases to haste of composition, in others to imperfect sympathy with the subjects treated, or again to some contemptuous compliance with a fashion which the author only tolerated.

Byron's character is stamped upon his work in a remarkable degree; and his character was powerfully biassed by external circumstance. The critic cannot therefore neglect his biography. In early childhood he was left to the sole care of a violent and injudicious mother. Impressed with the importance of the title to which he succeeded at the age of ten, he yet had neither friends nor connections of his own rank, and but slender means for sustaining its dignity. Handsome, active, and ambitious, he was debarred from engaging in field-sports by the malformation of his ankle. Thus, from the first, he lived under conditions eminently unfavourable for the growth of an equable temperament or for the acquisition of just views about society. His mental powers were acute and vigorous; his emotions sincere and direct ; the impressions made upon his sensitive nature by the persons with whom he came in contact were vivid and indelible. Yet his judgment of the world was prematurely warped, while his naturally earnest feelings were overlaid with affectations and prejudices which he never succeeded in shaking off. He was constitutionally shy, uncertain in society, preferring the solitude of hills and woods and water, to the men and women whom he learned to misconceive and misinterpret. Though he strove to conceal this shyness beneath an assumption of off-handed ease, his manners to the last were awkward. It was his misfortune to be well-born but ill-bred, combining the pride of a peer with the self-consciousness of a parvenu. He rarely suffered his true opinions and emotions to be visible. What he proffered his acquaintance in their stead was stamped with artificiality. Trelawny thought that Byron was what London in the days of the Prince Regent made him. But we must go further back, and recognise that from his boyhood he began to construct and wear a masquerade costume that could not be abandoned. When Shelley discerned the 'canker of aristocracy' and 'perverse ideas' in one whom he admired but never made his friend; when Goethe complained of his 'Empeiria' or taint of worldliness, they laid their fingers on this radical blot. The ostentation which repels us in Byron's correspondence and in the records left of him by his associates, the swaggering tone that spoils so much of his best work and makes it impossible to love

the man as we should like to do, may be ascribed to a habit early acquired of self-sophistication. He vene red the true and noble self which gave life to his poetry with a layer of imperfectly comprehended cynicism and weak misanthropy, that passed with him for worldly wisdom. There are two distinct Byrons, interpenetrative, blended in his life and work. To disentangle them is wellnigh impossible; for he cherished his inferior self, and mistook its weakness and its falsehood for strength and sincerity of insight.

Byron began to write verse while still a boy. He published Hours of Idleness at the age of nineteen. Though this collection of juvenile lyrics did not deserve high commendation, it might have been spared the mangling it received from the blunt tomahawk of the Edinburgh Review. His next essay was the product of mere rage against his critics and against the men of letters who, he thought, had neglected him. English Bards and Scotch Reviewers is an imitation of Gifford's satirical style, full of such stinging epigrams as proved that the poet of Hours of Idleness had thenceforth to be reckoned with. At the present time it is chiefly valuable for the light it throws on Byron's psychological development. Being of an exceptionally retentive temperament, each style that he essayed left something ineffaceable upon his habit of composition. The satire in question was begotten by indignation, and dealt in invective. We trace an element of indignation, not seldom of a less than sterling alloy, in nearly all his subsequent poems, which break too frequently into invectives against unworthy or mistaken objects of his spleen. Byron, it may be said at once, was destitute of critical insight. Therefore not only are the judgments of English Bards and Scotch Reviewers worthless, but his maturest works are marred by strictures on contemporaries which now appear ridiculous. If Byron desired fame, he achieved it in fair and full measure by his satire. But disappointed by his reception into London society, he resolved on leaving England. His genius received its first true awakening upon his travels. Greece made him a poet, and he returned to England with two Cantos of Childe Harold ready for publication. It is difficult to speak in measured terms of a poem which has suffered more from eulogy and popularity than any other poem of equal excellence from depreciation or neglect. The celebrated passages of Childe Harold, quoted, extracted, learned by heart at school, and incorporated into guide-books, have become a bye-word and a weariness

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