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George Gordon Byron ward am 22. Januar 1788 in London geboren; er war der Enkel des berühmten Admirals gleichen Namens und ward 1798 der Erbe des Ranges und der Güter seines Grossonkels Lord Byron. Seine Mutter trennte sich von ihrem Gatten und erzog ihn bis zu seinem zehnten Jahre in Schottland. Später erhielt er seine Bildung auf der Schule zu Harrow und studirte dann in Cambridge. Nachdem er darauf eine Zeit lang abwechselnd auf seinem Familiensitze und in London gelebt hatte, besuchte er während der Jahre 1809-1811 Portugal, Spanien und Griechenland. Nach England zurückgekehrt gab er die ersten Gesänge seines Childe Harold, so wie mehrere seiner kleinen poetischen Erzählungen heraus, die ihm ausserordentlichen Ruhm erwarben. Er vermählte sich 1815 mit Miss Noel, aber seine Ehe war unglücklich und es erfolgte sehr bald die Scheidung. Byron verliess sein Vaterland von Neuem, lebte erst eine Zeit lang am Genfer See, dann in Venedig, Ravenna, Pisa und Genua und ging 1823 nach Griechenland, um den Hellenen in ihrem Befreiungskampfe beizustehen. Eine Hirnentzündung brachte ihm am 19. April 1824 den Tod zu Missolunghi.
Seine gesammelten Werke enthalten ausser den schon genannten, mehrere epische Gedichte, Tragödien, lyrische Poesieen und Satyren. Sie sind in mehreren Auflagen erschienen und vielfach nachgedruckt worden. Eine der schönsten Ausgaben derselben ist die in einem Bande, London 1837, bei Murray. Was Byron als Dichter leistete in wenigen Worten zusammendrängen zu wollen ist schwer, fast unmöglich; der Dichter und der Mensch sind bei ihm unzertrennlich; man muss sein Leben so genau wie seine Werke kennen, um die Letzteren vollständig zu würdigen. Wir beschränken uns daher darauf, folgende Aussprüche seines eben so geistreichen als wohlwollenden Landsmannes Allan Cunningham über ihn zusammenzustellen: "Die edelsten Fähigkeiten waren ihm angeboren. Seine Einbildungskraft kannte keine Grenze, sein Verstand war hell und kräftig, seine Thätigkeit unermüdlich; ein leidenschaftlich reizbares Gemüth und reges Gefühl, kurz alle jene kostbaren Eigenschaften waren sein, welche den kühnsten Aufschwung des Dichters begünstigen. Wie und wann Vieles davon verdorben und beschädigt wurde, kommt vielleicht nie an den Tag. Byron's Poesie hat einen ausserordentlich kühner. Charakter; seine Ideen sind im Allgemeinen neu und überraschend, die Sprache gewaltig und fliessend. Nur mit den eigenen Augen betrachtet er die Natur und verschmäht es mit Anderen zu fühlen. Am Meisten zeichnet er sich in ruhiger Zergliederung des menschlichen Herzens und im Ausdrucke düsterer entsetzlicher Gefühle aus. Er fesselt nicht durch Liebeszauber, sondern durch den Bannspruch der Furcht. Während wir in unserem Herzen nicht für den dritten Theil der entsetzlichen Dinge ein Echo finden, die er vorbringt, können wir doch nicht von ihm lassen.”
Inscription on the Monument of a Dog: They pass like spirits of the past, they speak
Like sybils of the future; they have power When some proud son of man returns to earth, The tyranny of pleasure and of pain; Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth, They make us what we were rot what they The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
will, And storied urns record who rests below; And shake us with the vision that's gone by, When all is done, upon the tomb is seen, The dread of vanish'd shadows. Are they so? Not what he was, but what he should have been: Is not the past all shadow? What are they? But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend, Creations of the mind? The mind can make The first to welcome, foremost to defend, Substance, and people planets of its own Whose honest heart is still his master's own, With beings brighter than have been, and Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I saw two beings in the hues of youth
As 't were the cape of a long ridge of such, Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat, Save that there was no sea to lave its base, Thy smiles hypocrisy , thy words deceit! But a most living landscape, and the wave By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Of woods and corn-field, and the abodes of men Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for Scatter'd at intervals, and wreathing smoke
Arising from such rustic roofs; the hill Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn, Was crown'd with a peculiar diadem
it honours none you wish to mourn: Of trees, in circular array, so fix'd, To mark a friend's remains these stones arise; Not by the sport of nature, but of man: I never knew but one, and here he lies. These two, a maiden and a youth, were there
Gazing; the one, on all that was beneath
The maid was on the eve of womanhood;
The boy had fewer summers, but his heart
Had far outgrown his years; and, to his eye, Our life is twofold: sleep hath its own world, There was but one beloved face on earth A boundary between the things misnamed And that was shining on him: he had look'd Death and existence; sleep hath its own world, Upon it till it could not pass away; And a wide realm of wild reality,
He had no breath, no being, but in hers : And dreams in their development have breath, She was his voice; he did not speak to her, And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy: But trembled on her words: she was his sight, They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts, For his eye follow'd hers, and saw with hers, They take a weight from off our waking toils, Which colour'd all his objects; he had ceased They do divide our being; they become To live within himself; she was his life, A portion of ourselves as of our time,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts, And look like heralds of eternity:
Which terminated all! upon a tone,
A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow, Himself like what he had been: on the sea
There was a mass of many images Unknowing of its cause of agony.
Crowded like waves upon me; but he was But she in these fond feelings had no share: A part of all, and in the last he lay Her sighs were not for him! to her he was Reposing from the noontide sultriness, Even as a brother, but no more: 'twas much, Couch'd among fallen columns, in the shade For brotherless she was, save in the name Of ruin'd walls that had survived the names Her infant friendship had bestow'd on him; Of those who rear'd them: by his sleeping side Herself the solitary scion left
Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds Of a time-honour'd race. It was a name
Were fasten'd near a fountain; and a man, Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not, Clad in a flowing garb, did watch the while,
and why? While many of his tribe slumber'd around, Time taught him a deep answer when she And they were canopied by the blue sky
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful, Another! even now she loved another;
That God alone was to be seen in heaven. And on the summit of that hill she stood
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. Looking afar , if yet her lover's steed
The lady of his love was wed with one Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew. Who did not love her better: in her home,
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. A thousand leagues from his, - her native home, There was an ancient mansion, and before She dwelt, begirt with growing infancy, Its walls there was a steed caparison'd:
Daughters and sons of beauty, - but, behold! Within an antique oratory stood
Upon her face there was the tint of grief, The boy of whom I spake; he was alone, The settled shadow of an inward strife, And pale, and pacing to and fro: anon
And an unquiet drooping of the eye, He sate him down; and seized a pen, and traced As if its lid were charged with unshed tears. Words which I could not guess of; then he lean'd What could her grief be? she had all she His bow'd head on his hands, and shook as't were
loved; With a convulsion, then arose again,
And he who had so loved her was not there And, with his teeth and quivering hands, did To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
Or ill-repress'd affliction, her pure thoughts. What he had written; but he shed no tears. What could her grief be? she had loved And he did calm himself, and fix his brow Into a kind of quiet: as he paused
Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved; The lady of his love re-entered there;
Nor could he be a part of that which prey'd She was serene and smiling then,
Upon her mind, - a spectre of the past. She knew she was by him beloved! she knew, A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. For quickly comes such knowledge, that his The wanderer was return'd. I saw him stand
Before an altar, with a gentle bride: Was darken'd with her shadow; and she saw Her face was fair, but was not that which That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
made He rose, and, with a cold and gentle grasp, The starlight of his boyhood! as he stood He took her hand; a moment o'er his face Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came A tablet of unutterable thoughts
The selfsame aspect, and the quivering shock Was traced, and then it faded as it came: That in the antique oratory shook He dropp'd the hand he held, and with slow His bosom in its solitude; and then,
As in that hour, a moment o'er his face Retired, but not as bidding her adieu; The tablet of unutterable thoughts For they did part with mutual smiles: he pass'd Was traced, and then it faded as it came; From out the massy gate of that old hall, And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke And mounting on his steed he went his way,
The fitting vows,
but heard not his own And ne'er repass'd that hoary threshold more!
words; A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. And all things reel'd around him! he could see The boy was sprung to manhood : in the wilds Not that which-was, nor that which should have Of fiery climes he made himself a home,
been; And his soul drank their sunbeams; he was girt But the old mansion, and the accustom'd hall, With strange and dusky aspects; he was not And the remember'd chambers, and the place,
The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the And the quick spirit of the universe
He held his dialogues; and they did teach All things pertaining to that place and hour, To him the magic of their mysteries : And her who was his destiny came back, To him the book of night was open'd wide, And thrust themselves between him and the light: And voices from the deep abyss reveal'd What business had they there at such a time? A marvel and a secret, - Be it so.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. My dream was past: it had no further change. The lady of his love, - oh! she was changed It was of a strange order, that the doom As by the sickness of the soul: her mind Of these two creatures should be thus traced out Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes, Almost like a reality: the one They had not their own lustre, but the look To end in madness, both in misery! Which is not of the earth: she was become The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts Were combinations of disjointed things; And forms --- impalpable and unperceived Of others' sight — familiar were to hers. And this the world calls frenzy! but the wise Have a far deeper madness; and the glance
Farewell. Of melancholy is a fearful gift:
Farewell! if ever fondest prayer What is it but the telescope of truth?
For others' weal avail'd on high, Which strips the distance of its phantasies,
Mine will not all be lost in air And brings life near in utter nakedness,
But waft thy name beyond the sky. Making the cold reality too real!
'Twere vain to speak, to weep, to sigh: A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
Oh! more than tears of blood can tell, The wanderer was alone as heretofore;
When wrung from guilt's expiring eye, The beings which surrounded him were gone,
Are in that word Farewell! Farewell! Or were at war with him! he was a mark For blight and desolation, compass'd round With hatred and contention: pain was mix'd These lips are mute,
eyes are dry; In all which was served up to him, until,
But in my breast, and in my brain, Like to the Pontic monarch of old days,
Awake the pangs that pass not by, He fed on poisons, and they had no power,
The thought that ne'er shall sleep again. But were a kind of nutriment: he lived
My soul nor deigns, nor dares complain, Through that which had been death to many men, Though grief and passion there rebel; And made him friends of mountains! with the I only know we loved in vain,
I only feel — Farewell! Farewell!
Robert Southey ward am 12. August 1774 in Bristol geboren, studirte zu Oxford Theologie und fasste darauf den Plan mit Coleridge und Lorell nach Amerika zu gehn und dort eine Pantisowacy zu gründen. Es wurde jedoch Nichts daraus und Southey machte nun eine Reise nach Lissabon, von der er nach sechs Monaten zurückkehrte, sich vermählte und fortan literarischen Beschäftigungen lebte. Während der Jahre 1800 und 1801 besuchte er nochmals Spanien und Portugal und wurde darauf bei seiner Zurückkunft Secretair des damaligen Kanzlers der Schatzkammer von Irland, Carry, legte aber 1803 dieses Amt nieder und zog sich nach Keswick in Camberland zurück. 1813 erhielt er die Bestallung eines Hofpoeten, ohne die Verpflichtung indessen den Geburtstag des Königs alljährlich mit einer Ode zu feiern und 1834 eine Pension von 300 Pfund Sterling. Er starb 1843.
Southey hat sehr viele poetische wie prosaische Schriften hinterlassen. Seine dichterischen Leistungen umschliessen mehrere epische Poesieen von grösserem Umfange, wie z. B. Thalaba, Madae, the curse of Kehama, Roderick; ein Trauerspiel Wat Tyler, viele lyrische Gedichte u. 5. w. Eine treffliche Auswahl aus denselben für die Jugend erschien London 1831 in 12. — Gesammelt kamen seine poetischen Werke London 1820, 14 Bde in 8. heraus. Die Eigenschaften, welche ihn als Dichter auszeichnen, sind Reichthum der Phantasie, Geist, Lebendigkeit, Witz und Gefühl, aber es fehlt ihm an Ruhe und Besonnenheit; er lässt sich zu sehr vom Augenblicke hinreissen und giebt zu viel auf den ersten Eindruck. Er glänzt zu oft auf Kosten der Wahrheit und bleibend ist daher selten eine seiner Gestalten. Zu häufig bringt er bloss rhetorische Schönheit statt poetischer und glaubt zu genügen, wenn er die nackten Seiten seiner Stoffe durch schimmernden Flitter verhüllt. ---- Uebrigens ist er vollkommener Herr der Sprache, aber mehr ihr launenhafter Tyrann als ihr wohlwollender Gebieter.
Noch weit bedeutender als seine Dichtungen, sind seine Biographieen, namentlich seine Lebensbeschreibung Nelson's; hier ist er auch in den kleinsten Theilen ein bewährter Meister und ein edles Vorbild.
I marvel not, o Sun! tbat unto thee
And pour his prayers of mingled awe and love;
Beauty, and life, and joyance from above.
day; But shed thy splendour through the opening
cloud And cheer the earth once more. The languid
flowers Lie odourless, bent down with heavy rain, Earth asks thy presence,
showers! O lord of light! put forth thy beams again,
For damp and cheerless are the gloomy hours.
To school the little exile goes,
Torn from his mother's arms, What then shall soothe his earliest woes,
When novelty hath lost its charms? Condemn’d to suffer through the day
Restraints which no rewards repay,
Before his wish'd return.
In thought he loves to roam,
The comforts of his home.
Youth comes; the toils and cares of life
Torment the restless mind;
Its consolation find?
Life's summer prime of joy?
The fabled bliss destroy;
The careless days of Infancy.
Man hath a weary pilgrimage As through the world he wends, On every stage from youth to age
Still discontent attends; With heaviness he casts his eye
Upon the road before, And still remembers with a sigh
The days that are no more.
Maturer Manhood now arrives,
And other thoughts come on,
Its generous warmth is gone:
The dull realities of truth;