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proved by his impartiality in his romances. The poet of the Scottish times has given the finest part in Peveril of the Peak to a regicide.
Ifthe anti-chivalrous Byron hurried, likeaknighterrant, to carry the aid of his sword and fortune to the Greeks, Walter Scott, who has the duties of a citizen, a husband, and a father to fulfil in his own country, has subscribed 5,000/. in favour of the Greeks. This concurrence of the two great geniuses of contrary political opinions, cannot fail of being cordial to their hearts. In short, Byron's voice has just re-awakened dormant liberty at Thermopylae. I transcribe, beneath, an imitation of one of his Messenniennes, which doubtless contributed to open the eyes of the Greeks to their own humiliation. The three latter strophes belong to me; the rest is almost literally translated from the third canto of Don Juan.
"Grèce, berceau des arts, quand ta gloire est flétrie,
La Muse qui peupla de nymphes tes bocages,
J'aime sur Marathon à voir lever l'aurore;
Oa sont-ils ces guerriers, la terreur des tyrans?
Et nous! d'indignes fers déshonorent nos bras:
Terre, entr'ouvre ton sein! de tes héros vengeurs,
Quelle voix du tombeau répond avec courroux:
Mais ils ont entendu le signal du plaisir;
Un groupe de beautés répète un cbant d'amour!
Mer, reçois dans tes flots le poète mourant 1
— Su ni u m fut témoin de son heure dernière;
Un musulman survient, son farouche mépris
TO M. P. DONNADIEU.
I Return to the subject of Don Juan, because of all the poems of Lord Byron it is that which stands most in need of apology; but the time will come, when in England itself it will be quoted as the most miraculous exemplification of his talent. Let Byron die to-morrow,* and private hostility, and offended self love, compelled to be silent through prudence, in the midst of general mourning, will no longer be enabled to sanction by their murmurs and treacherous insinuations, the moral pedantry of English cant. Some superior critic will dare to declare his opinion aloud, and each individual will repeat, "This is what I myself thought, but did not dare to express."
While seeming to despise the opinion of the multitude, it is to the good sense of the people that Byron has appealed in his Don Juan. He has offended all the coteries; but he will have in his favour the public which he has selected: the
* When I traced these words, I was in hopes that Byron would live many years, to the profit of his own glory and Greek liberty, of which hit tomb hat become, alas 1 the first monument.
poet was aware how much the sophisticated imitations of his Childe Harold threatened to compromise him ; he therefore anticipated his caricaturists, and Don Juan readily slips into a parody of the Pilgrimage, because the combination of enthusiasm and sternness which it contains might be copied on occasion by some originals of English society, as a new variety of that disguise with which it indulges in arraying itself. The true Childe Harold was a sublimely contemplative spirit; he waged war against the tender affections, because he had suffered deeply through their means but all that is grand, all that elevates, the wonders of nature and art, found in his heart an easily awakened sympathy. In front of the Alps, or the ocean, on the field of Waterloo, amidst the ruins of the Coliseum, or the chef d'ceuvres of Florence, Childe Harold experienced and expressed an unaffected enthusiasm: and when a reversion to himself snatched from him some allusion to his domestic history, the egotism of the poet incorporated itself with all that was sublime around him. Chilled by the world, Childe Harold wrapped himself up in the folds of his pride, and in order to detach himself from men, whom he fancied he hated, he raised himself above them by indulging in emotions often eccentric but always sublime. A personage of this stamp becomes sovereignly ridiculous from the moment that he ceases to inspire that kind of mysterious admiration, the homage of which serves as a protection to genius, even in its errors. Whether it was weariness of such a part, or fear of wearying others, (for the little shafts of ridicule were able to irritate Napoleon through the folds of the imperial purple, and Byron in spite of the halo of his glory,) Childe Harold becomes a man of the world once more in Don Juan, and attacks, in order to avoid being compelled to defend. His object is to exert his superiority by the aid of irony; he mingles familiarly with the crowd, indulges his malice in quizzing the great, employs his own peculiar language in order to interest when relating some tragic event, and then suddenly, like Coriolanus, in the costume of the consular candidate, suffers his aristocratic disdain to transpire, and effaces by a pasquinade the emotion he has imparted. It must be confessed, that while playing this part of a humourist, he affects too much triteness; and when he protracts this tone, he falls into the extreme, which somewhat resembles that condition which Beaumarchais calls the intoxication of the people.* But by some unexpected transition Byron quickly returns to the charge against his own class, and with a dexterity of remark which sharpens the edge of his style. Occasionally, too, he grows irritated; attacks all the powers that be, and no longer confining himself to goading them in epigrams, he remorselessly lacerates the adversaries whom he has created. He no longer says to the masquerader, "You are