« 上一頁繼續 »
Thus, we do not think Lord Byron was made for translating, during his non-age, Adrian's Address to his Soul, when Pope succeeded so indifferently in the attempt. If our readers, however, are of another opinion, they may look at it.
Ah! gentle, fleeting, wavering sprite,
To what unknown region borne,
But pallid, cheerless, and forlorn.
ly, however, does allude frequently to his family and ancestors-sometimes in notes; and while giving up his claim on the score of rank, he takes care to remember us of Dr. Johnson's saying, that when a nobleman appears as an author, his merit should be handsomely acknowledged. In truth, it is this consideration only, that induces us to give Lord Byron's poems a place in our Review, beside our desire to counsel him, that he do forthwith abandon poetry, and turn his talents, which are considerable, and his opportunities, which are great, to better account. With this view, we must beg leave seriously to assure him, that the mere rhyming of the final syllable, even when accompanied by the presence of a certain number of feet; nay, al-lations and imitations are great favourites with though (which does not always happen) those feet Lord Byron. We have them of all kinds, should scan regularly, and have been all countAnacreon to Ossian; and viewing them as schooled accurately, upon the fingers, it is not the exercises, they may pass. Only, why print them whole art of poetry. We would entreat him to after they have had their day and served their believe, that a certain portion of liveliness, turn? As to his Ossianic poesy we are not very somewhat of fancy, is necessary to constitute a good judges, being, in truth, so moderately skill poem, and that a poem in the present day, to ed in that species of composition, that we should, be read, must contain at least one thought, ei- in all probability, be criticising some bit of the ther in a little degree different from the ideas genuine Macpherson itself, were we to express of former writers, or differently expressed. We our opinion of Lord Byron's rhapsodies. If, then, put it to his candour, whether there is any thing is by his Lordship, we venture to object to it, the following beginning of a "Song of Bards,' so deserving the name of poetry in verses like the following, written in 1806; and whether, if as far as we can comprehend it. "What form a youth of eighteen could say any thing so unrises on the roar of clouds, whose dark ghost interesting to his ancestors, a youth of nineteen gleams on the red stream of tempests? His voice should publish it. olls on the thunder; 'tis Orla, the brown chief some time, the bards conclude by giving him of Oithona." After detaining this "brown chief" their advice to "raise his fair locks;" then to "spread them on the arch of the rainbow;" and "to smile through the tears of the storm." this kind of thing there are no less than nine pages; and we can so far venture an opinion in son; and we are positive they are pretty nearly their favour, that they look very like Macpheras stupid and tiresome.
Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant, departing
From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu! Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting New courage, he'll think upon glory and you. Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation, Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret: Far distant he goes, with the same emulation;
The fame of his fathers he ne'er can forget. That fame, and that memory, still will he cherish, He vows that he ne'er will disgrace your
Like you will he live, or like you will he perish;
Now we positively do assert, that there is nothing better than these stanzas in the whole compass of the noble minor's volume.
Lord Byron should also have a care of attempting what the greatest poets have done before him, for comparisons (as he must have had occasion to see at his writing-master's) are odious. -Gray's Ode on Eton College should really have kept out the ten hobbling stanzas " On a distant view of the village and school of Harrow. Where fancy yet joys to retrace the resemblance
Of comrades, in friendship and mischief allied; How welcome to me your ne'er fading remembrance,
Which rests in the bosom, though hope is denied. In like manner, the exquisite lines of Mr. Rogers "On a Tear," might have warned the noble author off those premises, and spared us a whole dozen such stanzas as the following:
Mild Charity's glow,
Where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a Tear.
but they should "use it as not abusing it ;" and It is a sort of privilege of poets to be egotists; particularly one who piques himself (though ininfant-bard," ("The artless Helicon I boast is deed at the ripe age of nineteen) of being "an youth;")-should either not know, or should seem not to know, so much about his own ancestry. Besides a poem above cited, on the family-seat of the Byrons, we have another of eleven pages, on the self-same subject, introduced with an apology, "he certainly had no intention of inserting it, but really "the particular request of some friends," etc. It concludes with five stanzas on himself, "the last and youngest of a noble line." There is a good deal also about his maternal ancestors, in a poem on Lachin y Gair, a mountain were he spent part of his youth, and might have learnt that pibroch is not a bagpipe, any more than duet means a fiddle.
As the author has dedicated so large a part
There, in apartments small and damp,
Who reads false quantities in Sele,
Still barmless are these occupations,
That hurt none but the hapless student, Compared with other recreations,
Which bring together the imprudent.
We are sorry to hear so bad an account of the college psalmody as is contained in the following Attic stanzas.
Our choir would scarcely be excused,
To such a set of croaking sinners.
If David, when his toils were ended,
them as we find them, and be content; for they
Had heard these blockheads sing before him, off to have got so much from a man of this Lord's
In furious mood he would have tore 'em!
But whatever judgment may be passed on the poems of this noble minor, it seems we must take
station, who does not live in a garret, but “has the sway" of Newstead Abbey. Again, we say, let us be thankful; and, with honest Sancho, bid God bless the giver, nor look the gift horse in the mouth.
NOTE TO THE LETTER OF BOWLES' | replied Sheridan, "I remember little, except that
STRICTURES ON POPE.
Cowper's Dutch delineation of a wood drawn up
Thy needles, once a shining store,
My Mary, contain a simple, household, "indoor," artificial, and ordinary image. I refer Mr. Bowles to the stanza, and ask if these three lines about "needles" are not worth all the boasted twaddling about trees, so triumphantly re-quoted? and yet in fact what do they convey? A homely collection of images and ideas associated with the darning of stockings, and the hemming of shirts, and the mending of breeches; but will any one deny that they are eminently poetical and pathetic as addressed by Cowper to his nurse? The trash of trees reminds me of a saying of Sheridan's. Soon after the "Rejected Address" scene, in 1812, I met Sheridan. In the course of dinner, he said, "Lord Byron, did you know that amongst the writers of addresses was Whitbread himself?" I answered by an inquiry of what sort of an address he had made. "Of that,"
there was a phoenix in it." A phœnix!! Well, how did he describe it?" "Like a poulterer;" answered Sheridan; "it was green, and yellow, and red, and blue: he did not let us off for a single feather." And just such as this poulterer's account of a phenix, is Cowper's a stick-picker's detail of a wood, with all its petty minutiæ ef this, that, and the other.
One more poetical instance of the power of art, and even its superiority over nature, in poetry, and I have done ;-the bust of Antinous! Is there any thing in nature like this marble, excepting the Venus? Can there be more poetry gathered into existence than in that wonderful creation of perfect beauty? But the poetry of this bust is in no respect derived from nature, nor from any association of moral exaltedness; for what is there in common with moral nature and the male minion of Adrian? The very execution is not natural, but super-natural, or rather superartificial, for nature has never done so much.
Away, then, with this cant about nature and "invariable principles of poetry!" A great artist will make a block of stone as sublime as a mountain, and a good poet can imbue a pack of cards with more poetry than inhabits the forests of America. It is the business and the proof of a poet to give the lie to the proverb, and sometimes to "make a silken purse out of a sow's ear;" and to conclude with another homely proverb, "a good workman will not find fault with his tools."
TO THE PUBLISHER.
down sort of tune, that reminded me of the
I AM a country-gentleman of a midland-county. I might have been a Parliament-man for a certain borough, having had the offer of as many votes as General T. at the general election (in 1812). But I was all for domestic happiness; as fifteen years ago, on a visit to London, I married a middle-aged Maid of Honour. We lived happily at Hornem - Hall till last season, when my wife and I were invited by the Count-Vicar of Wakefield, though her mother would ess of Waltzaway (a distant relation of my spouse) to pass the winter in town. Thinking no harm, and our girls being come to a marriageable (or as they call it, marketable) age, and having besides a Chancery - suit inveterately entailed upon the family estate, we came up in our old chariot, of which, by the bye, my wife grew so much ashamed in less than a week, that I was obliged to buy a second-hand barouche, of which I might mount the box, Mrs. H. says, if I could drive, but never see the inside-that place being reserved for the Honourable Augustus Tiptoe, her partner-general and opera-knight. Hearing great praises of Mrs. H.'s dancing (she was famous for birth - night - minuets in the latter end of the last century), I unbooted, and went to a ball at the Countess's, expecting to see a country-dance, or, at most, cotillions, reels, and all the old paces to the newest tunes. But, judge of my surprise, on arriving, to see poor dear Mrs. Hornem with her arms half round the loins of a huge hussar-looking gentleman I never set eyes on before; and his, to say truth, rather more than half round her waist, turning round, and round, and round, to a d-d see-saw up and
call her after the Princess of Swappenbach), said "Lord, Mr. Hornem, can't you see they are valtzing," or waltzing (I forget which); and then up she got, and her mother and sister, and away they went, and round-abouted it till supper-time. Now that I know what it is, I like it of all things, and so does Mrs. H.; though I have broken my shins, and four times overturned Mrs. Hornem's maid in practising the preliminary steps in a morning. Indeed, so much do I like it, that having a turn for rhyme, tastily displayed in some election-ballads, and songs in honour of all the victories (but till lately I have had little practice in that way), I sat down, and with the aid of W. F., Esq., and a few hints from Dr. B. (whose recitations I attend, and am monstrous fond of Master B.'s manner of delivering his father's late successful D. L. Address), I composed the following hymn, wherewithal to make my sentiments known to the Public, whom, nevertheless, I heartily despise as well as the Critics.
I am, SIR, yours,
MUSE of the many twinkling feet! whose
Are now extended up from legs to arms;
And own-impregnable to most assaults,
This poem has been attributed to Lord Byron: the question of its authenticity remaining undeeided, it is here given by way of appendix.
Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine (Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine), Long be thine import from all duty free, And Hock itself be less esteem'd than thee; In some few qualities alike-for Hock Improves our cellar-thou our living stock. The head to Hock belongs-thy subtler art Intoxicates alone the heedless heart: Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims, And wakes to wantonness the willing limbs.
Oh, Germany! how much to thee we owe,
We bless thee still-for George the Third is left!
But peace to her-her Emperor and Diet, Though now transferr'd to Bonaparte's "fiat;" Back to my theme-0! Muse of motion say, How first to ALBION found thy Waltz her way?
Borne on the breath of hyperborean gales, From Hamburg's port (while Hamburg yet had mails),
Ere yet unlucky Fame-compell'd to creep
To you-ye husbands of ten years! whose brows Ache with the annual tributes of a spouse; To you, of nine years less-who only bear The budding sprouts of those that you shall wear, With added ornaments around them roll'd, Of native brass, or law-awarded gold; To you, ye matrons, ever on the watch To mar a son's, or make a daughter's match; To you, ye children of-whom chance accords Always the ladies, and sometimes their lords; To you-ye singlé gentlemen! who seek
'Torments for life, or pleasures for a week;
Endearing Waltz-to thy more melting tune Bow Irish jig, and ancient rigadoon; Scotch reels avaunt! and country-dance forego Your future claims to each fantastic toe; Waltz-Waltz-alone both legs and arms demands, Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands; Hands which may freely range in public sight Where ne'er before-but-pray "put out the light." Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier Shines much too far or I am much too near; And true, though strange-Waltz whispers this remark,
"My slippery steps are safest in the dark! But here the Muse with due decorum halts, And lends her longest petticoat to Waltz.
Observant travellers! of every time; Ye quartos! publish'd upon every clime; O say, shall dull Romaika's heavy round, Fandango's wriggle, or Bolero's bound; Can Egypt's Almas-tantalizing groupColumbia's caperers to the warlike whoopCan aught from cold Kamtschatka to Cape Horn With Waltz compare, or after Waltz be borne? Ah, no! from Morier's pages down to Galt's, Each tourist pens a paragraph for "Waltz."
Shades of those belles, whose reign began of yore, With George the Third's-and ended long beforeThough in your daughters' daughters yet you thrive,
Burst from your lead, and be yourselves alive!
Blest was the time Waltz chose for her debut; The Court, the Regent, like herself were new; New face for friends, for foes some new rewards, New ornaments for black and royal guards; New laws to hang the rogues that roar'd for bread; New coins (most new) to follow those that fled; New victories-nor can we prize them less, Though Jenky wonders at his own success: New wars, because the old succeed so well, That most survivors envy those who fell; New mistresses-no-old-yet 'tis true, Though they be old, the thing is something new ; Each new, quite new-(except some ancient tricks); New white-sticks, gold-sticks, broom-sticks, all new sticks!
With vests or ribands-deck'd alike in hue,
And thou, my Prince! whose sovereign taste
It is to love the lovely beldames still;
But ye-who never felt a single thought
Pleased round the chalky floor how well they trip, Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side;
One hand reposing on the royal hip;
Where were the rapture then to clasp the form,
Thus front to front the partners move or stand,
Thus all and each, in movement swift or slow,
O ye! who loved our grandmothers of yore, Fitzpatrik, Sheridan, and many more!
Or give-like her-caresses to a score;
Voluptuous Waltz! and dare I thus balspheme?
My wife now waltzes-and my daughters shall;
Quam familiariter. (p. 773. My Latin is all forgotten, if a man can be said to have forgotten what he never remembered; but I bought my title-page-motto of a Catholic priest for a three shilling Bank-token, after much haggling for the even sixpence. I grudged the money to a Papist, being all for the memory of Perceval and "No Popery;" and quite regretting the downfal of the Pope, because we can't burn him any more.
Muse of the many-twinkling feet! [p. 773. "Glance their many-twinkling feet."-GRAY.
On Hounslow's heath to rival Wellesley's fame. [p. 773. To rival Lord Wellesley's, or his nephew's, as the reader pleases :-the one gained a pretty woman, whom he deserved by fighting for; and the other has been fighting in the Peninsula many a long day, "by Shrewsbury clock," without gaining any thing in that country but the title of "the Great Lord," and "the Lord," which savours of profanation, having been hitherto applied only to that Being, to whom "Te Deums" for carnage are the rankest blasphemy.-It is to be presumed
the General will one day return to his Sabine
To tame the genius of the stubborn plain,
The Lord Peterborough conquered continents in a summer; we do more-we contrive both to conquer and lose them in a shorter season. If the "Great Lord's" Cincinnatian progress in agriculture be no speedier than the proportional average of time in Pope's couplet, it will, according to the farmer's proverb, be "ploughing with dogs."
By the bye-one of this illustrious person's new titles is forgotten-it is, however, worth remembering "salvador del Mundo!"-credite posteri! If this be the appellation annexed by the inhabitants of the Peninsula to the name of a man who has not yet saved them-query-are they worth saving even in this world? for, according to the mildest modifications of any Christian creed, those three words make the odds much against them in the next.-"Saviour of the World," quotha!-it were to be wished that he, or any one else, could save a corner of it-his country. Yet this stupid misnomer, although it shows the near connexion between Superstition and Impiety, so far has its use, that it proves there can be little to dread from those Catholics (inquisitorial Catholics too) who can confer such an appellation on a Protestant. I suppose next