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In this Volume are arranged, as exactly as could be ascertained, in the order in which they were written, Lord Byron's detached poetical pieces produced between the publication of "The Corsair," in January, 1814, and the end of July, 1816, when he left Geneva for Italy. The third Canto of " Childe Harold " was composed, as has been already mentioned, during the last two months of the period thus embraced.
The contents of this Volume are so miscellaneous, that we have found it necessary to give our observations on the several pieces, in immediate connection with each as it occurs. On the whole, the section of the Author's life to which these belong is, perhaps, the most deeply interesting of all; and cer
tainly there is none which has been more clearly and touchingly reflected in his poetry. Indeed, the course of his personal feelings may be traced with hardly less distinctness in the romantic tales of "Lara,” the "Siege of Corinth," "Parisina," and the "Prisoner of Chillon," than in the occasional Stanzas with which they are intermixed even in the six remarkable effusions expressly originating in his separation from Lady Byron.
With regard to the first of those Domestic Pieces, the "Fare thee well,"
we have seen, since the sheet containing it was sent to the press, the original draught of it; and, had it fallen under our notice sooner, we should have presented the reader with a fac-simile. The appearance of the MS. confirms, and more than confirms, the account of the circumstances under which it was written, given in the Notices of Lord Byron's Life. It is blotted all over with the marks of tears.
We have also observed, that the motto from 66 Christabel," which now stands at the head of "Fare thee well," did not appear there until
several editions had been printed. Mr. Coleridge's poem was, in fact, first published in June, 1816, and reached Lord Byron after he had crossed the Alps, in September. It was then that he signified his wish to have the extract in question affixed to all future copies of his stanzas; and the reader, who might have doubted Mr. Moore's assertion, that Lord Byron's hopes of an ultimate reconciliation with his Lady survived even the unsuccessful negotiation prompted by the kind interference of Madame de Staël, when he visited her at Copet, will probably now consider the selection and date of this motto, as circumstances strongly corroborative of the biographer's
"A dreary sea now flows between
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
The marks of that which once hath been!"
The saddest period of Lord Byron's life was also, we see, one of the busiest. His refuge and solace were ever in the practice of his art; and the rapidity with which he continued to pour out verses at this melancholy time, if it
tended to prolong some of his personal annoyances, by giving malevolent critics fresh pretences for making his private affairs the subject of public discussion, has certainly been in no respect injurious to his poetical reputation. It was in reviewing some of the performances included in this Volume, that Sir Walter Scott threw out the following observations, not the less interesting and instructive for certain modest allusions to that great author's own experiences as a popular poet:
"We are sometimes," he says, “tempted to blame the timidity of those poets, who, possessing powers to arrest the admiration of the public, are yet too much afraid of censure to come frequently forward, and thus defraud themselves of their fame, and the public of the delight which they might afford us. Where success has been unexpectedly, and perhaps unde servedly, obtained by the capricious vote of fashion, it may be well for the adventurer to draw his stake and leave the game, as every succeeding hazard will diminish the chance of his rising a winner. But, they cater ill for the public, and give indifferent advice to the