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No, she denied me what was mine-my roof,
In the following extract there is a pathetic display of the bitter feelings which crowd upon the heart of the exiled patriot and parent, and which are mingled with the proud swellings of indignation and a sense of his own worth and wrongs :
I am not of this people, nor this age,
Which shall preserve these times when not a page
An eye to gaze upon their civil rage
In life, to wear their hearts out, and consume
To live in narrow ways with little men,
Ripped from all kindred, from all home, all things
Without the power that makes them bear a crown-
Within my all inexorable town,
Where yet my boys are, and that fatal she,
Their mother, the cold partner who hath brought
Destruction for a dowry-this to see
And feel, and know without repair, hath taught
I have not vilely found, nor basely sought,
The second canto contains a beautiful apostrophe to Italy, and an enumeration of all the evils which she has endured from the weakness or vice of her own sons, and from the spoliation of invaders. The fallen and fettered state to which his native country is doomed draws from the prophetic bard deep lamentations, and he concludes with au emphatic call to his countrymen to do that one deed by which they may break their chains, and restore the beauty of their country, only by uniting.
The third canto is in a more cheerful strain. He sees, through the shades of time yet to come, the glories which Italy shall derive from the painters and poets to whom her genial soil shall give birth: but here too the sombre colour of his feelings throws a gloom over the subject, and he turns from revelling in the splendour, which the fame of Tasso and of Ariosto shall shed upon their country, to groan over the penury and hardships which must attend their lives:
Not Hellas can unroll
Through her olympiads two such names, though one
Of such men's destiny beneath the sun?
Must all the finer thoughts, the thrilling sense,
That which should be, to such a recompense
These birds of Paradise but long to flee
Back to their native mansion; soon they find
And die or are degraded; for the mind
Await the moment to assail and tear;
And when at length the winged wanderers stoop,
And task most hopeless! but some such have been,
Were prouder than more dazzling fame unblest;
Than the volcano's fierce eruptive crest,
Whose splendour from the black abyss is flung,
While the scorched mountain, from whose burning breast A temporary torturing flame is wrung,
Shines for a night of terror, then repels
Its fire back to the hell from whence it sprung
The hell which in its entrails ever dwells.
The fourth and last canto relates more particularly to Italy in its present state, and is full of pity for its sufferings and degradation, and of invective against the tyrants-as Lord Byron makes Dante call them by whom it is ruled; and anticipating that time
When Truth shall strike their eyes through many a tear,
And make them own the prophet in his tomb.
With this ends the fourth and last canto of the prophecy. It was intended by the poet to continue this work at some future period, but that intention was never carried into execution. Its chief faults are that it is too abrupt and precipitate; often, indeed, so much so as to be obscure and mystical. Its great fault with common readers must be that it is not sufficiently intelligible, either in its general drift, or in particular passages; and even those who are qualified to enter into its spirit, and can raise themselves to the height of the temper in which it is conceived, will be entitled to complain of the lengthened periods and endless interlacing of the diction, and of the general crudity of the composition. It is, however, beyond all question, the work of a man of great genius; and, if the author had only digested his matter a little more carefully, and somewhat concentrated the potent spirit of poetry which he here poured abroad so lavishly in its unrectified state, there is no doubt that this would have been another laurel to his wreath, and an addition to the fame he had already acquired.
LORD BYRON'S 'Don Juan' was too great an offence to all those persons, who, however they may respect talents and admire wit, have yet some regard for the decencies and the morals of society, to be passed over. It became, indeed, every man who held the place of a literary censor, to express openly and honestly his sense of the bad effect which that poem might produce, and of the degrading crime which the author had committed in sending it into the world accompanied with all the authority of his fame, as well as with all the powers of his genius.
Mr. Southey felt that the publication of this poem formed a sort of era in the literature of this nation. This was the first time that a work of a lascivious and improper nature had ever been openly published. The literature of England had always been preserved from the disgrace which rests upon that of every other country; and, until this unfortunate example, there was no such work openly admitted into decent society. Lord Byron's name, however, served as a passport for his indecency, and Don Juan' was found upon the tables of persons who ought to have blushed at the name of such a book, and who were soon induced to discard it for ever.
It needed little to open the eyes of the thinking and moral part of the public to the impropriety of this book; and, this once done, its fate was settled for ever. No modest woman will now confess to have read Don Juan; and, for those of any other description, it matters very little what they read. For our own part we are glad that we have an opportunity of saving, from the pollution of that bad company in which they have hitherto been alone to be found, those parts of the poem, which, for their beauty and elegance, deserve to be known, and which are so pure that they may be universally read with no less safety than delight.
Mr. Southey, in his Vision of Judgment,' took occasion to notice, in strong but just terms, the reprehensible conduct of Lord Byron. He did so, however, without any thing like a personal expression, and, as we are ready to believe, without any personal feeling. He spoke of Lord Byron's offence, but he did not mention his name; he denounced the book, but spared the author. We shall quote the whole of the passage in which Mr. Southey did this service to the literature and to the society of England.
After speaking at some length of the use of hexameters, in which the Vision of Judgment' is written, and alluding to the probable opposition which might be made to the introduction of that style, he
'I am well aware that the public are peculiarly intolerant of such innovations; not less so than the populace are of any foreign fashion, whether of foppery or convenience. Would that this literary intolerance were under the influence of a saner judgment, and regarded the morals more than the manner of a composition-the spirit rather than the form! Would that it were directed against those monstrous combinations of horrors and mockery, lewdness and impiety, with which English poetry has, in our days, first been polluted! For more than half a century English literature had been distinguished by its moral purity-the effect, and in its turn the cause, of an improvement in national manners. A father might, without apprehension of evil, have put into the hands of his children any book which issued from the press, if it did not bear, either in its title-page or frontispiece, manifest signs that it was intended as furniture for the brothel. There was no danger in any work which bore the name of a respectable publisher, or was to be procured at any respectable bookseller's. This was particularly the case with regard to our poetry. It is now no longer so; and woe to those by whom the offence cometh! The greater the talents of the offender, the greater is his guilt, and the more enduring will be his shame. Whether it be that the laws are in themselves unable to abate an evil of this magnitude, or whether it be that they are remissly administered, and with such injustice that the celebrity of an offender serves as a privilege whereby he obtains impunity, individuals are bound to consider that such pernicious works would neither be published nor written, if they were discouraged, as they might and ought to be, by public feeling every person, therefore, who purchases such books, or admits them into his house, promotes the mischief, and thereby, as far as in him lies, becomes an aider aud abettor of the crime.
The publication of a lascivious book is one of the worst offences which can be committed against the well-being of society. It is a sin, to the consequences of which no limits can be assigned, and those consequences no after-repentance in the writer can counteract. Whatever remorse of conscience he may feel when his hour comes (and come it must!) will be of no avail. The poignancy of a death-bed repentance cannot cancel one copy of the thousands which are sent