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yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs, covering and devouring them!'
It is very sad to read, how this brilliant wit, orator, poet and dramatist, who had so long been the life of the Prince Regent's dinner-parties at Carlton House, lost the favour of his patron (in consequence, it must be confessed, of his own irregularities), sunk lower and lower, and at last died in poverty and misery. Shortly before his death, an application for pecuniary relief was made, by some of his friends, to the Prince; but it was not granted with the necessary promptness, and when it did arrive, it came too late. It has been alleged, in justification of the Prince, that he did not learn in time the destitute condition of Sheridan, and it is true, besides, that the vain, dressy, and prodigal 'greatest gentleman in Europe' had heavy debts of his own to meet. At all events the Prince was severely enough punished for his tardiness by the following crushing lines of Moore in his stanzas on the death of Sheridan:
No! not for the wealth of the land that supplies thee
With millions to cast upon foppery's shrine; No! not for the riches of all that despise thee (Though this would make Europe's whole opulence mine)
Would I feel as thou e'en in the heart that
All mean as it is, must have consciously burned, When the pittance, which shame had wrung from thee at last, And which found all his wants at an end, was returned.
Every word, in these bitterest of all lines, strikes with the annihilating force of a thunderbolt.
FROM 1780 TILL THE PRESENT
POETS AND PROSE-WRITERS.
The talented author of Greenland and Pelican Island, James Montgomery (17711854) must not be confounded with a later and very inferior poet, of a similar name (Rev. Rob. Montgomery, author of Satan). Besides his greater works, James Montgomery has given us a number of beautiful short poems, all extremely popular.
Sir Walter Scott's high reputation as a novelist has tended to cast his poetry into the shade, though it was as a poet that he first made himself a name, and gained the favour of the public. Born on the
same day as Napoleon (15th Aug. 1771), and bred to the law, he soon began to devote himself to literature and antiquarian research. He first published some translations from Bürger and Goethe (1796), having been induced to study German by his friend, Mackenzie, and a few years afterwards his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802); but his first important poem, the Lay of the last Minstrel, did not appear till 1805. In the Lay, the hero and heroine, Lord Cranstoun and the fair Margaret of Branksome, are a sort of Border Romeo and Juliet, for they belong to two hostile houses; but, more fortunate than Shakespeare's lovers, they are at last happily wedded, in spite of the ill-will of the lady's mother, who seeks the aid of magic against Cranstoun. The novelty of the subject, and freshness of the style, soon made the poem a favourite in educated circles. In Marmion (1808) we are introduced to the brilliant court of James IV., and the poem concludes with a grand picture of the terrible defeat of Flodden Field, so fatal to the lover rest?' and the well-known 'young Scotland. The fine song: Where shall Lochinvar' are to be found in this poem. But the most popular of all Scott's poetical though the plot is not only improbable, but works is perhaps the Lady of the Lake, for James V. never pardoned Douglas, involves a direct contradiction to history; death. Besides, it seems strange that it who remained in exile till after the king's should never occur to Lady Margaretthough it does to almost every readerthat the Knight of Snowdon is the king himself; so thin is the disguise. Still the poem abounds in beauties; and we know nothing superior to the song: 'Soldier, rest;' the Coronach, 'He is gone on the mountain;' the boat-song, 'Hail to the chief;' Ellen's hymn, 'Ave, Maria, maiden mild;' the combat of Fitz-James and Roderick, and the battle of Beal' an Duine. Rokeby (1813), a tale of the Cavaliers and Roundheads, though carefully wrought out, never attained to any great popularity. The Lord of the Isles, in which the national hero, Robert Bruce, plays the principal part, is written with all that spirit and fire which Scott always displays, when treating of the triumphs of his native land.
Though the poetry of Lord Byron (1788 -1824) has been often described as belonging to the school of Dryden and Pope, yet this is true of a very small part of it, and the observation is rather applicable to the form than to the matter itself. In
from that moment he took a savage delight in defying every conventional restraint, and outraging all that the world usually reveres.
truth, Byron differs widely from every other English poet we know, and in reading his works we are at once struck with the peculiarity, that with him poetry is always the language of passion. Didactic poetry In 1807, when young Byron published he never wrote; metaphysical poetry he his Hours of Idleness, which, it must be contemned. It was the first article of his conceded, gave no very high promise of poetical creed, that true poetry must burst future distinction, the book was severely from the overcharged heart, and can never criticised by the Edinburgh Review, in an come from the cool head; hence every article generally attributed to Brougham. thing he has written has the wild tropical This article it was that aroused all his luxuriance of the productions of a feverish dormant powers, and called forth his Engtemperature. But the distinguishing char-lish Bards and Scotch Reviewers, written in acteristic of his writings is, that in all his heroes--Childe Harold, Conrad, Alp, Manfred-we find a picture of himself, the difference of time, place and circumstance alone causing a seeming diversity, just as the expression of a particular portrait will vary according to the light in which it is placed. Here Byron shows himself infinitely inferior to Shakespeare, who, as we have already observed, never in a single instance repeats himself. In all Byron's principal poems we discover the same hapless and imbittered being, whose heart, though 'form'd for softness,' had been
-warp'd to wrong, Betray'd too early, and beguiled too young. The misanthropic feeling which pervades most of Byron's poetry had its origin, doubtless, in his early education, and his peculiar position in childhood and youth. Brought up in narrow circumstances, by a widowed mother with a temper soured by the dissipation of a dissolute husband, a mother who at one time spoiled him by overindulgence, and at another abused him, in a sudden fit of passion, as 'a lame brat;' then after the lapse of some years rejected as a lover by Mary Chaworth, who likewise spoke of him slightingly as 'that lame boy,' Byron early began to regard himself as a sort of social pariah, and his proud spirit led him to pay back with interest the scorn which with morbid sensitiveness he imagined was heaped on him by the world. Though endowed with striking manly beauty, his one physical defect, the unfortunate halt in his gait, caused him intense misery, and held him in a state of chronic irritation against his mother, who, as he maintained, had caused this blemish in his person by a false delicacy at the time of his birth. When in after-years his own hasty and illjudged marriage was speedily followed by a separation, and the public-as the English public universally do-unhesitatingly took the part of the lady-the measure of his disgust for society was full, and
the neat, concise, and cutting style of the
ments qualified his satire as 'pert, shallow,
In Lara, which is supposed to be a continuation of the Corsair, the incidents are less romantic and more lifelike. The Giaour contains, among other beauties, those fine lines in which modern Greece is compared to a beautiful corpse, and the pathetic and often quoted lament of the Giaour for his lost Leila:
MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE.
She was a form of life and light,
That, seen, became a part of sight;
The Bride of Abydos is not so long as
Had we never loved so kindly,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
As to the literary merits of Byron's dramas, opinions are greatly divided. Though they were never intended for representation, one of them, Werner, founded on Harriet Lee's German's Tale, was brought
the stage by the great tragedian, Macready, with distinguished success. Manfred, a fine example of the terrible sublime, Byron himself calls a dramatic poem, and in fact it consists mainly of a series of soliloquies, united by a little brief dialogue. Still, none of Byron's many works gives a better idea of the vast resources of his genius than Manfred.
Of his lighter poetry the playful, satirical Beppo is a good example. The three stanzas of questions, which Laura levels pointblank at her husband, when he returns
home after his long absence, produce, in
We conclude our notice of Byron_with
The poetry of Shelley (1792-1822),
as atheistical, and Shelley probably would not have denied the imputation, but it seems to us to savour much more of pantheism than of atheism. No real atheist would have described, in Queen Mab, Ianthe's soul as still existing when divorced from the body-all beautiful in naked purity,' and 'immortal amid ruin'-for we cannot conceive of atheism apart from materialism. In Alastor, Shelley portrays the sufferings of a lofty and uncorrupted nature, driven into solitude by a selfish and unsympathizing world. It was written near Windsor Forest, and contains fine descriptions of the same woodland scenery that had previously inspired Denham and Pope. The Revolt of Islam, and the Prometheus Unbound, are often obscure, not to say unintelligible, though they both contain many truly sublime passages; and we may find in them the purest philanthropy curiously blended with the fiercest denunciations against the social system of the present day. Adonais is a lament for the premature death of the young poet Keats, a volume of whose poems was found in Shelley's pocket, when his dead body was recovered from the waves of the Gulf of Spezzia. Rosalind and Helen is a denunciation, in the form of a narrative poem, against the institution of marriage. The Cenci is a powerfully written, but most painful tragedy-far too painful for representation on the stage. In spite of her crime, all our sympathies are with Beatrice, and we feel that had she been tried by an English or a German jury, the verdict would have been 'justifiable homicide. Her courageous bearing in the presence of her judges is finely contrasted by the poet with the timidity of her stepmother Lucretia, and the pusillanimity of her brother Giacomo. Shelley has also translated Homer's Hymn to Mercury, the Cyclops of Euripides, scenes from Calderon, and parts of Goethe's Faust.
Thomas Moore (1780-1852), the friend and biographer of Byron, is perhaps the most musical of all the English poets. Born in Dublin of Roman Catholic parents, at a time when the infamous penal laws against the Catholics still existed in full force, the poet could never, as long as he lived, forget the wrongs and sufferings endured by his country for ages. In 1793 the English government made the first concession to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, by opening the University of Dublin to Catholic students, and young Moore was thus enabled to enter college, which he did in the following year. In 1799, having finished a translation of Anacreon, he set
out for London, where he published it by subscription, and obtained permission to dedicate it to the Prince of Wales. In later years he bitterly satirized the Prince the fat Adonis of fifty'-and when he was taxed with ingratitude for past favours, he replied: "These favours and benefits are very easily summed up: I was allowed to dedicate Anacreon to his Royal Highness; I twice dined at Carlton House; and I made one of the fifteen hundred envied guests at the Prince's grand fête in 1815. In 1806 Moore published his Odes and Epistles, which led to a bloodless duel with Jeffrey of the Edinburgh Review; and in the following year he began the publication of the Irish Melodies, with the intention, as he tells us, of rescuing the fine popular airs of Ireland from the oblivion into which they were in danger of falling, for want of appropriate words. These melodies, which are partly patriotic, partly erotic or convivial, are full of tender feeling, wit and humour. Many of them relate to the illconcerted and unfortunate Irish rebellion of 1798, and others to the revolt and execution of the young patriot, Emmet, in 1803. To the first class belong: 'Weep on, weep on, your hour is past,' and "Tis gone, and for ever, the light we saw breaking;' to the second: 'Oh breathe not his name,' and 'It is not the tear at this moment shed.' The beautiful songs: 'She is far from the land,' and 'When he who adores thee,' refer to Sarah Curran, young Emmet's betrothed, whose sad history is told by Washington Irving under the title of 'The Broken Heart.
Moore's longest and most important poem is Lalla Rookh, or rather it is a series of four separate poems, united by an amusing prose narrative, and supposed to be recited by the young poet Feramorz, to entertain the Princess Lalla Rookh on her way from Delhi to Bucharia, the home of her destined husband, the prince of that country. We discover, in the sequel, that the poet is no other than the disguised prince himself. The first of the series: The veiled Prophet of Khorassan, has for its subject the revolt of a religious impostor, in that province of Persia, against the caliph, in the year 163 of the Hegira. In accordance with the subject, the language is energetic, abrupt, and sometimes even harsh; as may be seen by the following vigorous lines on religious credulity:
-oh, the lover may Distrust that look which steals his soul away! The babe may cease to think that it can play
MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE.
With heaven's rainbow; alchymists may doubt
Fought for the land his soul adored,
The path to the secret mountain fastness
of the Ghebers is at last revealed to the
Mahometans by a Persian; and Moore,
Oh for a tongue to curse the slave
Comes o'er the counsels of the brave,
After denouncing against him all sorts
And when from earth his spirit flies,
Beholding heaven, and feeling hell!
The romantic part of the poem treats of the ill-starred loves of Hafed, the Gheber chief, and Hinda, the daughter of the emir,
In 1818 Moore published his amusing he published a sequel, the Fudges in Engsatire, the Fudge Family in Paris, to which land, in 1841. The Fudges are supposed watering-place; Miss Biddy, foiled in all in the latter to be residents at an English at last to piety and tract-distributing; Fudge her endeavours to procure a husband, takes senior is dead, and the once brilliant Bob is a middle-aged man troubled with gout. The Loves of the Angels appeared in 1823. The subject, Moore tells us, is not biblical at all, as has been often falsely assumed, but was taken by him from the spurious Book of Enoch, chap. VII, sect. 2. Of his numerous prose works, the most important are, the lives of Lord Byron, Brinsley Sheridan, and the unfortunate Lord Edward Fitzgerald, one of the chiefs of the Irish rebellion, who was mortally wounded in May 1798, while resisting an attempt to take him into custody.
Thomas Campbell (1777–1844) has gained his high reputation as a poet chiefly by his elegant shorter poems and his spiritstirring lyrics, such as: 'Ye Mariners of England,' 'The Battle of the Baltic,' and Hohenlinden.' 'Lochiel's Warning' is a prophetic admonition supposed to be addressed by a wizard to Donald Cameron of Lochiel, chief of the clan Cameron, just before the fatal battle of Culloden; and the 'Exile of Erin' was suggested by His Campbell's meeting with an unfortunate Irish refugee in 1801 at Hamburgh. two longest poems are: the Pleasures of Hope, and Gertrude of Wyoming. first is composed on the plan of Mark Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination, but Campbell's poem is infinitely more varied and interesting than Akenside's philosophical but rather pedantic and monotonous poem; and Campbell's easy rhyme is certainly more harmonious than Akenside's dull blank verse. The subject of Gertrude of Wyoming