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then, we ask you, do you think of the dark-blue ocean it may not be easy to Poetry you have been listening to picture to oneself-but he who can, from our lips-is it worthy or not of will have glorious conceptions of thu Byron and of the Sea ?
power of man on the amplitude of the Why, this silence is mortifying- sea. The poet's meaning now becomes and looks as if mountains, clouds, sky, less obscure-and he says well, “ man sun, and nature were unaware of our marks the earth with ruin,” but not very existence. We begin now to well “his control stops with the shore." believe that there is no material world. That is prosaic-and does not tell. 'Tis all my eye. Notwithstanding, How could he mark the sea with ruin? WE ARE-and shall therefore continue There is nothing there to ruin-and to take his lordship into our own there can be no contrast. hands, and trouble him with a few re- cu marks. He prayed to be the “Spirit
“ Upon the watery plain the wrecks are all of each spot" - who knows but that
thy deed.” his prayer has been granted, and that Call you that poetry? With the ocean he may not be now at our elbow. personified before his own eyes, by his
Let us clear our voice. Hem! hem! own soul, he yet speaks of his deeds hem!—The one, great, leading, per “ on the watery plain!" To a poet vading, prevalent idea of the Address inspired that had been impossible-but is-is it not--that of man's impotence “ the vision and the faculty divine" on the ocean contrasted with his power were not with him-and he was mere. on the earth? On the earth his will ly inditing verses. triumphs and he is a king-on the
" Nor doth remain ocean it is nought-and he is a slave. A shadow of man's ravage save his own,"
Good. 'Tis a one-sided view of the question - but justifiable in an Ad- is hard to scan, and full of confusion. dress. And as the simpler the subject To extricate any meaning from the is, the easier too-and if powerfully words you must alter them, but 'tis handled, the grander-we demand the hardly worth the pains. You frownperfection of words. A great poet in tell us then what you understand by “a a great mood undertakes a great theme, shadow of man's ravage save his own?" and in the light and gloom, the calm and storm of a great idea to show it
“ Like a drop of rain to the world that her heart may quake.
He sinks into thy depths,” He must speak like a man when he to please you, we shall say is good is likest an angel.
though we hardly think so—for wrecks “ Roll on, thou deep and dark-blue ocean,
on wrecks are shown to our imagina
tion, and thousands of creatures perish roll !”
- man" here means men-if not, is spirited and sonorous and that is how unimpassioned the tale of his well— but it is nothing more and doom-but “ a drop of rain"-one the initial line should have been a single drop-was never yet seen by nobler burst. “ Deep and dark blue" itself sinking into the depths of the are epithets that can neither be much sea--and further, be assured by us 0 praised nor blamed- to our mind they Neophyte! with Byron in thy breast, had been better away--for the images that “ with bubbling groan" ought not they suggest, if not in dissonance, are to be there, for a drop of rain melts not in consonance with the thoughts silently in a moment, and since it is that follow them-and seem not to said that “ like a drop of rain he suggest them- but to stand by them- sinks,” erase the words from your selves as idle images or rather forms, copy, and for rhyme have reason. of speech.
“ Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin'd, “ Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in
and unknown.” vain."
What! do we find fault with that In vain ? That is-without injuring line ? Yes-erase it. The poet is not thee? But they were not seeking to singing a lament for sailors drowned do so—nor can imagination conceive at sea. He is singing the sea's wrath how they could-and if that be not to man. The sea bids the ship go the poet's meaning, what is it? Ten down and down she goes-he wastes thousand fleets sweeping over the deep no thought on the crew-nor on their wives and sweethearts. What can it well-known music from the steeples in possibly be to him that they sink both towns - both Devonport and Ply
mouth-welcoming the old Frigate “ Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoflin’d,
safe back again to the quiet Tamar, and unknown? But to cut the matter short-or to
To returntake the bull by the horns—the line “ His steps are not upon thy paths-thy as it stands, viewing it as an expres fields sion of human sympathy and sorrow Are not a spoil for him." in the poet's heart forgetting the sea
Why, you said all that and more not in the sailors, is an ambitious failure.
two minutes ago. Had you tried it a 'Tis a cold accumulation of melan
third time, we do not doubt you might choly circumstances which were all
have still farther diluted it. But what inevitable - of which the opposites were impossible-debarred by nature
means “ his steps are not upon thy and fate. There is no pathos in it
paths ?” We fear it must be taken - not a bit." It is absurd—it is ludi.
literally, and, in that case, it is poor
stuff. Figuratively it is not true; crous - yes - it makes us laugh
for “ his steps are upon thy paths,” though, rather than laugh at misery,
while “ ten thousand fleets sweep human or brute, we would choose to
over thee.” pass all our life in the Cave of Tropho.
The half-angry, half
scornful rising of the sca against the nius. - Without a grave"-who was
« vile strength man wields for earth's tu dig it? Show us sexton, spade, sod. As on dry land no man ever yet was
destruction” may pass for good—very
fine to those who love falsettoes. drowned--so at sea no man ever yet
But the stanza, as it grows inhuman, was buried but in the water-that is
ceases to be English, and as it grows first till the sca perhaps stamps him into the sand. Notwithstanding all
impious, ceases to be grammatical ;
and we ask forgiveness of all Cockneys, that, all meu speak of the sailor's grave
alive or dead, whom we have ever ---though, were they to ask themselves
calumniated, on the score of their sins what they meant, they would proba
having been outsinned till they apbly answer— fish. « Uncoífined" why the carpenter had other work
pear to be “ frailties that lean to virduring all this stormy homebound
tue's side," by voyage than to get up coffins for the "Thou dashest him to earthi-there let crew. The last thing he did was to him Lay!!” cut away her masts. But she was Then follow some strong lines water-logged, and would not right- about the Armaments, which you are blew up without powder which by at liberty to admire as much as you that time was mire and then was sucked into the jaws of the Old One
as please, especially like Jonah into the whale's belly. “And monarchs tremble in their capis Uncoffined, indeed! Why the whole tals;" four hundred men were in blue jack- but pray take notice that they but set ets-most of them sober enough in all in a somewhat different point of view conscience-but not a few drunk as what was said in the preceding stanza blazes-some capering about stark about the sea's disposing of " the vile mad_and one delirious Jacky Tar strength be wields for er
irious Jacky Tar strength he wields for earth's destrucdancing a hornpipe on the quarter- tion.'' deck, maugre the remonstrances of the Chaplain. " Unknelled"-who
“ These are thy toys, and, as the snowy was to toll the bell ? Davy Jones
flake, and he did toll it-the shin's bell--a They melt into thy yest of waves," very Paganini ringing a full peal on is mere repetition. “ A drop of rain" its single self—and with most mira- and “ the snowy flake" is but the culous organ multiplying triple-bobs, same image ; and " yest of waves" and bob-majors-in mockery of the is no improvement on Shakspeare's funeral-as if it were a marriage- “yesty waves," “ THAT SWALLOW and strange must it have been to the NAVIGATION UP" Heaven! eartlı! and ears of the more tenacious of life and sca! what an awful expression! timber among the sinking crew to hear The stanza about Assyria, Greece, below all that booming, and above it thọ Rome, and Carthago reads grandly at first sight-and grand let it be; but are far finer and more philosophical pray do you distinctly understand the lines than those ; and that the poet meaning of
felt not nor knew the meaning of his " Thy waters wasted them while they were
own awful words is proved by the
ignorant atheism of free?" To our ear the words have no mean.
“even from thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made" ing at all-nor have these so much as the writer thought
an assertion, in the sense it has hicre' “ Their decay
that would have excited the pity of Has dried up realms to deserts.”
Cuvier. It slips sillily in, too, be
tween lines with which it has no con. " Those empires bave decayed” nexion, being immediately preceded that is all that is really said-and 'tis by " the throne of the Invisible," and enough. “ Not so thou!” on which immediately followed by the whole hangs, is unsubstantial--and therefore the whole sinks into nothing.
• cach zole Earth's empires have fallen, and the Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, faPoet laments or rejoices over their
thomless, alone"fall. But there were no empires on all of which epithets might have been the sea to fall-nothing but winds and
spared, as all they denote had been waves. Wherc, then, the contrast?
expressed before, and they are rolled Nowhere. As well might he have
e off for the sake of sound, not sense, turned to Zahara-and, because the
though, after all, the music of the Great Desert remains unchanged, have
close is not magnificent. glorilied it above Babylon.
The concluding stanza seems to be “ Time writes no wrinkles on thy azure a general favourite, and is often quotbrow"
ed_nor is it uninteresting as characis a conceit, and a most impertinent
teristic of the poet's youth. But it
comes worse than awkwardly upon onic.
the licels of its predecessor, and is but “ Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou poorly written ; nor could we ever rollest now"
see the grandeur of " and laid my hand is false for here are shells.
upon thy mane,” though we never Let us be reverent, for now the poct could fail to see the absurdity of “us speaks of God.
I do here," his Lordship being at the
moment on shipboard, whereas in his “ Thou glorious mirror, where th' Al
"joy of youthful sports” we presume mighty's form Glasse; itself in tempests."
he was swimming-occasionally on
his back-and, we are willing to beWe fear the transition is violent from licve, « borne like thy bubbles onall that death and destruction to this ward" fairly out of his depth, and physico-theological view of the ocean without bladders. as a mirror of Dcity; and we can have " Verbal criticism," quotha! What! no reluctance in saying that these do you at this time of day dare to tell words are rash, and will not bear re- us that great poets need care nothing flection. Intellect comprehends them about their language, that in its inspinot_Imagination disowns them, they ratien genius vents its ecstasies in imare rant- perhaps cant; and all that passioned words which it is impicus to follows, to “ dark heaving" inclusive, criticize, and which it is at once our is full of noise-not fury—“signify- duty and our delight to accept as they ing nothing.” “ Boundless, endless, fall from the lips of an oracle, Bali ! and sublime” is laboured writing, and And they have refused to admit thy fails to make us see in the ocean “the bust into Westminster Abbey! Alas, image of Eternity”-of such Eternity poor Byron! has it come to that at as is meant here_nor reconciles us to last! Vanilas vanitatum! All is vaits being called “ the throne of the In- nity. And why such exclusion ? Bevisible."
cause one of the greatest of England's " Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutor'd poets reviled the Christian faith, and mind
believed not in the immortality of the Sees God in clouds, and hears him in the soul. Therefore, after death, there wind,”
must not be set up in that House of Fame, which is a Religious Temple, lieved in a hereafter the great poet, an image of the Scoffer. We heard perhaps, had not made up his mind on one with a loud voice cry-where there the subject,--it matters not-up with was none to answer him_" This world him beside Milton." knows nothing of what Byron thoughtW e think on a sublime passage in about the next-the friends with whom Pollok's Course of Time. he walked here knew not if he be
“ Take one example, to our purpose quite.
His evening song beneath his feet, conversed.
"As some fierce comet of tremendous size, To which the stars did reverence as it pass'd, So he, through learning and through fancy, took His Aights sublime, and on the loftiest top Of Fame's dread mountain sat; not soiled and worn, As if he from the earth had laboured up; But as some bird of heavenly plumage fair, He looked, which down from higher regions camc, And perched it there, to see what lay beneath.
“ The nations gazed, and wondered much, and praised. Critics before him fell in humble plight, Confounded fell, and made debasing signs To catch his eye; and stretched and swelled themselves To bursting nigh, to utter bulky words Of admiration vast: and many, too, Many that aimed to imitate his flight, With weaker wing, unearthly fluttering made, And gave abundant sport to after days.
“ Great man ! the nations gazed, and wondered much, And praised; and many called his evil good. Wits wrote in favour of his wickedness ; Aud kings to do him honour took delight. Thus, full of titles, flattery, honour, fame, Beyond desire, beyond ambition, full, He died-he died of what ? of wretchedness ; Drank every cup of joy, heard every trump Of fame, drank early, deeply drank, drank draughts That common millions might have quenched ; then died Of thirst, because there was no more to drink. His goddess, Nature, wooed, embraced, enjoyed, Fell from his arms, abhorred; his passions died ; Died all but dreary, solitary pride ; And all his sympathies in being died. As some ill-guided bark, well-built and tall, Which angry tides cast out on desert shore, And then retiring, left it there to rot And moulder in the winds and rains of heaven ; So he, cut from the sympathies of life, And cast ashore from pleasure's boisterous surge, A wandering, weary, worn, and wretched thing,