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Where twined the path, in shadow hid
Round many a rocky pyramid,
Shooting abruptly from the dell
Its thunder-splintered pinnacle ;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the pass,
Huge as the tower which builders vain,
Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain.
Their rocky summits, split and rent,
Formed turret, dome, or battlement.
Or seemed fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Wild crests as pagod ever decked,
Or mosque of eastern architect.
Nor were these earth-born castles bare,
Nor lacked they many a banner fair ;
For, from their shivered brows displayed,
Far o'er the unfathomable glade,
All twinkling with the dew-drop sheen,
The briar-rose fell in streamers green,
And creeping shrubs of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west-winds summer sighs.
Boon nature scattered, free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.
Here eglantine embalmed the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there ;
The primrose pale, and violet flower,
Found in each cliff a narrow bower ;
Foxglove and nightshade, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,
Grouped their dark hues with every stain
The weather-beaten crags retain ;
With boughs that quaked with every breath
Gray birch and aspen wept beneath ;
Aloft, the ash and warrior oak
Cast anchor in the rifted rock ;
And higher yet, the pine-tree hung
His shattered trunk, and frequent flung,
Where seemed the cliffs to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrowed sky;
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where glistening streamers waved and danced ;
The wanderer's eye could barely view
The summer heaven's delicious blue;
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.
And to issue from the glen,
No pathway meets the wanderer's ken,
Unless he climb, with footing nice,
A far projecting precipice.
The broom's tough roots his ladder made,
The hazel saplings lent their aid ;
And thus an airy point he won,
Where, gleaming with the setting sun,
One burnished sheet of living gold,
Loch-Katrine lay beneath him rolled ;
In all her length far winding lay,
With promontory, creek, and bay,
And islands, that empurpled bright,
Float amid the livelier light;
And mountains, that like giants stand,
To sentinel enchanted land.
High on the south, huge Ben-venue
Down to the lake in masses threw
Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly hurled,
The fragments of an early world ;
A wildering forest feathered o'er
His ruined sides and summit hoar,
While on the north, through middle air,
Ben-an heaved high his forehead bare.
Some feelings are to mortals given,
With less of earth in them than heaven :
And if there be a human tear
From passion's dross refined and clear,
A tear so limpid and so meek,
It would not stain an angel's cheek,
'Tis that which pious fathers shed
Upon a duteous daughter's head.
George Gordon Byron, son of Captain Byron, was born in London, and in
his eleventh year succeeded his grand-uncle as Lord Byron. He was educated at Harrow School, and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1807 his first volume of poetry appeared under the title of Hours of Idleness. It was fiercely assailed in The Edinburgh Review, and the young poet replied by his vigorous satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. After two years of foreign travel, he published the first two cantos of Childe Harold, which were followed by a series of eastern tales, The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, and Lara. Byron was now at the height of his reputation; he was the idol of the gay circles of London, and indulged in all their revelries and excesses. Revolting at this mode of life, he married, but, twelve months after, his wife felt herself obliged to withdraw from his society. The poet sought refuge from his miseries abroad, and during six years' residence on the continent, he produced The Prisoner of Chillon, Manfred, a dramatic poem, The Lament of Tasso, the conclusion of Childe Harold, Beppo, a comic tale of Italian life, Don Juan, and a number of dramatic pieces. In 1823 Byron sailed for Greece, to aid in the struggle for its independence. He arrived in January 1824, but died a few months after. "The greatness of Byron's genius is seen in Childe Harold-its tenderness, in the tales and smaller poems—its rich variety in Don Juan. A brighter garland few poets can hope to wearyet it wants the unfading flowers of hope and virtue.'
FROM CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
Hark! heard you not those hoofs of dreadful note ?
Sounds not the clang of conflict on the heath?
Saw ye not whom the reeking sabre smote ;
Nor saved your brethren ere they sank beneath
Tyrants and tyrants' slaves ?—the fires of death,
The bale-fires flash on high :—from rock to rock
Each volley tells that thousands cease to breathe ;
Death rides upon the sulphury Siroc,
Red Battle stamps his foot, and nations feel the shock.
Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands,
His blood-red tresses deep’ning in the sun,
With death-shot glowing in his fiery hands,
And eye that scorcheth all it glares upon ;
Restless it rolls, now fixed, and now anon
Flashing afar—and at his iron feet
Destruction cowers, to mark what deeds are done ;
For on this morn three potent nations meet,
To shed before his shrine the blood he deems most sweet.
Clear, placid Leman ! thy contrasted lake,
With the wild world I dwelt in, is a thing
Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
Earth’s troubled waters for a purer spring.
This quiet sail'is as a noiseless wing
To waft me from distraction ; once I loved
Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring
Sounds sweet as if a Sister's voice reproved,
That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.
It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darkened Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood ; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more ;
He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill ;
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill,
But that is fancy, for the starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instil,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her hues.
Ye stars ! which are the poetry of heaven !
If in your bright leaves we would read the fate
Of men and empires—’tis to be forgiven,
That in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you ; for ye are
A beauty and a mystery, and create
In us such love and reverence from afar,
That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.
All heaven and earth are still—though not in sleep,
But breathless, as we grow when feeling most ;
And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep
All heaven and earth are still: From the high host
Of stars, to the lulled lake and mountain-coast,
All is concentred in a life intense,
Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,
But hath a part of being, and a sense
Of that which is of all Creator and defence.
The sky is changed !-and such a change! Oh night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among
Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud !
And this is in the night :-Most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight-
A portion of the tempest and of thee !
How the lit lakes shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth !
And now again 'tis black-and now, the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.