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The man doom'd to sail,
Which may soon be his grave,
The green sparkles bright with a Tear."—p. 9.
And so of instances in which former poets had failed. Thus we do not think Lord Byron, was made for translating, during his non-age, Adrian's Address to his Soul, when Pope succeeded so indifferently in the attempt. If our readers, however, are of another opinion, they may look at it.
"Ah! gentle, fleeting, wav'ring sprite,
To what unknown region borne,
But pallid, cheerless, and forlorn."—p. 63.
However, be this as it may, we fear his translations and imitations are great favourites with Lord Byron. We have them of all kinds, from Anacreon to Ossian; and viewing them as school exercises, they may pass. Only, why print them after they have had their day and served their turn? And why call the thing (in p. 79) a translation, where two words (0ɛλ λɛyɛ) of the original are expanded into four lines, and the other thing (in p.81) where μεσονυκτίοις ποθ' όραις is rendered by means of six hobbling verses? As to his Ossianic poetry, we are not very good judges, being in truth so moderately skilled in that species of composition, that we should, in all probability, be criticising some bit of the genuine Macpherson itself, were we to express our opinion of Lord Byron's rhapsodies. If, then, the following beginning of a "Song of Bards" is by his Lordship, we venture to object to it, as far as we can comprehend it. "What form rises on the roar of clouds, whose dark ghost gleams on the red stream of tempests? His voice rolls on the thunder; 'tis Orla, the brown Chief of Oihona. He was," &c. After detaining this brown chief some time, the
bards conclude by giving him their advice, " to raise his fair locks;" then " to spread them on the arch of the rainbow ;" and
to smile through the tears of the storm." Of this kind of thing there are no less than nine pages; and we can so far venture an opinion in their favour, that they look very like Macpherson; and we are positive they are pretty nearly as stupid and as tiresome.
It is a sort of privilege of poets to be egotists; but they should use it as not abusing it;" and particularly one who piques himself (though indeed at the ripe age of nineteen) of being "an infant bard," ("The artless Helicon I boast his youth,") should either not know, or should seem not to know, so much about his own ancestry. Besides a poem above cited on the family seat of the Byrons, we have another of eleven pages, on the self same subject, introduced with an apology," he certainly had no intention of inserting it;" but really, "the particular request of some friends," &c. &c. It concludes with five stanzas on himself," the last and youngest of a noble line." There is a good deal also about his maternal ancestors, in a Poem on Lachiny-gair, a mountain where he spent part of his youth, and might have learnt that pibroch is not a bagpipe, any more than duet means a fiddle.
As the author has dedicated so large a part of his volume to immortalize his employments at school and college, we cannot possibly dismiss it without presenting the reader with a specimen of these ingenious effusions. In an Ode, with a Greek motto, called Granta, we have the following magnificent stanzas:
"There, in apartments small and damp,
The candidate for college prizes,
Sits poring by the midnight lamp,
Or puzzles o'er the deep triangle;
In barbarous Latin doom'd to wrangle.
Renouncing every pleasing page,
From authors of historic use;
The square of the hypothenuse.
That hurt none but the hapless student,
Compar'd with other recreations,
Which bring together the imprudent."-p.p. 123, 124, 125.
We are sorry to hear so bad an account of the college psalmody as is contained in the following attic stanzas:
"Our choir would scarcely be excus'd,
E'en as a band of raw beginners;
All mercy, now, must be refus'd
To such a set of croaking sinners.
If David, when his toils were ended,
Had heard these blockheads sing before him;
To us his psalms had ne'er descended,
In furious mood he would have tore 'em."-p.p. 126. 127.
But whatever judgment may be passed on the poems of this noble minor, it seems we must take them as we find them, and be content; for they are the last we shall ever have from him. He is at best, he says, but an intruder into the groves of Parnassus; he never lived in a garret, like thorough-bred poets; and “though he once roved a careless mountaineer in the Highlands of Scotland," he has not of late enjoyed this advantage. Moreover, he expects no profit from his publication; and whether it succeeds or not, "it is highly improbable, from his situation and pursuits hereafter," that he should again condescend to become an author. Therefore let us take what we get, and be thankful. What right have we, poor devils, to be nice? We are well off to have got so much from a man of this Lord's station, who does not live in a garret, but "has the sway" of Newstead Abbey. Again we say, let us be thankful; and, with honest Sancho, bid "God bless the giver, nor look the gift horse in the mouth."
G. Taylor, Printer, 5, Lamb's Conduit Passage.