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This noble author, whose poetry has shed a lustre upon his name, which the mere circumstance of rank could never have conferred, and whese degree as as English poet is only second to that of Shakspeare and Milton, was born at Dover, on the 22d of January, 1788. The early years of the future Childe Harold were spent at Aberdeen. In consequence of a slight malformation in one of his feet, he was allowed, during boyhood, to run among the neighbouring mountains; and while he was thus acquiring health, he was at the same time imbibing, from the romantic scenery around him, that love of the sublime and the picturesque, which afterwards characterized his poetry. From Aberdeen he was sent to the school of Harrow, and there he was more distinguished by a restless desire of action and dexterity in athletic sports, than by diligence and scholastic acquirements. He was afterwards entered of Trinity College, Cam. bridge, where his career was of a similar description. Here, indeed, his tame bear was of more account in his eyes than his tutor, for he was training it up, as he said, for a Fellowship. At the age of nineteen be emancipated himself from a University education, which he always heartily despised, and soon afterwards published his Hours of Idleness; a boyish work, which however exhibited some glimpses of his future excellence. The reception which awaited it, and the fearful retaliation with which he awed his critics into respect, are too well known to be particularized. After this Lord Byron went abroad, and soon ceased to be remembered. But even then, he was employed in that pil. grimage upon which he was so soon to found an imperishable name; and in 1812, the two first Cantos of his Childe Harold made their appearance. A work of such originality and power, from one whose previous labours had been held up to ridicule and contempt, burst upon the literary world like a sudden blaze of sunshine; and the task of criticism was lost in admiration. By a single effort the noble bard had placed himself by the side of the most illustrious poets of his day: but even this was only a prelude to those further exertions by which he was to attain an undisputed superiority. These works, produced in rapid succession, are so well known and appreciated, that it would be equally super. fluous to enumerate or to criticise them. At London, Venice, Switzerland, Ravenna, Písa, and during the course of his erratic progress, his pen was contioually active, and threw off with a rapidity almost incredible those deathless productions, which the world continued to hail with fresh wonder and delight; so that when he had only reached his thirty-fifth year he had already produced as much as might have filled a poetical life extended to old age.
Having done so much for immortality as a poet, a new career was opened for Lord Byron, which was to throw, if possible, a still brighter halo over his character than all he had hitherto achieved. This was, the generous struggle for the liberation of down-trodden and afflicted Greece, into which he entered with the resolution and energy of a life-and-death devotedness. Other poets, indeed, regarded that unhappy land as their native home_for was it not the source of their inspiration ?—but none except Byron had realized the generous idea of taking a share in the contest, and perilling their lives upon the event. He embarked at Leghorn for Greece in August, 1823, and on arriving at the field of action he was welcomed with enthusiasm by all parties, as the promise and pledge of their national deliverance. But the spirit of dissension that raged among the Greek chieftains, and the avarice and insubordination of the insur. gent soldiers, not only rendered his lordship's efforts of little avail, but harassed his spirit until his health was completely broken, and he died at Missolonghi on the 19th of April, 1824.
Such was the end of this modern Tyrtæus--the lame poet who fought so brave ly, and wrote so eloquently, in behalf of the oppressed. His life had been too often reckless and culpable, and his poetry had too often adorned the cause of error and sensuality. But his confirmed manhood was calming the wildness of youth, and reflection was establishing within his heart a purer faith and better principles; and although he did not live to illustrate them, it was only because he sacrificed life itself in the cause of humanity. And what repentance could be more sincere; what reparation more complete ?
"My love stern Seyd's! Oh-No-No—not my love-
No warmth these lips return by his imprest,
From The Corsair.
THE CORSAIR'S ABHORRENCE OF A MURDERESS,
With hasty step a figure outward past,
and scarce withstood-
From The Corsair.
DEATH OF LARA.
Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene, Where but for him that strife had never been, A breathing but devoted warrior lay: 'Twas Lara, bleeding fast from life away. His follower once, and now his only guide, Kneels Kaled, watchful o'er his welling side, And with his scarf would staunch the tides that rush, With each convulsion, in a blacker gush; And then, as his faint breathing waxes low, In feebler, not less fatal, tricklings flow: He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain, And merely adds another throb to pain. He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage, And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page Who nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees, Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees; Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim, Held all the light that shone on earth for him.
The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field,
Their words, though faint, were many—from the tone Their import those who heard could judge alone;
From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's death More near than Lara's by his voice and breath, So sad, so deep, and hesitating broke The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke; But Lara's voice, though low, at first was clear And calm, till murmuring death gasp'd hoarsely near; But from his visage little could we guess, So unrepentant, dark, and passionless, Save that when struggling nearer to his last, Upon that Page his eye was kindly cast; And once as Kaled's answering accents ceased, Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the East : Whether (as then the breaking sun from high Rollid back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye, Or that 'twas chance, or some remember'd scene That raised his arm to point where such had been, Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn’d away, As if his heart abhorr'd that coming day; And shrunk his glance before that morning light, To look on Lara's brow—where all grew night. Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss; For when one near display'd the absolving Cross, And proffer'd to his touch the holy bead, Of which his parting soul might own the need, He look d upon it with an eye profane, And smiled—Heaven pardon! if 'twere with disdain : And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew From Lara's face his fix'd despairing view, With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift, Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift, As if such but disturb’d the expiring man, Nor seem'd to know his life but then began, That life of immortality, secure To none, save them whose faith in Christ is sure.
But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew, And dull the film along his dim eye grew; His limbs stretch'd fluttering, and his head droop'd o'er The weak yet still untiring knee that bore; He press'd the hand he held upon his heartIt beats no more, but Kaled will not part With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain, For that faint throb which answers not again. “ It beats!"-Away thou dreamer!-he is gone It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.
He gazed, as if not yet had pass'd away The haughty spirit of that humble clay;