Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/108

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74
[CANTO I.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Had buried long his hopes, no more to rise:[1]
Pleasure's palled Victim! life-abhorring Gloom
Wrote on his faded brow curst Cain's unresting doom.[2]


LXXXIV.

Still he beheld, nor mingled with the throng;
But viewed them not with misanthropic hate:
Fain would he now have joined the dance, the song;
But who may smile that sinks beneath his fate?
Nought that he saw his sadness could abate:
Yet once he straggled 'gainst the Demon's sway,
And as in Beauty's bower he pensive sate,
Poured forth his unpremeditated lay,
To charms as fair as those that soothed his happier day.


  1. Had buried there his hopes, no more to rise:
    Drugged with dull pleasure! life-abhorring Gloom
    Wrote on his faded brow curst Cain's wandering doom
    .—[MS. erased.]
    Had buried there.—[MS. D.]

  2. [Byron's belief or, rather, haunting dread, that he was predestined to evil is to be traced to the Calvinistic teaching of his boyhood (compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza lxx. lines 8, 9; and Canto IV. stanza xxxiv. line 6). Lady Byron regarded this creed of despair as the secret of her husband's character, and the source of his aberrations. In a letter to H. C. Robinson, March 5, 1855, she writes, "Not merely from casual expressions, but from the whole tenour of Lord Byron's feelings, I could not but conclude he was a believer in the inspiration of the Bible, and had the gloomiest Calvinistic tenets. To that unhappy view of the relation of the creature to the Creator, I have always ascribed the misery of his life.... Instead of being made happier by any apparent good, he felt convinced that every blessing would be 'turned into a curse' to him. Who, possessed by such ideas, could lead a life of love and service to God or man? They must in a measure realize themselves. 'The worst of it is, I do believe,' he said. I, like all connected with him, was broken against the rock of predestination."]