Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/157

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CANTO II.]
123
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

XXXVIII.

Land of Albania! where Iskander rose,[1]

Theme of the young, and beacon of the wise,[2]

    To follow through the night the moving moon,
    The stars and their development; or catch
    The dazzling lightnings till my eyes grew dim."}} Beattie, who describes the experiences of his own boyhood in the person of Edwin in The Minstrel, had already made a like protestation—

    "In sooth he was a strange and wayward youth,
    Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene.
    In darkness and in storm he found delight;
    Not less than when on ocean-wave serene
    The Southern sun diffus'd his dazzling sheen;
    Even sad vicissitude amus'd his soul."

    Kirke White, too, who was almost Byron's contemporary, and whose verses he professed to admire—

    "Would run a visionary boy
    When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky."

    This love of Nature in her wilder aspects, which was perfectly genuine, and, indeed, meritorious, was felt to be out of the common, a note of the poetic temperament, worth recording, but unlikely to pass without questioning and remonstrance.]

  1. [Alexander's mother, Olympias, was an Epiriote. She had a place in the original draft of Tennyson's Palace of Art (Life of Lord Tennyson, i. 119)—

    "One was Olympias; the floating snake
    Roll'd round her ankles, round her waist
    Knotted," etc.


    Plutarch (Vitæ, Lipsiæ, 1814, vi. 170) is responsible for the legend: Ὤφθη δέ ποτε καὶ δράκων κοιμωμένης τῆς Ὀλυμπιάδου παρεκτεταμένος τῷ σώματι, "Now, one day, when Olympias lay abed, beside her body a dragon was espied stretched out at full length." (Compare, too, Dryden's Alexander's Feast, stanza ii.)]

  2. [Mr. Tozer (Childe Harold, p. 236) takes this line to mean "whom the young love to talk of, and the wise to follow as an example," and points to Alexander's foresight as a conqueror, and the "extension of commerce and civilization" which followed his victories. But, surely, the antithesis