Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/253

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CANTO III.]
219
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Why Thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife
With airy images, and shapes which dwell
Still unimpaired, though old, in the Soul's haunted cell.[1]


VI.

'Tis to create, and in creating live[2]
A being more intense that we endow[3]
With form our fancy, gaining as we give
The life we image, even as I do now—
What am I? Nothing: but not so art thou,

Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth,
  1. Still unimpaired though worn——.—[MS. erased.]
  2. [It is the poet's fond belief that he can find the true reality in "the things that are not seen."

    "Out of these create he can
    Forms more real than living man—
    Nurslings of Immortality."

    "Life is but thought," and by the power of the imagination he thinks to "gain a being more intense," to add a cubit to his spiritual stature. Byron professes the same faith in The Dream (stanza i. lines 19-22), which also belongs to the summer of 1816—

    "The mind can make
    Substance, and people planets of its own
    With beings brighter than have been, and give
    A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh."

    At this stage of his poetic growth, in part converted by Shelley, in part by Wordsworth as preached by Shelley, Byron, so to speak, "got religion," went over for a while to the Church of the mystics. There was, too, a compulsion from within. Life had gone wrong with him, and, driven from memory and reflection, he looks for redemption in the new earth which Imagination and Nature held in store.]

  3. A brighter being that we thus endow
    With form our fancies——.—[MS.]