Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/296

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260
[CANTO III.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Of our own Soul turn all our blood to tears,
And colour things to come with hues of Night;
The race of life becomes a hopeless flight
To those that walk in darkness: on the sea
The boldest steer but where their ports invite—
But there are wanderers o'er Eternity[1][2]
Whose bark drives on and on, and anchored ne'er shall be.


LXXI.

Is it not better, then, to be alone,

And love Earth only for its earthly sake?

    kinship with Nature, and becoming "a portion of that around" him, he may forego humanity, with its burden of penitence, and elude the curse. There is a further reference to this despairing recourse to Nature in The Dream, viii. 10, seq.—

    "... he lived
    Through that which had been death to many men,
    And made him friends of mountains: with the stars
    And the quick Spirit of the Universe
    He held his dialogues! and they did teach
    To him the magic of their mysteries."]

  1. ——through Eternity.—[MS.]
  2. [Shelley seems to have taken Byron at his word, and in the Adonais (xxx. 3, seq.) introduces him in the disguise of—

    "The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
    Over his living head like Heaven is bent,
    An early but enduring monument."

    Notwithstanding the splendour of Shelley's verse, it is difficult to suppress a smile. For better or for worse, the sense of the ludicrous has asserted itself, and "brother" cannot take "brother" quite so seriously as in "the brave days of old." But to each age its own humour. Not only did Shelley and Byron worship at the shrine of Rousseau, but they took delight in reverently tracing the footsteps of St. Preux and Julie.]