Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/336

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300
[CANTO III.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Mont Blanc and Mont Argentière in the calm of the lake, which I was crossing in my boat; the distance of these mountains from their mirror is sixty miles.

[The first lines of the note dated June 3, 1816, were written at "Dejean's Hôtel de l'Angleterre, at Sécheron, a small suburb of Geneva, on the northern side of the lake." On the 10th of June Byron removed to the Campagne Diodati, about two miles from Geneva, on the south shore of the lake (Life of Shelley, by Edward Dowden, 1896, pp. 307-309).]


17.

By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone.

Stanza lxxi. line 3.

The colour of the Rhone at Geneva is blue, to a depth of tint which I have never seen equalled in water, salt or fresh, except in the Mediterranean and Archipelago.

[The blueness of the Rhone, which has been attributed to various causes, is due to the comparative purity of the water. The yellow and muddy stream, during its passage through the lake, is enabled to purge itself to a very great extent of the solid matter held in suspension—the glacial and other detritus—and so, on leaving its vast natural filtering-bed, it flows out clear and blue: it has regained the proper colour of pure water.]


18.

This hallowed, too, the memorable kiss.

Stanza lxxix. line 3.

This refers to the account, in his Confessions, of his passion for the Comtesse d'Houdetot (the mistress of St. Lambert), and his long walk every morning, for the sake of the single kiss which was the common salutation of French acquaintance. Rousseau's description of his feelings on this occasion may be considered as the most passionate, yet not impure, description and expression of love that ever kindled into words; which, after all, must be felt, from their very force, to be inadequate to the delineation; a painting can give no sufficient idea of the ocean.

[Here is Rousseau's "passionate, yet not impure," description of his sensations: "J'ai dit qu'il y avoit loin de l'Hermitage à Eaubonne; je passois par les coteaux d'Andilly qui sont charmans. Je rêvois en marchant à celle que j'allois voir, à l'accueil caressant qu'elle me feroit, au baiser qui m'attendoit à mon arrivée. Ce seul baiser, ce baiser funeste avant même