Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/370

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332
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

V.

The Beings of the Mind are not of clay:
Essentially immortal, they create
And multiply in us a brighter ray
And more beloved existence:[1] that which Fate
Prohibits to dull life in this our state[2]
Of mortal bondage, by these Spirits supplied,
First exiles, then replaces what we hate;
Watering the heart whose early flowers have died,
And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.


VI.

Such is the refuge of our youth and age—

The first from Hope, the last from Vacancy;[3]
  1. [Compare The Dream, i.—

    "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."

    The ideal personages of the poet's creations have the promise of immortality. The ideal forms which people his imagination transfigure and supplant the dull and grievous realities of his mortal being and circumstance; but there are "things" more radiant, more enchanting still, the "strong realities" of the heart and soul—hope, love, joy. But they pass! We wake, and lo! it was a dream.]

  2. Denies to the dull trick of life——.—[MS. erased.]
  3. ["In youth I wrote because my mind was full,
    And now because I feel it growing dull."

    Don Juan, Canto XIV. stanza x.

    In youth the poet takes refuge, in the ideal world, from the crowd and pressure of blissful possibilities; and in age, when hope is beyond hope, he peoples the solitude with beings of the mind.]