Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/386

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344
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

XX.

But from their nature will the Tannen[1] grow[2]
Loftiest on loftiest and least sheltered rocks,
Rooted in barrenness, where nought below
Of soil supports them 'gainst the Alpine shocks
Of eddying storms; yet springs the trunk, and mocks
The howling tempest, till its height and frame
Are worthy of the mountains from whose blocks
Of bleak, gray granite into life it came,[3]
And grew a giant tree;—the Mind may grow the same.


    allows to Venice one lingering glory "one remembrance more sublime"—

    "That a tempest-cleaving swan
    Of the songs of Albion,
    Driven from his ancestral streams
    By the might of evil dreams,
    Found a nest in thee; and Ocean
    Welcomed him with such emotion,
    That its joy grew his, and sprung
    From his lips like music flung
    O'er a mighty thunder-fit,
    Chastening terror."]

  1. Tannen is the plural of tanne, a species of fir peculiar to the Alps, which only thrives in very rocky parts, where scarcely soil sufficient for its nourishment can be found. On these spots it grows to a greater height than any other mountain tree.

    [Byron did not "know German" (Letter to Murray, June 7, 1820), and he may, as Mr. Tozer suggests, have supposed that the word "tannen" denoted not "fir trees" generally, but a particular kind of fir tree. He refers, no doubt, to the Ebeltanne (Abies pectinata), which is not a native of this country, but grows at a great height on the Swiss Alps and throughout the mountainous region of Central Europe.]

  2. But there are minds which as the Tannen grow.—[MS. erased.]
  3. Of shrubless granite——.—[MS. M. erased.]