Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/428

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386
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Like Spirits of the spot, as 'twere for fame,
For still they soared unutterably high:
I've looked on Ida with a Trojan's eye;
Athos—Olympus—Ætna—Atlas—made
These hills seem things of lesser dignity;
All, save the lone Soracte's height, displayed
Not now in snow, which asks the lyric Roman's aid


LXXV.

For our remembrance, and from out the plain
Heaves like a long-swept wave about to break,
And on the curl hangs pausing: not in vain
May he, who will, his recollections rake,
And quote in classic raptures, and awake
The hills with Latian echoes—I abhorred
Too much, to conquer for the Poet's sake,[1]
The drilled dull lesson, forced down word by word
In my repugnant youth,[2] with pleasure to record


  1. These stanzas may probably remind the reader of Ensign Northerton's remarks, "D—n Homo," etc.;[a] but the reasons for our dislike are not exactly the same. I wish to express, that we become tired of the task before we can comprehend the beauty; that we learn by rote before we can get by heart; that the freshness is worn away, and the future pleasure and advantage deadened and destroyed, by the didactic anticipation, at an age when we can neither feel nor
  2. [The construction is somewhat involved, but the meaning is obvious. As a schoolboy, the Horatian Muse could not tempt him to take the trouble to construe Horace; and, even now, Soracte brings back unwelcome memories of "confinement's lingering hour," say, "3 quarters of an hour past 3 o'clock in the afternoon, 3rd school" (see Life, p. 28). Moore says that the "interlined translations" on Byron's school-books are a proof of the narrow extent of his classical attainments." He must soon have made up for lost time, and "conquered for the poet's sake," as numerous poetical translations from the classics, including the episode of Nisus and Euryalus, evidently a labour of love, testify. Nor, too, does the trouble he took and the pride he felt in Hints from Horace correspond with this profession of invincible distaste.]