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life. Such matters, however strange, are not to be compared with the relations of the early historians of the enviable old world, which are so beautifully incongruous, or so delightfully improbable, as to tickle the imagination in a wonderfully pleasant manner.
A real event, however extraordinary, if its causes be clearly explained, ceases to be an object of wonder; whereas a most agreeable astonishment is excited by a fictitious circumstance related in such a manner as to make it appear quite impossible. There is a symmetry in truth that diminishes its apparent greatness, whereas falsehood is generally magnified, like a building, by the disproportion of its parts-we feel much less surprise at seeing a tall man whose frame is in perfect proportion, than a little stinted dwarf whose very want of symmetry renders him a monster.
For these reasons, and in the hope that at some remote period, when improbability shall have become hallowed by time, and impossibility consecrated by the belief of ages, the relations of our author may become the foundation of a chronicle that shall vie with those of Archbishop Turpin, or Sir Richard Baker, we are anxious that the History of Connecticut should be preserved. Time, that can do any thing but make people young again, will give it value as he plies his ceaseless course, and time will increase our faith in the wonders its records. When truth is buried in the rubbish of ages—when all cotemporary testimony is swept away —when detection has quenched her taper—and the mists of time, like those of the natural world, have given to distant objects an indistinct, mysterious, and exaggerated outline-then it is that credulity riots in the fertile fields of the marvellous, and romance becomes history.
AMONG the cluster of poets that have lately sprung up in Great Britain, the most fashionable, at the present day, is Lord Byron. Independent of his literary merits, his popularity may be attributed, in some degree, to his rank, youth, and the eccentric and romantic cast of his private character. He is descended from a
noble and illustrious family, that may be traced back to the reign of William the Conqueror. Two of his ancestors fell in the field of Cressy, another fought under the banner of Earl Richmond at the battle of Bosworth, and several lost their lives in the armies of Charles I.
Lord Byron inherited the title at an early age, in immediate succession from his granduncle William. He passed several of his youthful years in Scotland, but received the chief part of his education at the celebrated school of Harrow, and finished it at the university of Cambridge. While at school, he evinced those peculiar traits of character, and that poetical talent, which have since distinguished him. He was independent, and rather haughty in bis manners ; limited in his friendships ; eccentric in his opinions; and of a proud reserve that approached to misanthropy. Still he does not seem to have been unpopular; his schoolmates, though they were repelled from his intimacy, yet gave him credit for high and generous qualities, and strong sensibilities; he was accounted an apt student and a good scholar, and was remarked as excelling in poetical exercises. Shortly after leaving school, and before he was of age, he published a volume of miscellaneous poems, entitled “Hours of Idleness, by Lord Byron, a minor.” This volume fell under the lash of the Edinburgh reviewers, who animadverted upon it in a strain of coarse but highly ludicrous satire. Their strictures, though severe, were in general just, and though their ridicule may have been galling to the individual, yet if it could operate in any degree to restrain that fatal eagerness to rush into notoriety, which is the misfortune of so many young writers, we cannot but think it highly beneficial. Still we consider their censure of the poems as too unqualified-many passages in the volume are stamped with considerable poetical merit; several of the poems, which, from their date, must have been written when his lordship was but fifteen years of age, are surprising productions for such early youth, and, indeed, the whole collection, as the writings of “a minor," certainly bore the air of very great promise.
One of the best of the poems is an elegy on Newstead Abbey, the family seat of the Byrons. Here his lordship dwells on the former power and feudal grandeur of his ancestors, recounts their gallant exploits, and pours forth, in elevated language, the feelings of a high-born soul, meditating on the ruins of past magnificence. The concluding stanzas apply immediately to himself, and are selected as being characteristic of the poet.
“ Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!
Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay;
Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway.
he scans thy gray' worn towers ; Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep; Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers;
These, these he views, and views them but to weep.
Cherish'd affection only bids them dow;
But warm his bosom with impassion'd glow.
Or gewgaw grottoes of the vainly great;
Nor breathes a murmur 'gainst the will of fate.
Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
And bless thy future, as thy former day.”
It is worthy of remark, that in one of the poems in this collection, he seems to have anticipated the castigation of criticism, and even to have acquiesced in its justice:
“ Still I must yield those worthies merit,
Bad rhymes, and those who write them;
I surely will not fight them.
Of such a young beginner ;
A very hardened sinner.”
But with all this apparent meekness, and professed submission to the rod, Lord Byron possessed the inseparable irritability of an author, and retorted upon the Edinburgh critics in the well-known