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A sketch from private life.
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It was reserved for the present age to produce may be traced between Byron and Rousseau. , one distinguished example of the Muse having Both are distinguished by the most ardent and descended upou a bard of a wounded spirit, and vivid delineation of intense conception, and by leut her lyre to tell afflictions of no ordinary an intense sensibility of passion rather than of description, afflictions originating probably in that affection. Both, too, by this double power, have singuiar combination of feeling with imagination held a dominion over the sympathy of their shich has been called the poetical temperament, readers, far beyond the range of those ordinary
and which has so often saddened the days of those feelings which are usually excited by the mere ** sum it has been conferred. If ever a man was efforts of genius. The impression of this interest entitled to lay claim to that character in all its still accompanies the perusal of their writings; strength and all its weakness, with its unbounded but there is another interest, of more lasting and range of enjoyment, and its exquisite sensibility far stronger power, which each of them possessed, of pleasure and of pain, that man was Lord Byron. -- which lies in the continual embodying of the · Nord it require much time or a deep acquaint- individual character, it might almost be said of i ance with human nature to discover why these the very person of the writer. When we speak extraordinary powers should in so many cases or think of Jousseau or Byron, we are not conhave contributeil more to the wretchedness than scious of speaking or thinking of an author. We to the happiness of their possessor.
have a vague but impassioned remembrance of 1 The « imagination all compact » which the men of surpassing genius, eloquence, and power, i greatest poet who ever lived has assigned as the of prodigious capacity both of misery and distinguishing badge of his brethren, is in every happiness. We feel as if we had transiently met case a dangerous gift. It exaggerates, indeed, such beings in real life, or had known them in our expectations, and can often bid its possessor the dim and dark communion of a dream. Each bope, where hope is lost to reason; but the delu- of their works presents, in succession, a fresh I sise pleasure arising from these visions of ima- idea of themselves; and, while the productions of gination resembles that of a child whose notice other great men stand out from them, like someis attracted by a fragınent of glass to which a thing they have created, theirs, on the contrary, san-beam bas given momentary splendour. He are images, pictures, busts of their living selves, bastens to the spot with breathless impatience, -clothed, no doubt, at different times, in difand finds the object of his curiosity and expec- ferent drapery, and prominent from a different tation is equally vulgar and worthless. Such is back-ground, - but uniformly impressed with the the man of quick and exalted powers of imagi- same form, and mien, and lineaments, and not nation: his fancy over-estimates the object of his to be mistaken for the representations of any wishes, and pleasure, fame, distinction, ale alter- other of the children of men. Dately parsued, attained, and despised when in But this view of the subject, though universally his power. Like the enchanted fruit in the felt to be a true one, requires perhaps a little expalace of a sorcerer, the objects of his admiration planation. The personal character of which we lose their attraction and value as soon as they have spokerı, it should be understood, is not alloare grasped by the adventurer's hand, and all gether that on which the seal of life has been set, that remains is regret for the time lost in the -and to which, therefore, moral approval or chase, and astonishment at the hallucination un- condemnation is necessarily annexed, as to the der the influence of which it was undertaken. language or conduct of actual existence. It is the · The disproportion between hope and possession character, so to speak, which is prior to conduct, ' which is felt by all men, is thus doubled to those and yet open to good and to ill, – the constitu'whom nature has endowed with the power of tion of the being in body and in soul. Each of gilding a distant prospect by the rays of ima- these illustrious writers has, in this light, filled zination.
his works with expressions of his own character, We think that many points of resemblance – has unveiled to the world the secrets of his own