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THE term Childe (young knight--the Homeric Kópos) may fairly represent Lord Byron. Spenser, no doubt, was before the poet's mind, suggesting the metre, and the few archaisms in the language.
CANTO I.-Disgusted with himself and his mode of life, the noble pilgrim leaves his home, a large monastic pile (Newstead Abbey), accompanied by his page and yeoman. He visits Lisbon, describes the scenery at the mouth of the Tagus, ridicules the Convention of Cintra. He crosses the Guadiana, visits the field of Albuera, and Seville, describes the Maid of Saragoza, a bull-fight at Cadiz, introduces his song to Iñez, alludes to the death of Wingfield, and closes his first fytte.
CANTO II.-An invocation to Athene; a description of Athens, at that time a Turkish town, the Temple of Jupiter, the tomb of Ajax; attacks Lord Elgin; an account of a moonlight voyage past the Isle of Calypso; the Albanian coast; Santa Maura, or Leucadia; the rugged Suli; an account of Epirotic and Albanian scenery; a visit to Ali Pasha, the Turkish governor; a description of his palace; a wild Albanian song; a glance at Stamboul; bewails the helpless slavery of Greece; mourns the death of his parent, friend, and 'more than friend.'
CANTO III.-Continues the narrative after the lapse of more than six years. An address to his daughter Ada; a lovely description of Nature; the field of Waterloo; the night before the battle; the Rhine; an ode to a lady; Morat, the battle-field of Switzerland; the legend of Julia; Geneva and its lake; Rousseau; a night on the lake; an Alpine thunderstorm; Clarens; Lausanne and Ferney; Gibbon and Voltaire; Italy; an apostrophe to Ada.
CANTO IV.-Description of Venice with reference to Shakspeare, Otway, and Mrs. Radcliffe; the annual marriage of the Adriatic; Frederick Barbarossa; Arqua; the tomb of Petrarch; Ferrara and Tasso; a digression to Cicero
and Sulpicius; Florence; the Venus de' Medici; Dante and Boccaccio; Santa Croce; the Thrasimene Lake; Clitumnus; the Falls of Terni; Rome and its ruins; Sulla and Cromwell; Pompey's statue; Cæsar and Napoleon; the Holy Alliance; the French Revolution; the tomb of Cecilia Metella; the grotto of Egeria; the Coliseum; the Dying Gladiator; other ruins; St. Peter's; Apollo Belvedere; the death of the Princess Charlotte; the close.
Nor in those climes where I have late been straying,
To paint those charms which varied as they beamed-
To those who gaze on thee what language could they speak?
Ah! may'st thou ever be what now thou art,
Young Peri of the West!-'tis well for me
1 Ianthe, name derived from tov, a lily. (See stanza iv. last line.)
2 Lady Charlotte Harley (afterwards Lady Charlotte Bacon), second daughter of the Earl of Oxford, had not completed her eleventh year when these lines were addressed to her, in the autumn of 1812. Her juvenile beauty has been preserved in a portrait which Mr. Westall painted at Lord Byron's request.
3 Peri.] A Persian word for 'fairy."
Happier, that while all younger hearts shall bleed,
To those whose admiration shall succeed,
But mixed with pangs to Love's even loveliest hours decreed.
Oh! let that eye, which, wild as the Gazelle's,1
Wins as it wanders, dazzles where it dwells,
This much, dear maid, accord; nor question why
Such is thy name with this my verse entwined;
My days once numbered, should this homage past
Of him who hailed thee, loveliest as thou wast,
Though more than Hope can claim, could Friendship less require ?
1 A species of the antelope. You have the eyes of a gazelle, is considered all over the East as the greatest compliment that can be paid to a woman.
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
OH, thou! in Hellas deemed of heavenly birth,
Whilome 2 in Albion's Isle there dwelt a youth,
And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.
1 Mote.] For mought, or must; in stanza viii. 9 for might. 2 Whilome.] See Glossary.
3 Ne.] The Celtic negative.
4 Uncouth. Glossary.
5 Wight.] Glossary.