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no better kept than any other vows whatsoever; and the songs of the Troubadours were not more decent, and certainly were much less refined, than those of Ovid. The Cours d'amour, parlemens d'amour, ou de courtesie et de gentilesse" had much more of love than of courtesy or gentleness. See Roland on the same subject with Sainte-Palaye. Whatever other objection may be urged to that most unamiable personage Childe Harold, he was so far perfectly knightly in his attributes "No waiter, but a knight templar." 1 By the by, I fear that Sir Tristrem and Sir Lancelot were no better than they should be, although very poetical personages and true knights "sans peur," though not "sans reproche." If the story of the institution of the "Garter" be not a fable, the knights of that order have for several centuries borne the badge of a Countess of Salisbury, of indifferent memory. So much for chivalry. Burke need not have regretted that its days are over, though Marie-Antoinette was quite as chaste as most of those in whose honours lances were shivered, and knights unhorsed.
Before the days of Bayard, and down to those of Sir Joseph Banks (the most chaste and celebrated of ancient and modern times), few exceptions will be found to this statement; and I fear a little investigation will teach us not to regret these monstrous mummeries of the middle ages.
I now leave" Childe Harold" to live his day, such as he is; it had been more agreeable, and certainly more easy, to have drawn an amiable character. It had been easy to varnish over his faults, to make him do more and express less, but he never was intended as
The Rovers, or the Double Arrangement. [By Messrs. Canning and Frere; first published in the Anti-jacobin, or Weekly Examiner.]
an example, further than to show, that early perversion of mind and morals leads to satiety of past pleasures and disappointment in new ones, and that even the beauties of nature, and the stimulus of travel (except ambition, the most powerful of all excitements) are lost on a soul so constituted, or rather misdirected. Had I proceeded with the poem, this character would have deepened as he drew to the close; for the outline which I once meant to fill up for him was, with some exceptions, the sketch of a modern Timon 1, perhaps a poetical Zeluco. 2
1 [In one of his early poems -"Childish Recollections, Lord Byron compares himself to the Athenian misanthrope, of whose bitter apophthegms many are upon record, though no authentic particulars of his life have come down to us;
"Weary of love, of life, devoured with spleen,
2 [It was Dr. Moore's object, in this powerful romance (now unjustly neglected), to trace the fatal effects resulting from a fond mother's unconditional compliance with the humours and passions of an only child. With high advantages of person, birth, fortune, and ability, Zeluco is represented as miserable, through every scene of life, owing to the spirit of unbridled self-indulgence thus pampered in infancy.]
Nor in those climes where I have late been straying,
To those who gaze on thee what language could they speak?
Ah! may'st thou ever be what now thou art,
1 [The Lady Charlotte Harley, second daughter of Edward fifth Earl of Oxford (now Lady Charlotte Bacon), in the autumn of 1812, when these lines were addressed to her, had not completed her eleventh year. Mr. Westall's portrait of the juvenile beauty, painted at Lord Byron's request, is engraved in "Finden's Illustrations of the Life and Works of Lord Byron."]
Young Peri1 of the West!-'t is well for me
But mix'd with pangs to Love's even loveliest hours decreed.
Oh! let that eye, which, wild as the Gazelle's,? Now brightly bold or beautifully shy, Wins as it wanders, dazzles where it dwells, Glance o'er this page, nor to my verse deny That smile for which my breast might vainly sigh Could I to thee be ever more than friend: This much, dear maid, accord; nor question why To one so young my strain I would commend, But bid me with my wreath one matchless lily blend.
Such is thy name with this my verse entwined; And long as kinder eyes a look shall cast On Harold's page, Ianthe's here enshrined Shall thus be first beheld, forgotten last: My days once number'd, should this homage past Attract thy fairy fingers near the lyre Of him who hail'd thee, loveliest as thou wast, Such is the most my memory may desire; Though more than Hope can claim, could Friendship less require?
[Peri, the Persian term for a beautiful intermediate order of beings, is generally supposed to be another form of our own word Fairy.]
2 [A species of the antelope. "You have the eyes of a ga. zelle," is considered all over the East as the greatest compliment that can be paid to a woman.]