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displays in refusing to kill Seyd Pacha while he was asleep, deeming it dishonourable to attack any man unarmed, though Seyd was his mortal enemy, and an enemy too who had decreed him to suffer an excruciating death. But Macbeth had no such scrupulosity of character : he put to death a monarch who had loaded him with his favours, nor was it only on this occasion that he proved himself an assassin. No wonder, then, that Mcdora should be distractedly attached to the Corsair, who, on all occasions, displayed the greatest magnanimity of character. She was more intimately acquainted with his heart than our author appears to have been, and she knew it to be tender and affectionate, notwithstanding the sternness of countenance which he assumed. In a word, she knew him to be, at bottom, naturally virtuous. Two lines from the passage in which she endeavours to persuade him to abandon his course of life, abundantly prove what we assert:
How strange that heart, to me so tender still,
We do not, however, maintain that all Lord Byron's characters are free from sentiments of infidelity ; but if we could assure ourselves of his own orthodoxy, we see no reason why he might not make his fictitious characters infidels, or atheists, or whatever he thought proper. Virtue is not in danger by the exposal of vice unless this vice be presented to us as virtue. We do not believe that the noble lord has any where attempted to affect this metamorphosis, though we are not so blind as to perceive that he frequently treats virtue with too much levity. Indeed, we have no hesi
tation to assert, that Lord Byron's genius is of that eharacter which is nearly allied to madness. The impetuosity of his passions trample every thing under foot, and, therefore, he never inquires, for a moment, whether what he asserts be true or false.. Hence, in all his descriptions, he consults his feelings and pas- . sions alone, never reflecting whether the objects, images, and situations, which they picture to his mind may be reconciled with the dictates of reason or not. In a word, he gives every thing the colouring of his own passions. It is very easy to perceive, that if he had as frequently spoken the language of reason as of passion, he could no longer display that deep and intense pathos, that bold, sublime, and rapid imagery which characterize his writings, and place him at the head of all our living poets. We must not read his works, therefore, to become acquainted with philo. sophy or religion; we must read them merely to enjoy the high delights of poetic rapture, and to rove at large through the Elysian retreats and fairy habitations of the ideal world; but we must forget, at the same time, that we are feasting, not in the virgin paradise of Reason, but in the sensual bowers of Calypso. The works of Lord Byron must, therefore, be read for enjoyment and not for improvement. We know it is possible to mingle morality with poetry, but we know that, except to minds very rigidly disciplined to moral habits, poetry has more attractions without it; the cool and sage demeanour of the one but ill accords with the frenzied eye, and glowing countenance of the other. Let us not then seck for morality where it ought not to be expected. Lord Byron does not
profess himself a divine ;—why then censure him for not discharging a duty which belongs to others? He who wishes to be instructed, let him apply to the church : he who wishes to be pleased, let him apply to Lord Byron.. We must, however, say, that though it is not the business of a poet to preach morality, neither is it his business to expose it to ridicule. He may be luxuriant without being rampant. And we doubt not, when the effervescence of youthful passion begins to give way to the dominion of reason, but that Lord Byron will alter the style and character of his poetry. Until then we have little hopes.
Our limits will not permit us to extend our observations on this work further. With the author's opinion on the controversy between Lord Byron and Mr. Bowles, with whom he takes part against his Lordship, we do not agree ; but the subject is already so familiar to the public, that we shall not notice it here. We repeat, however, what we asserted at setting out, that the author of this work seems not to have undertaken it in the spirit of enmity to Lord Byron, but through a zeal for what he supposed to be the cause of insulted truth. He selects the finest passages to be met with in his works, and does every justice to his poetic beauties. He acknowledges in the most unequivocal manner, his superiority to all the poets of his age, and if he could only compromise so far as to overlook his moral imperfections, we know not of a more real or zealous admirer of Lord Byron's poetry and poetical genius.
WRITERS OF IMAGINATION.
Do we not owe much more to writers of imagination than is generally acknowledged? This is a query which I think must be answered affirmatively. Literature has mainly contributed to the present advanced state of civilization; and, in enquiring what branches of it have more particularly tended to those refinements which spring from generous and noble feelings, it must be conceded to our poets and romance writers. Much was gained from the ancients, that produced an influence upon the character of modern nations; but perhaps their writings operated most beneficially, by exciting a love of research, and arousing genius to exertion. This idea gathers strength from the fact, that the study of the ancients, did little in awakening the flame of civil liberty.* They were long the inmates of cloisters and of courts, but they effected no direct change in favour of liberal feelings. Inquisitors tortured, popes duped, monks cheated, and princes trampled on mankind, but no spontaneous spirit of resistance was roused among the people by the free circulation of the classics. They were, no doubt, an indirect cause of original thinking and the uncontrouled operations of genius, by propagating a taste for study, and feeding the flame of emulation ; but,
• The editor begs leave to say, that he thinks this correpondent utterly at fault, in his opinion, respecting the influence of classical learning on the progress of liberty in the modern world.
directly, they were harmless enough to be tolerated by the present Czar of Muscovy, or the feudal sovereign of Hungary himself. It will be found that their present state of literature, or, at least, that state in which there is the most extensively diffused taste for letters, is a pretty good criterion of the gradations of the different nations of Europe in refinement. Whatever each separate class of authors may have contributed to this end, the diffusion of high and generous feelings is principally owing to writers of imagination. To them we are largely indebted for the better sentiments of the age, and for all that, by exciting the passions, leads to eminence and renown. This is mainly owing to their prominent principle of keeping the mind dissatisfied with common-place things, their power of creating images superior, in every respect, to reality, which we admire, and would fain imitate; and the admiration they infuse for what is good and excellent, sublime and daring. Writers on science have meliorated the physical condition of man, enlarged his stock of information, and increased his luxuries. In devoting themselves to their peculiar studies, they were urged on by the desire of improvement, which very desire, the moving spring of all, is increased by the dislike of standing still; and the spirit of ambition which imaginative writers greatly assist nature in sustaining. Like the trophies of Miltiades, that would not let Themistocles rest, the visions and day-dreams that haunt the mind and fill the soul with things better than the world and society afford it, by making us discontented, spur us to pursue those beyond our reach, and keep us in progression,