Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/214

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206


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. v. MARCH 17, 1000.


which are at all like Byron's are the first four

or five :

Kennst clu das Land wo die Citronen bliihn, Ini dunkeln Laub die Gold-Orangen gliihn, Ein sanfter Wind vom blauen Hinmiel weht, Die Myrte still, und hoch der Lorbeer steht? Kennst du es wohl ?

This passage of Goethe seems to be imitated by Madame de Stael in 'Corinne,' book ii. chap. iii. :

" Connaissez - vous cette terre on, les Grangers fleurissent, que les rayons des cienx fe"condent avee amour ? Avez-vous entendu les sons melodieux qui celebrent la douceur des nuits ? Avez-vous respire ces parfums, luxe de 1'air deja si pur et si doux ? Repondez, etrangers, la nature est-elle chez vous belle et bienfaisante ? "

The words form part of the improvisation of Corinne.

A comparison of Byron's lines with both the German and the French will, I think, show that they resemble the latter more than the former, as, for instance, in the allusion to the nightingale. And since, according to Prof. Nichol (' Life of Byron,' p. 26), the poet had only a smattering of German, may we not suppose that he was here again, to use his own words, " thinking with the thoughts " of Madame de Stael, rather than imitating Goethe ?

It may, of course, be a mere coincidence, but it is curious that in two letters of Byron's, written while the work was passing through the press, there is mention both of the 'Bride of Abydos' and of the author of 'Corinne' (16 and 17 Nov., 1813). The date of ' Corinne,' as stated ante, p. 43, is 1807.

3. In the same poem, and in the context of the same passage, the bright prismatic hues of the glowing description are crossed by one characteristic "dark line":

And all, save the spirit of man, is divine. We may compare the well-known lines of Bishop Heber, in similar connexion, though in a different sphere and application of thought :

Where every prospect pleases, And only man is vile.

Dr. Julian gives the date of the hymn as 1819.

4. ' Hebrew Melodies,' ' By the Bivers of Babylon ':

When our foe, in the hue of his slaughters, Made Salem's high places his prey.

I have always supposed " hue "in this passage to be the same word as in " hue and cry," and to mean here the battle-shout, the " alarum of war." But Landor, in the Second Conver- sation between Southey and Porson, repre- sents the latter, in his criticism of certain "instances of faultiness in Byron," as ridicu- ling these two lines, Porson is made to con-


strue " a prey in the hue of his slaughters," and an awkward parody shows that he takes " hue" in the sense of colour, the colour being red. Is it Byron, or Porson, that Landor wishes to satirize 1 In other words, is the criticism to be taken as an imaginary one of Person's merely, or as Landor's own ?

5. ' Childe Harold,' canto iii. stanza 27 : And Ardennes \vaves above them her green leaves. In the same Conversation Porson is made to correct Byron for identifying this Belgian Ardennes with Shakspeare's Forest of Arden in ' As You Like It,' asserting that the latter was a district in Warwickshire. But both Singer and Dr. Aldis Wright (who refers to Lodge's novel ' Rosalind ') agree with Byron, and I find no hint of an English Arden in either Dyce or Staunton. Here, again, we may be excused for asking, Is this put forth as Landor's own opinion, or merely as an imaginary sample of Person's criticism?

'Chambers's Gazetteer' (1895) agrees with Landor. But probably the question has already been discussed and settled in ' N. & Q.' It is merely alluded to here in its connexion with Byron. It may not be wholly irrelevant to take note in passing of Prof. NichoFa remark (' Life of tfyron,' p. 160) : " Landor and Byron, in many respects more akin than any other two Englishmen of their age, were always separated by an unhappy bar or in- tervening mist."

6. Byron is acknowledged both by Nichol and Gait to have been well read in the Scriptures, and the ' Hebrew Melodies ' show, at least, his appreciation of the Old Testa- ment. But his Scripture knowledge was not always accurate. We find in one of the two letters mentioned above, that of 17 Nov., a singular mistake of reference, which remains uncorrected in Moore's 'Life,' ed. 1860 : "The respectable Job says, 'Why should a living man complain 1 ' " And further on, in the same letter, " Let me remember Job's saying, and console myself with being ' a living man.' " The utterance is not Job's, but that of Jere- miah in Lam. iii. 39, " Wherefore doth a living man complain ? " &c.

7. ' Prisoner of Chillon,' first stanza :

My hair is grey, but not with years ;

Nor grew it white

In a single night As men's have grown from sudden fears.

A foot-note in Murray's ' Byron' instances the case of Marie Antoinette, on whom the same effect was produced by grief, rather than by fear, adding "though not in quite so short a period."

But Madame Campan, in her 'Memoirs, chap, xvjii., says distinctly ;