28o HEAVEN AND EARTH. Murray's scruples, and the " translation " of MSS. to Hunt, the "episode " took the lead of the " Mystery " by eight days. The Loves of the Angels (see Memoirs, etc., 1853, iv. 28) was published December 231 1822. None the less, lyric and drama were destined to run in double harness. Critics found it convenient to review the two poems in the same article, and were at pains to draw a series of more or less pointed and pungent comparisons between the unwilling though not unwitting rivals. Wilson, in Blackwood, writes, "The first (the Loves, etc.] is all glitter and point like a piece of Derbyshire spar, and the other is dark and massy like a block of marble. . . . Moore writes with a crow-quill, . . . Byron writes with an eagle's plume ;" while Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh, likens Moore to " an aurora borealis" and Byron to "an eruption of Mount Vesuvius " ! There is, indeed, apart from the subject, nothing in common between Moore's tender and alluring lyric and Byron's gloomy and tumultuous rhapsody, while contrast is to be sought rather in the poets than in their poems. The Loves of the Angels is the finished composition of an accom-plished designer of Amoretti, one of the best of his kind, Heaven and Earth is the rough and unpromising sketch thrown off by a great master. Both the one and the other have passed out of the ken of readers of poetry, but, on the whole, the Loves of the Angels has suffered the greater injustice. It is opined that there may be possibilities in a half-forgotten work of Byron, but it is taken for granted that nothing worthy of attention is to be found in Moore. At the time, however, Moore scored a success, and Byron hardly escaped a failure. It is to be noted that with'n a month of publication (January 18, 1823) Moore was at work upon a revise for a fifth edition—con-sulting D'Herbelot "for the project of turning the poor Angels' into Turks," and so "getting rid of that connection with the Scriptures," which, so the Longmans feared, would " in the long run be a drag on the popularity of the poem" (Memoirs, etc., 1853, iv. 41). It was no wonder that Murray was " timorous" with regard to Byron and his " scriptural dramas," when the Longmans started at the shadow of a scriptural allusion. Byron, in his innocence, had taken for his motto the verse in Genesis (ch. vi. 2), which records the intermarriage of the "sons of God" with the "daughters of men." In Heaven and Earth the angels are angels, members, though erring members, of Jehovah's "thundering choir," and the daughters of men are the descendants of Cain. The question
Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/308
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