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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/653

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CANTO II.]
613
THE ISLAND.

No, no;—they woo and clasp us to their spheres,
Dissolve this clog and clod of clay before390
Its hour, and merge our soul in the great shore.
Strip off this fond and false identity!—
Who thinks of self when gazing on the sky?
And who, though gazing lower, ever thought,
In the young moments ere the heart is taught
Time's lesson, of Man's baseness or his own?
All Nature is his realm, and Love his throne.


XVII.

Neuha arose, and Torquil: Twilight's hour
Came sad and softly to their rocky bower,
Which, kindling by degrees its dewy spars,400
Echoed their dim light to the mustering stars.
Slowly the pair, partaking Nature's calm,
Sought out their cottage, built beneath the palm;
Now smiling and now silent, as the scene;
Lovely as Love—the Spirit!—when serene.
The Ocean scarce spoke louder with his swell,

Than breathes his mimic murmurer in the shell,[1]

    again the language and the sentiment recall Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey. (See Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 261, note 2.)]

  1. If the reader will apply to his ear the sea-shell on his chimney-piece, he will be aware of what is alluded to. If the text should appear obscure, he will find in Gebir the same idea better expressed in two lines. The poem I never read, but have heard the lines quoted, by a more recondite reader—who seems to be of a different opinion from the editor of the Quarterly Review, who qualified it in his answer to the Critical Reviewer of his Juvenal, as trash of the worst and most insane description. It is to Mr. Landor, the author of Gebir, so qualified, and of some Latin poems, which vie with Martial or Catullus in obscenity, that the immaculate Mr. Southey addresses his declamation against impurity!

    [These are the lines in Gebir to which Byron alludes—

    "But I have sinuous shells of pearly hue.

    ·····

    Shake one and it awakens; then apply
    Its polisht lips to your attentive ear,
    And it remembers its august abodes,
    And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there."

    Compare, too, The Excursion, bk. iv.— {{block center|"I have seen
    A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
    Of inland ground, applying to his ear
    The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell,