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LAST OF HIS BATTLES. 431

kisses his heroic daughter, and expires. The concluding lines are full of force and tenderness.

“When from her father's body she arose,
Her cheek was flush'd, and in her eyes there beam'd
A wilder brightness. On the Goth she gaz'd :
While underneath the emotions of that hour
Exhausted life gave way! “O God!' she said,
Lifting her hands, “thou hast restor'd me all, ..
All ... in one hour!' ... and round his neck she threw
Her arms and cried, “My Roderick' mine in Heaven!'
Groaning, he claspt her close ! and in that act
And agony her happy spirit fled !"—p. 313.

The Last Book describes the recognition and exploits of Roderick in the last of his battles. After the revolt of Julian's army, Orpas, by whose counsels it had been chiefly occasioned, is sent forward by the Moorish leader, to try to win them back; and advances in front of the line, demanding a parley, mounted on the beautiful Orelio, the famous war horse of Roderick, who, roused at that sight, obtains leave from Pelayo to give the renegade his answer; and after pouring out upon him some words of abuse and scorn, seizes the reins of his trusty steed; and

—— “‘How now," he cried,
‘Orelio ! old companion, ... my good horse ! ..
Off with this recreant burthen ' '... And with that
He rais'd his hand, and rear'd, and back'd the steed,
To that remember'd voice and arm of power
Obedient. Down the helpless traitor fell,
Violently thrown: and Roderick over him
Thrice led, with just and unrelenting hand,
The trampling hoofs. ' Go, join Witiza now,
Where he lies howling,' the avenger cried,
‘And tell him Roderick sent thee!’”— p. 318, 319.

He then vaults upon the noble horse; and fitting Count Julian's sword to his grasp, rushes in the van of the Christian army into the thick array of the Infidel, —where, unarmed as he is, and clothed in his penitential robes of waving black, he scatters death and terror around him, and cuts his way clean through the whole host of his opponents. He there descries the army of Pelayo advancing to co-operate; and as he rides up to them

432 souTHEY — RodeRICK AND VICTORY |

with his wonted royal air and gesture, and on his wellknown steed of royalty, both the King and Siverian are instantaneously struck with the apparition; and marvel that the weeds of penitence should so long have concealed their sovereign. Roderick, unconscious of this recognition, briefly informs them of what has befallen, and requests the honourable rights of Christian sepulture for the unfortunate Julian and his daughter.

“‘In this, and all things else,'—
Pelayo answer'd, looking wistfully
Upon the Goth, ‘thy pleasure shall be done !'
Then Rod'rick saw that he was known — and turn'd
His head away in silence. But the old man
Laid hold upon his bridle, and look'd up
In his master's face — weeping and silently!
Thereat the Goth with fervent pressure took
His hand, and bending down toward him, said,
“My good Siverian, go not thou this day
To war! I charge thee keep thyself from harm
Thou art past the age for combats; and with whom
Hereafter should thy mistress talk of me,
If thou wert gone?’”—p. 839.

He then borrows the defensive armour of this faithful servant; and taking a touching and affectionate leave of him, vaults again on the back of Orelio; and placing himself without explanation in the van of the army, leads them on to the instant assault. The renegade leaders fall on all sides beneath his resistless blows.

“And in the heat of fight
Rejoicing and forgetful of all else,
Set up his cry, as he was wont in youth,
‘Rod'RICK THE GOTH !' . . . his war-cry, known so well!
Pelayo eagerly took up the word,
And shouted out his kinsman's name belov'd,
‘Rodrick the Goth ! Rodrick and Victory !
Rodrick and Vengeance Odoar gave it forth;
Urban repeated it; and through his ranks
Count Pedro sent the cry. Not from the field
Of his great victory, when Witiza fell,
With louder acclamations had that name
Been borne abroad upon the winds of heaven.”

“O'er the field it spread,
All hearts and tongues uniting in the cry;

THE CONCLUSION. 433

Mountains, and rocks, and vales, re-echo'd round;
And he rejoicing in his strength rode on,
Laying on the Moors with that good sword; and smote,
And overthrew, and scatter'd, and destroy'd,
And trampled down! and still at every blow
Exultingly he sent the war-cry forth,
‘Rodrick the Goth ! Rodrick and Victory!
Rodrick and Vengeance! " " — p. 334, 335.

The carnage at length is over, and the field is won 1 —but where is he to whose name and example the victory is owing

“Upon the banks
Of Sella was Orelio found; his legs
And flanks incarnadin'd, his poitral smear'd
With froth, and foam, and gore, his silver mane
Sprinkled with blood, which hung on every hair,
Aspers'd like dew-drops: trembling there he stood
From the toil of battle; and at times sent forth
His tremulous voice far-echoing loud and shrill;
A frequent anxious cry, with which he seem'd
To call the master whom he lov’d so well,
And who had thus again forsaken him.
Siverian's helm and cuirass on the grass
Lay near; and Julian's sword, its hilt and chain
Clotted with blood! But where was he whose hand
Had wielded it so well that glorious day? . . .

Days, months, and years, and generations pass'd,
And centuries held their course, before, far off
Within a hermitage near Viseu's walls,
A humble Tomb was found, which bore inscrib'd
In ancient characters, King Rodrick's name !"—p, 339, 340.

These copious extracts must have settled our readers' opinion of this poem; and though they are certainly taken from the better parts of it, we have no wish to disturb the forcible impression which they must have on the means of producing. Its chief fault undoubtedly is the monotony of its tragic and solemn tone— the perpetual gloom with which all its scenes are over"ast–and the tediousness with which some of them are "eveloped. There are many dull passages, in short, and * Considerable quantity of heavy reading — some silli"Ss, and a good deal of affectation. But the beauties,

"Pon the whole, preponderate; — and these, we hope, WOL. II. F F

434 SOUTHEY — SOME FAULTS OF DICTION.

speak for themselves in the passages we have already extracted. The versification is smooth and melodious, though too uniformly drawn out into a long and linked sweetness. The diction is as usual more remarkable for copiousness than force;— and though less defaced than formerly with phrases of affected simplicity and infantine pathos, is still too much speckled with strange words; which, whether they are old or new, are not English at the present day—and we hope never will become so. What use or ornament does Mr. Southey expect to derive for his poetry from such words as avid and aureate, and auriphrygiate 2 or leman and weedery, frequentage and Ayouthhead, and twenty more as pedantic and affected? What good is there either, we should like to know, in talking of “oaken galilees,” or “incarnadined poitrals,” or “all-able Providence,” and such other points of learning' – If poetry is intended for general delight, ought not its language to be generally intelligible :

LORD BYRON's PoETRY. 435

(DECEMBER, 1816.)

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto the Third. By Lord ByRoN. 8vo. pp. 79. Iondon: 1816.

The Prisoner of Chillon, and other Poems. By Lord ByRoN. 8vo. pp. 60. London: 1816. *

If the finest poetry be that which leaves the deepest impression on the minds of its readers — and this is not the worst test of its excellence — Lord Byron, we think, must be allowed to take precedence of all his distinguished contemporaries. He has not the variety of Scott-nor the delicacy of Campbell–nor the absolute truth of Crabbe – nor the polished sparkling of Moore; but in force of diction, and inextinguishable energy of sentiment, he clearly surpasses them all. “Words that breathe, and thoughts that burn,” are not merely the ornaments, but the common staple of his poetry; and he is not inspired or impressive only in some happy pasSages, but through the whole body and tissue of his composition. It was an unavoidable condition, perhaps, of this higher excellence, that his scene should be narrow, and his persons few. To compass such ends as he had in view, it was necessary to reject all ordinary agents, and all trivial combinations. He could not possibly be amusing, or ingenious, or playful; or hope to maintain the requisite pitch of interest by the recitation of Sprightly adventures, or the opposition of common

* I have already said so much of Lord Byron with reference to his Dramatic productions, that I cannot now afford to republish more than one other paper, on the subject of his Poetry in general: And I select this, rather because it refers to a greater variety of these compositions, than because it deals with such as are either absolutely the best, or the most characteristic of his genius. The truth is, however, that all his Writings are characteristic; and lead, pretty much alike, to those Views of the dark and the bright parts of his nature, which have led *I fear (though almost irresistibly), into observations more personal "the character of the author, than should generally be permitted to a mere literary censor.

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