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A double dungeon wall and wave
Have made- and like a living grave.
Below the surface of the lake
The dark vault lies wherein we lay,
We heard it ripple night and day;

Sounding o'er our heads it knock'd; And I have felt the winter's spray

Wash through the bars when winds were high
And wanton in the happy sky;

And then the very rock hath rock'd,
And I have felt it shake, unshock'd,
Because I could have smiled to see
The death that would have set me free.


I said my nearer brother pined,

I said his mighty heart declined,
He loathed and put away his food;
It was not that 't was coarse and rude,
For we were used to hunter's fare,
And for the like had little care:
The milk drawn the mountain goat
Was changed for water from the moat,
Our bread was such as captive's tears
Have moisten'd many a thousand years,
Since man first pent his fellow men
Like brutes within an iron den;
But what were these to us or him?
These wasted not his heart or limb;
My brother's soul was of that mould
Which in a palace had grown cold,
Had his free breathing been denied
The range of the steep mountain's side;
But why delay the truth? - he died. 1
I saw, and could not hold his head,
Nor reach his dying hand - nor dead,
Though hard I strove, but strove in vain,
To rend and gnash 2 my bonds in twain.
He died and they unlock'd his chain,
And scoop'd for him a shallow grave
Even from the cold earth of our cave.
I begg'd them, as a boon, to lay
His corse in dust whereon the day
Might shine it was a foolish thought,
But then within my brain it wrought,
That even in death his freeborn breast

In such a dungeon could not rest.

I might have spared my idle prayer

They coldly laugh'd and laid him there:

The flat and turfless earth above
The being we so much did love;
His empty chain above it leant,
Such murder's fitting monument !

VIII. But he, the favourite and the flower, Most cherish'd since his natal hour,

this castle that Rousseau has fixed the catastrophe of his Héloise, in the rescue of one of her children by Julie from the water; the shock of which, and the illness produced by the immersion, is the cause of her death. The château is large, and seen along the lake for a great distance. The walls are white.[" The early history of this castle," says Mr. Tennant, who went over it in 1821," is, I believe, involved in doubt. By some historians it is said to be built in the year 1120, and according to others, in the year 1236; but by whom it was built seems not to be known. It is said, however, in history, that Charles the Fifth, Duke of Savoy, stormed and took it in 1536; that he there found great hidden treasures, and many wretched beings pining away their lives in these frightful dungeons, amongst whom was

His mother's image in fair face, The infant love of all his race, His martyr'd father's dearest thought, My latest care, for whom I sought To hoard my life, that his might be Less wretched now, and one day free; He, too, who yet had held untired A spirit natural or inspired He, too, was struck, and day by day Was wither'd on the stalk away. Oh, God! it is a fearful thing To see the human soul take wing In any shape, in any mood:I've seen it rushing forth in blood, I've seen it on the breaking ocean Strive with a swoln convulsive motion, I've seen the sick and ghastly bed Of Sin delirious with its dread : But these were horrors- this was woe Unmix'd with such but sure and slow: He faded, and so calm and meek, So softly worn, so sweetly weak, So tearless, yet so tender - kind, And grieved for those he left behind; With all the while a cheek whose bloom Was as a mockery of the tomb, Whose tints as gently sunk away As a departing rainbow's ray An eye of most transparent light, That almost made the dungeon bright, And not a word of murmur - not A groan o'er his untimely lot, A little talk of better days,

A little hope my own to raise,
For I was sunk in silence - lost
In this last loss, of all the most;
And then the sighs he would suppress
Of fainting nature's feebleness,
More slowly drawn, grew less and less :
I listen'd, but I could not hear
I call'd, for I was wild with fear;
I knew 't was hopeless, but my dread
Would not be thus admonished;

I call'd, and thought I heard a sound-
I burst my chain with one strong bound,
And rush'd to him: -I found him not,
I only stirr'd in this black spot,

I only lived - I only drew

The accursed breath of dungeon-dew;

The last the sole -the dearest link
Between me and the eternal brink,
Which bound me to my failing race,
Was broken in this fatal place. 9
One on the earth, and one beneath
My brothers both had ceased to breathe :
I took that hand which lay so still,
Alas! my own was full as chill;

the good Bonnivard. On the pillar to which this unfortunate man is said to have been chained, I observed, cut out of the stone, the name of one whose beautiful poem has done much to heighten the interest of this dreary spot, and will, perhaps, do more towards rescuing from oblivion the names of Chillon' and Bonnivard,' than all the cruel sufferings which that injured man endured within its damp and gloomy walls."]

["But why withhold the blow ?- he died."- MS.]
["To break or bite."- MS.]

3 [The gentle decay and gradual extinction of the youngest life is the most tender and beautiful passage in the poem.JEFFREY.]

I had not strength to stir, or strive,
But felt that I was still alive -
A frantic feeling, when we know
That what we love shall ne'er be so.
I know not why

I could not die,

I had no earthly hope- but faith,
And that forbade a selfish death.

What next befell me then and there

I know not well I never knew— First came the loss of light, and air,

And then of darkness too:

I had no thought, no feeling — none —
Among the stones I stood a stone,
And was, scarce conscious what I wist,
As shrubless crags within the mist;
For all was blank, and bleak, and grey,
It was not night it was not day,
It was not even the dungeon-light,
So hateful to my heavy sight,

But vacancy absorbing space,

And fixedness-without a place;

There were no stars-no earth-no timeNo check-no change- no good—no crime

But silence, and a stirless breath

Which neither was of life nor death;
A sea of stagnant idleness,
Blind, boundless, mute, and motionless!


A light broke in upon my brain,-
It was the carol of a bird;

It ceased, and then it came again,

The sweetest song ear ever heard, And mine was thankful till my eyes Ran over with the glad surprise, And they that moment could not see I was the mate of misery; But then by dull degrees came back My senses to their wonted track, I saw the dungeon walls and floor Close slowly round me as before, I saw the glimmer of the sun Creeping as it before had done, But through the crevice where it came That bird was perch'd, as fond and tame, And tamer than upon the tree; A lovely bird, with azure wings, And song that said a thousand things, And seem'd to say them all for me! I never saw its like before,

I ne'er shall see its likeness more:

It seem'd like me to want a mate,
But was not half so desolate,

And it was come to love me when
None lived to love me so again,
And cheering from my dungeon's brink,
Had brought me back to feel and think.
I know not if it late were frce,

Or broke its cage to perch on mine, But knowing well captivity,

Sweet bird! I could not wish for thine! Or if it were, in winged guise,

A visitant from Paradise;

["I saw them with their lake below,

And their three thousand years of snow."-MS.] 2 Between the entrances of the Rhone and Villeneuve, not

far from Chillon, is a very small island; the only one I could

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A kind of change came in my fate,
My keepers grew compassionate;
I know not what had made them so,
They were inured to sights of woe,
But so it was:- my broken chain
With links unfasten'd did remain,
And it was liberty to stride
Along my cell from side to side,
And up and down, and then athwart,
And tread it over every part;

And round the pillars one by one,
Returning where my walk begun,
Avoiding only, as I trod,

My brothers' graves without a sod;
For if I thought with heedless tread
My step profaned their lowly bed,
My breath came gaspingly and thick,
And my crush'd heart fell blind and sick.


I made a footing in the wall,

It was not therefrom to escape, For I had buried one and all,

Who loved me in a human shape; And the whole earth would henceforth be

A wider prison unto me:

No child—no sire-no kin had I,

No partner in my misery;

I thought of this, and I was glad,
For thought of them had made me mad;
But I was curious to ascend

To my barr'd windows, and to bend
Once more, upon the mountains high,
The quiet of a loving eye.


I saw them - and they were the same,
They were not changed like me in frame;
I saw their thousand years of snow
On high- their wide long lake below,1
And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;
I heard the torrents leap and gush
O'er channell'd rock and broken bush;
I saw the white-wall'd distant town,
And whiter sails go skimming down;
And then there was a little isle, 2
Which in my very face did smile,
The only one in view;

perceive, in my voyage round and over the lake, within its circumference. It contains a few trees (I think not above three), and from its singleness and diminutive size has a peculiar effect upon the view.

A small green isle, it seem'd no more,
Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,
But in it there were three tall trees,
And o'er it blew the mountain breeze,
And by it there were waters flowing,
And on it there were young flowers growing,
Of gentle breath and hue.
The fish swam by castle wall,
And they seem'd joyous each and all;
The eagle rode the rising blast,
Methought he never flew so fast
As then to me he seem'd to fly,
And then new tears came in my eye,
And I felt troubled--and would fain
I had not left my recent chain;
And when I did descend again,
The darkness of my dim abode
Fell on me as a heavy load;

It was as is a new-dug grave,
Closing o'er one we sought to save,—
And yet my glance, too much oppress'd,
Had almost need of such a rest.


It might be months, or years, or days, I kept no count-I took no note,

[Here follow in MS.—

Nor slew I of my subjects one

I had no hope my eyes to raise,

And clear them of their dreary mote; At last men came to set me free,

[BEPPO was written at Venice, in October, 1817, and acquired great popularity immediately on its publication in the May of the following year. Lord Byron's letters show that he attached very little importance to it at the time. He was not aware that he had

I ask'd not why, and reck'd not where, It was at length the same to me, Fetter'd or fetterless to be,


I learn'd to love despair. And thus when they appear'd at last, And all my bonds aside were cast, These heavy walls to me had grown A hermitage-and all my own! And half I felt as they were come


Rosalind. Farewell, Monsieur Traveller: Look, you lisp, and wear strange suits: disable all the benefits of your own country; be out of love with your Nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are; or I will scarce think that you have swam in a Gondola. As You Like It, Act IV. Sc. 1.

What sovereign { hath so little hath done?"]

yet much

To tear me from a second home:
With spiders I had friendship made,
And watch'd them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they?
We were all inmates of one place,
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill-yet, strange to tell!
In quiet we had learn'd to dwell—1
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are: - even I
Regain'd my freedom with a sigh.

Annotation of the Commentators.

That is, been at Venice, which was much visited by the young English gentlemen of those times, and was then what Paris is now — the seat of all dissoluteness.

S. A. 3

[It has not been the purpose of Lord Byron to paint the peculiar character of Bonnivard. The object of the poem, like that of Sterne's celebrated sketch of the prisoner, is to consider captivity in the abstract, and to mark its effects in gradually chilling the mental powers as it benumbs and freezes the animal frame, until the unfortunate victim becomes, as it were, a part of his dungeon, and identified with his chains. This transmutation we believe to be founded on fact: at least, in the Low Countries, where solitude for life is substituted for capital punishments, something like it may be witnessed. On particular days in the course of the year, these victims of a jurisprudence which calls itself humane, are presented to the public eye, upon a stage erected in the open market-place, apparently to prevent their guilt and their punishment from being forgotten. It is scarcely possible to witness a sight more degrading to humanity than this exhibition: with matted hair, wild looks, and haggard features, with eyes dazzled by the unwonted light of the sun, and ears

opened a new vein, in which his genius was destined to work out some of its brightest triumphs. "I have written," he says to Mr. Murray, "a poem humourous, in or after the excellent manner of Mr. Whistlecraft, and founded on a Venetian anecdote which

deafened and astounded by the sudden exchange of the silence of a dungeon for the busy hum of men, the wretches sit more like rude images fashioned to a fantastic imitation of humanity, than like living and reflecting beings. In the course of time we are assured they generally become either madmen or idiots, as mind or matter happens to predominate, when the mysterious balance between them is destroyed. It will readily be allowed that this singular poem is more powerful than pleasing. The dungeon of Bonnivard is, like that of Ugolino, a subject too dismal for even the power of the painter or poet to counteract its horrors. It is the more disagreeable as affording human hope no anchor to rest upon, and describing the sufferer, though a man of talents and virtues, as altogether inert and powerless under his accumulated sufferings: yet, as a picture, however gloomy the colouring, it may rival any which Lord Byron has drawn; nor is it possible to read it without a sinking of the heart, corresponding with that which he describes the victim to have suffered - SIR WALTER SCOTT.]

3 Although I was only nine days at Venice, I saw, in that little time, more liberty to sin, than ever I heard tell of in the city of London in nine years." — Roger Ascham.]

amused me. It is called Beppo-the short name for Giuseppo, that is, the Joe of the Italian Joseph. It has politics and ferocity." Again-" Whistlecraft is my immediate model, but Berni is the father of that kind of writing; which, I think, suits our language, too, very well. We shall see by this experiment. It will, at any rate, show that I can write cheerfully, and repel the charge of monotony and mannerism." He wished Mr. Murray to accept of Beppo as a free gift, or, as he chose to express it, “as part of the contract for Canto Fourth of Childe Harold; " adding, however,—" if it pleases, you shall have more in the same mood; for I know the Italian way of life, and, as for the verse and the passions, I have them still in tolerable vigour."

The Right Honourable John Hookham Frere has, then, by Lord Byron's confession, the merit of having first introduced the Bernesque style into our language; but his performance, entitled "Prospectus and Specimen of an intended National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecraft, of Stowmarket, in Suffolk, Harness and Collar Makers, intended to comprise the most interesting Particulars relating to King Arthur and his Round Table," though it delighted all elegant and learned readers, obtained at the time little notice from the public at large, and is already almost forgotten. For the causes of this failure, about which Mr. Rose and others have written at some length, it appears needless to look further than the last sentence we have been quoting from the letters of the author of the more successful Beppo. Whistlecraft had the verse: it had also the humour, the wit, and even the poetry of the Italian model; but it wanted the life of actual manners, and the strength of stirring passions. Mr. Frere had forgot, or was, with all his genius, unfit to profit by remembering, that the poets, whose style he was adopting, always made their style appear a secondary matter. They never failed to embroider their merriment on the texture of a really interesting story. Lord Byron perceived this; and avoiding his immediate master's one fatal error, and at least equalling him in the excellencies which he did display, engaged at once the sympathy of readers of every class, and became substantially the founder of a new species of English poetry.

In justice to Mr. Frere, however, whose "Specimen" has long been out of print, we must take this opportunity of showing how completely, as to style and versification, he had anticipated Beppo and Don Juan. In the introductions to his cantos, and in various detached passages of mere description, he had produced precisely the sort of effect at which Lord Byron aimed in what we may call the secondary, or merely ornamental, parts of his Comic Epic. For example, this is the beginning of Whistlecraft's first canto:

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"THE GREAT KING ARTHUR made a sumptuous Feast,

And held his Royal Christmas at Carlisle,
And thither came the Vassals, most and least,
From every corner of this British Isle;
And all were entertain'd, both man and beast,
According to their rank, in proper style;
The steeds were fed and litter'd in the stable,
The ladies and the knights sat down to table.
"The bill of fare (as you may well suppose)

Was suited to those plentiful old times,
Before our modern luxuries arose,

With truffles and ragouts, and various crimes; And therefore, from the original in prose

I shall arrange the catalogue in rhymes: They served up salmon, venison, and wild boars By hundreds, and by dozens, and by scores.

"Hogsheads of honey, kilderkins of mustard,

Muttons and fatted beeves, and bacon swine; Herons and bitterns, peacock, swan and bustard,

Teal, ma'lard, pigeons, widgeons, and in fine Plum-puddings, pancakes, apple-pies and custard: And therewithal they drank good Gascon wine, With mead, and ale, and cyder, of our own; For porter, punch, and negus were not known. "The noise and uproar of the scullery tribe,

All pilfering and scrambling in their calling, Was past all powers of language to describe The din of manful oaths and female squalling: The sturdy porter, huddling up his bribe,

And then at random breaking heads and bawling,

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Feeling their granite ears severely wounded,

They scarce knew what to think, or what to say; And (though large mountains commonly conceal Their sentiments, dissembling what they feel,

"Yet) Cader-Gibbrish from his cloudy throne
To huge Loblommon gave an intimation
Of this strange rumour, with an awful tone,
Thund'ring his deep surprise and indignation;
The lesser hills, in language of their own,
Discuss'd the topic reverberation;
Discoursing with their echoes all day long.
Their only conversation was, ding-dong.'"

Mr. Rose has a very elegant essay on Whistlecraf in his "Thoughts and Recollections by One of th last Century," which thus concludes:

"Beppo, which had a story, and which pointed but one way, inet with signal and universal success; while The Monks and the Giants' have been little appreciated, by the majority of readers. Yet those who will only laugh upon a suflicient warrant, may, on analysing this bravura-poem, find legitimate matter for their mirth. The want of meaning certainly cannot be objected to it, with reason; for it contains a deep substratum of sense, and does not exhibit a character which has not, or might not, have its parallel in nature. remember at the time this poem was published, (which was, when the French monarchy seemed endangered by the vacil. lating conduct of Louis XVIII., who, under the guidance of successive ministers, was trimming between the loyalists and the liberals, apparently thinking that civility and conciliation was a remedy for all evils,) a friend dared me to prove my assertion; and, by way of a text, referred me to the character of the crippled abbot, under whose direction,


The convent was all going to the devil,

While he, poor creature, thought himself beloved For saying handsome things, and being civil, Wheeling about as he was pull'd and shoved."

"The obvious application of this was made by me to Louis XVIII; and if it was not the intention of the author to designate him in particular, the applicability of the passage to the then state of France, and her ruler, shows, at least, the intrinsic truth of the description. Take, in the same way, the character of Sir Tristrani, and we shall find its elements, if not in one, in different living persons.

'Songs, music, languages, and many a lay
Asturian, or Armoric, Irish, Basque,
His ready memory seized and bore away;
And ever when the ladies chose to ask,
Sir Tristram was prepared to sing and play,
Not like a minstrel, earnest at his task,
But with a sportive, careless, easy style.

As if he seem'd to mock himself the while.

· His ready wit, and rambling education,

With the congenial influence of his stars, Had taught him all the arts of conversation,

All games of skill, and stratagems of wars; His birth, it seems, by Merlin's calculation,

Was under Venus, Mercury, and Mars: His mind with all their attributes was mix'd, And, like those planets, wand'ring and untix'd.

"Who can read this description, without recognising in it the portraits (flattering portraits, perhaps) of two military characters well known in society?"

The reader will find a copious criticism on Whistlecraft, from the pen of Ugo Foscolo, in the Quarterly Review, vol. xxi.]



'Tis known, at least it should be, that throughout
All countries of the Catholic persuasion,
Some weeks before Shrove Tuesday comes about,
The people take their fill of recreation,

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