LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
William Roscoe to an unnamed correspondent, [1820]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“During my visit here, I have passed many delightful hours in reading Italian poetry, and have had great pleasure in tracing the similarity of sentiment which exists between minds of a similar character, that derive their chief happiness from the exercise of warm and exalted affections; till at length I have convinced myself that there is a community of feeling amongst them wholly independent of chance or circumstance, presence or absence, time or place. Of this I could adduce many beautiful illustrations; but at present I shall only refer to a little detached piece of the celebrated Dante, in which he seems to have sketched the first idea of his Beatrice, whom he has also introduced in his ‘Paradiso’ as his guide through the celestial regions, and whom he appears to have regarded with a warmth and delicacy of passion far beyond what is found in the writings of any other poet, even of Petrarca himself.

“‘Of loveliest feature and of lightest form,
A stranger here, to glad your sight I come,
With interview of heaven—pleas’d to perform
The task assign’d—then seek my native home—
Scattering delight where’er my course I bend,
That whoso sees me, and refrains from love,
Of love is all insensible,—for when
Nature, from Him whose gracious will did send
Me here, entreated I might be, oh! then
To perfect me with beauty all things strove:
The stars rain’d lustre in my eyes, that beam’d
With mild attemper’d light, and heavenly charms
In earthly mould were first to mortals shown:
Yet not alike on all this radiance flam’d;
His heart alone the glow celestial warms,
Who from another’s bliss derives his own.’—
This sentence once ’t was mine to trace,
Bright beaming from an angel’s face,
But by too ardent passion fir’d
I nearly at the sight expir’d;
Nor for the deep and hopeless wound,
Sent from those eyes of heavenly blue—
By one whose power too well I knew,
Have I as yet a balsam found.”