Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review of Moore's "Life of Byron"

‘…When the power of the mind is growing so fast, it is of immense importance to make the feeling of literary obligation firm and strong, and to enforce it with an authority which will neither be defied nor resisted; and this can be done without difficulty, because men of taste, and poets more than others, have their intellectual being in the world’s good opinion. The poet, more than all, needs this restraint of general opinion. The historian makes a slow and patient impression on others; the force of the orator, except in subjects of unusual interest, is felt in a space hardly broader than the thunder-cloud of the storm; but the works of Byron, like those of Scott, not confined to the bounds of their language, have been read, we have no doubt, by the northern light at Tornea, and by the pine-torch under the Rocky Mountains; and in all the various regions between made the wayfaring forget their weariness, and the lonely their solitude, bearing enjoyment to a million of hearts at once, as if by supernatural power….’

The great poet Lord Byron and Walter Scott are placed in company with one another in William Peabody’s review of Moore’s “Life of Byron”, which was published in the “North American Review”.   The article appeared on July 31, 1830. 

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