Analysis Of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto The Third '
1333 WordsDec 11, 20176 Pages
Byron captures the paradoxical doubleness most fully in the opening stanzas of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Canto the Fourth. Venice is suspended between the past, the present, and the future, and therefore even as the narrative mourns for what is lost, it demonstrates the potential for regeneration. Once again, this interpretation centres on the presence of the gondola. In Venice Tasso’s echoes are no more, And silent rows the songless gondolier; Her palaces are crumbling to the shore. (19-21)
Byron sends the first stanzas of the fourth canto to John Murray with an accompanying commentary, which states that “formerly the gondoliers sung always, and Tasso’s Gierusalemme was their ballad” (BLJ July1.1817).…show more content…
The rhyme of “lord” and “unrestored” similarly suggests Venice’s enduring subjugation; but Byron’s commentary on this phenomenon is more complicated than this interpretation alone. The narrative voice is the preserver of Venice’s past fertility which, like Marino Faliero, has been corrupted from within. The Bucentaur can therefore be seen as another boat representative of Venice’s state and yet it is frozen in time, doomed to rot continuously. For Byron, Venice cannot be captured in a stable image and therefore the continuous movement of the gondola is the more accurate portrayal of the city. The lines that follow the description of the gondolier insist that “those days are gone – but Beauty still is here” (23) and it is in Venice’s present existence (which neither Beppo or Marino Faliero depict) that Byron finds the potential for imaginative regrowth in Childe Harold. The poet’s mind, First exiles, then replaces what we hate; Watering the heart whose early flowers have died, And with a fresher growth replenishing the void. (43-45)
Childe Harold’s Venice is neither a city of abundance and fertility, nor is it barren and internally corrupted. Instead, Byron finds inspiration in its immortalised ruins and, through attempting to depict Venice in art, successfully “replaces” the death and corruption stemming from Venice’s current subjugation with new