Commentary on: Stanzas 178-180 of George Gordon, Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

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Commentary on: Stanzas 178-180 of George Gordon, Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

George Gordon, Lord Byron's poem, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, describes the essence and beauty of nature contrasted with mans "marks" of "ruin." As the title suggests, various elements of nature, in particular the oceanic landscapes are evoked through the observations of Childe Harold during his journey.

The first line of the three stanzas of the poem opens with "There is..," this is repeated at the beginning of the following two lines. The repetition draws attention to what is stated subsequent to the "there is" in each of the lines. This use of repetition effectively highlights the contents of these lines; ultimately increasing the significance and importance that Byron gives it, which suggests that he is trying to convey the contents to an un-open sense-numbed audience. Due to the vast amount of attention brought to these lines Byron, conveniently, chooses to introduce the central aspects of the poem here; the narrator finds "pleasure" and "rapture" in the woods and shore, leading up to the fifth line where the narrator expresses his love for nature, which exceeds that for man, "I love not Man less, but Nature more" (l 5).

It is also in the fifth line that "I" is introduced, followed by "Man", and "Nature"; the three central 'characters' of the poem. Man and nature begin with capital letters, suggesting that they are personified, which consequently underscores their importance. Byron, later, refers to Man as he/his and nature as thy, "He sinks into thy depths..." (l 17), which confirms the personification seen in the fifth line. The personification of man and nature simplifies and clarifies their interactions; it forms a microcosm or metaphor of our world, which demonstrates mankind's self-destructive and morbid behavior.
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Byron refers to mankind as 'he' rather than 'we', which clearly illustrates that the narrator does not see himself as a part of mankind instead he chooses to 'exile' himself from their malignant activity; "...the vile strength he wields For earth's destruction..." (ll 21-22). This is why, in the fifth line, he introduced three themes instead of two; "I love not Man the less, but Nature more," (l 5).

Throughout the stanzas there is a sense of melancholy, especially in reference to nature; "the pathless woods" (l 1), "the lonely shore" (l 2), and the "dark ...

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