Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary


1. A General Note-Source, Date, etc.[Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary ]

The stanzas are extracted from the Fourth Canto of Byron’s celebrated poem Orilde Harold’s Pilgrimage. These are rather the concluding stanzas of the said Canto,

At the height of his fame and popularity, that he enjoyed uninternepted from 1812 to 1815, Byron wrote the first two Cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, after revising his original, semi-autobiographical poem Childe By Burun’s Pilgrimage, written in 1811. The publication of the first two Cantos brought Byron to immense fame immediately and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage became a very popular reading not only in England but in the continent also.

Byron’s fame and populrity veered and declined thereafter in 1815-16 over certain unfortunate affairs in his personal life. He left England in 1816, never to return. During the first two years of his self-imposed exile, he completed the poem that had won for him poetic success and reputation. The Third Canto of Childe Harold was published in 1816, followed by the Fourth Canto in 1818. Those last two Cantos proved to be much more powerful, personal and deeply impulsive works to touch every heart and firmly re-established Byron’s poetic reputation. Evidently the present portion, an extract from Canto IV, came out in 1818.

2. Title

The present stanzas actually have no title. “Roll on, that deep and dark blue Occean” is simply the first line of the extracted stanzas. The title runs after it.

Of course, the stanzas extol the ocean, deep and dark blue, that rolls on continuously and cares for no human power–no human arms or armaments. The poet impulsively expresses his profound adoration for the ocean and contempt for the human authority that is destructive and leads to be disastrous convulsions. Judged from this thematic aspect of this extraced stanzas, the first line, quoted above, as the title, may appear apropriate enough.

3. Substance

The poet apostrophes the rolling ocean, deep and dark blue, and brings out its unquestionable superiority to the vain power of man. All their acts of savagery and destruction have not the least trece on the surface of the ocean. The wrecks of the ocean are rather all its own doing. What is more, men are ever helpless playthings to it and dashed to their pitiful destrucfion by its mighty waves. Infact, the ocean scorns and sets to naught mightily all their selfish and aggressive designs. The poet particularly emphasises the helpless state of men’s boastful threats and pompous shows of strength when confronted with the rolling waves of the ocean. Their arms and arrmaments, victories and spoils, are all reduced to nothing by the mighty thrust of these waves.

All human imperialistic glories and powers pass away, while the ocean remains unchangeable, imperishable . It seems to exist in the same form since the beginning of the creation, defying the inevitable marks of decay, caused by time. The poet even perceives on the clear surface of the ocean the very reflection of God’s sublimity and perpetuity. Everywhere, in all situations, the ocean rolls on without any bound or measure, and advances the divine creative force by breeding fierce and fearful sea creatures.

The poet has a deep adoration for the ocean that has ever been the object of his joy and regard. In his childhood, boyhood and youth it remained dear and most trusted to him. In conclusion, the poet refers to the end of his poetic task. He has completed his long continued work and least bothers to judge how far this is worthy enough. His poetic vision and his creative spirit have all declined, and are no more what they once were. So he bids farewell to his readers to whom he expresses his gratitude, if they, impressed by a single thought or idea, given out by him in his poetic enterprise, remember or recall it. He seeks nothing for all his poetic pain and wishes that they may reap some fruit of gain out of his strain.

4. Analysis

1) The poet addresses the rolling ocean that is deep and dark blue. He points out the helplessness of man to dominate it and his miserable end in its bosom. (Stanza 1)

2) Man’s authority and power come to an end with the ocean that despises all his aggressive measures for the destruction of the happiness of this earth. The ocean makes him a pitiful plaything, when tossed in its huge waves, and dashed him forcefully to his dreadful end. (Stanza 2)

3) Man’s arms and armaments, big battle ships and destructive weapans, shaking earthly powers and authorities, are reduced to utter insignificance by the might of the ocean. The glorious Armada and glory of the victory of Trafalgar are all nothing to the ocean that least cares for the human power. (Stanza 3)

4) The big human empires, standing on the shores of the ocean, have all vanished away. But its rolling waves remain the same-unchangable, imperishable. Time fails to mark any wrinkle on the ocean that seems to have remained in the same form since the first of the creation. (Stanza 4)

5) The poet perceives on the surface of the ocean the very reflection of the Almighty that seems to shine in all conditions—in quetude or convulsion. Its boundless, endless, sublime feature reveals the very image of eternity. It also acts as an instrument of creativity in breeding fierce and forceful sea creatures. (Stanza 5)

6) The poet has ever been a lover of the ocean that was an object of his sports in his boyhood and youth and the delightful terror in his childhood. He is ever its unfailing adorer who trusts it to the utmost and lover to remain ever close to it. (Stanza 6)

7) The poet speaks of the end of his long, arduous poetic task. His long continued work has reached its culmination. He does not wish to determine its worth, but feels satisfied with what he has written. He admits the loss of his poetic vision and creative spirit that he had previously. (Stanza 7)

8) The poet bids farewell to his readers and expresses his gratitude to them. He admits that he should consider his poetic effort worthy, if they will remember or recall a single of his idea or thought, expressed in the poem. He should feel himself amply rewarded for his poetic pain, if his readers can have some gain from the moral of his strain. (Stanza 8)


Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Summary

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