chapter  21
9 Pages

John Wilson, from his unsigned review, Edinburgh Review

Dated June 1818, issued September 1818, XXX, 87–120
WithJohn Wilson

John Wilson reviewed the canto anonymously for Blackwood's Magazine, May 1818. During the composition of the first cantos of Childe Harold, he had but a confused idea of the character he wished to delineate,—nor did he perhaps very distinctly comprehend the scope and tendencies of his own genius. Two conceptions, distinct from each other, seem therein to be often blended,—one, of ideal human beings, made up of certain troubled powers and passions,—and one, of himself ranging the world of Nature and Man in wonder and delight and agitation, in his capacity of a poet. These conceptions, which frequently jostled and interfered with each other, he has since more distinctly unfolded in separate poems. The ill-sustained misanthropy, and disdain of the two first Cantos, more faintly glimmer throughout the third, and may be said to disappear wholly from the fourth, as a dark swollen tide images the splendours of the sky in portentous colouring, and broken magnificence.