Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage is a narrative poem by Lord Byron that I think relates to Childe. I’m still making my way through it, so I don’t have any grand analysis or anything — but I wanted to keep track of some interesting excerpts here.

canto the first, vi:

Apart he stalked in joyless reverie,

And from his native land resolved to go,

And visit scorching climes beyond the sea;

With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe,

And e’en for change of scene would seek the shades below.

Wanting to leave home so badly he’d seek out the abyss. Maybe the abyss was calling to him his whole life.

canto the first, viii:

Yet ofttimes in his maddest mirthful mood,

Strange pangs would flash along Childe Harold’s brow,

As if the memory of some deadly feud

Or disappointed passion lurked below:

But this none knew, nor haply cared to know;

For his was not that open, artless soul

That feels relief by bidding sorrow flow;

Nor sought he friend to counsel or condole,

Whate’er this grief mote be, which he could not control.”

Foul Legacy & the traces of the abyss lurking inside him.

canto the first, xiii:

And now I’m in the world alone,

Upon the wide, wide sea;

But why should I for others groan,

When none will sigh for me?

Childe Harold has set out on the sea and is wishing his homeland goodnight. One fundamental difference between Childe Harold and our Childe is that our Childe knows he is loved and missed by his family (I hope), whereas Childe Harold fears that he’s not leaving behind anyone who cares about him.

canto the first, xxvii:

His early youth misspent in maddest whim;

But as he gazed on Truth, his aching eyes grew dim.

This seems to basically be about Childe Harold traveling around and contemplating what he sees in other nations.

canto the first, lxii:

Happier in this than mightiest bards have been,

Whose fate to distant homes confined their lot,

Shall I unmoved behold the hallowed scene,

Which others rave of, though they know it not?

Though here no more Apollo haunts his grot,

And thou, the Muses’ seat, art now their grave,

Some gentle spirit still pervades the spot,

Sighs in the gale, keeps silence in the cave,

And glides with glassy foot o’er yon melodious wave.

Here, he’s talking about Mount Parnassus. (Truly nothing to say about this, just thought it was a cool passage.)

canto the first, lxxxii:

Oh! many a time and oft had Harold loved,

Or dreamed he loved, since rapture is a dream;

But now his wayward bosom was unmoved,

For not yet had he drunk of Lethe’s stream:

And lately had he learned with truth to deem

Love has no gift so grateful as his wings:

How fair, how young, how soft soe’er he seem,

Full from the fount of joy’s delicious springs

Some bitter o’er the flowers its bubbling venom flings.

I can barely decipher what this means, but I do know the River Lethe: the river of forgetfulness in the Greek underworld. Drinking from the river causes complete forgetfulness — apparently shades of the dead were required to drink from the river and leave their memories behind in order to be reincarnated.

canto the first, lxxxiv, to inez:

And dost thou ask what secret woe

I bear, corroding joy and youth?

And wilt thou vainly seek to know

A pang even thou must fail to soothe?

It is not love, it is not hate,

Nor low Ambition’s honours lost,

That bids me loathe my present state,

And fly from all I prized the most:

It is that weariness which springs

From all I meet, or hear, or see:

To me no pleasure Beauty brings;

Thine eyes have scarce a charm for me.

What’s his secret? He’s tired.

canto the second, xxviii:

Pass we the long, unvarying course, the track

Oft trod, that never leaves a trace behind;

Pass we the calm, the gale, the change, the tack,

And each well-known caprice of wave and wind;

Pass we the joys and sorrows sailors find,

Cooped in their winged sea-girt citadel;

The foul, the fair, the contrary, the kind,

As breezes rise and fall, and billows swell,

Till on some jocund morn—lo, land! and all is well.

It’s not really very similar at all, but this passage reminds me so much of the Polar Star weapon description for some reason:

Oft have we walked in the moonless night.

Oft have we trudged through the gilded sands.

Oft have we felt piercing enmity in the dark,

And oft have we dreamed of lovers in distant hometowns.

But the pale flame yet burns in our breasts.

The key difference being that no flame burns in Childe Harold’s breast — so much of this poem seems to be about how unmoved he is by what he sees. The passages following this one refer to him as “a youth so raw / Nor felt, nor feigned at least, the oft-told flames” and describe his heart as “seeming marble … Now masked by silence or withheld by pride.”

canto the second, xliii:

Now Harold felt himself at length alone,

And bade to Christian tongues a long adieu:

Now he adventured on a shore unknown,

Which all admire, but many dread to view:

His breast was armed ‘gainst fate, his wants were few:

Peril he sought not, but ne’er shrank to meet:

The scene was savage, but the scene was new;

This made the ceaseless toil of travel sweet,

Beat back keen winter’s blast; and welcomed summer’s heat.

This dude is so Sagittarius-coded. Another major difference from our Childe, lol.

canto the third, v:

He who, grown aged in this world of woe,

In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life,

So that no wonder waits him;

This stuck out to me — young Ajax falling into the abyss, unaffected by time, aging not in days or months or years but in experience. He did pierce the depths of life, kind of literally.

canto the third, viii:

Long-absent Harold reappears at last;

He of the breast which fain no more would feel,

Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne’er heal;

Yet Time, who changes all, had altered him

In soul and aspect as in age: years steal

Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb;

And life’s enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.

This, again, feels reminiscent of Childe’s trip to the abyss & his Foul Legacy transformation.

Immediately continuing from there, in ix:

His had been quaffed too quickly, and he found

The dregs were wormwood; but he filled again,

And from a purer fount, on holier ground,

And deemed its spring perpetual; but in vain!

Still round him clung invisibly a chain

Which galled for ever, fettering though unseen,

And heavy though it clanked not; worn with pain,

Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen,

Entering with every step he took through many a scene.

This reminds me of the vessels of wine being refilled in The Morn a Thousand Roses Brings. Also thinking about the Foul Legacy transformation slowly eroding his body & soul every time he uses it — healing himself in vain.

canto the third, xi:

But who can view the ripened rose, nor seek

To wear it?

Would love to know what this means.

canto the third, xiii:

Where rose the mountains, there to him were friends;

Where rolled the ocean, thereon was his home;

Where a blue sky, and glowing clime, extends,

He had the passion and the power to roam;

The desert, forest, cavern, breaker’s foam,

Were unto him companionship; they spake

A mutual language, clearer than the tome

Of his land’s tongue, which he would oft forsake

For nature’s pages glassed by sunbeams on the lake.

This + the passage preceding it are about finding contentment and companionship with nature in solitude, rather than with other people. Another form of loneliness and self-imposed exile, I think — and, in fact, a few stanzas later it says, “Self-exiled Harold wanders forth again.

canto the third, xxxii:

They mourn, but smile at length; and, smiling, mourn:

The tree will wither long before it fall:

The hull drives on, though mast and sail be torn;

The roof-tree sinks, but moulders on the hall

In massy hoariness; the ruined wall

Stands when its wind-worn battlements are gone;

The bars survive the captive they enthral;

The day drags through though storms keep out the sun;

And thus the heart will break, yet brokenly live on:

This is one of my favorite stanzas. I just think it’s beautiful — and it also feels fitting within the context of Genshin. We see ruins of forgotten civilizations all the time; fragments of eroded memories lost to time. We know this cycle will continue. And thus the heart with break, yet brokenly live on!!!

canto the third, xxxiii:

E’en as a broken mirror, which the glass

In every fragment multiplies; and makes

A thousand images of one that was,

The same, and still the more, the more it breaks;

Just another very cool passage that I love.

canto the third, lxxxviii:

Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven,

If in your bright leaves we would read the fate

Of men and empires,—‘tis to be forgiven,

That in our aspirations to be great,

Our destinies o’erleap their mortal state,

And claim a kindred with you; for ye are

A beauty and a mystery, and create

In us such love and reverence from afar,

That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.

A bit about the stars and destiny.