« AnteriorContinuar »
Page 1. Le Cosmopolite. [By Fougeret de Monbron. Byron elsewhere speaks of the book as a great favourite.']
Page 2. Dr. Beattie makes the following observation. [In a letter to Blacklock, September 22, 1766.]
Page 2. Sainte-Palaye. [Mémoires sur l'Ancienne Chevalerie, by De la Curne de Sainte-Palaye, Paris, 1781.]
Page 2. Roland. [Recherches sur les Prérogatives des Dames chez les Gaulois sur les Cours d'Amours, by le President Rolland, Paris, 1787]
Page 2. No waiter, but a knight templar. The Rovers, or the Double Arrangement. [By Hookham Frere in the Anti-Jacobin.]
Page 2. A modern Timon. [Byron had already compared himself with the Athenian Misanthrope in his early verses, Childish Recollections.]
Page 2. A poetical Zeluco. [It was Dr. John Moore's object in his romance entitled Zeluco to trace the fatal effects of a mother's fond compliance with the humors of an only child.]
Page 2. To IANTHE. [The Lady Charlotte Harley, second daughter of Edward fifth Earl of Oxford, in the autumn of 1812, when these lines were addressed to her, had not completed her eleventh year. Mr. Westall's portrait of the juvenile beauty was painted at Lord Byron's request.]
Page 5, line 117. Thus to the elements he pour'd his last Good Night.' [See Lord Maxwell's Good Night, in Scott's Border Minstrelsy:
Adieu, madame, my mother dear.']
Line 134. Come hither, hither, my little page! [This little page' was Robert Rushton, the son of one of Lord Byron's tenants. I take Robert with me,' says the poet in a letter to his mother, June 22, 1809; 'I like him, because, like myself, he seems a friendless animal.'. Seeing that the boy was 'sorrowful' at the separation from his parents, Lord Byron, on reaching Gibraltar, sent him back to England.] Page 6, line 157. Mine own would not be dry. [Here follows in the original MS.:
My Mother is a high-born dame,
She saith my riot bringeth shame
I had a sister once I ween,
Whose tears perhaps will flow; But her fair face I have not seen For three long years and moe.]
Line 158. Come hither, hither, my staunch yeoman. [William Fletcher, the faithful valet, who, after a service of twenty years, received the 'Pilgrim's' last words at Missolonghi.]
Line 189. He'd me where he stands.
Since youth I scarce have pass'd an hour
Except sometimes in Lady's bower,
Line 197. My native land-Good Night! [Originally, the little page' and the yeoman were introduced in the following stanzas:
And of his train there was a henchman page, A peasant boy, who served his master well; And often would his pranksome prate engage Childe Harold's ear, when his proud heart did swell With sable thoughts that he disdain'd to tell. Then would he smile on him, and Alwin smiled, When aught that from his young lips archly fell The gloomy film from Harold's eye beguiled; And pleased for a glimpse appear'd the woeful Childe:
Him and one yeoman only did he take To travel eastward to a far countrie;
And, though the boy was grieved to leave the lake On whose fair banks he grew from infancy, Eftsoons his little heart beat merrily With hope of foreign nations to behold, And many things right marvellous to see, Of which our vaunting voyagers oft have told, In many a tome as true as Mandeville's of old.]
Page 7, line 255. And rest ye at Our Lady's house of woe.' The convent of Our Lady of Punishment,' Nossa Señora de Pena, on the summit of the rock. Below, at some distance, is the Cork Convent, where St. Honorius dug his den, over which is his epitaph. From the hills, the sea adds to the beauty of the view. Note to First Edition. Since the publication of this poem, I have been informed of the misapprehension of the term Nossa Señora de Peña. It was owing to the want of the tilde or mark over the n, which alters the signification of the word: with it, Peña signifies a rock; without it, Pena has the sense I adopted. I do not think it necessary to alter the passage; as, though the common acception affixed to it is, Our Lady of the Rock,' I may well assume the other sense from the severities practised there. - Note to Second Edition.
Line 275. There thou too, Vathek! England's wealthiest son. [William Beckford (1759-1844), who inherited from his father large estates in the West Indies, resided at Cintra for two years. Vathek, his principal work, Byron says,
was one of the tales I had a very early admiration of. For correctness of costume, beauty of description, and power of imagination, it far
surpasses all European imitations; and bears such marks of originality, that those who have visited the East will find some difficulty in believing it to be more than a translation. As an eastern tale, even Rasselas must bow before it; his "happy valley" will not bear a comparison with the Hall of Eblis.""]
Page 8, line 288. Behold the hall where chiefs were late convened! The Convention of Cintra was signed in the palace of the Marchese Marialva. [The armistice, the negotiations, the convention itself, and the execution of its provisions, were all commenced, conducted, and concluded, at the distance of thirty miles from Cintra, with which place they had not the slightest connection, political, military, or local; yet Lord Byron has gravely asserted, in prose and verse, that the convention was signed at the Marquis of Marialva's house at Cintra; and the author of The Diary of an Invalid, improving upon the poet's discovery, detected the stains of the ink spilt by Junot upon the occasion.'Napier's History of the Peninsular War, i. 161. The definitive convention for the evacuation of Portugal by the British army is dated Head Quarters, Lisbon, August 30, 1808.' Byron was not a regular student, but his memory was prodigious and he carried with him lightly a store of historical and classical allusions. To annotate this part of Childe Harold adequately would require large drafts from the history of the Peninsular War.]
Line 296. Whereat the Urchin points, and laughs with all his soul. [The passage stood differently in the original MS. The following stanzas were struck out at the suggestion of Byron's friend Dallas:
In golden characters right well design'd, First on the list appeareth one Junot;' Then certain other glorious names we find, Which rhyme compelleth me to place below; Dull victors! baffled by a vanquish'd foe, Wheedled by conynge tongues of laurels due, Stand, worthy of each other, in a row Sir Arthur, Harry, and the dizzard Hew Dalrymple, seely wight, sore dupe of t' other tew.
Convention is the dwarfish demon styled That foil'd the knights in Marialva's dome : Of brains (if brains they had) he them beguiled, And turn'd a nation's shallow joy to gloom. For well I wot, when first the news did come, That Vimiera's field by Gaul was lost, For paragraph ne paper scarce had room, Such Pæans teem'd for our triumphant host, In Courier, Chronicle, and eke in Morning Post:
But when Convention sent his handy-work,
Then burst the blatant beast, and roar'd, and raged, and slept !
Thus unto Heaven appeal'd the people: Heaven, Which loves the lieges of our gracious King, Decreed, that, ere our generals were forgiven, Inquiry should be held about the thing.
But Mercy cloak'd the babes beneath her wing; And as they spared our foes, so spared we them (Where was the pity of our sires for Byng?); Yet knaves, not idiots, should the law condemn; Then live, ye gallant knights! and bless your judges'
Line 334. Where dwelt of yore the Lusians' luckless queen. [Maria Francesca. Her luckless Majesty went subsequently mad; and Dr. Willis, who so dexterously cudgelled kingly pericraniums, could make nothing of hers.'-Byron MS. She died in Brazil in 1816. About ten miles to the right of Cintra,' says Lord Byron in a letter to his mother, is the palace of Mafra, the boast of Portugal, as it might be of any country, in point of magnificence, without elegance. There is a convent annexed: the monks, who possess large revenues, are courteous enough, and understand Latin; so that we had a long conversation. They have a large library, and asked me if the English had any books in their country.']
Page 9, line 389. When Cava's traitor-sire first call'd the band. [In revenge for the violation of his daughter Cava, or Florinda, by King Roderick, Count Julian, one of the Gothic monarch's lieutenants, summoned the Moors to Spain. Pelagio, or Pelayo, whose standard was an oaken cross, resisted most successfully the Moorish invasion.]
Page 10, line 430. For on this morn three potent Nations meet. [The battle of Talavera.]
Page 11, line 459. Oh, Albuera, glorious field of grief! [This stanza is not in the original MS. It was written at Newstead, in August, 1811, shortly after the battle of Albuera, May 16, in which Lord Beresford, with great loss to the English, defeated Soult.]
Line 508. No! as he speeds, he chants Tivā el Rey!' 'Viva el Rey Fernando!' Long live King Ferdinand! is the chorus of most of the Spanish patriotic songs. They are chiefly in dispraise of the old king Charles, the Queen, and the Prince of Peace. I have heard many of them; some of the airs are beautiful. Don Manual Godoy, the Principe de la Paz, of an ancient but decayed family, was born at Badajoz, on the frontiers of Portugal, and was originally in the ranks of the Spanish guards; till his person attracted the queen's eyes, and raised him to the dukedom of Alcudia, etc., etc. It is to this man that the Spaniards universally impute the ruin of their country.
Page 12, line 523. Bears in his cap the badge of crimson hue. The red cockade, with Fernando VII.' in the centre.
Line 558. Is it for this the Spanish maid, aroused. The Maid of Saragoza, who by her valour elevated herself to the highest rank of heroines. When the author was at Seville, she walked daily on the Prado, decorated with medals and orders, by command of the Junta. [The exploits of Augustina, the famous heroine of both the sieges of Saragoza, are recorded at length in Southey's History of the Peninsular War. At the time when she first attracted notice, by mounting a battery where her lover had
fallen, and working a gun in his room, she was in her twenty-second year, exceedingly pretty, and in a soft feminine style of beauty.]
Line 560. The anlace hath espoused. [Anlace: A short two-edged knife or dagger, broad at the hilt, and tapering to the point, formerly worn at the girdle. New Eng, Dict.]
Page 13, line 594. The seal Love's dimpling finger hath impress'd. Sigilla in mento impressa Amoris digitulo Vestigio demonstrant mollitudinem.'-AUL. GEL.
Line 603. Match me, ye climes which poets love to laud. This stanza was written in Turkey. [The scene of the poem shifts abruptly for a few stanzas from Spain to Greece.]
Line 612. Oh, thou Parnassus whom I now survey! These stanzas were written in Castri (Delphi), at the foot of Parnassus. [Upon Parnassus, going to the fountain of Delphi (Castri), in 1809, I saw a flight of twelve eagles (Hobhouse says they were vultures - at least in conversation), and I seized the omen. On the day before, I composed the lines to Parnassus (in Childe Harold), and on beholding the birds, had a hope that Apollo had accepted my homage. I have at least had the name and fame of a poet, during the poetical period of life (from twenty to thirty); whether it will last is another matter: but I have been a votary of the deity and the place, and am grateful for what he has done in my behalf, leaving the future in his hands, as I left the past.' - B. Diary, 1821.]
Page 14, line 679. Tread on each other's kibes. [However loose he may be in construction, Byron is generally accurate in his use of words. But in several places he employs kibes (i. e. chilblains) for heels, being apparently misled by the passage in Hamlet (V. i. 150). In stanza Ixix. he uses the expression the seventh day, really the Jewish Sabbath, for the Christian Sunday.]
Page 15, line 706. Ask ye, Baotian shades. This was written at Thebes, and consequently in the best situation for asking and answering such a question.
Line 707. 'Tis to the worship of the solemn Horn. [Lord Byron alludes to a ridiculous custom which formerly prevailed at the publichouses in Highgate, of administering a burlesque oath to all travelers of the middling rank who stopped there. The party was sworn on a pair of horns, fastened, never to kiss the maid when he could the mistress; never to eat brown bread when he could get white; never to drink small beer when he could get strong,' with many other injunctions of the like kind, all which was added the saving clause, -unless you like it best.']
Page 16, line 760. With well-timed croupe. The croupe [croupade] is a particular leap taught in the manège.
Page 17, line 817. Full from the fount of Joy's delicious springs.
[Medio de fonte leporum Surgit amari aliquid quod in ipsis floribus angat. LUCRETIUS, iv. 1133.]