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The time in this poem may seem too short for the occurrences, but the whole of the Ægean isles are within a few hours sail of the continent, and the reader must be kind enough to take the wind as I have often found it.
Note 1, page 36, line 4.
Of fair Olympia loved and left of old. Orlando, Canto 10.
Note 2, page 43, line 16. Around the waves' phosphoric brightness broke. By night, particularly in a warm latitude, every stroke of the oar, every motion of the boat or ship, is followed by a slight flash like sheet lightning from the water.
Note 3, page 49, line 5.
Though to the rest the sober berry's juice. Coffee.
Note 4, page 49, line 7.
Note 5, page 49, line 8.
While dance the Almas to wild minstrelsy. Dancing-girls.
Note to Canto II. page 50, line 5. It has been objected that Conrad's entering disguised as a spy is out of nature.-Perhaps so. I find something not unlike it in history.
" Anxious to explore with his own eyes the state of the Vandals, Majorian ventured, after disguising the colour of his hair, to visit Carthage in the character of his own ambas. sador; and Genseric was afterwards mortified by the discovery, that he had entertained and dismissed the Emperor of the Romans. Such an anecdote may be rejected as an improbable fiction ; but it is a fiction which would not have been imagined unless in the life of a hero.” Gibbon, D. and F. Vol. VI. p. 180.
That Conrad is a character not altogether out of nature I shall attempt to prove by some historical coincidences which I have met with since writing " The Corsair.”
“ Eccelin prisonnier” dit Kolandini,"s'enfermoit dans un silence menacant, il fixoit sur la terre son visage feroce, et ne donnoit point d'essor a sa profonde indignation.- De toutes partes cependant les soldats & les peuples accouroient; ils vouloient voir cet homme, jadis si puissant, et la joie universelle eclatoit de toutes parts.
“Eccelin etoit d'une petite taille; mais tout l'aspect de sa personne, tous ses mouvemens indiquoient un soldať.-Son langage eloit amer, son deportment superbe-et par son seul egard, il faisoit trembler les plus hardis.” Sismondi, tome III. page 219, 220.
Gizericus (Genseric, king of the Vandals, the conqueror of both Carthage and Rome,) statura mediocris, et equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone rarus, luxuriæ contemptor, irâ turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad solicitandas gentes providentissimus,” &c. &c. Jornandes de Rebus Getius, c. 33.
I beg leave to quote these gloomy realities to keep in countenance my Giaour and Corsair.
Note 6, page 54, line 17.
And my stern vow and order's laws opposé. The Dervises are in colleges, and of different orders, as the monks.
Note 7, page 56, last line.
Note 8, page 58, line 4. He tore his beard, and foaming fled the fight. A common and not very novel effect of Mussulman anger. See Prince Eugene's Memoirs, page 24. “ The Seraskier “ received a wound in the thigh; he plucked up his beard “ by the roots, because he was obliged to quit the field.”
Note 9, page 60, line 13. Brief time had Conrad now to greet Gulnare. Gulnare, a female name; it means, literally, the flower of the Pomegranate.
Note 10, page 74, line 8.
Till even the scaffold echoes with their jest! In Sir Thomas More, for instance, on the scaffold, and Anne Boleyn in the Tower, when grasping her neck, she remarked, that it “ was too slender to trouble the headsman much.” During one part of the French Revolution, it became a fashion to leave some “ mot" as a legacy; and the quantity of facetious last words spoken during that period would form a melancholy jest-book of a considerable size.
Note 11, page 84, line 14.
That closed their murdered sage's latest day! Socrates drank the hemlock a short time before sunset (the hour of execution), notwithstanding the entreaties of his disciples to wait till the sun went down.
Note 12, page 85, line 10.
The queen of night asserts her silent reign. The twilight in Greece is much shorter than in our own country; the days in winter are longer, but in summer of shorter duration.
Note 13, page 86, line 2.
The gleaming turret of the gay Kiosk. The Kiosk is a Turkish summer-house; the palm is without the present walls of Athens, not far from the temple of Theseus, between wbich and the tree the wall intervenes.Cephisus' stream is indeed scanty, and Ilissus has no stream at all.
Note 14, page 86, line 12. That frown where gentler ocean seems to smile. The opening lines as far as section II. have, perhaps, little business here, and were annexed to an unpublished (though printed) poem; but they were written on the spot in the Spring of 1811, and—I scarce know why--the reader must excuse their appearance here if he can.
Note 15, page 92, line 1.
His only bends in seeming o'er his beads. The Comboloio, or Mahometan rosary; the beads are in number ninety-nine.