« AnteriorContinuar »
In marble-paved pavilion, where a spring
Of living water from the centre rose,
Whose bubbling did a genial freshness fling,
And soft voluptuous couches breathed repose,
Ali reclined, a man of war and woes ;
Yet in his lineaments ye cannot trace,
While Gentleness her milder radiance throws
Along that aged venerable face,
The deeds that lurk beneath, and stain him with disgrace.
It is not that yon hoary lengthening beard
Ill suits the passions which belong to youth;
Love conquers age—so Hafiz hath averr'd,
So sings the Teian, and he sings in sooth-
But crimes that scorn the tender voice of Ruth,
Beseeming all men ill, but most the man
In years, have marked him with a tiger's tooth;
Blood follows blood, and, through their mortal span, In bloodier acts conclude those who with blood began.
'Mid many things most new to ear and eye
The pilgrim rested here his weary feet,
And gazed around on Moslem luxury,
Till quickly wearied with that spacious seat
Of Wealth and Wantonness, the choice retreat
Of sated Grandeur from the city's noise :
And were it humbler it in sooth were sweet ;
But Peace abhorreth artificial joys,
And Pleasure, leagued with Pomp, the zest of both destroys.
Fierce are Albania's children, yet they lack
Not virtues, were those virtues more mature.
Where is the foe that ever saw their back?
Who can so well the toil of war endure ?
Their native fastnesses not more secure
Than they in doubtful time of troublous need:
Their wrath how deadly! but their friendship sure,
When Gratitude or Valour bids them bleed,
Unshaken rushing on where'er their chief may lead.
Childe Harold saw them in their chieftain's tower
Thronging to war in splendour and success;
And after view'd them, when, within their power,
Himself awhile the victim of distress ;
That saddening hour when bad men hotlier press :
But these did shelter him beneath their roof,
When less barbarians would have cheer'd him less,
And fellow-countrymen have stood aloof—(27)
In aught that tries the heart how few withstand the proof!
It chanced that adverse winds once drove his bark
Full on the coast of Suli's shaggy shore,
When all around was desolate and dark;
To land was perilous, to sojourn more;
Yet for awhile the mariners forbore,
Dubious to trust where treachery might lurk:
At length they ventured forth, though doubting sore
That those who loathe alike the Frank and Turk
Might once again renew their ancient butcher-work.
Vain fear! the Suliotes stretch'd the welcome hand,
Led them o'er rocks and past the dangerous swamp,
Kinder than polish'd slaves though not so bland,
And piled the hearth, and wrung their garments damp,
And fill’d the bowl, and trimm'd the cheerful lamp,
And spread their fare; though homely, all they had :
Such conduct bears Philanthropy's rare stamp
To rest the weary and to soothe the sad,
Doth lesson happier men, and shames at least the bad.
It came to pass, that when he did address
Himself to quit at length this mountain-land,
Combined marauders half-way barr'd egress, ,
And wasted far and near with glaive and brand;
And therefore did he take a trusty
To traverse Acarnania's forest wide,
In war well season'd, and with labours tann'd
Till he did greet white Achelous' tide,
And from his further bank Ætolia's wolds espied.
Where lone Utraikey forms its circling cove,
And weary waves retire to gleam at rest,
How brown the foliage of the green hill's grove,
Nodding at midnight o'er the calm bay's breast,
As winds come lightly whispering from the west,
Kissing, not ruffling, the blue deep's serene :-
Here Harold was received a welcome guest;
Nor did he pass unmoved the gentle scene,
For many a joy could he from Night's soft presence glean.
LXXI. On the smooth shore the night-fires brightly blazed, The feast was done, the red wine circling fast, (28) And he that unawares had there ygazed With gaping wonderment had stared aghast ; For ere night's midmost, stillest hour was past The native revels of the troop began; Each Palikar (29) his sabre from him cast,
And bounding hand in hand, man link'd to man, Yelling their uncouth dirge, long daunced the kirtled clan.