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Here follow some highly wrought stanzas on the beauty of the Spanish women; in the midst of which there occurs a fine apostrophe to Mount Parnassus. During the remainder of the first canto, Harold is in Cadiz, a city for various reasons not likely to decrease the interest of the poem. The dissipation of the place, and a bull-fight furnish the chief topics. The bull-fight is exquisitely painted. Towards the conclusion, there is a mournful stanza on the state of Spain, which, for the harmony of the verse, and for the sympathy excited by every line, deserves particular attention :
Not all the blood at Talavera shed,
Not all the marvels of Barossa's fight,
Not Albuera lavish of the dead,
Have won for Spain her well asserted right.
When shall her Olive Branch be free from blight?
When shall she breathe her from the blushing toil?
How many a doubtful day shall sink in night,
Ere the Frank robber turn him from his spoil,
And Freedom's stranger tree grow native of the soil!
The scenes of the second canto are, at sea; they shift to Albania, the territory of Ali Pacha's government; and to Greece. It opens with an invocation to Minerva, and after a few stanzas, relative to a diversity of religion tending to scepticism,—and therefore not to be distinguished by our commendation,-the poet, viewing the ruins of Athens, is inflamed with anger against the plunderers, the peaceful, not the warlike plunderers, of Greece; concluding the burst of his indignation thus:
Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o'er the dust they lov'd;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defac'd, thy mouldering shrines remov'd
By British hands, which it had best behov'd
To guard those relics ne'er to be restor❜d.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they rov'd,
And once again thy hapless bosom gor'd,
And snatch'd thy shrinking Gods to northern climes abhorr'd!
This opening is written in the character of the poet himself, under the fervour of excited feelings, while contemplating this favourite classical spot. He now returns to Harold, who has left Spain. The images presented to the mind from sailing out of harbour with a convoy are well painted; as it is the interior of a ship of war at sea, and the lagging of the dull sailors under her protection. The moon-light scene in the passage through the
Straits, with the reflections it suggests, the arrival at Calypso's
Island, the new Calypso Harold finds there, and the invulnerable
state of his heart, afford subjects for stanzas sweetly harmonious.
The following may be taken as a specimen :-
Thus bending o'er the vessel's laving side,
To gaze on Dian's wave-reflected sphere,
The soul forgets her schemes of Hope and Pride,
And flies unconscious o'er each backward year:
None are so desolate but something dear,
Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd
A thought, and claims the homage of a tear;
A flashing pang! of which the weary breast
Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been ;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and see her stores unroll'd.
But 'midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tir'd denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued:
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
Also one stanza from those that contain reflections at Calypso's island:
Thus Harold deem'd, as on that lady's eye
He look'd, and met its beam without a thought,
Save admiration glancing harmless by:
Love kept aloof, albeit not far remote,
Who knew his votary often lost and caught,
But knew him as his worshipper no more,
And ne'er again the boy his bosom sought:
Since now he vainly urg'd him to adore,
Well deem'd the little God his ancient sway was o'er.
Harold passes by Ithaca, the promontory of Leucadia, and Actium: he travels through a great part of Continental Greece to visit the Albanian Chief (Ali Pacha): these are described, together with the feelings they excite, and the reflections they give birth to. The palace of the Pacha at Ioanina is magnificently drawn: we have seldom seen so masterly a picture, and though of considerable length, we shall present it to our readers:
The sun had sunk behind vast Tomerit,*
And Laos wide and fierce came roaring by:
The shades of wonted night were gathering yet,
When, down the steep banks winding warily,
Childe Harold saw, like meteors in the sky,
The glittering minarets of Tepalen,
Whose walls o'erlook the stream: and drawing nigh,
He heard the busy hum of warrior-men
Swelling the breeze that sigh'd along the lengthening glen.
He pass'd the sacred Haram's silent tower,
And underneath the wide o'er-arching gate
Survey'd the dwelling of this chief of power,
Where all around proclaim'd his high estate.
Amidst no common pomp the despot sate,
While busy preparation shock the court,
Slaves, eunuchs, soldiers, guests, and santons wait
Within, a palace, and without, a fort:
Here men of every clime, appear to make resort.
Richly caparison'd, a ready row
Of armed horse, and many a warlike store
Circled the wide extending court below;
Above, strange groups adorn'd the corridore ;
And oft-times through the Area's echcing door
Some high-capp'd Tartar spurr'd his steed away:
The Turk, the Greek, the Albanian, and the Moor
Here mingl'd in their many-hued array,
While the deep war-drum's sound announc'd the close of day.
The wild Albanian kirtled to his knee,
With shawl-girt head and ornamented gun,
And gold-embroider'd garments, fair to see;
The crimson-scarfed men of Macedon;
* Anciently Mount Tomarus.
The Delhi with his cap of terror on,
And crooked glaive; the lively, supple Greek,
And swarthy Nubia's mutilated son;
The bearded Turks that rarely deigns to speak,
Master of all around, too potent to be meek,
Are mix'd conspicuous: some recline in groups,
Scanning the motley scene that varies round;
There some great Moslem to devotion stoops,
And some that smoke, and some that play, are found :
Here the Albanian proudly treads the ground;
Half whispering there the Greek is heard to prate;
Hark! from the mosque the nightly solemn sound,
The Muezzin's call doth shake the minaret,
There is no god but God !—to prayer-lo! God is great !”
Just at this season Ramazani's fast
Through the long day its penance did maintain:
But when the lingering twilight hour was past,
Revel and feast assum'd the rule again.
Now all was bustle, and the menial train
Prepar'd and spread the plenteous board within;
The vacant gallery now seem'd made in vain,
But from the chambers came the mingling din
As page and slave anon were passing out and in.
Here woman's voice is never heard: apart,
And scarce permitted, guarded, veil'd, to rove,
She yields to one her person and her heart,
Tam'd to her cage, nor feels a wish to move:
For, not unhappy in her master's love,
And joyful in a mother's gentlest cares,
Blest cares! all other feelings far above!
Herself more sweetly rears the babe she bears
Who never quits the breast, no meaner passion shares
In marble-pav'd pavilion, where a spring
Of living water from the centre rose,
Whose bubbling did a genial freshness fling,
And soft voluptuous couches breath'd 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 'tis those ne'er forgotten acts of ruth,
Beseeming all men ill, but most the man
In years, that marked him with a tyger's tooth;
Blood follows blood, and, through their mortal span,
In bloodier acts conclude those who with blood began.
The character of the Albanians is given with great energy, in
the succeeding stanzas: we extract the first of them:
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.
Harold terminates his stay among the Albanians at a feast, and with a characteristic effusion, which the author informs us was composed by him from different Albanese songs.
Tambourgi! Tambourgi! thy 'larum afar
Gives hope to the valiant, and promise of war ;
All the sons of the mountains arise at the note,
Chimariot, Illyrian, and dark Suliote!
Oh! who is more brave than a dark Suliote,
In his snowy camese and his shaggy capote?
To the wolf and the vulture he leaves his wild flock,
And descends to the plain like the stream from the rock,
Shall the sons of Chimari, who never forgive
The fault of a friend bid an enemy live?
Let those guns so unerring such vengeance forego?
What mark is so fair as the breast of a foe?
Macedonia sends forth her invincible race;
For a time they abandon the cave and the chase;
But those scarfs of blood-red shall be redder, before
The sabre is sheath'd and the battle is o'er.
Then the pirates of Parga that dwell by the waves,
And teach the pale Franks what it is to be slaves,
Shall leave on the beach the long galley and oar,
And track to his covert the captive on shore.