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Or, since that has left my breast,
By those tresses unconfined,
vice-consul. Byron and Hobhouse lodged at her house. The sisters were sought out and described by the artist, Hugh W. Williams, who visited Athens in May, 1817: “Theresa, the Maid of Athens, Catinco, and Mariana, are of middle stature. .. The two eldest have black, or dark hair and eyes; their visage oval, and complexion somewhat pale, with teeth of pearly whiteness. Their cheeks are rounded, their noses straight, rather inclined to aquiline. The youngest, Mariana, is very fair, her face not so finely rounded, but has a gayer expression than her sisters', whose countenances, except when the conversation has something of mirth in it, may be said to be rather pensive. Their persons are elegant, and their manners pleasing and lady-like, such as would be fascinating in any country. They possess very considerable powers of conversation, and their minds seem to be more instructed than those of the Greek women in general."— Travels in Italy, Greece, etc., ii. 291, 292.
Other travellers, Hughes, who visited Athens in 1813, and Walsh (Narrative of a Resident in Constantinople, i. 122), who saw Theresa in 1821, found her charming and interesting, but speak of her beauty as a thing of the past. “She married an Englishman named Black, employed in H.M. Consular Service at Mesolonghi. She survived her husband and fell into great poverty.
Theresa Black died October 15, 1875, aged 80 years.” (See Letters, 1898, i. 269, 270, note 1; and Life, p. 105, note.)
“Maid of Athens" is possibly the best-known of Byron's short poems, all over the English-speaking world. This is no doubt due in part to its having been set to music by about half a dozen composers-the latest of whom was Gounod.j
1. Romaic expression of tenderness. If I translate it, I shall affront the gentlemen, as it may seem that I supposed they could not; and if I do not, I may affront the ladies. For fear of any misconstruction on the part of the latter, I shall do so, begging pardon of the learned. It means, “My life, I love you !" which sounds very prettily in all languages, and is as much in fashion in Greece at this day as, Juvenal tells us, the two first words were amongst the Roman ladies, whose erotic expressions were all Hellenised. [The reference is to the Zwi Kal Yuxh of Roman courtesans. Vide Juvenal, lib. ii., Sat. vi. line 195; Martial, Epig. X. 68. 5.)
By those lids whose jetty fringe
Athens, 1810. [First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).)
1. In the East (where ladies are not taught to write, lest they should scribble assignations), flowers, cinders, pebbles, etc., convey che sentiments of the parties, by that universal deputy of Mercuryan old woman. A cinder says, “I burn for thee;" a bunch of flowers tied with hair, “ Take me and fly ;” but a pebble declareswhat nothing else can. Compare The Bride of Abydos, line 295
“What! not receive my foolish flower ?” See, too, Medwin's story of “one of the principal incidents in The
“I was in despair, and could hardly contrive to get a cinder, or a token-flower sent to express it.”- Conversations of Zoru Byron, 1824, p. 122.) 2. Constantinople. [Compare
“Tho' I am parted, yet my mind
Poems, by Thomas Carew, ed. 1640, p. 36.) VOL, III,
FRAGMENT FROM THE “MONK OF ATHOS.” 1
Beside the confines of the Ægean main,
Where northward Macedonia bounds the flood, And views opposed the Asiatic plain,
Where once the pride of lofty Ilion stood, Like the great Father of the giant brood,
With lowering port majestic Athos stands, Crowned with the verdure of eternal wood,
As yet unspoiled by sacrilegious hands, And throws his mighty shade o'er seas and distant
And deep embosomed in his shady groves
Full many a convent rears its glittering spire,
To kindle in her soul her hallowed fire,
To breathe a sweet religious calm around,
And the wild waves that break with murmuring sound Along the rocky shore proclaim it holy ground.
3. Sequestered shades where Piety has given
A quiet refuge from each earthly care,
1. [Given to the Hon. Roden Noel by S. McCalmont Hill, who inherited it from his great-grandfather, Robert Dallas. No date or occasion of the piece has been recorded. — Life of Lord Byror, 1890, p. 5.)
Whence the rapt spirit may ascend to Heaven !
Oh, ye condemned the ills of life to bear!
As with advancing age your woes increase, What bliss amidst these solitudes to share
The happy foretaste of eternal Peace, Till Heaven in mercy bids your pain and sorrows cease.
(First published in the Life of Lord Byron, by the
Hon, Roden Noel, London, 1890, pp. 206, 207.)
LINES WRITTEN BENEATH A PICTURE.'
Dear object of defeated care !
Though now of Love and thee bereft,
Thine image and my tears are left.
But this I feel can ne'er be true:
Athens, January, 1811. (First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (410). }
1. [These lines are copied from a leaf of the original MS. of the Second Canto of Childe Harold. They are headed, “ Lines written beneath the Picture of J. U. D.”
In a curious work of doubtful authority, entitled, The Life, Writings, opinions and Times of the Right Hon. G. G. Noel Byron, London, 1825 (iii. 123-132), there is a long and circumstantial narrative of a “defeated ” aitempt of Byron's to rescue a Georgian girl, whom he had bought in the slave-market for 800 piastres, from å life of shame and degradation. It is improbable that these verses suggested the story; and, on the other hand, the story, if true, does afford some clue to the verses.)
TRANSLATION OF THE FAMOUS GREEK
Sons of the Greeks, arise !
The glorious hour's gone forth,
Display who gave us birth.
Sons of Greeks ! let us go
In a river past our feet.
Then manfully despising
The Turkish tyrant's yoke,
1. The song AcūTE raides, etc., was written by Riga, who perished in the attempt to revolutionize Greece. This translation is as literal as the author could make it in verse. It is of the same measure as that of the original. (For the original, see Poetical Works, 1891, Appendix, p. 792. For Constantine Rhigas, see Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 199, note 2. Hobhouse (Travels in Albania, 1858, ii
. 3) prints a version (Byron told Murray that it was “well enough,” Letters, 1899, iii. 13) of Acute Taides, of his own composition. He explains in a footnote that the metre is “a mixed trochaic, except the chorus." “ This song,” he adds, “the chorus particularly, is sung to a tune very nearly the same as the Marseillois Hymn. Strangely enough, Lord Byron, in his translation, has entirely mistaken the metre. The first stanza runs as follows :
“Greeks arise ! the day of glory
Comes at last your swords to claim.