Imágenes de página

The Morning from her mantle grey,
And the Noon will look on a sultry day.”
Ilark to the trump, and the drum,
And the mournful sound of the barbarous horn,
And the flap of the banners, that flit as they're borne,
And the neigh of the steed, and the multitude's hum,
And the clash, and the shout, “They come ! they come !"
The horsetails 3 are plucked from the ground, and the


From its sheath; and they form, and but wait for the

word. Tartar, and Spahi, and Turcoman,

690 Strike your tents, and throng to the van; Mount ye, spur ye, skirr the plain, That the fugitive may flee in vain, When he breaks from the town; and none escape, Aged or young, in the Christian shape; While your fellows on foot, in a fiery mass, Bloodstain the breach through which they pass.

1. [Compare-
“ While the still morn went out with sandals grey."

Lycidas, line 187.] 2. [Strike out

“And the Noon will look on a sultry day.” -GIFFORD.]

3. The horsetails, fixed upon a lance, a pacha's standard.

[“ When the vizir appears in public, three thoughs, or horse-tails, fastened to a long staff, with a large gold ball at top, is borne before him."-Mæurs des Ottomans, par A. L. Castellan (Translated, 1821), iv. 7.

Compare Childe Harold, Canto II., “ Albanian War-Song," stanza io, line 2; and Bride of Abydos, line 714 (vide ante, p. 189).] 4. (Compare“Send out moe horses, skirr the country round."

Macbeth, act v. sc. 3, line 35.) 5. (Omit

“While your fellows on foot, in a fiery mass,

Bloodstain the breach through which they pass." -GIFFORD.)

The steeds are all bridled, and snort to the rein;
Curved is each neck, and flowing each mane;
White is the foam of their champ on the bit;

The spears are uplifted; the matches are lit;
The cannon are pointed, and ready to roar,
And crush the wall they have crumbled before : 1
Forms in his phalanx each Janizar;
Alp at their head; his right arm is bare,
So is the blade of his scimitar;
The Khan and the Pachas are all at their post:
The Vizier himself at the head of the host.
When the culverin's signal is fired, then on;
Leave not in Corinth a living one-

710 A priest at her altars, a chief in her halls, A hearth in her mansions, a stone on her walls. God and the prophet--Alla Hu !2 Up to the skies with that wild halloo ! “There the breach lies for passage, the ladder to scale; And your hands on your sabres, and how should ye fail? He who first downs with the red cross may crave 3 His heart's dearest wish; let him ask it, and have !" Thus uttered Coumourgi, the dauntless Vizier;


1. [" And crush the wall they have shaken before."--GIFFORD.) 2. (Compare The Giaour, line 734 (vide ante, p. 120) —

“At solemn sound of 'Alla Hu!'" And Don Juan, Canto VIII. stanza viii.]

3. ["He who first downs with the red cross may crave," etc. What vulgarism is this ! “ He who lowers,

,--or plucks down," etc. -GIFFORD.)

4. [The historian, George Finlay, who met and frequently conversed with Byron at Mesalonghi, with a view to illustrating " Lord Byron's Siege of Corinth,” subjoins in a note the full text of "the summons sent by the grand vizier, and the answer.” (See Finlay's Grecce under Oíhoman and Venetian Domination, 1856, p. 266, note 1; and, for the original authority, see Brue's Journal de la Campagne, . en 1715, Paris, 1871, p. 18.)] VOL. III.

2 I

The reply was the brandish of sabre and spear, 720 And the shout of fierce thousands in joyous ire : Silence-hark to the signal-fire !


As the wolves, that headlong go
On the stately buffalo,
Though with fiery eyes, and angry roar,
And hoofs that stamp, and horns that gore,
He tramples on earth, or tosses on high
The foremost, who rush on his strength but to die
Thus against the wall they went,
Thus the first were backward bent; 1

Many a bosom, sheathed in brass,
Strewed the earth like broken glass,"
Shivered by the shot, that tore
The ground whereon they moved no more :
Even as they fell, in files they lay,
Like the mower's grass at the close of day, il
When his work is done on the levelled plain;
Such was the fall of the foremost slain.”



As the spring-tides, with heavy plash,
From the cliffs invading dash
Huge fragments, sapped by the ceaseless flow,
Till white and thundering down they go,

i. With such volley yields like glass.-[MS. G. erased.]

ii. Like the mower's ridge -.-[MS. G. erased.] 1.

[“ Thus against the wall they bent,

Thus the first were backward sent." -GIFFORD.)

2. (“Such was the fall of the foremost train."- GIFFORD.]


Like the avalanche's snow
On the Alpine vales below;
Thus at length, outbreathed and worn,
Corinth's sons were downward borne
By the long and oft renewed
Charge of the Moslem multitude.
In firmness they stood, and in masses they fell,
Heaped by the host of the Infidel,

Hand to hand, and foot to foot :
Nothing there, save Death, was mute;
Stroke, and thrust, and flash, and cry
For quarter, or for victory,
Mingle there with the volleying thunder,
Which makes the distant cities wonder
How the sounding battle goes,
If with them, or for their foes;
If they must mourn, or may rejoice
In that annihilating voice,

Which pierces the deep hills through and through
With an echo dread and new :
You might have heard it, on that day,
O'er Salamis and Megara;
(We have heard the hearers say,)".
Even unto Piræus' bay.

From the point of encountering blades to the hilt,
Sabres and swords with blood were gilt; ?

i. I have heard -:-[MS. G.] 1. [Compare The Deformed Transformed, Part I. sc. 2 (" Song of the Soldiers ”')

"Our shout shall grow gladder,

And death only be mute."] 2. (Compare Macbeth, act ii. sc. 2, line 554

“If he do bleed,
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal.”]

But the rampart is won, and the spoil begun,
And all but the after carnage done.

Shriller shrieks now mingling come
From within the plundered dome:
Hark to the haste of flying feet,
That splash in the blood of the slippery street;
But here and there, where 'vantage ground
Against the foe may still be found,
Desperate groups, of twelve or ten,
Make a pause, and turn again
With banded backs against the wall,
Fiercely stand, or fighting fall.

There stood an old man his hairs were white,
But his veteran arm was full of might:
So gallantly bore he the brunt of the fray,
The dead before him, on that day,
In a semicircle lay;
Still he combated unwounded,
Though retreating, unsurrounded.
Many a scar of former fight
Lurked ? beneath his corslet bright;
But of every wound his body bore,

Each and all had been ta'en before :
Though agéd, he was so iron of limb,
Few of our youth could cope with him,
And the foes, whom he singly kept at bay,
Outnumbered his thin hairs 3 of silver grey.
From right to left his sabre swept :
Many an Othman mother wept
Sons that were unborn, when dipped'

1. (" There stood a man," etc.-GIFFORD.]
2. I“ Lurked"--a bad word-say was hid.-GIFFORD.)
3. [“ Outnumbered his hairs," etc.--GIFFORD.)
4 ["Sons that were unborn, when he dipped.”—GIFFORD.]

« AnteriorContinuar »