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THE GIAOUR:

. FRAGMENT OF A TURKISH TALE.

« One fatal remembrance-one sorrow that throws

Its bleak shade alike o'er our joys and our woe3---
To which Life nothing darker nor brighter can bring,
For which joy hath no balm-and affliction no sting."-MOORL

TO

SAMUEL ROGERS, ESQ.,

AN A SLIGHT BUT MOST SINCERE TOKEN OF ADMIRATION FOR HIS GENIUS RESPECT FOB HIS CHARACTER, AND GRATITUDE FOR HIS FRIENDSHIP, THIS PRODUCTION IS INSCRIBED,

BY HIS OBLIGED AND

AFFECTIONATE SERVANT, London, May, 1813.

BYRON,

ADVERTISEMENT. The tale which these disjointed fragments present, is founded upon circumstances now less common in the East than formerly; either because the ladies are more circumspect than in the “olden time," or because the Christians have better fortune, or less enterprise. The story, when entire, contaiued the adventures of a female slave, who was thrown, in the Mussulman manner, into the sea for infidelity, and avenged by a young Venetian, her lover, at the time the Seven Islands were possessed by the Republic of Venice, and soon after the Arnauts were beaten back from the Morea, which they had ravaged tor some time subsequent to the Russian invasion. The desertion of the Mainotes, on being refused the plunder of Misitra, led to the abandonment of that enterprise, and to the desolation of the Morea, during which the cruelty exercised on all sides was unparalleled even in the annals of the faithful.

• This word, immortalized by Byron in this poem, and not less by Beckford in · Vathek," means infidel," and is pronounced Djiur, liks Giamschid and other Bastern Dames

THE GIAOUR.

No breath of air to break the wave
That rolls below the Athenian's grave,
That tomb which, gleaming o'er the ciis,*
First greets the homeward-veering skiff,
High o'er the land he saved in vain ;
When shall such hero live again?

*

Fair clime! where every season smilca
Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
Which, seen from far Colonna's height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
And lend to loneliness delight.
There mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek
Reflects the tints of many a peak
Caught by the laughing tides that lave
These Edens of the Eastern wave :
And if at times a transient breeze
Break the blue crystal of the soas,
Or sweep one blossom from the trees,
How welcome is each gentle air
That wakes and wafts the odours thero I
For there—the Rose o'er crag or vale,
Sultana of the Nightingale,t

The maid for whom his melody,
His thousand songs are heard on high,
Blooms blushing to her lover's tale

;
His queen, the garden queen, his Rose,
Unbent by winds, unchill’d by snows,
Far from the winters of the West,
By every breeze and season blest,
Returns the sweets by nature given
In softest incense back to heaven;
And grateful yields that smiling sky
Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh.
And many a summer flower is there,
And many a shade that love might sharo,
And many a grotto, meant for rest,
That holds the pirate for a guest;

• A tomb above the rocks on the promontory, by some supposed the sepulchre A Themistocles.-B.

+ The attachment of the nightingale to the rose is a well-known Persian fable, 10 mistake not, the “ Bubul of a thousand tales” is one of his appellations.-B.

Whose bark in sheltering cove below
Lurks for the passing peaceful prow,
Till the gay mariner's guitar*
Is heard, and seen the evening star;
Then stealing with the muffled oar,
Far shaded by the rocky shore,
Rush the night-prowlers on the prey,
And turn to groans his roundelay.
Strange—that where Nature loved to tracs,
As if for Gods, a dwelling-place,
And every charm and grace hazh mix'd
Within the paradise she fix'd,
There man, enamour'd of distress,
Should mar it into wilderness,
And trample, brute-like, o'er each flower
That tasks not one laborious hour ;
Nor claims the culture of his hand
To bloom along the fairy land,
But springs as to preclude his care,
And sweetly woos him—but to spare !
Strange—that where all is peace beside,
There passion riots in her pride,
And lust and rapine wildly reign
To darken o'er the fair domain.
It is as though the fiends prevail'd
· Against the seraphs they assail'd,
And, fix'd on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The freed inheritors of hell;
So soft the scene, so form'd for joy,
So curst the tyrants that destroy!

He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers),
And mark'd the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fix'd yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek,
And—but for that sad shrouded eye,

That fires not, wins not, weeps not now,

And but for that chill, changeless brow,
Where cold Obstruction's apathyt
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon ;
Yes, but for these and these alone,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,

He still might doubt the tyrant's power; • The guitar is the constant amusement of the Greek sailor by night : with a stody fals ed, and during a calm, it is accompanied always by the voice, and often by dancing. -B

t“Ay, but to die and go we know not where,

To lie in cold obstruction."-Measure for Measure, Act lii. Sc. .

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So fair, so calm, so softly seal'd,
The first, last look by death reveal'd !*
Such is the aspect of this shore ;
"Tis Greece, but living Greece no more !
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath ;
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb,
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,

The farewell beam of Feeling past away!
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth i

Clime of the unforgotten brave ! +
Whose land from plain to mountain-cave
Was Freedom's home, or Glory's grave:
Shrine of the mighty ! can it be
That this is all remains of thee?
Approach, thou craven crouching slave:

Say, is not this Thermopylæ ?
These waters blue that round you lave,

Oh servile offspring of the free--
Pronounce what sea, what shore is this !
The gulf, the rock of Salamis !
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Arise, and make again your own ;
Snatch from the ashes of your sires
The embers of their former fires;
And he who in the strife expires
Will add to theirs a name of fear
That Tyranny shall quake to hear,
And leave his sons a hope, a fame,
They too will rather die than shame:
For Freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeath'd hy bleeding Sire to Son,
Though baffled oft is ever won.
Bear witness, Greece, thy living page,
Attest it many a deathless age!
While kings, in dusty darkness hid,
Have left a nameless pyramid,
Thy heroes, though the general doom

Hath swept the column from their tomb, I trust that few of my readers have ever had an opportunity of witnessing what is here attempted in description; but those who have will probably retain a painful remein. brance of that singular beauty which pervades, with few exceptions, the features of tho dead, a few hours, and but for a few hours, after “ the spirit is not there." It is to be remarked in cases of violent death by gun-shot wounds, the expression is always that of languor, whatever the natural energy of the sufferer's character; but in death from a stab, the

countenance preserves its traits of feeling or ferocity, and the mind its bias, to the last,-B.

| It is the fact of Grecian history and poetry having been the studies of the bright morning of our youth that imparts such a charm to all that belongs to this country. Its poetry and arts, still, it is true, preserve their supremacy; but in practical lessons, the history of our own immortal 17th century, and that of the Netherlands, are quite as abundant

A mightier monument command,
The mountains of their native land !
There points thy muse to stranger's eye
The graves of those that cannot die !
"Twere long to tell, and sad to trace,
Each step from splendour to disgrace :
Enough-no foreign foe could quell
Thy soul, till from itself it fell;
Yes! Self-abasement paved the way
To villain-bonds and despot sway.
What can he tell who treads thy shore !

No legend of thine olden time,
No theme on which the muse might soar,
High as thine own in days of

yore,
When man was worthy of thy clime.
The hearts within thy valleys bred,
The fiery souls that might have led

Thy sons to deeds sublime,
Now crawl from cradle to the grave,
Slaves-nay,

the bondsmen of a slave, *
And callous, save to crime;
Stain'd with each evil that pollutes
Mankind, where least above the brutes;
Without even savage virtue blest,
Without one free or valiant breast.
Still to the neighbouring ports they wast
Proverbial wiles, and ancient craft;
In this the subtle Greek is found,
For this, and this alone, renown'd.
In vain might Liberty invoke
The spirit to its bondage broke,
Or raise the neck that courts the yoke.
No more her sorrows I bewail,
Yet this will be a mournful tale,
And they who listen may believe,
Who heard it first bad cause to grieve.

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Far, dark, along the blue sea glancing,
The shadows of the rocks advancing,
Start on the fisher's eye like boat
Of island-pirate or Mainote;
And fearful for his light caique,
He shuns the near but doubtful creek:
Though worn and weary with his toil,
And cumber'd with his scaly spoil,
Slowly, yet strongly, plies the oar,
Till Port Leone's safer shore

• Athens is the property of the Kislar Aga (the slave of the seraglio and guardian of the women), who appointo the Waywode. A pander and eunuch-these are not polite yot true appellations--now governs the governor of Athens.-B. Such was the case when Byron wrote this note, and Lady Morgan wrote"

Ida of Athens. Since then the powers of Europe have made Greece a kingdom, and given her a monarchs whether she has reason to be proud in either case, we can hardly say.

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