« AnteriorContinuar »
11. Selictar !! unsheathc then our chief's scimitar : Tambourgi! thy larum gives promise of war. Ye mountains, that see us descend to the shore, Sha:) view us as victors, or view us no more !
LXXIII. Fair Greece ! sad relic of departed worth ! ? Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great! Who now shall lead thy scatter'd children forth, And long accustom'd bondage uncreate ? Not such thy sons who whilome did await, The hopeless warriors of a willing doom, In bleak Thermopylæ's sepulchral strait
Oh! who that gallant spirit shall resume, Leap from Eurotas' banks, and call thee from the tomb ?
LXXIV. Spirit of Freedom! when on Phyle's brow 3 Thou sat'st with Thrasybulus and his train, Couldst thou forbode the dismal hour which now Dims the green beauties of thine Attic plain ? Not thirty tyrants now enforce the chain, But every carle can lord it o'er thy land ; Nor rise thy sons, but idly rail in vain,
Trembling beneath the scourge of Turkish hand, From birth till death enslaved ; in word, in deed,
LXXVII. The city won for Allah from the Giaour, The Giaour from Othman's race again may wrest; And the Serai's impenetrable tower Receive the fiery Frank, her former guest; Or Wahab's rebel brood, who dared divest The prophet's 5 tomb of all its pious spoil, May wind their path of blood along the West;
But ne'er will freedom seek this fated soil, But slave succeed to slave through years of endless toil.
LXXVIII. Yet mark their mirth - ere lenten days begin, That penance which their holy rites prepare To shrive from man his weight of mortal sin, By daily abstinence and nightly prayer; But ere his sackcloth garb Repentance wear, Some days of joyaunce are decreed to all, To take of pleasaunce each his secret share,
In motley robe to dance at masking ball, And join the mimic train of merry Carnival.
LXXIX. And whose more rife with merriment than thine, Oh Stamboul 6! once the empress of their reign ? Though turbans now pollute Sophia's shrine, And Greece her very altars eyes in vain : (Alas ! her woes will still pervade my strain !) Gay were her minstrels once, for free her throng, All felt the common joy they now must feign,
Nor oft I've seen such sight, nor heard such song, As woo'd the eye, and thrill'd the Bosphorus along. 7
LXXX. Loud was the lightsome tumult on the shore, Oft Music changed, but never ceased her tone, And timely echo'd back the measured oar, And rippling waters made a pleasant moan : The Queen of tides on high consenting shone, And when a transient breeze swept o'er the wave, 'T was, as if darting from her heavenly throne,
A brighter glance her form reflected gave, (lave. Till sparkling billows seem'd to light the banks they
LXXXI. Glanced many a light caique along the foam, Danced on the shore the daughters of the land, Ne thought had man or maid of rest or home, While many a languid eye and thrilling hand Exchanged the look few bosoms may withstand, Or gently prest, return'd the pressure still : Oh Love! young Love ! bound in thy rosy band,
Let sage or cynic prattle as he will, These hours, and only these, redeem Life's years of ill!
LXXV. In all save form alone, how changed ! and who That marks the fire still sparkling in each eye, Who but would deem their bosoms burn'd anew With thy unquenched beam, lost Liberty ! And many dream withal the hour is nigh That gives them back their fathers' heritage : For foreign arms and aid they fondly sigh,
Nor solely dare encounter hostile rage, [page. Or tear their name defiled from Slavery's mournful
LXXVI. Hereditary bondsmen ! know ye not Who would be free themselves must strike the blow? By their right arms the conquest must be wrought? Will Gaul or Muscovite redress ye? no ! True, they may lay your proud despoilers low, But not for you will Freedom's altars flame. Shades of the Helots ! triumph o'er your foe !
Greece! change thy lords, thy state is still the same; Thy glorious day is o'er, but not thine years of shame.
1 Ssord-bearer. . See some Thoughts on the present State of Greece and Turkey in the Appendix to this Canto, Notes [D] and [E].
3 Phyle, which commands a beautiful view of Athens, has still cousiderable remains : it was seized by Thrasybulus, prerious to the expulsion of the Thirty.
* When taken by the Latins, and retained for several years. * Meccs and. Vedina were taken some tim ago by the Wababees, a sect rearly increasing.
* [Of Constantinople Lord Byron says, -" I have seen the ruins of Athens, of Ephesus, and Delphi ; I have tra. versed great part of Turkey, and many other parts of Europe, and some of Asia ; but I never beheld a work of nature or art which yielded an impression like the prospect on each side, from the Seven Towers to the end of the Golden Horn.")
*(* The view of Constantinople," says Mr. Rose, “which anneared intersected by groves of cypress (for such is the
ct of its great Surial-grounds planted with these trees), its gided domes and minarets retlecting the first rays of the $90 ; the deep blue sea 'in which it glassed itself.' and that sea corered with beautiful boats and barges darting in every
direction in perfect silence, amid sea-fowl, who sat at rest upon the waters, altogether conveyed such an impression as I had never received, and probably never shall again receive, from the view of any other place.' The following sonnet, by the same author, has been so often quoted, that, but for its exquisite beauty, we should not have ventured to reprint it here: " A glorious form shining city wore,
Mid cypress thickets of perennial green,
With minaret and golden dome between,
Of sculptured barques and galleys many a score ;
Whence noise was none save that of plashing oar;
Who, mute as Sinbad's man of copper, rows,
I, hardly conscious if I dream'd or woke,
LXXXII. But, midst the throng in merry masquerade, Lurk there no hearts that throb with secret pain, Even through the closest searment half betray'd ? To such the gentle murinurs of the main Seem to re-echo all they mourn in vain ; To such the gladness of the gamesome crowd Is source of wayward thought and stern disdain :
How do they loathe the laughter idly loud, And long to change the robe of revel for the shroud !
While strangers only not regardless pass,
LXXXIII. This must he feel, the true-born son of Greece, If Greece one true-born patriot still can boast : Not such as prate of war, but skulk in peace, The bondsman's peace, who sighs for all he lost, Yet with smooth smile his tyrant can accost, And wield the slavish sickle, not the sword : Ah! Greece! they love thee least who owe thee most;
Their birth, their blood, and that sublime record Of hero sircs, who shame thy now degenerate horde !
LXXXVII. Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild ; Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields, Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled, And still his honied wealth Hymettus yields ; There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds, The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain-air ; Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare; Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair. 4
LXXXIV. When riseth Lacedæmon's hardihood, When Thebes Epaminondas rears again, When Athens' children are with hearts endued, When Grecian mothers shall give birth to men, Then may'st thou be restored; but not till then. A thousand years scarce serve to form a state; An hour may lay it in the dust: and when
Can man its shatter'd splendour renovate, Recall its virtues back, and vanquish Time and Fatc?
LXXXVIII. Where'er we tread 't is haunted, holy ground; No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould, But one vast realm of wonder spreads around, And all the Muse's tales seem truly told, Till the sense aches with gazing to behold The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon : Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold
Defies the power which crush'd thy temples gone: Age shakes Athena's tower, but spares gray Marathon.
LXXXV. And yet how lovely in thine age of woe, Land of lost gods and godlike men ! art thou ! Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow, ! Proclaim thee Nature's varied favourite now; Thy fanes, thy temples to thy surface bow, Commingling slowly with heroic earth, Broke by the share of every rustic plough:
So perish monuments of mortal birth, So perish all in turn, save well-recorded Worth ;
Which utter'd, to the hearer's eye appear
i On many of the mountains, particularly Liakura, the snow never is entirely melted, not withstanding the intense heat of the summer ; but I never saw it lie on the plains, even in winter.
? Of Mount Pentelicus, from whence the marble was dug that constructed the public editices of Athens. The modern name is Mount Mendeli. An immense cave, formed by the quarries, still remains, and will till the end of time.
3 In all Attica, if we except Athens itself and Marathon, there is no scene more interesting than Cape Colonna. To the antiquary and artist, sixteen columns are an inexhaustible source of observation and design; to the philosopher, the supposed scene of some of Plato's conversations will not be unwelcome; and the traveller will be struck with the beauty of the prospect over “ Isles that crown the Egean deep: but, for an Englishman, Colonna has yet an additional interest, as the actual spot of Falconer's Shipwreck. Pallas and Plato are forgotten, in the recollection of Falconer and Campbell:
* Here in the dead of night by Lonna's steep,
The seaman's cry was heard along the deep." This temple of Minerva may be seen at sea from a great distance. In iwo journeys which I made, and one voyage to Cape Colonna, the view from either side. by land, was less striking than the approach from the isles. In our second land excursion, we had a narrow escape from a party of Mainotes, concealed in the carerns beneath. We were told afterwards, by one of their prisoners, subsequently ransomed, that they were deterred from attacking us by the appearance of my two Albanians : conjecturing very sagaciously, but
falsely, that we had a complete guard of these Amaouts at hand, they remained stationary, and thus saved our party, which was too small to have opposed any effectual resistance. Colonna is no less a resort of painters than of pirates ; there
“The hireling artist plants his paltry desk,
(See Hodgson's Lady Jane Grey, &c.) But there Nature, with the aid of Art, has done that for herself. I was fortunate enough to engage a very superior German artist, and hope to renew my acquaintance with this and many other Levantine scenes, by the arrival of his performances.
* [The following passage in Harris's Philosophical In. quiries, contains the pith of this stanza:-“ Notwithstanding the various fortunes of Athens as a city, Attica is still famous for olives, and Mount Hymettus for honey. Human insti. tutions perish, but Nature is permanent." I recoilect having once pointed out this coincidence to Lord Byron, but he assured me that he had never even seen this work of Harris's.
5“ Siste Viator - heroa calcas!" was the epitaph on the famous Count Merci ; - what then must be our feelings when standing on the tumulus of the two hundred (Greeks) who sell on Marathon? The principal barrow has recently been opened liy Fauvel : few or no relics, as rases, &c. were found by the excavator. The plain of Marathon was offered to me for sale at the sum of sixteen thousand piastres, about nine hundred pounds! Alas! -“ Expende -- quot libras in duce summo- invenies!" - was the dust of Miltiades worth no
It could scarcely have fetched less is sold by weight.
! (The original MS. closes with this stanza. The rest was
ed while the canto was passing through the press.] * This stanza was written October 11. 1811 ; upon which dar ibe poet, in a letter to a friend, says, " I have been aua shoked with a death, and have lost one very dear to
De in happier tiines, but I have almost forgot the taste of 1: Eried,' and ' supped full of horrors,' till I have become callous ;
Die tave I a tear left for an erent which, five years ago, would hare posed down my head to the earth. It seems as though I were to experience in my youth the greatest misery of age. My frien is all around me, and I shall be left a lonely tree before I ain withcred. Other men can always take refuge in
their families : I have no resource but my own reflections, and they present no prospect here or hereaiter, except the selfish satisfaction of surviving my friends. I am indeed very wretched, and you will excuse my saying so, as you know I am not apt to cant of sensibility." In reference to this stanza, “ Surely," said Professor Clarke to the author of the Pursuits of Literature, “ Lord Byron cannot have experienced such keen anguish as these exquisite a lusions to what older men may
felt seem to denote."--"1 fear as," answered Matthias ;-" he could not otherwise have written such a pocm."]
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.
Yet, though a dreary strain, to this I cling,
Forgetfulness around me - it shall seem
* Afin que cette application rous forçat de penser à autre chose ; il n'y a en vérité de remiue que celui-là et le temps." - Lettre du Roi de Prusse d D'Alembert, Sept. 7. 1776.
CANTO THE THIRD.
v. He, who grown aged in this world of woe, In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life, So that no wonder waits him ; nor below Can love, or sorrow, fame, ambition, strife, Cut to his heart again with the keen knife Of silent, sharp endurance : he can tell Why thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife
With airy images, and shapes which dwell Still unimpair'd, though old, in the soul's haunted cell.
VI. 'T is to create, and in creating live A being more intense, that we endow With form our fancy, gaining as we give The life we image, even as I do now. What am I ? Nothing: but not so art thou, Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth, Invisible but gazing, as I glow
Mix'd with thy spirit, blended with thy birth, And feeling still with thee in my crush'd feelings'
I. Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child ! Ada!! sole daughter of my house and heart ? When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smiled, And then we parted, — not as now we part, But with a hope.
Awaking with a start, The waters heave around me; and on high The winds lift up their voices : I depart,
Whither I know not ? ; but the hour 's gone by, When Albion's lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye.s
II. Once more upon the waters ! yet once more! And the waves bound beneath me as a steed That knows his rider. 4 Welcome to their roar ! Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead ! Though the strained mast should quiver as a reed, And the rent canvass fluttering strew the gale, 5 Still must I on; for I am as a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam, to sail Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevail.
III. In my youth's summer I did sing of One, The wandering outlaw of his own dark mind; Again I seize the theme, then but begun, And bear it with me, as the rushing wind Bears the cloud onwards: in that Tale I find The furrows of long thought, and dried-up tears, Which, ebbing, leave a sterile track behind,
O'er which all heavily the journeying years Plod the last sands of life,—where not a flower appears.
VII. Yet must I think less wildly:- I hare thought Too long and darkly, till my brain became, In its own eddy boiling and o'erwrought, A whirling gulf of phantasy and fame : And thus, untaught in youth my heart to tame, My springs of life were poison'd. 'Tis too late ! Yet am I changed; though still enough the same
In strength to bear what time can not abate, And feed on bitter fruits without accusing Fate.
VIII. Something too much of this :- but now 't is past, And the spell closes with its silent seal. Long absent HAROLD re-appears at last; He of the breast which fain no more would feel, Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er Yet Time, who changes all, bad alter'd him (heal; In soul and aspect as in age 6: years steal
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb; And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.
IV. Since my young days of passion-joy, or pain, Perchance my heart and harp have lost a string, And both may jar: it may be, that in vain I would essay as I have sung to sing.
"[In a hitherto unpublished letter, dated Verona, No. vember 6. 1816, Lord Byron says —" By the way, Ada's name (which I found in our pedigree, under king John's reign), is the same with that of the sister of Charlemagne, as I redde, the other day, in a book treating of the Rhine."]
? [Lord Byron quitted England, for the second and last time, on the 25th of April, 1816, attended by William Fletcher and Robert Rushton, the "yeoman " and "page" oi Canto l.; his physician, Dr. Polidori ; and a Swiss valet. ] 30-“could griere or glad my gazing eye." - MS.)
(In the “ Two Noble Kinsmen" of Beaumont and Fletcher, we find the following passage:
" Oh, never
Like proud seas under us." Out of this somewhat forced simile, by a judicious transposition of the comparison, and by the substitution of the more definite word "wares” for “seas," Lord Byron's clear and noble thought has been produced. - Moore)
(" And the rent canvass tattering."- US.]
6 [The first and second cantos of "Childe Harold's Pil. grimage" produced, on their appearance in 1812, an effect upon the public, at least equal to any work which has ap. peared within this or the last century, and placed at once upon Lord Byron's head the garland for which other men of genius have toiled long, and which they have gained late. He was placed pre-eminent among the literary men of his country by general acclamation. It was amidst such feelings of admiration that he entered the public stage. Every thing in his manner, person, and conversation, tended to maintain the charm which his genius had flung around him ; and those admitted to his conversation, far from finding that the inspired poct sunk into ordinary mortality, felt their selves attached to him, not only by maný noble qualities, but by the interest of a mysterious, undefined, and almost painful curiosity. A countenance exquisitely modelled to the expression of feeling and passion, and exhibiting the remarkable contrast of very dark hair and eyebrows with light and expressive eyes, presunted to the physiognomist the most interesting subject for the exercise of his art The predominating expression was that of deep and habitual thought, which gave way to the most rapid play of features when he engaged in interesting discussion; so that a brother poet compared them to the
The desert, forest, cavern, breaker's foam, Ilis had been quaff's too quickly, and he found Were unto him companionship; they spake The dregs were wormwood; but he fill'd aguin, A mutual language, clearer than the tome And from a purer fount, on holier ground,
Of his land's tongue, which he would oft forsake And deem'd its spring perpetual; but in vain ! For Nature's pages glass'd by sunbeams on the lake. Still round him clung invisibly a chain Which gall'd for ever, fettering though unseen,
XIV. And heavy though it clank'd not; worn with pain, Like the Chaldean, he could watch the stars,
Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen, Till he had peopled them with beings bright Entering with every step he took through many a As their own beams; and earth, and carth-born jars, scene.
And human frailties, were forgotten quite :
Could he have kept his spirit to that flight
He had been happy; but this clay will sink Again in fancied safety with his kind,
Its spark immortal, envying it the light And deem'd his spirit now so firmly fix'd
To which it mounts, as if to break the link (brink. And sheath'd with an invulnerable mind,
That keeps us from yon heaven which woos us to its That, if no joy, no sorrow lurk'd behind; And he, as one, might midst the many stand
XV. Laheeded, searching through the crowd to find
But in Man's dwellings he became a thing Fit speculation ; such as in strange land
Restless and worn, and stern and wearisome, He found in wonder-works of God and Nature's hand.
Droop'd as a wild-born falcon with clipt wing,
To whom the boundless air alone were home : XI.
Then came his fit again, which to o'ercome, But who can view the ripen'd rose, nor seek
As eagerly the barr'd-up bird will beat To wear it? who can curiously behold
His breast and beak against his wiry dome The smoothness and the sheen of beauty's cheek,
Till the blood tinge his plumage, so the heat Nor feel the heart can never all grow old ?
Of his impeded soul would through his bosom eat. Who can contemplate Fame through clouds unfold The star which rises o'er her steep, nor climb ?
XVI. Harold, once more within the vortex, rollid
Self-exiled Harold I wanders forth again, On with the giddy circle, chasing Time,
With naught of hope left, but with less of gloom ; Yet with a nobler aim than in his youth's fond prime.
The very knowledge that he lived in vain,
That all was over on this side the tomb,
Had made Despair a smilingness assume, (wreck But soon he knew himself the most unfit
Which, though 't were wild, - as on the plunder'd Of men to herd with Man; with whom he held
When mariners would madly meet their doom Little in common; untaught to submit
With draughts intemperate on the sinking deck,-
Stop!- for thy tread is on an Empire's dust! A life within itself, to breathe without mankind.
An Earthquake's spoil is sepulchred below!
Is the spot mark'd with no colossal bust ?
Nor column trophied for triumphal show ? Where rose the mountains, there to him were None; but the moral's truth tells simpler so, friends ;
As the ground was before, thus let it be ;Where rolld the ocean, thereon was his home ; How that red rain hath made the harvest grow ! Where a blue sky, and glowing clime, extends,
And is this all the world has gain'd by thee, He had the passion and the power to roam ;
Thou first and last of fields ! king-making Victory?
sculpture of a beautiful alabaster vase, only seen to perfection Shen lighted up from within. The Aashes of mirth, gaiety, iodimation, or satirical dislike, which frequently animated Lord Byron's countenance, might, during an evening's conTersation, be mistaken, by a stranger, for the habitual expression, so easily and so happily was it formed for them all ; but those who had an opportunity of studying his features for a length of time, and upon various occasions, both of rest and emotion, will agree that their proper language was that of melancholy. Sometimes shades of this gloom interrupted erea his gayest and most happy moments. — Sir WALTER SCOTT)
(in the third canto of Childe Harold there is much inequality The thoughts and images are sometimes la. Joured, but still they are a very great improvement upon the first two cantos. Lord Byron here speaks in his own Language and character, not in the tone of others; he is describing, not inventing ; therefore he has not, and cannot
have, the freedom with which fiction is composed. Some. 4 times he has a conciseness which is very powerful, but almost
abrupt From trusting himself alone, and working out his own deep-buried thoughts, he now, perhaps, fell into a habit of labounng, even where there was no occasion to labour. In the first sixteen stanzas there is yet a mighty but groaning
burst of dark and appalling strength. It was unquestionably the unexaggerated picture of a most tempestuous and sombre, but magnificent soul! - BRYDGES.]
? [These stanzas, – in which the author, adopting more distinctly the character of Childe Harold than in the original poem, assigns the cause why he has resumed his Pilgrim's statt, when it was hoped he had sat down for life a denizen of his native country, - abound with much moral interest and poetical beauty. The commentary through which the meaning of this melancholy tale is rendered obvious, is still in vivid remembrance ; for the errors of those who excel their fellows in gitts and accomplishments are not soon forgotten. Those scenes, ever most painful to the bosom, were rendered yet more so by public discussion, and it is at least possible that amongst those who exclaimed most loudly on this unhappy occasion, were some in whose eyes literary superiority exaggerated Lord Byron's offence. The scene may be described in a few words: - the wise condemned - the good regretted -- the multitude, idly or maliciously inquisitive, rushed from place to place, gathering gossip, which they mangled and exaggerated while they repeated it; and impudence, ever ready to hitch itself into notoriety, hooked on, as Falstaff enjoins Bardolph, blustered, bullied, and talked of “pleading a cause," and "taking a side." — Sir Walter Scott.)