« FöregåendeFortsätt »
XCI. Yet to the remnants of thy splendour past Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied, throng; Long shall the voyager, with th' Ionian blast, Hail the bright clime of battle and of song; Long shall thine annals and immortal tongue Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore; Boast of the aged! lesson of the young! Which sages venerate and bards adore, As Pallas and the Muse unveil their awful lore.
XCII. The parted bosom clings to wonted home, If aught that's kindred cheer the welcome hearth; He that is lonely, hither let him roam, And gaze complacent on congenial earth. Greece is no lightsome land of social mirth : But he whom Sadness sootheth may abide, And scarce regret the region of his birth, When wandering slow by Delphi's sacred side, Orgazing o'er the plains where Greek and Persian died. XCIII. Let such approach this consecrated land, And pass in peace along the magic waste; But spare its relics—let no busy hand Deface the scenes, already how defaced! Not for such purpose were these altars placed: Revere the remnants nations once revered: So may our country's name be undisgraced, Somay'st thou prosper where thy youth was rear'd, By every honest joy of love and life endear'd!
XCIV. For thee, who thus in too protracted song Hast soothed thine idlesse with inglorious lays, Soon shall thy voice be lost amid the throng Of louder minstrels in these later days: To such resign the strife for fading bays— Ill may such contest now the spirit move Which heeds nor keen reproach nor partial praise, Since cold each kinder heart that might approve, And none are left to please when none are left to love. XCV. Thou too art gone, thou loved and lovely one! Whom youth and youth's affections bound to me; Who did for me what none beside have done, Nor shrank from one albeit unworthy thee. What is my being? thou hast ceased to be Nor staid to welcome here thy wanderer home, Who mourns o'er hours which we no more shall See — Would they had never been, or were to come! Would he had ne'er return'd to find fresh cause to roams XCVI. Oh! ever loving, lovely, and beloved! How selfish Sorrow ponders on the past, And clings to thoughts now better far removed! But Time shall tear thy shadow from me last All thou couldst have of mine, stern Death! thou hast; The parent, friend, and now the more than friend: Ne'er yet for one thine arrows flew so fast, And grief with grief continuing still to blend, Hath snatch'd the little joy that life had yet to lend.
110 CHILDE HAROLD's PILGRIMAGE. cANTo il.
XCVII. Then must I plunge again into the crowd, And follow all that Peace disdains to seek? Where Revel calls, and Laughter, vainly loud, False to the heart, distorts the hollow cheek, To leave the flagging spirit doubly weak; Still o'er the features, which perforce they cheer, To feign the pleasure or conceal the pique; Smiles form the channel of a future tear, Or raise the writhing lip with ill-dissembled sneer.
XCVIII. What is the worst of woes that wait on age? What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow? To view each loved one blotted from life's page, And be alone on earth, as I am now. (1) Before the Chastener humbly let me bow, O'er hearts divided and o'er hopes destroy'd : Roll on, vain days! full reckless may ye flow, Since Time hath rest whate'er my soul enjoy'd, And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloy'd.
(1) [This stanza was written October 11, 1811; upon which day the poet, in a letter to a friend, says, – “It seems as though I were to experience in my youth the greatest misery of age. My friends fall around me, and I shall be left a lonely tree before I am withered. Othermen can always take refuge in their families: I have no resource but my own reflections, and they present no prospect here or hereafter, except the selfish satisfaction of surviving my friends. I am indeed very wretched.” 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 allusions to what older men may have felt seem to denote.”—“I fear he has,” answered Matthias; –“ he could not otherwise have written such a poem.”—E.]
TO CANTO THE SECOND.
NoTE [A]. See p. 71.
“To rive what Goth, and Turk, and Time hath spared.”
At this moment (January 3, 1810), besides what has been already deposited in London, an Hydriot vessel is in the Pyraeus to receive every portable relic. Thus, as I heard a young Greek observe, in common with many of his countrymen — for, lost as they are, they yet feel on this occasion — thus may Lord Elgin boast of having ruined Athens. An Italian painter of the first eminence, named Lusieri, is the agent of devastation; and like the Greek finder of Verres in Sicily, who followed the same profession, he has proved the able instrument of plunder. Between this artist and the French Consul Fauvel, who wishes to rescue the remains for his own government, there is now a violent dispute concerning a car employed in their conveyance, the wheel of which – I wish they were both broken upon it—has been locked up by the Consul, and Lusieri has laid his complaint before the Waywode. Lord Elgin has been extremely happy in his choice of Signor Lusieri. During a residence of ten years in Athens, he never had the curiosity to proceed as far as Sunium (now Caplonna), till he accompanied usin our second excursion. However, his works, as far as they go, are most beautiful: but they are almost all unfinished. While he and his patrons confine themselves to tasting medals, appreciating cameos, sketching columns, and cheapening gems, their little absurdities are as harmless as insect or fox-hunting, maiden speechifying, barouche-driving, or any such pastime; but when they carry away three or four shiploads of the most valuable and massy relics that time and barbarism have left to the most injured and most celebrated of cities; when they destroy, in a vain attempt to tear down, those works which have been the admiration of ages, I know no motive which can excuse, no name which can designate, the perpetrators of this dastardly devastation. It was not the least of the crimes laid to the charge of Verres, that he had plundered Sicily, in the manner since imitated at Athens. The most unblushing impudence could
hardly go farther than to affix the name of its plunderer to the walls of the
On thee, thow rugged nurse of savage men "
Albania comprises part of Macedonia, Illyria, Chaonia, and Epirus. Iskander is the Turkish word for Alexander; and the celebrated Scanderbeg (Lord Alexander) is alluded to in the third and fourth lines of the thirty-eighth stanza. I do not know whether I am correct in making
* This Sr. Gropius was employed by a noble Lord for the sole purpose of sketching, in which he excels; but I am sorry to say, that he has, through the abused sanction of that most respectable name, been treading at humble distance in the steps of Sr. Lusieri. — A shipful of his trophies was detained, and I believe confiscated, at Constantinople, in 1810. I am most happy to be now enabled to state, that “this was not in his bond;” that he was employed solely as a painter, and that his noble patron disavows all connection with him, except as an artist. If the error in the first and second edition of this poem has given the noble Lord a moment's pain, I am very sorry for it: Sr. Gropius has assumed for years the name of his agent; and though I cannot much condemn myself for sharing in the mistake of so many, I am happy in being one of the first to be undeceived, Indeed, I have as much pleasure in contradicting this as I felt regret in stating it. — Note to third edition.