« FöregåendeFortsätt »
XXVIII, Pass we the long, unvarying course, the track Oft trod, that never leaves a trace behind; Pass we the calm, the gale, the change, the tack, And each well known caprice of wave and wind; Pass we the joys and sorrows sailors find, Coop'd in their winged sea-girt citadel; The foul, the fair, the contrary, the kind, As breezes rise and fall and billows swell, Till on some jocund morn—lo, lands and all is well. XXIX. But not in silence pass Calypso's isles, (1) The sister tenants of the middle deep; There for the weary still a haven smiles, Though the fair goddess long hath ceased to weep, And o'er her cliffs a fruitless watch to keep For him who dared prefer a mortal bride: Here, too, his boy essay’d the dreadful leap Stern Mentor urged from high to yonder tide; While thus of both bereft, the nymph-queen doubly sighed. XXX. Her reign is past, her gentle glories gone: But trust not this; too easy youth, beware! A mortal sovereign holds her dangerous throne, And thou may'st find a new Calypso there. Sweet Florence! could another ever share This wayward, loveless heart, it would be thine: But check'd by every tie, I may not dare To cast a worthless offering at thy shrine, Nor ask so dear a breast to feel one pang for mine. (1) Goza is said to have been the island of Calypso.
XXXI. Thus Harold deem’d, as on that lady's eye He look'd, and met its beam without a thought, Save Admiration glancing harmless by: Love kept aloof, albeit not far remote, Who knew his votary often lost and caught, But knew him as his worshipper no more, And ne'er again the boy his bosom sought: Since now he vainly urged him to adore,
Well deem'd the little God his ancient sway was
XXXII. Fair Florence(i) found, in sooth with some amaze, One who, 'twas said, still sigh'd to all he saw, Withstand, unmoved, the lustre of her gaze, Which others hail'd with real or mimic awe, Their hope, their doom, their punishment, their law ; All that gay Beauty from her bondsmen claims: And much she marvell'd that a youth so raw Nor felt, nor feign'd at least, the oft-told flames, Which, though sometimes they frown, yet rarely anger dames.
(1) [For an account of this accomplished but eccentric lady, whose acquaintance the poet formed at Malta, see ante, vol. vii. p. 308. “In one so imaginative as Lord Byron, who, while he infused so much of his life into his poetry, mingled also not a little of poetry with his life, it is difficult,” says Moore, “ in unravelling the texture of his feelings, to distinguish at all times between the fanciful and the real. His description here, for instance, of the unmoved and “loveless heart,” with which he contemplated even the charms of this attractive person, is wholly at variance with the statements in many of his letters; and, above all, with one of the most graceful of nis lesser poems, addressed to this same lady, during a thunder-storm on his road to Zitza.”— E.]
XXXIII. 2.2% V
Little knew she that seeming marble heart,
Yet never would he join the lover's whining crew.
Disguise ev'n tenderness, if thou art wise;
Pique her and soothe in turn, soon Passion crowns
'Tis an old lesson; Time approves it true,
Not to be cured when Love itself forgets to please.
(1) [Against this line it is sufficient to set the poet's own declaration, in 1821, already quoted, vol. vii. p. 147. – “I am not a Joseph, nor a Scipio, but I can safelv affirm, that I never in my life seduced any woman.” – E.]
XXXVI. Away! nor let me loiter in my song, For we have many a mountain-path to tread, And many a varied shore to sail along, By pensive Sadness, not by Fiction, led— Climes, fair withal as ever mortal head Imagined in its little schemes of thought; } Or e'er in new Utopias were ared, To teach man what he might be, or he ought; If that corrupted thing could ever such be taught. XXXVII. Dear Nature is the kindest mother still, Though alway changing, in her aspect mild; From her bare bosom let me take my fill, Her never-wean'd, though not her favour'd child Oh! she is fairest in her features wild, | Where nothing polish'd dares pollute her path: |
To me by day or night she ever smiled, Though I have mark'd her when none other hath, And sought her more and more, and loved her best in wrath. xxxv III. Land of Albania! where Iskander rose, Theme of the young, and beacon of the wise, And he his namesake, whose oft-baffled foes Shrunk from his deeds of chivalrous emprize: Land of Albania! (1) let me bend mine eyes On thee, thou rugged nurse of savage men! ~~ The cross descends, thy minarets arise, } And the pale crescent sparkles in the glen, Through manya cypress grove within each city's ken.
(1) See Appendix to this Canto, Note [B]. VOL. VIII. G
XXXIX. Childe Harold sail'd, and pass'd the barren spot Where sad Penelope o'erlook'd the wave;(1) And onward view'd the mount, not yet forgot, The lover's refuge, and the Lesbian's grave. Dark Sappho! could not verse immortal save That breast imbued with such immortal fire? Could she not live who life eternal gave? If life eternal may await the lyre, That only heaven to which Earth's children may aspire. XL. 'Twas on a Grecian autumn's gentle eve Childe Harold hail'd Leucadia's cape afar; (2) A spot he longed to see, nor cared to leave: Oft did he mark the scenes of vanish’d war, Actium, Lepanto, fatal Trafalgar;(8) Mark them unmoved, for he would not delight (Born beneath some remote inglorious star) In themes of bloody fray, or gallant fight, [wight. But loathed the bravo's trade, and laughed at martial
(1) Ithaca. —[* Sept. 24th,” says Mr. Hobhouse, “we were in the channel, with Ithaca, then in the hands of the French, to the west of us. We were close to it, and saw a few shrubs on a brown heathy land, two little towns in the hills, scattered amongst trees, and a windmill or two, with a tower on the heights. That Ithaca was not very strongly garrisoned, you will easily believe, when I tell, that a month afterwards, when the Ionian Islands were invested by a British squadron, it was surrendered into the hands of a sergeant and seven men.” For a very curious account of the state of the kingdom of Ulysses in 1816, see Williams's Travels, vol. ii. p. 427.]
(2) Leucadia, now Santa Maura. From the promontory (the Lover's Leap) Sappho is said to have thrown herself.
(3) Actium and Trafalgar need no further mention. The battle of Lepanto,
equally bloody and considerable, but less known, was fought in the Gulf of Patras. Here the author of Don Quixote lost his left hand.