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More placid seem’d his eye, and smooth his pallid
Morn dawns; and with it stern Albania's hills,
And gathering storms around convulse the closing
XLIV. Here the red cross, for still the cross is here, Though sadly scoff'd at by the circumcised, Forgets that pride to pamper'd priesthood dear; Churchman and votary alike despised. Foul Superstition l howsoe'er disguised, Idol, saint, virgin, prophet, crescent, cross, For whatsoever symbol thou art prized, Thou sacerdotal gain, but general loss!
Who from true worship's gold can separate thy dross 2
Ambracia's gulf behold, where once was lost
GoD ! was thy globe ordain'd for such to win and
(1) It is said, that, on the day previous to the battle of Actium, Antony had thirteen kings at his levee. —[“To-day” (Nov. 12.), “I saw the remains of the town of Actium, near which Antony lost the world, in a small bay, where two frigates could hardly manoeuvre: a broken wall is the sole remnant. On another part of the gulf stand the ruins of Nicopolis, built by Augustus, in honour of his victory.”— B. to his Mother, 1809.]
(2) Nicopolis, whose ruins are most extensive, is at some distance from Actium, where the wall of the Hippodrome survives in a few fragments. These ruins are large masses of brickwork, the bricks of which are joined by interstices of mortar, as large as the bricks themselves, and equally durable.
XLVI, From the dark barriers of that rugged clime, Ev’n to the centre of Illyria's vales, Childe Harold pass'd o'er many a mount sublime, Through lands scarce noticed in historic tales; Yet in famed Attica such lovely dales Are rarely seen; nor can fair Tempe boast A charm they know not ; loved Parnassus fails, Though classic ground and consecrated most, To match some spots that lurk within this lowering
He pass'd bleak Pindus, Acherusia's lake, (1) And left the primal city of the land, And onwards did his further journey take To greet Albania's chief (2), whose dread comIs lawless law; for with a bloody hand [mand He sways a nation, turbulent and bold: Yet here and there some daring mountain-band Disdain his power, and from their rocky hold Hurl their defiance far, nor yield, unless to gold.(8)
(1) According to Pouqueville, the lake of Yanina: but Pouqueville is always out.
(2) The celebrated Ali Pacha. Of this extraordinary man there is an incorrect account in Pouqueville's Travels.-[“I left Malta in the Spider brig-of-war, on the 21st of September, and arrived in eight days at Prevesa. I thence have traversed the interior of the province of Albania, on a visit to the Pacha, as far as Tepaleen, his highness's country palace, where I stayed three days. The name of the Pacha is Ali, and he is considered a man of the first abilities: he governs the whole of Albania (the ancient Illyricum), Epirus, and part of Macedonia.”—B. to his Mother.]
(3) Five thousand Suliotes, among the rocks and in the castle of Suli, withstood thirty thousand Albanians for eighteen years; the castle at last was taken by bribery. In this contest there were several acts performed not unworthy of the better days of Greece.
XLVIII. Monastic Zitza! (!) from thy shady brow, Thou small, but favour'd spot of holy ground! Where'er we gaze, around, above, below, What rainbow tints, what magic charms are found! Rock, river, forest, mountain, all abound, And bluest skies that harmonise the whole: Beneath, the distant torrent's rushing sound Tells where the volumed cataract doth roll
Between those hanging rocks, that shock yet please
Amidst the grove that crowns yon tufted hill, Which, were it not for many a mountain nigh Rising in lofty ranks, and loftier still, Might well itself be deem'd of dignity, The convent's white walls glisten fair on high: Here dwells the caloyer (?), nor rude is he, Nor niggard of his cheer; the passer by Is welcome still ; nor heedless will he flee From hence, if he delight kind Nature's sheen to see.
(1) The convent and village of Zitza are four hours' journey from Joannina, or Yanina, the capital of the Pachalick. In the valley the river Kalamas (once the Acheron) flows, and, not far from Zitza, forms a fine cataract. The situation is perhaps the finest in Greece, though the approach to Delvinachi and parts of Acarnania and Ætolia may contest the palm. Delphi, Parnassus, and, in Attica, even Cape Colonna and Port Raphti, are very inferior; as also every scene in Ionia, or the Troad: I am almost inclined to add the approach to Constantinople; but, from the different features of the last, a comparison can hardly be made. [“Zitza,” says the poet's companion, “is a village inhabited by Greek peasants. Perhaps there is not in the world a more romantic prospect than that which is viewed from the summit of the hill. The foreground is a gentle declivity, terminating on every side in an extensive landscape of green hills and dale, enriched with vineyards, and dotted with frequent flocks.”— E.]
(2) The Greek monks are so called. – [“We went into the monastery,”
LHere in the sultriest season let him rest, Fresh is the green beneath those aged trees; Here winds of gentlest wing will fan his breast, From heaven itself he may inhale the breeze: The plain is far beneath—oh ! let him seize Pure pleasure while he can; the scorching ray Here pierceth not, impregnate with disease: Then let his length the loitering pilgrim lay, And gaze, untired, the morn, the noon, the eve away. LI. Dusky and huge, enlarging on the sight, Nature's volcanic amphitheatre, () Chimaera's alps extend from left to right: Beneath, a living valley seems to stir; Flocks play, trees wave, streams flow, the mountain-fir Nodding above; behold black Acheron I (?) Once consecrated to the sepulchre. Pluto l if this be hell I look upon, Close shamed Elysium's gates, my shade shall seek for none.
says Mr. Hobhouse, “after some parley with one of the monks, through a small door plated with iron, on which the marks of violence were very apparent, and which, before the country had been tranquillized under the powerful government of Ali, had been battered in vain by the troops of robbers then, by turns, infesting every district. The prior, a humble, meek-mannered man, entertained us in a warm chamber with grapes, and a pleasant white wine, not trodden out, as he told us, by the feet, but pressed from the grape by the hand; and we were so well pleased with every thing about us, that we agreed to lodge with him on our return from the Vizier.”]
(1) The Chimariot mountains appear to have been volcanic.
(2) Now called Kalamas.