Sidor som bilder


Botzaris ré-entered the city and met some of the chiefs, who inquired what his resolution still was. " I set out in an hour,” replied he, “ and I hope to succeed; but since you will not share my enterprize, arm your pallikars, and follow me at a dis

If I succeed you will complete my good fortune ; if not, you will have time to retreat in good order.” He then embraced the captains and departed. . They accompanied him to the ramparts, and returned to make the preparations required.

Botzaris found that his companions were impatiently expecting him. He said, “ Brethren, as we are so few in number we must lay down a good plan of attack. When we are close to the enemy's camp, we will file off in companies, and according to custom penetrate in different parts without being perceived by the Turks. As I am resolved either to take the pacha or lose my life, I will proceed to his tent with forty pallikars. · The signal of attack shall be a discharge of fire-arms the moment I enter the tent ; then all of you, who will be dispersed through the camp, must do the same thing, discharge your pistols, and draw your swords. The darkness of night will favour us, and the affrighted enemy, believing themselves assailed, by a numerous army, will be easily divided.” Before setting out, Botzaris advised them to attend to their religious duties, and to swear that they would die for their religion and their country. He accompanied them to a church situated outside the walls, and, while the priest recited the prayers, all took the required oath, their eyes flashed, and their hands unconsciously seized their arms. After the ceremony Botzaris ordered the supper to be prepared; all sat in a circle, and when the repast was ended, he took his chief pallikar by the hand, and immediately the Souliotes rose and danced in a ring, singing the patriotic effusion of Riga.

After devoting a few moments to gaiety, the Souliotes set out, traversed the fastnesses of the mountains, and performed the distance of fourteen leagues in seven hours. They reached the heights which overlook the plain of Carpenisus, in the centre of which the army of Mustaï Pacha lay encamped. From one of those heights our hero discerned the pacha’s . tent, conspicuous from its magnificence and its position among the rest. About two o'clock in the morning the Souliotes descended and penetrated the camp, unperceived by the centinels. Botzaris advanced with his forty warriors towards the tent he sought; he perceived three men in it, one of whom, with a long heard, he believed to be the pacha; he rushed forward quick as lightning, struck dead two of the Turks, and dragged the third out of the tent. Having fired his piece, his followers also discharged theirs, and, drawing their swords, the carnage commenced in every direction. Unfortunately, the man seized by Botzaris was the pacha's lieutenant, the other was sleeping that night in the tent of his nephew. The terrified lieu. tenant cried out, “ What mistake is this?"_" There is no mistake,” replied the hero, “ Do you not know that Marco Botzaris is in your camp? On hearing his thundering voice, and the mention of his name, a shower of balls fell around him. He received two wounds, but, without loosing his hold, he cut off the lieutenant's head, which he carried in one hand, while with the other he despatched great numbers of the enemy, exclaiming, “ Where are you, my brave comrades ? Victory is ours! Our country is saved! Here is the pacha's head! If I die of my wounds, my death will be joyful.” In the midst of the carnage the Mussulmans fell on one another in the darkness; balls whistled in every direction; the conflict was left to chance; every instant the tumult increased; one threw down another in advancing; and each endeavoured to make way with his poignard. Struck with terror, the pacha mounted a horse and fled ; the camp was in horrible confusion; but during the disorder Botzaris was grievously wounded, and was just able to say, My brethren, let not the death of one man dishearten you ! victory is ours ! preserve my body !” He was then led away by his most faithful Souliotes, and soon expired in their arms. The day began to dawn, and objects to be distinguishable; a multitude of enemies rushed on the handful of Souliotes who defended the dead body, attacked them with fury, but fell under the swords of those undaunted men. The other Souliotes concentrated themselves in the same place, and were performing prodigies of valour, when Constantine Botzaris, the brother of Marco, arrived with 800 soldiers, and in despair attacked and routed the


enemy. 7,000 were slain, and much of the Turkish matériel fell into the hands of the victors.

Constantine Botzaris returned from the pursuit to his brother, whom he then called by name, and to whom he related the success just gained; but he found Marco could no longer hear him--that the hero had ceased to live. The companions of Marco, covered with Turkish blood, surrounded the inanimate remains of their chief, surveyed his wounds, and wept with admiration and grief. The field of honour, on which thirty-three braye warriors died, became their tomb. The body of their captain was placed by the Souliotes on a litter, and carried to Missolonghi. Two pieces of infor. mation reached that city at the same time-victory and the death of Botzaris. The whole population immediately left the city to kneel before the corpse of their deliverer. Sighs and groans were re-echoed from Mount Aracynthus. . . The local authorities wished to perform the last duties to the hero's remains; but the people insisted that they should be exposed during two days to public view, that every one might give to those remains the kiss of eternal gratitude. During the interval the Greeks of Etolia and Acarnania hastened by thousands to Missolonghi to contemplate this modern Leonidas on his funeral couch,

Amidst such instances of heroic self-devotion to death for the sake of patriotism, it is painful to look at the senseless, violent, and treacherous disşensions which existed among the ambitious chiefs, and which afforded the enemy opportunity enough to wrest from the victors their proudest laurels, their dearest-bought advantages, and almost their liberty. Of such dissensions enough is known; we have no wish to exhibit more,

Copious as have been our extracts from Rizo's interesting work, we cannot conclude without making another, which no Englishman can read unmoved: it relates to Lord Byron. Some parts of the description are too theatrical ; but after all it will be found among the most attractive in the book, especially to English readers :

During many years a man and a poet had excited the admiration of the civilized world, His sublime genius soared above this sphere, and also penetrated into the deepest recesses of the human heart. The envy which could not reach the poet, abused the man; but too powerful to stand in need of defence, and too generous to seek revenge, he indulged only magnificent impressions,—he lived only on great sensations, Capable of the noblest devotedness, and persuaded that what is beautiful must also be just, he embraced the cause of the Greeks. Though still young, Byron had travelled through Greece, and traced the moral picture of its inhabitants. He left it, pitying their misery, blansing their lethargy, and despising their stupid degradation; so difficult is it to judge aright of a nation from a rapid glance! What must have been the astonishment of the poet when a few years later he saw the people whom he had considered unworthy to bear the name of Greeks, rise as one man, and declare to the whole world that they were resolved again to become a nation ! At first he hesitated : ancient prejudice made him attribute this outbursting to a partial convulsion, the last blaze of the dying lamp. Soon, however, new wonders, brilliant exploits, a constancy not to be shaken by the greatest reverses, proved the rashness of his judgment with respect to the people, and induced him to repair it by the sacrifice of fortune and life: he resolved to join them in their struggle for liberty. In August 1823 he left the fertile shores of Etruria for Greece. He remained some time in the Ionian Isles, where he concluded the first loan. The death of Marco Botzaris redoubled his enthusiasm, and perhaps induced him to prefer the town of Missolonghi, which could already boast of possessing the tombs of Normann, Kyriakoulis, and Botzaris. Alas! four months afterwards it was destined to reckon a fourth!

Towards November, a Hydriote hrig of war, commanded by the nephew of the brave Criezy, went to Cephalonia to take his lordship on board and bring him to Missolonghi ; but the government of the Seven Isles not permitting vessels with a Greek Aag to anchor in the roads, he was compelled to proceed in a frail boat to Zante, to

rejoiu the Greek brig which awaited bim near that island. He was scarcely on board before he kissed the mast, terming it sacred wood! The crew, surprised at so whimsical an apostrophe, surveyed him in silence : be suddenly turned towards the captain and sailors, whom he tenderly embraced, and said : “ By this wood you will consolidate your independence !” Sharing in his own enthusiasm, they then regarded him with admiration. He soon arrived at Missolonghi; the members of the Administrative Commission received him at the head of 2,000 soldiers, ranged in file; the artillery and musquetry of the place announced the arrival of this great man. All the inhabitants hastened to the shore to receive him with acclamations. When he reached the town, he entered the house of the Administrative Commission, where he was complimented by Porphyry, Archbishop of Arta, Lepanto and Etolia, at the head of the clergy. The first words of Byron were: “ Where is the brother of the modern Leonidas ?” Constantine Botzaris, a tall well-made young man, appeared before him : “ Happy mortal, in being the brother of a hero whose glory time can never efface !" On perceiving that a large crowd were congregated under the windows of the house, he thus addressed them: “ Greeks, you see among you an Englishman who has never ceased to study Ancient Greece, or to think on her present state; one who has always prayed for that liberty which your heroic deeds are seeking to obtain. I am grateful for the sentiments you exhibit towards me; in a short time you will see me in your martial ranks, to conquer or to die with you.” In a month afterwards the government sent a deputation to offer him a sword, and the freedom of Greece : at the same time Missolonghi inscribed his name on the public registers. solemn ceremony was proposed for the occasion; the day was appointed long before, and by circular letters the inhabitants of the neighbouring districts were invited to be present : more than 20,000 came to Missolonghi. Byron, wearing the Greek costume, and accompanied by all the soldiers, all of whom loved him, proceeded to the church where Archbishop Porphyry, and Joseph, Bishop of Rogon, that martyr of patriotism and religion, received him in the porch, in their pontifical habits. After celebrating mass, they offered him the sword and the diploma of citizen. He required that the sword should previously be consecrated on the tomb of Marco Botzaris : immediately the whole assembly, with an immense crowd of spectators, hastened from the church to the sepulchre which had been constructed of marble at the expense of the poet. The archbishop laid the sword on the tomb; and Byron, in order to arouse the enthusiasm of the Greeks, advanced with religious solemnity, suddenly halted, and made an oration in modern Greek, of which this is the conclusion : “ How dare I approach the sacred place in which the hero lays- I who possess neither his bravery or his virtues? Yet, in touching his tomb I may hope that its emanations will always influence my heart with patriotism.” He advanced towards the mausoleum, and kissed it, tears streaming all the while from his eyes; and the assembled multitude exclaiming: “ Byron for ever!"" I see,” added he, “the sword and the diploma which the government offers me: from this day forward I am a fellow-citizen with this hero and the brave men who surround me. Greeks! I hope to live with you, to combat with you, and, if necessary, to die with you !"

Superior to vulgar prejudices, Byron saw in the manners of the pallikars an ingenuous simplicity, a manly freedom, proceedings rustic indeed but dictated by honour. In the people he perceived a docility and constancy adequate to the greatest efforts, if directed by able and virtuous men; in the Grecian women he distinguished a natural gaiety, an unaffected sweetnesss, a religious resignation under misfortunes. He did not attempt to bend a whole nation to his European taste and habits; he came not to censure their customs, dancing and music; on the contrary, he joined in their national dances; he learned their warlike songs; he dressed like them, and spake their language ; in a word, he became a true Roumeliot. He was in consequence adored by all Western Greece, all the captains joyfully acknowledged him as their chief; the proud Souliotes gloried in being under his immediate command,

As Byron was to have at his disposal the management of the funds sent out from this country, he never lost his influence either in Continental Greece or

We pro

in the Peloponnesus; but that influence was unable to settle the animosities which continued to exist among the chiefs. Unacquainted as he was with the state of parties in the country, with the character and disposition of the leaders, he not unfrequently gave umbrage to many; and there is, we fear, no doubt that he often found the blackest ingratitude where he had a right to expect the reverse. He saw enough of the chief members of the provisional government to be convinced that his self-devotion to the cause was less acceptable than his money,—that many who boasted of the patriot's name were needy and unprincipled scoundrels. Rizo very prudently throws into the shade this melancholy part of his picture; indeed he shews, on every occasion,

partiality to his countrymen not strictly accordant with historic truth. ceed to the closing scene of the noble Byron's life.

Thus he was leading an agreeable life in the midst of the nation which he was endeavouring to save. Enchanted with the bravery of the Souliotes, whose manners also were impressed with the simplicity of the Homeric times, he shared in their banquets, seated on the grass, he learned their Pyrrbic dance, and joined in the songs of Riga, beating time with his feet to the sound of their mandoline. Alas! he pushed his benevolent condescension too far! In the beginning of April he went to hunt in the marshes of Missolonghi; he waded on foot through the shallow pools, like the pallikars, who were accustomed to vicissitudes of wet and dry. He would not change his clothes, but insisted they should be left to dry on him. Even when attacked by an inflammatory fever, he would not be bled, notwithstanding the entreaties of his physician, of Mavrocordato, and all his friends. The disorder grew rapidly worse; on the fourth day the noble sufferer lost all consciousness; by bleeding, however, he was restored to his senses, but was unable to speak. Perceiving that his end was approaching, he made signs that he wished to take leave of the captains, and all the Souliotes. As they approached, he signified that each should kiss him. At length he expired in the arms of Mavrocordato, in pronouncing the names of his daughter and of Greece.

His death was fatal to the nation, which was in consequence plunged in the deepest grief. Western Greece lost its footing, and like a vessel without an anchor, it floated at the mercy of intrigues and rivalships.

In 1824, a new enemy to Greece appeared in Mehmed Ali, the Viceroy of Egypt. This famous pacha was born in 1769 at Carala, a maritime town in Macedonia. He served in the war against Napoleon in Egypt; and so rapid was his promotion in consequence of his bravery and talents, that he became commander of a strong army of Albanians. The weakness of the Porte, the decay of the Janizaries, and the consequent unsettled state of the country, afforded him an opening for intriguing; so that by degrees he prevailed on the native sheiks to elect him viceroy, and on the Porte to confirm the nomination. He established his authority by several conquests in the interior; and he at length found himself sufficiently powerful to attempt an important innovation, -that of disciplining his troops in the European manner. This project he had long meditated; but so numerous were the obstacles opposed to his views, that a less resolute man must have relinquished them in despair. He rid himself of the Albanian troops, whose opposition was most to be dreaded; and he daily enrolled in his regiments great numbers of the black population, so great, indeed, that the countries from which they were drawn were almost depopulated. One Seve, a Frenchman and an apostate,' superintended the organization of the newly raised troops. So oppressive were the Pacha's exactions, that the peasantry were mostly ruined by them; and several partial insurrections afforded him opportunities for indulging the cruelty of his disposition, and displaying his power. The Grand Signior ordered him to des


patch some levies to Greece, to join in the war undertaken for the honour of God and the prophet. He had three sons; but one was assassinated, another died of the plague, so that Ibrahim was the only survivor.

This young man, whose name is already so well known, was formerly governor of Dzidda (Jidda) on the Arabian Gulf: in 1824 he was created a Pacha of the Peloponnesus, and ordered at the same time to conquer that peninsula, to destroy the Christian inhabitants, or transport them into Nubia, and to re-people it with Africans. How well he has executed one part of his instructions is sufficiently notorious.

From the invasion of Ibrahim to the battle of Navarinn, the events of the Greek revolution are too recent, and consequently too well known, to need repetition.



Awake, O morning star, awake

The music of this lower sphere.

Hark! how his accents small and clear
The slumbering earth's deep silence break!

“ () earth, 0 earth,
« The hour of mirth,

“ The hour of melody is here.
" To him who now no longer reigns,
6 To vanished Chaos it remains

“ To be for aye without a voice.
“ But thou, if any beam of light
“ Hath aught of lustre in thy sight,

“ At yonder rising sun rejoice,
rc And hail him fair in fairest strains.”

Blest orb, obey,

Join, join the lay!
And thou, O bounteous king of day,
Star of stars, whose fostering sway
To all the realm of nature gives

Beauty, pleasure, riches, power,
The soul of all that lives,

Of all that blooms the flower.
Ye life-breathing zephyrs,

Ye birds and ye bees,
Beneath the clear sunshine,

Among the green trees,
That pleasingly murmur

And whisper and sing,
Sing, whisper and murmur,

" How fair is the Spring !"
Thee too, O Summer, thee I greet:

Come hither, nymph of golden hair;
Fill both thy hands with waving wheat,

And be than Spring more fair,
With all the vineyard's liquid store
Impurpling all thy garments o’er,
Autumn, in all thy mellow pomp appear ;

And letting flow

Thy locks of snow,
Close, venerable Winter, close the year,

J. K.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »