« FöregåendeFortsätt »
1 The red cockade, with “ Fernando VII.," in the centre. 2 All who have seen a battery will recollect the pyramidal form in which shot and shells are piled. The Sierra Morena was fortified in every defile through which I passed in my way to Seville.
3 Such were the exploits of the Maid of Saragoza, who by her valour elevated herself to the highest rank of heroines. When the author was at Seville, she walked daily on the Prado, decorated with medals and orders, by command of the Junta. [The exploits of Augustina, the famous heroine of both the sieges of Saragoza, are recorded at length in Southey's History of the Peninsular War. At the time when she first attracted notice, by mounting a battery where her lover had fallen, and working a gun in his room, she was in her twentysecond year, exceedingly pretty, and in a soft feminine style
Is it for this the Spanish maid, aroused, Hangs on the willow her unstrung guitar, Ard, all unsex'd, the anlace hath espoused, Sung the loud song, and dared the deed of war? And she, whom once the semblance of a scar Appall'd, an owlet's larum chill'd with dread, Now views the column-scattering bay'net jar, The falchion flash, and o'er the yet warm dead Stalks with Minerva's step where Mars might quake to tread.
Ye who shall marvel when you hear her tale, Oh! had you known her in her softer hour, Mark'd her black eye that mocks her coal-black veil, Heard her light, lively tones in Lady's bower, Seen her long locks that foil the painter's power, Her fairy form, with more than female grace, Scarce would you deem that Saragoza's tower Behield her smile in Danger's Gorgon face, [chase. Thin the closed ranks, and lead in Glory's fearful
Her lover sinks- she sheds no ill-timed tear;
What maid retrieve when man's flush'd hope is lost?
Yet are Spain's maids no race of Amazons,
Remoter females, famed for sickening prate; Her mind is nobler sure, her charms perchance as
The seal Love's dimpling finger hath impress'd
Her glance how wildly beautiful! how much
of beauty. She has further had the honour to be painted by Wilkie, and alluded to in Wordsworth's Dissertation on the Convention (misnamed) of Cintra; where a noble passage concludes in these words :-" Saragoza has exemplified a melancholy, yea, a dismal truth, yet consolatory and full of joy, that when a people are called suddenly to fight for their liberty, and are sorely pressed upon, their best field of battle is the floors upon which their children have played; the chambers where the family of each man has slept; upon or under the roofs by which they have been sheltered; in the gardens of their recreation; in the street, or in the marketplace; before the altars of their temples, and among their congregated dwellings, blazing or uprooted."]
4" Sigilla in mento impressa Amoris digitulo
Vestigio demonstrant mollitudinem." AUL. GEL.
[ Upon Parnassus, going to the fountain of Delphi (Castri), in 1809, I saw a flight of twelve eagles (Hobhouse says they were vultures-at least in conversation), and I seized the omen. On the day before, I composed the lines to Parnassus (in Childe Harold), and on beholding the birds, had a hope that Apollo had accepted my homage. I have at least had the name and fame of a poet, during the poetical period of life (from twenty to thirty); whether it will last is another matter: but I have been a votary of the deity and the place, and am grateful for what he has done in my behalf, leaving the future in his hands, as I left the past."-"B. Diary, 1821.] [Casting the eye over the site of ancient Delphi, one cannot possibly imagine what has become of the walls of the numerous buildings which are mentioned in the history of its former magnificence, - buildings which covered two miles of ground. With the exception of the few terraces or supporting walls, nothing now appears. The various robberies by Sylla, Nero, and Constantine, are inconsiderable; for the removal of
the statues of bronze, and marble, and ivory, could not greatly affect the general appearance of the city. The acclivity of the hill, and the foundations being placed on rock, without cement, would no doubt render them comparatively easy to be removed or hurled down into the vale below; but the vale exhibits no appearance of accumulation of hewn stones; and the modern village could have consumed but few. In the course of so many centuries, the débris from the mountain must have covered up a great deal, and even the rubbish itself may have acquired a soil sufficient to conceal many noble remains from the light of day. Yet we see no swellings or risings in the ground, indicating the graves of the temples. All therefore is mystery, and the Greeks may truly say, Where stood the walls of our fathers? scarce the mossy tombs remain !"-II. W. Williams's Travels in Greece, vol. ii. p. 254.]
["Some glorious thought to my petition grant."- MS.] 9 Seville was the Hispalis of the Romans.
10" The lurking lures of thy enchanting gaze."- MS.] 11["Cadiz, sweet Cadiz !-it is the first spot in the creation. The beauty of its streets and mansions is only excelled by the liveliness of its inhabitants. It is a complete Cythera, full of the finest women in Spain; the Cadiz belles being the Lancashire witches of their land." Lord B. to his Mother, 1809.]
From morn till night, from night till startled Morn Peeps blushing on the revel's laughing crew, The song is heard, the rosy garland worn; Devices quaint, and frolics ever new, Tread on each other's kibes. A long adieu He bids to sober joy that here sojourns: Nought interrupts the riot, though in lieu Of true devotion monkish incense burns, And love and prayer unite, or rule the hour by turns.
The Sabbath comes, a day of blessed rest; What hallows it upon this Christian shore? Lo! it is sacred to a solemn feast:
Hark! heard you not the forest-monarch's roar? Crashing the lance, he snuffs the spouting gore Of man and steed, o'erthrown beneath his horn; The throng'd arena shakes with shouts for more; Yells the mad crowd o'er entrails freshly torn, Nor shrinks the female eye, nor ev'n affects to mourn.
The seventh day this; the jubilee of man. London! right well thou know'st the day of prayer: Then thy spruce citizen, wash'd artisan, And smug apprentice gulp their weekly air: Thy coach of hackney, whiskey, one-horse chair, And humblest gig through sundry suburbs whirl; To Hampstead, Brentford, Harrow, make repair; Till the tired jade the wheel forgets to hurl, Provoking envious gibe from each pedestrian churl. 2
Some o'er thy Thamis row the ribbon'd fair,
In whose dread name both men and maids are sworn, And consecrate the oath with draught, and dance till morn. 5
All have their fooleries - not alike are thine,
Much is the VIRGIN teased to shrive them free
"monkish temples share The hours misspent, and all in turns is love and prayer.”—MS.] [" And droughty then alights, and roars for Roman purl." - MSJ
This was written at Thebes, and consequently in the best situation for asking and answering such a question; not as the birthplace of Pindar, but as the capital of Boeotia, where the first riddle was propounded and solved.
• [Lord Byron alludes to a ridiculous custom which formerly prevailed at the public-houses in Highgate, of administering à burlesque oath to all travellers of the middling rank who stopped there. The party was sworn on a pair of horns, fastened, "never to kiss the maid when he could the mistress; never to eat brown bread when he could get white; never to drink small beer when he could get strong. "with many other injunctions of the like kind, to all which was added the saving clause," unless you like it best."]
5 In thus mixing up the light with the solemn, it was the intention of the poet to imitate Ariosto. But it is far easier to rise, with grace, from the level of a strain generally familiar, into an occasional short bust of pathos or splendour, than to interrupt thus a prolonged tone of solemnity by any descent into the ludicrous or burlesque. In the former case, the transition may have the effect of softening or elevating; while, in the latter, it almost invariably shocks; - for the same reason, perhaps, that a trait of pathos or high feeling, in comedy, has a peculiar charm; while the intrusion of comic scenes into tragedy, however sanctioned among us by habit and authority, rarely fails to offend. The poet was himself convinced of the failure of the experiment, and in none of the succeeding cantos of Childe Harold repeated it."- MOORE.]
[The croupe is a particular leap taught in the manège." - MS.]
[The reader will do well to compare Lord Byron's animated picture of the popular "sport" of the Spanish nation, with the very circumstantial details contained in the charining "Letters of Don Leucadio Doblado," (i. e. the Rev. Blanco White) published in 1822. So inveterate was, at one time, the rage of the people for this amusement, that even boys mimicked its features in their play. In the slaughter-house itself the professional bull-fighter gave public lessons; and such was the force of depraved custom, that ladies of the highest rank were not ashamed to appear amidst the filth and horror of the shambles. The Spaniards received this sport from the Moors, among whom it was celebrated with great pomp and splendour. See various Notes to Mr. Lockhart's Collection of Ancient Spanish Ballads. 1822.]
Oh! many a time, and oft, had Harold loved, Or dream'd he loved, since rapture is a dream; But now his wayward bosom was unmoved, For not yet had he drunk of Lethe's stream; And lately had he learn'd with truth to deem Love has no gift so grateful as his wings: How fair, how young, how soft soe'er he seem, Full from the fount of Joy's delicious springs + Some bitter o'er the flowers its bubbling venom flings. 5
Yet to the beauteous form he was not blind, Though now it moved him as it moves the wise; Not that Philosophy on such a mind E'er deign'd to bend her chastely-awful eyes: But Passion raves itself to rest, or flies; And Vice, that digs her own voluptuous tomb, Had buried long his hopes, no more to rise: Pleasure's pall'd victim! life-abhorring gloom Wrote on his faded brow curst Cain's unresting doom.
Still he beheld, nor mingled with the throng;
To charms as fair as those that soothed his happier day.
NAY, smile not at my sullen brow;
And dost thou ask, what secret woe
It is not love, it is not hate,
Nor low Ambition's honours lost, That bids me loathe my present state, And fly from all I prized the most:
It is that weariness which springs
From all I meet, or hear, or see: To me no pleasure Beauty brings;
Thine eyes have scarce a charm for me.
2 ["The trophy corse is reared-disgusting prize "— Or, "The corse is reared.
- sparkling the chariot flies."— MS.] 3" The Spaniards are as revengeful as ever. At Santa Otella I heard a young peasant threaten to stab a woman (an old one to be sure, which mitigates the offence), and was told, on expressing some small surprise, that this ethic was by no means uncommon. -MS.]
Medio de fonte leporum,
Surgit amari aliquid quod in ipsis floribus angat."Luc.
["Some bitter bubbles up, and e'en on roses stings.” MS.]
It is that settled, ceaseless gloom
What Exile from himself can flee ?1
To zones, though more and more remote, Still, still pursues, where-e'er I be,
The blight of life-the demon Thought.2 7.
Yet others rapt in pleasure seem,
And taste of all that I forsake;
Whate'er betides, I've known the worst.
What is that worst? Nay do not ask-
Man's heart, and view the Hell that 's there.3
Adicu, fair Cadiz ! yea, a long adieu !
1 ["What Exile from himself can fice?
To other zones, howe'er remote,
Still, still pursuing clings to me
The blight of life the demon Thought."- MS.] ["Written January 25. 1810."- - MS.]
3 In place of this song, which was written at Athens, January 25. 1810, and which contains, as Moore says, of the dreariest touches of sadness that ever Byron's pen let fall," we find, in the first draught of the Canto, the following:
Oh never talk again to me
Of northern climes and British ladies It has not been your lot to see,
Like me, the lovely girl of Cadiz. Although her eye be not of blue,
Nor fair her locks, like English lasses, How far its own expressive hue
The languid azure eye surpasses!
In each her charms the heart must move Of all who venture to behold her; Then let not maids less fair reprove Because her bosom is not colder: Through many a clime 'tis mine to roam
Where many a soft and melting maid is, But none abroad, and few at home,
May match the dark-eyed Girl of Cadiz.
4 Alluding to the conduct and death of Solano, the governor of Cadiz, in May, 1809.
5" War to the knife." Palafox's answer to the French general at the siege of Saragoza. [In his proclamation, also, he stated, that, should the French commit any robberies, devastations, and murders, no quarter should be given them. The dogs by whom he was beset, he said, scarcely left him time to clean his sword from their blood, but they still found their grave at Saragoza. All his addresses were in the same spirit. His language," says Mr. Southey, "had the high tone, and something of the inflation of Spanish romance, suiting the character of those to whom it was directed." See History of the Peninsular War, vol. iii. p. 152]
6 The Canto, in the original MS., closes with the following
Ye, who would more of Spain and Spaniards know,
Hear what he did, and sought, and wrote afar,
This borrow, steal, - don't buy, and tell us what you think.
Porphyry said, that the prophecies of Daniel were written after their completion, and such may be my fate here; but it requires no second sight to foretell a tome: the first glimpse of the knight was enough. [In a letter written from Gibraltar. August 6. 1809, to his friend Hodson, Lord Byron says "I have seen Sir John Carr at Seville and Cadiz; and, like Swift's barber, have been down on my knees to beg he would nct put me into black and white."]