« FöregåendeFortsätt »
LXXXVIII. Flows there a tear of pity for the dead ? Look o'er the ravage of the reeking plain ; Look on the hands with female slaughter red; Then to the dogs resign the unburied slain, Then to the vulture let each corse remain ; Albeit unworthy of the prey-bird's maw, stain, Let their bleach'd bones, and blood's unbleaching
Long mark the battle-field with hideous awe : Thus only may our sons conceive the scenes we saw!
XCI. And thou, my friend ! 1-since unavailing woe Bursts from my heart, and mingles with the strainHad the sword laid thee with the mighty low, Pride might forbid c'en Friendship to complain : But thus unlaurel'd to descend in vain, By all forgotten, save the lonely breast, And mix unbleeding with the boasted slain,
While Glory crowns so many a meaner crest ! What hadst thou done to sink so peacefully to rest ?
XCII. Oh, known the earliest, and esteem'd the most ! 2 Dear to a heart where nought was left so dear! Though to my hopeless days for ever lost, In dreams deny me not to sce thee here ! And Morn in secret shall renew the tear Of Consciousness awaking to her woes, And Fancy hover o'er thy bloodless bier,
Till my frail frame return to whence it rose, And mourn'd and mourner lie united in repose.
LXXXIX. Nor yet, alas! the dreadful work is done ; Fresh legions pour adown the Pyrenees : It deepens still, the work is scarce begun, Nor mortal eye the distant end foresees. Fall'n nations gaze on Spain ; if freed, she frees More than her fell Pizarros once enchain'd: Strange retribution ! now Columbia's ease
Repairs the wrongs that Quito's sons sustain'd, While o'er the parent clime prowls Murder unrestrain'd.
XC. Not all the blood at Talavera shed, Not all the marvels of Barossa's fight, Not Albuera lavish of the dead, Have won for Spain ber well asserted right. When shall her Olive-Branch be free from blight? When shall she breathe her from the blushing toil ? How many a doubtful day shall sink in night,
Ere the Frank robber turn him from his spoil, And Freedom's stranger-tree grow native of the soil !
Lands that contain the monuments of Eld,
There may you read, with spectacles on eyes,
How many relics each cathedral grace,
There may you read (Oh, Phoebus, save Sir John!
But cease, my Muse, thy speed some respite craves,
Yet here of Vulpes mention may be made,
True to her second husband and her first :
! [The Honourable John Wingfield, of the Guards, who died of a fever at Coimbra (May 14. 1811). I had known hin ten years, the better half of his life, and the happiest part of mine. In the short space of one month, I have lost her who gave me being, and most of those who had made that being toierable. To me the lines of Young are no fiction :
* Insatiate archer ! could not one suffice ?
Thy shaft flew thrice, and thrice my peace was slain,
And thrice ere thrice yon moon had fill'd her horn." I should have ventured a verse to the memory of the late Charles Skinner Matthews, Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, were he not too much above all praise of mine. His powers of mind, shown in the attainment of greater honours, against the ablest candidates, than those of any graduate oa record at Cambridge, have sufficiently established
his fame on the spot where it was acquired; while his softer qualities live in the recollection of friends who loved him too well to envy his superiority: –[This and the following stanza were added in August, 1811. In one of his school-boy poems, entitled “Childish Recollections," Lord Byron has thus drawn the portrait of young Wingfield :
" Alonzo! best and dearest of my friends,
Thy name ennobles him who thus commends :
All, all that brothers should be, but the name." Matthews, the idol of Lord Byron at college, was drowned, while bathing in the Cam, on the 2d of August. The following passage of a letter from Newstead to his friend Serope Davies, written inmediately after the event, bears the impress of strong and even agonised feelings :- My dearest Davies; some curse hangs over me and mine. My mother lies a corpse in the house; one of my best friends is drowned in a ditch. What can I say, or think, or do? I received a letter from him the day before yesterday. My dear Scrope, if you can spare a moment, do come down to me - I want a friend. Matthews's last letter was written on Friday, - on Saturday he was not. In ability, who was like Matthews ? How did we all shrink before him. You do me but justice in saying I would have risked my paltry existence to have preserved his. evening did I mean to write, inviting him, as I invite you, my very dear friend, to visit me. What will our poor Hobhouse feel? His letters breathe but of Matthews. Come to me, Scrope, I am almost desolate - leit almost alone in the world!"- Matthews was the son of John Matthews, Esq. (the representative of Herefordshire, in the parliament of 1802-6), and brother of the author of " The Diary of an Invalid,” also untimely snatched away.) ? [" Beloved the most." - MS.]
[“ Dec. 30th, 1809." - MS.)
(The “ Yeedy Knife-grinder," in the Anti-jacobin, was a jonat production of Messrs. Frere and Canning.]
I Part of the Acropolis was destroyed by the explosion of a magazine during the Venetian siege. - (On the highest part of Lycabettus, as Chandler was informed by an eye-witness, the Venetians, in 1687, placed four mortars and six pieces of cannon, when they battered the Acropolis. One of the bombs was fatal to some of the sculpture on the west front of the Parthenon. " In 1667," says Mr. Hobhouse, “every antiquity of which there is now any trace in the Acropolis, was in a tolerable state of preservation. This great temple might, at that period, be called entire ; - having been previously a Christian church, it was then a mosque, the most beautiful in the world. Al present, only twenty-nine of the Doric columns, some of which no longer support their entablatures, and part of the left wall of the cell, remain standing. Those of the north side, the angular ones excepted, have all fallen. The portion yet anding, cannot fail to fill the mind of the indifferent spectator with sentiments of astonishment and awe; and the same reflections arise upon the sight even of the enormous masses of marble ruins which are spread upon the area of the temple. Such scattered fragments will soon constitute the sole remains of the Temple of Minerva.”]
? We can all feel, or imagine, the regret with which the ruins of cities, once the capitals of empires, are beheld: the reflections suggested by such objects are too tritc to require recapitulation. But never did the littleness of man, and the vanity of his very best virtues, of patriotism to exalt, and of valour to defend his country, appear more conspicuous than in the record of what Athens was, and the certainty of what she now is. This theatre of contention between mighty factions, of the struggles of orators, the exaltation and deposition of tyrants, the triumph and punishment of generals, is now become a scene of petty intrigue and perpetual disturbance, between the bickering agents of certain British nobility and gentry. * The wild foxes, the owls and serpents in the ruins of Babylon," were surely less degrading than such inhabitants. The Turks have the plea of conquest for their tyranny, and the Greeks have only suffered the fortune of war, incidental to the bravest ; but how are the mighty fallen, when two painters contest the privilege of plundering the Parthenon, and triumph in turn, according to the tenor of each succeeding firman! Sylla could but punish, Philip subdue, and Xerxes burn Athens; but it remained for the paltry antiquarian, and his despicable agents, to render her contemptible as himself and his pursuits. The Parthenon, before its destruction in part, by fire during the Venetian siege, had been a temple, a
church, and a mosque. In each point of view it is an object of regard: it changed its worshippers ; but still it was a place of worship thrice sacred to devotion: its violation is a triple sacrifice. But
“Man, proud man,
As make the angels weep.". 3 [In the original MS. we find the following note to this and the five following stanzas, which had been prepared for publication, but was afterwards withdrawn, " from a fear," says the poet, “ that it might be considered rather as an attack, than a defence of religion :"-" In this age of bigotry, when the puritan and priest have changed places, and the wretched Catholic is visited with the sins of his fathers,' even unto generations far beyond the pale of the commandment, the cast of opinion in these stanzas will, doubtless, meet with many a contemptuous anathema. But let it be remembered, that the spirit they breathe is desponding, not sneering, scepticism; that he who has seen the Greek and Moslem superstitions contending for mastery over the former shrines of Polytheism - who has left in his own, .Pharisees, thanking God that they are not like publicans and sinners,' and Spaniards in theirs, abhorring the heretics, who have holpen them in their need, — will be not a little bewildered, and begin to think, that as only one of them can be right, they may, most of them, be wrong. With regard to morals, and the effect of religion on mankind, it appears, from all historical testimony, to have had less etfect in making them love their neighbours, than in. ducing that cordial Christian abhorrence between sectaries and schismatics. The Turks and Quakers are the most tolerant: if an Infidel pays his heratch to the former, he may pray how, when, and where he pleases; and the mild tenets, and devout demeanour of the latter, make their lives the truest commentary on the Sermon on the Mount."]
* (“ Still wilt thou harp.” – MS]
* It was not always the custom of the Greeks to burn their dead; the greater Ajax, in particular, was interred entire. Almost all the chiefs became gods alter their decease ; and he was indeed neglected, who had not annual games near his tomb, or festivals in honour of his memory by his countrymen, as Achilles, Brasidas, &c., and at last even Antinous, whose death was as heroic as his life was infamous.
(In the original MS., for this magnificent stanza, we find what follows: " Frown not upon me, churlish Priest! that I
Look not for life, where life may never be ;
Still drearn of Paradise, thou know'st not where, But lor'st too well to bid thine erring brother share."] : [Lord Byron wrote this stanza at Newstead, in October, 1811, on hearing of the death of his Cambridge friend, young Eddlestone ; " making," he says, " the sixth, within four months, of friends and relations that I have lost between Mas and the end of August." See post, Hours of Idleness, * The Cornelian."]
(" The thought and the expression," says Professor Clarke, in a letter to Lord Byron, "are here so truly Pe. trascha's, that I would ask you whether you ever read, . Poi quando 'l vero sgombra
Quel dolce error pur li medesmo assido,
In guisa d'uom chè pensi e piange e scriva ;' " Thus rendered by Wilmot, . But when rude truth destroys Tae loved illusion of the dreamed sweets, I sit me down on the cold rugged stone, Less cold, less dead than I, and think and weep alone.'"]
* The temple of Jupiter Olympius, of which sixteen columns, entirely of marüle, yet survive: originally there were one hundred and fifty. These columns, however, are by many supposed to have belonged to the Pantheon.
5 See Appendix to this Canto (A), for a note too long to be placed here. The ship was wrecked in the Archipelago.
6 (“Cold and accursed as his native coast.” – MS.]
1 I cannot resist availing myself of the permission of my friend Dr. Clarke, whose name requires no comment with the public, but whose sanction will add-tenfold weight to my testimony, to insert the following extract from a very obliging letter of his to me, as a note to the above lines :-" When the last of the metopes was taken from the Parthenon, and, in moving of it, great part of the superstructure with one of the triglyphs was thrown down by the workmen whom Lord Elgin employed, the Disdar, who beheld the mischief done to the building, took his pipe from his mouth, dropped a tcar, and, in a supplicating tone of voice, said to Lusieri, Tigos! I was present. The Disdar alluded to was the father of the present Disdar.
8 (After stanza xiil, the original MS. has the following:“ Come, then, ye classic Thanes of each degree,
Dark Hamilton and sullen Aberdeen, Come pilfer all the Pilgrim loves to see, All that yet consecrates the fading scene : Oh! better were it ye had never been, Nor ye, nor Elgin, nor that lesser wight, The victim sad of vase-collecting spleen, House-furnisher withal, one Thomas hight, Than ye should bear one stone from wrong'd Athena's site.
XIX. White is the glassy deck, without a stain, Where on the watch the staid Lieutenant walks: Look on that part which sacred doth remain For the lone chieftain, who majestic stalks, Silent and fear'd by all — not oft he talks With aught beneath him, if he would preserve That strict restraint, which broken, ever balks
Conquest and Fame: but Britons rarely swerve From law, however stern, which tends their strength
to nerve, s
XX. Blow! swiftly blow, thou keel-compelling gale ! Till the broad sun withdraws his lessening ray; Then must the pennant-bearer slacken sail, That lagging barks may make their lazy way. Ah! grievance sore, and listless dull delay, To waste on sluggish hulks the sweetest breeze ! What leagues are lost, before thu dawn of day,
Thus loitering pensive on the willing seas, The flapping sail haul'd down to halt for logs like
XXI. The moon is up; by Heaven a lovely eve ! Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand; Now lads on shore may sigh, and maids believe : Such be our fate when we return to land ! Meantime some rude Arion's restless band Wakes the brisk harmony that sailors love ; A circle there of merry listeners stand,
Or to some well-known measure featly move, Thoughtless, as if on shore they still were free to rove.
XXII. Through Calpe's straits survey the steepy shore; Europe and Afric on each other gaze! Lands of the dark-eyed Maid and dusky Moor Alikc beheld beneath pale Hecate's blaze : How softly on the Spanish shore she plays, Disclosing rock, and slope, and forest brown, Distinct, though darkening with her waning phase;
But Mauritania's giant-shadows frown, From mountain-cliff to coast descending sombre down.
XXIII. 'T is night, when Meditation bids us feel We once have loved, though love is at an end : The heart, lone mourner of its baffled zeal, Though friendless now, will dream it had a friend. 5 Who with the weight of years would wish to bend, When Youth itself survives young Love and Joy? Alas! when mingling souls forget to blend,
Death hath but little left him to destroy ! (boy ? 6 Ah! happy years! once more who would not be a
king was nearly as mischievous as the Scottish poer. - See Chandler.
? To prevent blocks or splinters from falling on deck during action.
3 [“ From Discipline's stern law," &c. – MS.) • C“ Plies the brisk instrument that sailors love." – MS.] 5 [" Bleeds the lone heart, once boundless in its zeal. And friendless now, yet dreams it had a friend."
MS.) (“Ah! happy years! I would I were once more a boy."
Idly he wander'd on the Stygian shore,
XV. Cold is the heart, fair Greece ! that looks on thee, Nor feels as lovers o'er the dust they loved ; Dull is the eye that will not weep to see Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed By British hands, which it had best behoved To guard those relics ne'er to be restored. Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored, And snatch'd thy shrinking Gods to northern climes
XVI. But where is Harold ? shall I then forget To urge the gloomy wanderer o'er the wave ? Little reck'd he of all that men regret ; No loved-one now in feign'd lament could rave; No friend the parting hand extended gave, Ere the cold stranger pass'd to other climes : Hard is his heart whom charms may not enslave;
But Harold felt not as in other times, And left without a sigh the land of war and crimes.
The dullest sailer wearing bravely now,
Strains his shrill pipe as good or ill betides,
Or will the gentle Dilettanti crew
No boaster he, nor impudent and raw,
1 According to Zosimus, Minerva and Achilles frightened Alaric from the Acropolis ; but others relate that the Gothic
XXIV. Thus bending o'er the vessel's laving side, To gaze on Dian's wave-retlccted sphere, The soul forgets her schemes of Hope and Pride, And nics unconscious o'er each backward year. None are so desolate but something dear, Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd A thought, and claims the homage of a tear;
A flashing pang! of which the weary breast Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
XXIX. But not in silence pass Calypso's isles, 2 The sister tenants of the middle dcep; T'here for the weary still a haven smiles, Though the fair goddess long hath ccased to keep, 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 glorics 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.
XXV. To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell, To slowly trace the forest's shady scene, Where things that own not man's dominion dwell, And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been; To climb the trackless mountain all unseen, With the wild flock that never needs a fold; Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude; 't is but to hold [unroll'd. Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores
XXVI. But 'midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of meu, To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess, And roam along, the world's tired denizen, With none who bless us, none whom we can bless; Minions of splendour shrinking from distress! None that, with kindred consciousness endued, If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all that Matter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued; This is to be alone; this, this is solitude !
XXXI. Thus Harold deem'd, as on that lady's cye He look'd, and met its beam without a thought, Save Admiration glancing harmless by : Love kept aloof, albeit not far rerrote, 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 o'er.
Sigh forth one wish that such had been his lot, Then turn to hate a world he had almost forgot.
XXXII. Fair Florences found, in sooth with some amaze, One who, 't was said, still sigh'd to all he saw, Withstand, unmoved, the lustre of her gaze, Which others bail'd with real or mimic awe, (law; Their hope, their doom, their punishment, their *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.
And had he doted on those eyes 'so blue,
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, land! and all is well.
! (One of Lord Byron's chief delights was, as he himself states in one of his journals, after bathing in some retired **t, to seat himself on a high rock above the sea, and there remain for hours, gazing upon the sky and the waters. “ He led the life," says Sir Egerton Brydges, " as he wrote the strains, of a true poct. He could sleep, and very frequently die sleep, wrapped up in his rough great coat, on the hard bearus of a deck, while the winds and the waves were roaring round him on every side, and could subsist on a crust and a glass of water. It would be difficult to persuade me, that he who is a coscomb in his manners, and artificial in his habits of life, could write good poetry.")
2 Goza is said to have been the island of Calypso. -[“ The kentity of the habitation assigned by poets to the nymph Calypso, has occasioned much discussion and variety of Onion. Some place it at Malta, and some at Goza." Hoare's Classical Tour.)
(For an account of this accomplished but eccentric lady,
whose acquaintance the poet former at Malta, see Miscel. laneous Poems, September, 1809, “ To Florence.” “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 pereon, is wholly at variance with the statements in many of his letters; and, above all, with one of the most graceful of his lesser poems, addressed to this same lady, during a thunder-storm on his road to Zitza."]
+ [Against this line it is sufficient to set the poet's own de. claration, in 1821: _“I am not a Joseph, nor a Scipio, but. I can safely allirm, that I never in my life seduced any woman."] S[“ We have here another instance of his propensity to