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["Brisk Impudence," &c. — MS.]
* See Appendix to this Canto, Note [B]. 3 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
Here the red cross, for still the cross is here, Though sadly scoffed at by the circumcised, Forgets that pride to pamper'd priesthood dear; Churchman and votary alike despised. Foul Superstition! 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 ?
Ambracia's gulf behold, where once was lost
Did many a Roman chief and Asian king
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 coast.
He pass'd bleak Pindus, Acherusia's lake, 3
Js lawless law; for with a bloody hand
II url their defiance far, nor yield, unless to gold. 5
1 It is said, that, on the day previous to the battle of Actium, Antony had thirteen kings at his levee. — ["Today" (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."— Lord Byron to his Mother, 1809.]
1 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.
3 According to Pouqueville, the lake of Yanina: but Pouqueville is always out,
4 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.]
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.
• 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 Etolia 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."]
The Greek monks are so called. -["We went into the monastery," 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 tranquillised 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."]
The Chimariot mountains appear to have been volcanic. 9 Now called Kalamas.
10 [ Keep heaven for better souls, my shade," &c. - MS.]
Ne city's towers pollute the lovely view; Unseen is Yanina, though not remote, Veil'd by the screen of hills: here men are few, Scanty the hamlet, rare the lonely cot; But, peering down each precipice, the goat Browseth; and, pensive o'er his scatter'd flock, The little shepherd in his white capote 1 Doth lean his boyish form along the rock, Or in his cave awaits the tempest's short-lived shock.
Oh! where, Dodona! is thine aged grove, Prophetic fount, and oracle divine? What valley echoed the response of Jove? What trace remaineth of the Thunderer's shrine? All, all forgotten - and shall man repine That his frail bonds to fleeting life are broke? Cease, fool! the fate of gods may well be thine : Wouldst thou survive the marble or the oak ? When nations, tongues, and worlds must sink beneath the stroke!
Epirus' bounds recede, and mountains fail; Tired of up-gazing still, the wearied eye Reposes gladly on as smooth a vale As ever Spring yclad in grassy die : Ev'n on a plain no humble beauties lie, Where some bold river breaks the long expanse, And woods along the banks are waving high, Whose shadows in the glassy waters dance, Or with the moonbeam sleep in midnight's solemn tran
The sun had sunk behind vast Tomerit,
Whose walls o'erlook the stream; and drawing nigh, He heard the busy hum of warrior-men [glen. Swelling the breeze that sigh'd along the lengthening
He pass'd the sacred Haram's silent tower, And underneath the wide o'erarching gate Survey'd the dwelling of this chief of power, Where all around proclaim'd his high estate.
1 Albanese cloak.
2 Anciently Mount Tomarus.
3 The river Laos was full at the time the author passed it; and, immediately above Tepaleen, was to the eye as wide as the Thames at Westminster; at least in the opinion of the author and his fellow-traveller. In the summer it must be much narrower. It certainly is the finest river in the Levant; neither Achelous, Alpheus, Acheron, Scamander, nor Cayster, approached it in breadth or beauty.
4"Ali Pacha, hearing that an Englishman of rank was in his dominions, left orders, in Yanina, with the commandant, to provide a house, and supply me with every kind of necessary gratis. I rode out on the vizier's horses, and saw the palaces of himself and grandsons. I shall never forget the singular scene on entering Tepaleen, at five in the afternoon (Oct. 11.), as the sun was going down. It brought to my mind (with some change of dress. however,) Scott's description of Branksome Castle in his Lay, and the feudal system. The Albanians in their dresses (the most magnificent in the world, consisting of a long white kilt, gold-worked cloak, crimson velvet gold-laced jacket and waistcoat, silver-mounted pistols and daggers); the Tartars, with their high caps; the Turks in their vast pelisses and turbans; the soldiers and black slaves with the horses, the former in groups, in an immense
large open gallery in front of the palace, the latter placed in a kind of cloister below it; two hundred steeds ready capa. risoned to move in a moment; couriers entering or passing out with despatches; the kettle-drums beating; boys calling the hour from the minaret of the mosque; altogether, with the singular appearance of the building itself, formed a new and delightful spectacle to a stranger. I was conducted to a very handsome apartment, and my health inquired after by the vizier's secretary, ‘à la mode Turque.'"-B. Letters.]
[ On our arrival at Tepaleen, we were lodged in the palace. During the night, we were disturbed by the perpetual carousal which seemed to be kept up in the gallery, and by the drum, and the voice of the Muezzin,' or chanter, calling the Turks to prayers from the minaret or the mosck attached to the palace. The chanter was a boy, and he sang out his hymn in a sort of loud melancholy recitative. He was a long time repeating the purport of these few words: God most high! I bear witness, that there is no god but God, and Mahomet is his prophet: come to prayer; come to the asylum of salvation, great God! there is no god but God!"- HOBHOUSE]"
6 ["We were a little unfortunate in the time we chose for travelling, for it was during the Ramazan, or Turkish Lent, which fell this year in October, and was hailed at the rising
And were it humbler it in sooth were sweet;
And Pleasure, leagued with Pomp, the zest of both
of the new moon, on the evening of the 8th, by every demon. stration of joy: but although, during this month, the strictest abstinence is observed in the daytime, yet with the setting of the sun the feasting commences: then is the time for paying and receiving visits, and for the amusements of Turkey, puppet-shows, jugglers, dancers, and story-tellers."- HoBHOUSE.]
["On the 19th, I was introduced to Ali Pacha. I was dressed in a full suit of staff uniform, with a very magnificent sabre, &c. The vizier received me in a large room paved with marble; a fountain was playing in the centre; the apartment was surrounded by scarlet ottomans. He received me standing, a wonderful compliment from a Mussulman, and made me sit down on his right hand. His first question was, why, at so early an age, I left my country? He then said, the English minister, Captain Leake, had told him I was of a great family, and desired his respects to my mother; which I now, in the name of Ali Pacha, present to you. He said he was certain I was a man of birth, because I had small ears, curling hair, and little white hands. He told me to consider him as a father whilst I was in Turkey, and said he looked on me as his own son. Indeed, he treated me like a child, sending me almonds and sugared sherbet, fruit, and sweetmeats, twenty times a day. I then after coffee and pipes retired."-B to his Mother.]
Delights to mingle with the lip of youth."— MS.] [Mr. Hobhouse describes the vizier as "a short man, about five feet five inches in height, and very fat; possessing a very pleasing face, fair and round, with blue quick eyes, not at all settled into a Turkish gravity." Dr. Holland happily compares the spirit which lurked under Ali's usual exterior,
Fierce are Albania's children, yet they lack
Than they in doubtful time of troublous need: Their wrath how deadly! but their friendship sure, When Gratitude or Valour bids them bleed, Unshaken rushing on where'er their chief may lead.
Childe Harold saw them in their chieftain's tower,
That saddening hour when bad men hotlier press:
It chanced that adverse winds once drove his bark Full on the coast of Suli's shaggy shore, When all around was desolate and dark; To land was perilous, to sojourn more; Yet for awhile the mariners forbore, Dubious to trust where treachery might lurk : At length they ventured forth, though doubting sore That those who loathe alike the Frank and Turk Might once again renew their ancient butcher-work.
Vain fear! the Suliotes stretch'd the welcome hand, Led them o'er rocks and past the dangerous swamp, Kinder than polish'd slaves though not so bland, And piled the hearth, and wrung their garments
And fill'd the bowl, and trimm'd the cheerful lamp, And spread their fare; though homely, all they had: Such conduct bears Philanthropy's rare stamp To rest the weary and to soothe the sad, Doth lesson happier men, and shames at least the bad.
to "the fire of a stove, burning fiercely under a smooth and polished surface." When the doctor returned from Albania, in 1813, he brought a letter from the Pacha to Lord Byron. "It is," says the poet, " in Latin, and begins Excellentissime, necnon Carissime,' and ends about a gun he wants made for him. He tells me that, last spring, he took a town, a hostile town, where, forty-two years ago, his mother and sisters were treated as Miss Cunegunde was by the Bulgarian cavalry. He takes the town, selects all the survivors of the exploit children, grand-children, &c., to the tune of six hundred, and has them shot before his face, So much for 'dearest friend.'"]
3 [The fate of Ali was precisely such as the poet anticipated. For a circumstantial account of his assassination, in February, 1822, see Walsh's Journey. His head was sent to Constantinople, and exhibited at the gates of the seraglio. As the name of Ali had made a considerable noise in England, in consequence of his negotiations with Sir Thomas Maitland, and still more, perhaps, these stanzas of Lord Byron, a merchant of Constantinople thought it would be no bad speculation to purchase the head and consign it to a London showman; but this scheme was defeated by the piety of an old servant of the Pacha, who bribed the executioner with a higher price, and bestowed decent sepulture on the relic.]
["Childe Harold with the chief held colloquy,
Yet what they spake it boots not to repeat:
Alluding to the wreckers of Cornwall.
It came to pass, that when he did address
In war well season'd, and with labours tann'd,
Where lone Utraikey forms its circling cove,
On the smooth shore the night-fires brightly blazed, The feast was done, the red wine circling fast, 1 And he that unawares had there ygazed With gaping wonderment had stared aghast; For ere night's midmost, stillest hour was past, The native revels of the troop began ; Each Palikar 2 his sabre from him cast, And bounding hand in hand, man link'd to man, Yelling their uncouth dirge, long daunced the kirtled clan. 3
Childe Harold at a little distance stood, And view'd, but not displeased, the revelrie, Nor hated harmless mirth, however rude: In sooth, it was no vulgar sight to see Their barbarous, yet their not indecent, glee; And, as the flames along their faces gleam'd, Their gestures nimble, dark eyes flashing free, The long wild locks that to their girdles stream'd, While thus in concert they this lay half sang, half scream'd: 4
TAMBOURGI! Tambourgi 5! thy larum afar Gives hope to the valiant, and promise of war; All the sons of the mountains arise at the note, Chimariot, Illyrian, and dark Suliote! 6
1 The Albanian Mussulmans do not abstain from wine, and, indeed, very few of the others.
Palikar, shortened when addressed to a single person, from Пaxa, a general name for a soldier amongst the Greeks and Albanese who speak Romaic: it means, properly, "a lad."
3 [The following is Mr. Hobhouse's animated description of this scene:-" In the evening the gates were secured, and preparations were made for feeding our Albanians. A goat was killed and roasted whole, and four fires were kindled in the yard, round which the soldiers seated themselves in parties. After eating and drinking, the greatest part of thei assembled round the largest of the fires, and, whilst ourselves and the elders of the party were seated on the ground, danced round the blaze, to their own songs, with astonishing energy. All their songs were relations of some robbing exploits. One of them, which detained them more than an hour, began thus: When we set out from Parga, there were sixty of us: then came the burden of the verse,
Robbers all at Parga! Robbers all at Parga!' * Κλέφτες ποτε Παργα!
Κλέφτες ποτε Πάργα !
and as they roared out this stave, they whirled round the fire, dropped, and rebounded from their knees, and again whirled round, as the chorus was again repeated. The rippling of
Oh! who is more brave than a dark Suliote,
Shall the sons of Chimari, who never forgive
4. Macedonia sends forth her invincible race; For a time they abandon the cave and the chase: But those scarfs of blood-red shall be redder, before The sabre is sheathed and the battle is o'er.
Then the pirates of Parga that dwell by the waves, And teach the pale Franks what it is to be slaves, Shall leave on the beach the long galley and oar, And track to his covert the captive on shore.
I ask not the pleasures that riches supply,
I love the fair face of the maid in her youth,
8. Remember the moment when Previsa fell, 7 The shrieks of the conquer'd, the conquerors' yell; The roofs that we fired, and the plunder we shared, The wealthy we slaughter'd, the lovely we spared.
I talk not of mercy, I talk not of fear;
He neither must know who would serve the Vizier: Since the days of our prophet the Crescent ne'er saw A chief ever glorious like Ali Pashaw.
Dark Muchtar his son to the Danube is sped,
Let the yellow-hair'd 8 Giaours 9 view his horse-tail 10 with dread [banks, When his Delhis come dashing in blood o'er the How few shall escape froin the Muscovite ranks !
the waves upon the pebbly margin where we were seated, filled up the pauses of the song with a milder, and not more monotonous music. The night was very dark; but, by the flashes of the fires, we caught a glimpse of the woods, the rocks, and the lake, which, together with the wild appearance of the dancers, presented us with a scene that would have made a fine picture in the hands of such an artist as the author of the Mysteries of Udolpho. As we were acquainted with the character of the Albanians, it did not at all diminish our pleasure to know, that every one of our guard had been robbers, and some of them a very short time before. It was eleven o'clock before we had retired to our room, at which time the Albanians, wrapping themselves up in their capotes, went to sleep round the tires."]
[For a specimen of the Albanian or Arnaout dialect of the Illyric, see Appendix to this Canto, Note [C]]
6 These stanzas are partly taken from different Albanese songs, as far as I was able to make them out by the exposition of the Albanese in Romaic and Italian.
7 It was taken by storm from the French. Yellow is the epithet given to the Russians. 9 Infidel.
10 The insignia of a Pacha.
11 Horsemen, answering to our forlorn hope.