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The time in this poem may seem too short for the occurrences, but the whole of the Ægean isles are within a few hours' sail of the continent, and the reader must be kind enough to take the wind as I have often found it.
Note 1, page 82, line 25.
Of fair Olympia loved and left of old. Orlando, Canto 10.
Note 2, page 87, line 10. Around the waves' phosphoric brightness broke. By night, particularly in a warm latitude, every stroke of the oar, every motion of the boat or ship, is followed by a slight flash like sheet lightning from the water.
Note 3, page 90, line 18.
Note 4, page 90, line 20.
Note 5, page 90, line 21.
Note to Canto II. page 91, line 5. It has been objected that Conrad's entering disguised as a spy is out of nature.-Perhaps so. I find something not un. like it in history.
“ Anxious to explore with his own eyes the state of the Vandals, Majorian ventured, after disguising the colour of his hair, to visit Carthage in the character of his own am. bassador; and Genseric was afterwards mortified by the discovery, that he had entertained and dismissed the Emperor of the Romans. Such an anecdote may be rejected as an improbable fiction; but it is a fiction which would not have been imagined unless in the life of a hero." Gibbon, D. and F. vol. VI. p. 180.
That Conrad is a character not altogether out of nature I shall attempt to prove by some historical coincidences which I have met with since writing “ The Corsair."
" Eccelin prisonnier,” dit Rolandini, “s'enfermoit dans un silence menaçant, il fixoit sur la terre son visage féroce, et ne donnoit point d'essor à sa profonde indignation.--De toutes parts cependant les soldats et les peuples accouroient; ils vouloient voir cet homme, jadis si puissant, et la joie universelle éclatoit de toutes parts.
“ Eccelin étoit d'une petite taille; mais tout l'aspect de sa personne, tous ses mouvemens, indiquoient un soldat.Son langage étoit amer, son déportement superbemet par son seul égard, il faisoit trembler les plus hardis.” Sismondi, tome III. page 219, 220.
“Gizericus (Genseric, king of the Vandals, the conqueror of both Carthage and Rome), staturâ mediocris, et equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone rarus, luxuriæ contemptor, irâ turbidus, habendi cupidus,ad solicitandas gentes providentissimus,” &c. &c. Jornandes de Rebus Geticis, c. 33. Note 8, page 95, line 23. He tore his beard, and foaming fled the fight. A common and not very novel effect of Mussulman anger. See Prince Eugene's Memoirs, page 24. • The Seraskier received a wound in the thigh; he plucked up his beard by the roots, because he was obliged to quit the field.”
I beg leave to quote these gloomy realities to keep in countenance my Giaour and Corsair.
Note 6, page 93, line 27.
Note 7, page 95, line 2.
Note 9, page 97, line 7. Brief time had Conrad now to greet Gulnare. Gulnare, a female name; it means, literally, the flower of the pomegranate.
Note 10, page 105, line 2. Till even the scaffold echoes with their jest ! In Sir Thomas More, for instance, on the scaffold, and Anne Boleyn, in the Tower, when grasping her neck, she remarked, that it “ was too slender to trouble the headsman much.” During one part of the French Revolution, it became a fashion to leave some “ mot” as a legacy; and the quantity of facetious last words spoken during that period would form a melancholy jest-book of a considerable size.
Note 11, page 110, line 4. That closed their murder'd sage's latest day! Socrates drank the hemlock a short time before sunset (the hour of execution), notwithstanding the entreaties of his disciples to wait till the sun went down.
Note 12, page 110, line 16. The queen of night asserts her silent reign. The twilight in Greece is much shorter than in our own country: the days in winter are longer, but in summer of shorter duration.
Note 13, page 110, line 26.
The gleaming turret of the gay Kiosk. The Kiosk is a Turkish summer-house: the palm is without the present walls of Athens, not far from the temple of Theseus, between which and the tree the wall intervenes.Cephisus' stream is indeed scanty, and Ilissus has no stream at all.
Note 14, page 111, line 6. That frown-where gentler ocean seems to smile. The opening lines as far as section II. have, perhaps, little business here, and were annexed to an unpublished (though printed) poem; but they were written on the spot in the Spring of 1811, and—I scarce know why-the reader must excuse their appearance here if he can.
Note 15, page 114, line 9. His only bends in seeming o'er his beads. The Comboloio, or Mahometan rosary; the beads are in number ninety-nine.
Note 16, page 130, line 9. And the cold flowers her colder hand contain'd. In the Levant it is the custom to strew flowers on the bodies of the dead, and in the hands of young persons to place a nosegay.
Note 17, page 133, last line. Link'd with one virtue, and a thousand crimes. That the point of honour which is represented in one instance of Conrad's character has not been carried beyond the bounds of probability may perhaps be in some degree confirmed by the following anecdote of a brother buccaneer in the year 1814.
Our readers have all seen the account of the enterprise against the pirates of Barrataria; but few, we believe, were informed of the situation, history,or nature of that establishment. For the information of such as were unacquainted with it, we have procured from a friend the following interesting narrative of the main facts, of which he has personal knowledge, and which cannot fail to interest some of our readers.
Barrataria is a bay, or a narrow arm of the gulf of Mexico: it runs through a rich but very flat country, until it reaches within a mile of the Mississippi river, fifteen miles below the city of New Orleans. The bay has branches almost innumerable, in which persons can lie concealed from the severest scrutiny. It communicates with three lakes which