Page images
PDF
EPUB

LXIX.

It came to pass, that when he did address
Himself to quit at length this mountain-land,
Combined marauders half-way barr'd egress,
And wasted far and near with glaive and brand;
And therefore did he take a trusty band
To traverse Acarnania's forest wide,
In war well season'd, and with labours tann'd,

Till he did greet white Achelous' tide,
And from his further bank Ætolia's wolds espied.

LXX.

Where lone Utraikey forms its circling cove,
And weary waves retire to gleam at rest,
How brown the foliage of the green hill's grove,
Nodding at midnight o'er the calm bay's breast,
As winds come lightly whispering from the west,
Kissing, not ruffling, the blue deep's serene :-
Here Harold was received a welcome guest ;

Nor did he pass unmoved the gentle scene,
For many a joy could he from Night's soft presence glean.

LXXI. On the smooth shore the night-fires brightly blazed, The feast was done, the red wine circling fast, 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 I The Albanian Mussulmans do not abstain from wine, and, indeed, very few of the others.

2 Palikar, shortened when addressed to a single person, from Iladragi, 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

LXXII.
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 gleamid,
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'di:

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 them 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!'
Κλεφτεις ποτε Παργα! !

Κλεφτεις ποτε Παργα !' 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 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 tin the Albanians,wrapping themselves up in their capotes, went to sleep round the fires.”]

[For a specimen of the Albanian or Arnaout dialect of the Illyric, see Appendix, Note [C].]

1.
TAMBOURGI! Tambourgi!! 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! 2

2,
Oh! who is more brave than a dark Suliote,
In his snowy camese and his shaggy capote ?
To the wolf and the vulture he leaves his wild flock,
And descends to the plain like the stream from the rock.

3.
Shall the sons of Chimari, who never forgive
The fault of a friend, bid an enemy live?
Let those guns so unerring such vengeance forego?
What mark is so fair as the breast of a foe?

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.

5.
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.

6.
I ask not the pleasures that riches supply,
My sabre shall win what the feeble must buy;
Shall win the young bride with her long flowing hair,
And many a maid from her mother shall tear.

1 Drummer. 2 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,

GS

7. I love the fair face of the maid in her youth, Her caresses shall lull me, her music shall sooth; Let her bring from the chamber her many-toned lyre, And sing us a song on the fall of her sire.

8.
Remember the moment when Previsa fell, 1
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.

9. 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.

10. Dark Muchtar his son to the Danube is sped, (dread; Let the yellow-hair'd 2 Giaours 3 view his horsetail 4 with When his Delhis 5 come dashing in blood o'er the banks, How few shall escape from the Muscovite ranks!

11.
Selictar ! 6 unsheathe then our chief's scimitār:
Tambourgi! thy 'larum gives promise of war.
Ye mountains, that see us descend to the shore,
Shall view us as victors, or view us no more !

1 It was taken by storm from the French,
? Yellow is the epithet given to the Russians.
3 Infidel.
4 The insignia of a Pacha.
5 Horsemen, answering

our forlorn hope.
6 Sword-bearer.

LXXIII.

Fair Greece ! sad relic of departed worth ! 1
Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great!
Who now shall lead thy scatter'd children forth,
And long accustom’d bondage uncreate ?
Not such thy sons who whilome did await,
The hopeless warriors of a willing doom,
In bleak Thermopylæ's sepulchral strait-

Oh! who that gallant spirit shall resume,
Leap from Eurotas' banks, and call thee from the tomb?

LXXIV.

Spirit of freedom! when on Phyle's brow 2
Thou sat'st with Thrasybulus and his train,
Couldst thou forebode the dismal hour which now
Dims the green beauties of thine Attic plain ?
Not thirty tyrants now enforce the chain,
But every carle can lord it o'er thy land;
Nor rise thy sons, but idly rail in vain,

Trembling beneath the scourge of Turkish hand; From birth till death enslaved; in word, in deed, unmann'd.

LXXV.

In all save form alone, how changed ! and who
That marks the fire still sparkling in each eye,
Who but would deem their bosoms burn'd anew
With thy unquenched beam, lost Liberty !
And many dream withal the hour is nigh
That gives them back their fathers' heritage :
For foreign arms and aid they fondly sigh,

Nor solely dare encounter hostile rage,
Or tear their name defiled from Slavery's mournful page.

1 Some Thoughts on the present State of Greece and Turkey will be found in the Appendix, Notes [D] and [E].

2 Phyle, which commands a beautiful view of Athens, has still considerable remains : it was seized by Thrasybulus, previous to the expulsion of the Thirty.

« PreviousContinue »