Page images


Match me, ye climes! which poets love to laud ;
Match me, ye harems of the land! where now!
I strike my strain, far distant, to applaud
Beauties that ev ’n a cynic must avow ;?
Match me those Houries, whom ye scarce allow
To taste the gale lest Love should ride the wind,
With Spain's dark-glancing daughters 3 — deign to

There your wise Prophet's paradise we find,
His black-eyed maids of Heaven, angelically kind.


Oh, thou Parnassus !4 whom I now survey,
Not in the phrensy of a dreamer's eye,
Not in the fabled landscape of a lay,
But soaring snow-clad through thy native sky,
In the wild pomp of mountain-majesty!
What marvel if I thus essay to sing ?
The humblest of thy pilgrims passing by

Would gladly woo thine Echoes with his string Though from thy heights no more one Muse will wave

her wing.


1 This stanza was written in Turkey.

[“ Beauties that need not fear a broken vow.” – MS.] 3 Ç“ Long black hair, dark languishing eyes, clear olive complexions, and forms more graceful in motion than can be con. ceived by an Englishman, used to the drowsy, listless air of his countrywomen, added to the most becoming dress, and, at the same time, the most decent in the world, render a Spanish beauty irresistible." Lord Byron to his Mother, Aug. 1809.]

4 These stanzas were written in Castri (Delphos), at the foot of Parnassus, now called Asarugce (Liakura), Dec. 1809.


Oft have I dream'd of Thee! whose glorious name
Who knows not, knows not man's divinest lore:
And now I view thee, 't is, alas! with shame
That I in feeblest accents must adore.
When I recount thy worshippers of yore
I tremble, and can only bend the knee;
Nor raise my voice, nor vainly dare to soar,

But gaze beneath thy cloudy canopy
In silent joy to think at last I look on Thee! 1


Happier in this than mightiest bards have been,
Whose fate to distant homes confined their lot,
Shall I unmoved behold the hallow'd scene,
Which others rave of, though they know it not?
Though here no more Apollo haunts his grot,
And thou, the Muses' seat, art now their grave, 2
Some gentle spirit still pervades the spot,

Sighs in the gale, keeps silence in the cave,
And glides with glassy foot o'er yon melodious wave.

?. [“ Upon Parnassus, going to the fountain of Delphi (Castri), in 1809, I saw 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.]

2 [“ 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 Scylla, Nero, and Constantine, are inconsiderable ; for the removal of the statues of bronze, and marble, and ivory, could not greatly affect


Of thee hereafter. — Ev'n amidst my strain
I turn'd aside to pay my homage here;
Forgot the land, the sons, the maids of Spain;
Her fate, to every freeborn bosom dear;
And hail'd thee, not perchance without a tear.
Now to my theme but from thy holy haunt
Let me some remnant, some memorial bear;

Yield me one leaf of Daphne's deathless plant, 1
Nor let thy votary's hope be deem'd an idle vaunt.


But ne'er didst thou, fair Mount! when Greece was

See round thy giant base a brighter choir,
Nor e'er did Delphi, when her priestess sung
The Pythian hymn with more than mortal fire,
Behold a train more fitting to inspire
The song of love than Andalusia's maids,
Nurst in the glowing lap of soft desire :

Ah! that to these were given such peaceful shades As Greece can still bestow, though Glory fly her glades.

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 their mossy tombs remain !" H. W. Williams's Travels in Greece, vol. ii. p. 254.]

'p“ Some glorious thought to my petition grant.” – MS.]


Fair is proud Seville; let her country boast
Her strength, her wealth, her site of ancient days; 1
But Cadiz, rising on the distant coast,
Calls forth a sweeter, though ignoble praise.
Ah, Vice! how soft are thy voluptuous ways !
While boyish blood is mantling, who can 'scape
The fascination of thy magic gaze? 2

A Cherub-hydra round us dost thou gape,
And mould to every taste thy dear delusive shape.


When Paphos fell by time — accursed Time!
The Queen who conquers all must yield to thee.
The Pleasures fled, but sought as warm a clime;
And Venus, constant to her native sea,
To nought else constant, hither deign'd to flee;
And fix'd her shrine within these walls of white;
Though not to one dome circumscribeth she

Her worship, but, devoted to her rite,
A thousand altars rise, for ever blazing bright.


LXVII. 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,

| Seville was the Hispalis of the Romans. 2 [“ The lurking lures of thy enchanting gaze.” – MS.] 3 [“ 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.]


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. 1


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 appr 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.


Some o'er thy Thamis row the ribbon'd fair,
Others along the safer turnpike fly;
Some Richmond-bill ascend, some scud to Ware,
And many to the steep of Highgate hie.

1 [" mo

temples share The hours misspent, and all in turns is love and prayer." -MS.]

« PreviousContinue »