Page images
PDF
EPUB

LVIII.

The wild Albanian kirtled to his knee,
With shawl-girt head and ornamented gun,
And gold-embroider'd garments, fair to see;
The crimson-scarfed men of Macedon;
The Delhi with his cap of terror on,
And crooked glaive; the lively, supple Greek ;
And swarthy Nubia's mutilated son;

The bearded Turk, that rarely deigns to speak,
Master of all around, too potent to be meek,

LIX.

Are mix'd conspicuous : some recline in groups,
Scanning the motley scene that varies round;
There some grave Moslem to devotion stoops,
And some that smoke, and some that play, are found;
Here the Albanian proudly treads the ground;
Half whispering there the Greek is heard to prate;
Hark! from the mosque the nightly solenın sound,

The Muezzin's call doth shake the minaret, There is no god but God !-- to prayer - lo! God is

great!” 1

LX
Just at this season Ramazani's fast ?
Through the long day its penance did maintain :

? [“ 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 of the mosque 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.]

2 [“ We were a little unfortunate in the time we chose for travelling, for it was during the Ramazan, or Turkish Lent, which

But when the lingering twilight hour was past,
Revel and feast assumed the rule again :
Now all was bustle, and the menial train
Prepared and spread the plenteous board within;
The vacant gallery now seem'd made in vain,

But from the chambers came the mingling din,
As page and slave anon were passing out and in.

LXI.

Here woman's voice is never heard : apart,
And scarce permitted, guarded, veil'd, to move,
She yields to one her person and her heart,
Tamed to her cage, nor feels a wish to rove:
For, not unhappy in her master's love,
And joyful in a mother's gentlest cares,
Blest cares! all other feelings far above!

Herself more sweetly rears the babe she bears,
Who never quits the breast, no meaner passion shares.

LXII.

In marble-paved pavilion, where a spring
Of living water from the centre rose,
Whose bubbling did a genial freshness Aling,
And soft voluptuous couches breathed repose,
Ali reclined, a man of war and woes: 1

fell this year in October, and was hailed at the rising of the new moon, on the evening of the 8th, by every demonstration 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 : thén is the time for paying and receiving visits, and for the amusements of Turkey, puppet-shows, jugglers, dancers, and story-tellers.” - Hobhouse.]

ic" On the 12th, 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

Yet in his lineaments ye cannot trace,
While Gentleness her milder radiance throws

Along that aged venerable face,
The deeds that lurk beneath, and stain him with disgrace.

LXIII.

It is not that yon hoary lengthening beard
Ill suits the passions which belong to youth ;
Love conquers age - so Hafiz hath averr'd,
So sings the Teian, and he sings in sooth —
But crimes that scorn the tender voice of ruth,
Beseeming all men ill, but most the man
In years, have mark'd him with a tiger's tooth ; 1

Blood follows blood, and, through their mortal span, In bloodier acts conclude those who with blood began. 2

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.]

1 (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, as 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.'”]

[The fate of Ali was precisely such as the poet anticipated. For a circumstantial account of his assassination, in February,

2

LXIV.

'Mid many things most new to ear and eye
The pilgrim rested here his weary feet,
And gazed around on Moslem luxury, 1
Till quickly wearied with that spacious seat
Of Wealth and Wantonness, the choice retreat
Of sated Grandeur from the city's noise :
And were it humbler it in sooth were sweet;

But Peace abhorreth artificial joys, [destroys. And Pleasure, leagued with Pomp, the zest of both

LXV. Fierce are Albania's children, yet they lack Not virtues, were those virtues more mature. Where is the foe that ever saw their back? Who can so well the toil of war endure? Their native fastnesses not more secure 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.

99

1822, see Walsh's “ Journey from Constantinople to England,' p. 60. 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,
Converse may little charm strange ear or eye ;
Albeit he rested in that spacious seat
Of Moslem luxury,” &c. - MS.]

G

LXVI. Childe Harold saw them in their chieftain's tower Thronging to war in splendour and success ; And after view'd them, when, within their power, Himself awhile the victim of distress; That saddening hour when bad men hotlier press : But these did shelter him beneath their roof, When less barbarians would have cheer'd him less,

And fellow-countrymen have stood aloof 1 In aught that tries the heart how few withstand the proof!

LXVII. 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 a while 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.

LXVIII.

Vain fear! the Suliotes stretch'd the weicome 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 damp,
And fillid 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 sooth the sad,
Doth lesson happier men, and shames at least the bad.

Alluding to the wreckers of Cornwall,

« PreviousContinue »