Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Curse of Minerva. (1)

“ Pallas te hoc vuloere. Pallas Immolat, et pænam scelerato ex sanguine sumit.”

Æneid, lib. xii.

Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run, (2)

But, lo! from bigh Hymettus to the plain Along Morea's hills the setting sun;

The queen of night asserts her silent reign; (4) Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright, No murky vapour, herald of the storm, But one unclouded blaze of living light;

Hides her fair face, or girds her glowing form. O'er the hushid deep the yellow beam he throws,

With cornice glimmering as the moonbeams play, Gilds the green wave that trembles as it glows;

There the white column greets her grateful ray, On old Ægina’s rock and Hydra's isle

And bright around, with quivering beams beset, The god of gladness sheds his parting smile; Her emblem sparkles o’er the minaret: O’er his own regions lingering loves to shine, The groves of olive scatter'd dark and wide, Though there his altars are no more divine.

Where ineek Cephisus sheds his scanty tide, Descending fast, the mountain-shadows kiss The cypress saddening by the sacred mosque, Thy glorious gulf, unconquer'd Salamis !

The gleaming turrel of the gay kiosk, (5) Their azure arches through the long expanse,

And sad and sombre 'mid the holy calm, More deeply purpled, meet his mellowing glance,

Near Theseus' fane, yon solitary palm ; And tenderest tints, along their summits driven, All, tinged with varied hues, arrest the eye; Mark his gay course, and own the hues of heaven; And dull were his that pass’d them heedless by. (6) Till darkly shaded from the land and deep,

Again the Ægean, heard no more afar, Behind his Delphian rock he sinks to sleep. Lulls his chafed breast from elemental war;

Again his waves in milder tints unfold On such an eve his palest beam he cast,

Their long expanse of sapphire and of gold, When, Athens! here thy wisest look'd his last.

Mix'd with the shades of many a distant isle, How watch'd thy better sons his farewell ray,

That frown, where gentler ocean deigns to smile. That closed their murder'd sage's (3) latest day! Not yel-not yel-Sol pauses on the hill,

As thus, within the walls of Pallas' fane, The precious hour of parting lingers still;

I mark'd the beauties of the land and main, But sad his light to agonising eyes,

Alone, and friendless, on the magic shore, And dark the mountain's once delightful dyes;

Whose arts and arms but live in poels' lore; Gloom o'er the lovely land he seem'd to pour,

Oft as the matchless dome I turn’d to scan, The land where Phoebus never frown'd before;

Sacred to gods, but not secure from man, But ere he sunk below Citheron's head,

The past relurn'd, the present seem'd to cease, The cup of woe was quaffd-the spirit fled; And glory knew no clime beyond her Greece! The soul of him that scorn'd to fear or fly,

Hours roll'd along, and Dian's orb on high Who lived and died as none can live or die. Had gain'd the centre of her softest sky;

(1) This fierce philippic on Lord Elgin, whose colection of thus, within the walls of Pallas' fane," first appeared at the comAthenian marbles was ultimately purchased for the nation, in mencement of the third canlo of the Corsair, the author having, 1816, at the cost of thirty-live thousand pounds, was written at at that time, abandoned all notion of publishing the piece of which Athens, in March, 1811, and prepared for publication along with they originally made part.-E. the Hints from Horace; but, like that satire, suppressed by (5) Socrates drank the hemlock a short time before sunsel (the Lord Byron, from molives which the reader will easily understand. hour of execution), notwithstanding the entreaties of his disciples It was first given to the world in 1828. Few can wonder that to wait till the sun went down. Lord Byron's feelings should have been powerfully excited by (4) The twilight in Greece is much shorter than in our own the spectacle of the despoiled Parthenon; but it is only due to country; the days in winter are longer, but in summer of less Lord Elgin to keep in mind, that, had those precious marbles duralion. remained, they must, in all likelihood, have perished for ever (5) The kiosk is a Turkish summer-bouse. Cepbisus' stream amidst the miserable scenes of violence which Athens has since is indeed scanty, and Ilissus has no stream at all. witnessed; and that their presence in England has already, by (6) “During our residence of ten weeks at Athens, there was universal admission, been of the most essential advanlage to the nol, I believe, a day of which we did not devote a part to the fine arts of our own country. The political allusions in this poem contemplation of the noble monuments of Grecian genius, that are not such as require much explanation. It contains many have outlived the ravages of time, and the outrage of barbarous lines which, it is hoped, the author, on mature reflection, and antiquarian despoilers. The Temple of Theseus, which was disapproved of — but is loo vigorous a specimen of his iambics within five minutes' walk or our lodgings, is the most persect anto be omilled in any collective edition of his works.-E. cient edilice in the world. In this fabric, the most enduring

(2) The splendid lines with which this salire opens, down to “As stability, and a simplicity of design peculiarly striking, are upiled And yet unwearied still my footsteps trod

That all may learn from whence the plunderer came,
O'er the rain shrine of many a vanish'd god :

The insulted wall sustains his hated name:(4)
But chiefly, Pallas! thine; when Hecate's clare, For Elgin's fame thus grateful Pallas pleads,
Check'd by thy columns, fell more sadly fair Below, his name—above, behold his deeds ! (5)
O'er the chill marble, where the startling tread Be ever hail'd with equal honour here
Thrills the lone heart like echoes from the dead. The Gothic monarch and the Pictish peer:
Long had I muscd, and treasured every trace Arms gave the first his right, the last had none,
The wreck of Greece recorded of her race, But basely stole what less barbarians won.
When, lo! a giant form before me strode, So when the lion quits his fell repast,
And Pallas hail'd me in her own abode!

Next prowls the wolf, the filthy jackal last :
Yes,'t was Minerva's self; but, ah! how changed Flesh, limbs, and blood the former make their own,
Since o'er the Dardan field in arms she ranged! The last poor brute securely gnaws the bone.
Not such as erst, by her divine command, Yet still the gods are just, and crimes are cross'd :
Her form appear'd fron Phidias' plastic band : See here what Elgin won, and what he lost!
Gone were the terrors of her awful brow,

Another name with his pollutes my shrine:
Her idle gis bore no Gorgon now;

Behold where Dian's beams disdain to shine!
Her helm was dinted, and the broken lance Some retribution still might Pallas claim,
Seem' weak and shaftless e’en to mortal glance; When Venus half avenged Minerva's shame.” (6)
The
Shrunk from her touch, and wither'd in her grasp ; To soothe the vengeance kindling in her eye:
And, ah! though still the brightest of the sky, “Daughter of Jove! in Britain's injured name,
Celestial tears bedimm'd her large blue eye;

A true-born Briton may the deed disclaim. Round the rent casque ber owlet circled slow, Frown not on England; England owns him not: And mourn'd his mistress with a shriek of woe!

Athena, no! thy plunderer was a Scot.

Ask’st thou the difference? From fair Phyle's lowers “Mortal!"-'t was thus she spake_" that blush Survey Bæotia ; --Caledonia 's ours. of shame

And well I know within that bastard land (7) Proclaims thee Briton, once a noble name: Hath Wisdom's goddess never held command; First of the mighty, foremost of the free,

A barren soil, where Nature's germs, contined Now honour'd less by all, and least by me: To stern sterility, can stint the mind;

Chief of thy foes shall Pallas still be found. Whose thistle well betrays the niggard earth,
Seck’si thou the cause of loathing?-look around. Emblem of all to whom the land gives birth;
Lo! here, despite of war and wasting lire,

Each genial influence nurtured to resist,
I saw successive lyrannies expire.

A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist. 'Scaped from the ravage of the Turk and Goth, (1) Each breeze from forcy mount and marshy plain

Thy country sends a spoiler worse than both.(2) Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain,
Survey this vacant, violated fane;

Till, burst at length, each watery head o'erflows,
Recount the relics torn that yet remain :

Foul as their soil, and frigid as their snows. These Cecrops placed, this Pericles adorn’d, (3) Ten thousand schemes of petulance and pride That Adrian rear'd when drooping Science mourn'd. Despatch her scheming children far and wide: What more I owe let gratitude attest

Some east, some west, some every where but north, Know, Alaric and Elgin did the rest.

In quest of lawless gain, they issue forth. | with the highest elegance and accuracy of workmanship; the lo his friends, or struck with a reverential respect, tiad spared the , characteristic of the Doric style, whose chaste beauty is nol, in treasures, ornaments, and people of the venerable city." Hob

the opinion of the first artists, w be equalled by be graces of house.
I any of the other orders. A gentleman of Athens, of great laste (2) In the original MS.-
and skill, assured us thal, after a continued contemplation of this Ab, Athens ! scarce escaped from Turk and Goth,

temple, and the remains of the Parthenon, he could never again Hell sends a paltry Scotchman worse than both."-E.
look with his accustomed satisfaction upon the lonic and Corin- (3) This is spoken of the city in general, and not of the Acro-
thian ruins of Athens, much less upon the specimens of the more polis in particular. The temple of Jupiter Olympius, by some
modern species of architecture to be seen in Italy." Hobhouse. I supposed the Pantheon, was finished by Hadrian; sixteen columns

on the plaster wall, on the west side of the chapel, these are standing, of the most beautiful marble and architecture. words have been very deeply cut :

(4) On the original M$. is written :QCOD NON FECERUNT Goti,

Aspice quos Pallas Scoto concedit honores, HOC FECEROST SCOTI.

loira stat nomen-facta supraque vide." etc. The mortar wall, yet (resh when we saw it, supplying the place (8) See note (A) 10 the second Canto of Childe Harold. -E. of the statue now in Lord Elgin's collection, serves as a comment (6) His Lordship’s name, and that of one who no longer bears on this text. This culogy of the Goths a .udes to an unfounded it, are carved conspicuously on the Parthenon; above, in a pari story of a Greek historian, who relates that Alaric, either lerri- not far distant, are the torn remnants of the basso relievos, defied by two p!:antoms, one o: Minerva bersels, the other of stroyed in a vain allempt to remove them. Achilles, terrible as when he slrode lowards the walls of Troy (?) “Irish bastards,” according to Sir Callaghan O'Brallaghan.

[ocr errors]

more

And thus-accursed be the day anu year!~ While brawny brutes in stupid wonder stare,
She sent a Pict to play the felon here.

And marvel at his lordship's 'stone-shop'3) there. Yet Caledonia claims some native worth,

Round the throng'd gate shall sauntering coscoinbs As dull Bæotia gave a Pindar birth;

creep, So may her few, the letter'd and the brave, To lounge and lucubrate, lo prate and peep; Bound to no clime, and victors of the grave, While many a languid maid, witi longing sigh, Shake off the sordid dust of such a land,

On giant statues casis the curious eye; And shine like children of a happier strand; The room with transient glance appears to skim, As once, of yore, in some obnoxious place, Yet marks the mighty back and length of limb; Ten names (if found) had saved a wretched race." Mourns o’er the difference of now and then; “Mortal!” the blue-eyed maid resumed, “once Exclaims, “These Greeks indeed were proper men!

Draws sly comparisons of these with those, Bear back my mandate to thy native shore.

And envies Laïs all her Attic beaux. Though fallen, alas! this vengeance yet is mine,

When shall a modern maid have swains like these! To turn my counsels far from lands like thine.

Alas! Sir Harry is no Hercules! Hear then in silence Pallas' stern behest;

And last of all, amidst the gaping crew, Hear and believe, for Time will tell the rest.

Some calm spectator, as he takes his view,(4)

In silent indignalion mix'd with grief, “ First on the head of him who did this deed

'Adinires the plunder, ljut abhors the thief. (5) My curse shall light, on him and all his seed :

Oh, loathed in life, nor pardon'd in the dust, Without one spark of intellectual fire,

May hate pursue his sacrilegious lust! Be all the sons as senseless as the sire:

Link'd with the fool that fired the Ephesian dome, If one with wit the parent brood disgrace,

Shali vengeance follow far beyond the tomb,
Believe him bastard of a brighter race:

And Eratostratus and Elgin sine
Still with his hireling artists let him prate, In many a branding page and burning line;
And folly's praise repay for Wisdom's hale; Alike reserved for aye lo siand accursed,
Long of their patron's gusto let them tell,

Perchance the second blacker than the first.
Whose noblest nalive gusto is--to sell:
To sell, and make-may Shame record the day!- “So let him stand, through age's yei unborn,
The state receiver of his pilfer'd prey. (1)

Fix’ul statue on the pedestal of Scorn;
Meantime, the flattering, feeble dotard West, Though not for lum alone Revenge shall wait,
Europe's worst dauber, and poor Britain's best, But fits thy country for her coming fute:
With palsied hand shall turn each model o'er, Hers were the deeds that taught her lau less son
And own himself an infant of fourscore. (2)

To do what oft Britannia's self had done.
Be all the bruisers cull'd from all St. Giles', Look to the Baltic-blazing from afar,
That art and nature may compare their styles ; Your old ally yet mourns pertidious war.(6)

(1) In 1816, thirty-five thousand pounds were voted by Par- and all generations: it deprives the past of the trophies of their liament for the purchase of the Elgin marbles.-E.

genius and the title-deeds of their fame; the present, of the (2) Mr. West, on seeing the “Elgin Collection” (I suppose we strongest inducements to exertion, the noblest exhibitions that shall hear of the "Abershaw" and "Jack Shephard" collection curiosity can contemplale; the future, of the masterpieces of ari, next), veclared himself “a mere tyro” in art.

the models of imitation. To guard against the repetition of such (3) Poor Crib was sadly puzzled when the marbles were first depredations is the wish of every man of genius, the duty of exhibited at Elgin House : he asked if it was not “a stone-shop?' every man in power, and the common interest of every civilized - He was right: it is a shop.

pation."-Eustace's Classical Tour through Italy. (4) “ Alas! all the monuments of Roman magnificence, all the “ This attempt to transplant the temple of Vesta from Italy lo remains of Grecian taste, so dear to the artist, the historian, the England may, perhaps, do bonour to the late Lord Bristol's paantiquary, all depend on the will of an arbitrary sovereign; and triotism or to his magnificence; but it cannot be con idered as that will is influenced too often by interest or vanity, by a an indication of either taste or judgineni."-Ibid. nephew or a sycophant. Is a new palace to be erected (at Rome) (5) That the Eigin marbles will contribute to the improvement for an upstart family? the Coliseum is stripped to furnish ma- of art in England cannot be doubled. They must certainly open terials. Does a foreign minister wish to adorn the bleak walls of the eyes of the British artists, and prove that the true and only a northern castle with antiques ? the temples of Theseus or Mi- road 10 simplicity and beauty is the study of nature. Bul, had nerva must be dismantled, and the works of Phidias or Praxiteles we a right to diminish the interest of Atheos for sc fish motives, be torn from llie shaltered frieze. That a decrepit uncle, wrap- and prevent successive generations of other nations from secing ped up in the religious duties of bis age and station, should those admirable sculptures? The Temple of Minerva was pared listen to the suggestions of an interested nephew, is natural; and as a beacon to the world, to direct it 10 the knowledge of purity that an oriental despot should undervalue the masterpieces of of taste. What can we say to the disappointed traveller, who is Grecian art, is to be expected—though in both cases the conse- now deprived of the rich gratification wiich would have comquences of such weakness are much to be lamented; but that pensated his travel and his toil? It will be little consolation to ! im the minister of a nation, famed for its knowledge of the language, io say, he may find the sculpture of the Parthenon in England." and its veneration for the monuments of ancient Greece, should H. W. Williams. have been the prompter and the instrument of these destructions, (6) The affair of Copenhagen.-E is almost incredible. Such rapacity is a crime against all ages

Not 10 such deeds did Pallas lend her aid, Gone is that gold, the marvel of mankind,
Or break the compact which herself had made; And pirates barter all that's left behind. (2)
Far from such councils, from the faithless field No more the hirelings, purchased near and far,
She fed—but left behind her Gorgon shield: Crowd to the ranks of mercenary war.
A falal gift that turn'd your friends to stone, The idle merchant on the useless quay
And left lost Albion hated and alone.

Droops o'er the bales no bark may bear away;

Or, back returning, sees rejected stores “Look to the East, where Ganges' swarthy race

Rot piecemeal on his own encumber'il shores: Shall shake your tyrant empire to its base;

The starved mechanic breaks his rusting loom, Lo! there Rebellion rears her ghastly head,

And desperate mans him 'gainst the coming doom. And glares the Nemesis of native dead;

Then in the senate of your sinking state Till Indus rolls a deep purpureal flood,

Show me the man whose counsels may have weight. And claims his long arrear of northern blood.

Vain is each voice where tones could once command; So may ye perish!- Pallas, when she gave

E'en factions cease to charm a factious land: Your free-born rights, forbade yc to enslave

Yet jarring sects convulse a sister isle, “Look on your Spain!-she clasps the hand she and light with maddening hands the mutual pile.

hates, But coldly clasps, and thrusts you from her gates.

“ 'T is done, 't is past, since Pallas warns in vain; Bear wilness, bright Barossa! thou canst tell

The furies seize her abdicated reign: Whose were the sons that bravely fought and fell. Wide o’er the realm they wave their kindling brands, Bui Lusitania, kind and dear ally,

And wring her vitals with their fiery hands.

But one convulsive struggle still remains, lan spare a few to fight, and sometimes fly. Ob glorious field! by famine fiercely won,

And Gaul shall weep ere Albion wear her chains. The Gaul retires for once, and all is done:

The banner'd pomp of war, the glittering files, But when did Pallas teacı, thai one retreat

O'er whose gay trappings stern Bellona smiles; ketrieved three long olympiads of defeat ?

The brazen trump, the spirit-stirring drum,

That bid the foc defiance ere they come; - Look last at home-ye love not to look there- The hero bounding at his country's call, On the grim smile of confortless despair:

The glorious death that consecrates his fall, Your city saddens: loud though Revel howls,

Swell the young heart with visionary charms, Here famine faints, and yonder Rapine prowls.

And bid it antedate the joys of arms. See all alike of more or less bereft;

But know, a lesson you may yet be taught, No misers tremble when there 's nothing left.

With death alone are laurels cheaply bought : “Blest paper credit’(1) who shall dare lo sing?

Not in the conflict Havoc seeks delight, It clogs like lead Corruption's weary wing.

His day of mercy is the day of fight. Yet Pallas pluck d each premier by the ear,

But when the field is fought, the battle won, Who gods and men alıke disdain’d to hear;

Though drench'd with gore, his woes are but begun: But one, repentant o'er a bankrupt state,

His deeper deeds as yet ye know by name; On Pallas calls,—but calls, alas ! too late:

The slaughter'd peasant and the ravish'd dame, Then rares for ** ; 10 that Mentor bends,

The rifled mansion and the foe-reap'd field, Though he and Pallas never yet were friends.

III suit with souls at home, untaught to yield. Him senates hear, whom never yet they heard,

Say with what eye, along the distant down, Contemptuous once, and now no less absurd.

Would Nying burghers mark the blazing town? 1 So, once of yore, each reasonable frog

How view the column of ascending flames Swore faith and fealty to his sovereign ‘log;'

Shake his red shadow o'er the startled Thames ? Thus hail'd your rulers their patrician clod,

Nay, frown not, Albion! for the torch was thine As Egypt chose an onion for a god.

That lit such pyres from Tagus to the Rhine: “Now fare ye well! enjoy your little hour; Now should they burst on thy devoted coast, Go, grasp the shadow of your vanish'd power; Go ask thy bosom who deserves them most. Gloss o'er the failure of each fondest scheme; The law of heaven and earth is life for life, Your strength a name, your bloated wealth a dream. And she who raised, in vain regrets the strife.” (3)

[ocr errors]

(1) “Blest paper credit! last and best supply,

Attica would be more poetical without the art of the Acropolis? That lends Corruption lighter wings to lly!"--Pope. of the Temple of Theseus? and of the still all Greek and glorious (2) The Deal and Dover traffickers in specie.

monuments of her exquisitely artificial genius? Ask the traveller (3) - The beautiful but barren Hymettus, the whole coast of what strikes him as most poetical, the Parthenon, or the rock on Alica, her hills and mountains, Pentelicus, Anchesmus, Philo- which it stands? The COLUMNS of Cape Colonna, or the Cape pappus, elc. etc. are in themselves poelicai; and would be so if itself? The rocks at the foot of it, or the recollection that Falthe name of Athens, of Athenians, and ner very ruins, were coner's ship was bulged upon them? There are a thousand rocks svept from the earth. But am I to be told that the nature of and capes far more pieturesque than those of the Acropolis and

The Waltz ;

AN APOSTROPHIC HYMN. (1)

“ Qualis in Eurolæ ripis, aut per juga Cynthi,
Exercet Diana choros."

Virgil.
“ Such on Eurota's banks, or Cynthia's height,

Diana seems : and so she charms the sight,
When in the dance the graceful goddess leads
The quire of nymphs, and overtops their heads."

Dryden's Virgil.

TO THE PUBLISHER.

never set eyes on beforc; and his, to say truth, rather more than half round her waist, turning

round, and round, and round, to a d-d see-saw Sir, I am a country. gentleman of a midland up-and-down sort of lune, that reminded me of county. I might have been a parliament-man for a the “Black joke,” only more affelluoso,” Lill it certain borough; having had the offer of as many made me quite giddy with wondering they were votes as General T. at the general election in 1812.(2) not so. By-and-by they stopped a bit. and I thought But I was all for domestic happiness; as, fifteen they would sit or fall down: - but no; with years ago, on a visit to London, I married a middle- Mrs. H.'s hand on his shoulder, quam familiaaged maid of honour. We lived happily at Hornem riter(3) (as Terence said, when I was at school}, Hall till last season, when my wife and I were in- they walked about a minute, and then at it again, vited by the countess of Waltzaway (a distant re- like two cockchafers spitted on the same bodkin. lation of my spouse) to pass the winter in town. I asked what all this meant, when, with a loud Thinking no harm, and our girls being come to a laugh, a child no older than our Wilhelmina (a marriageable (or, as they call it, marketable) age, name I never heard but in the Vicar of Wakefield, and having besides a chancery suit invelerately en-though her mother would call her after the Printailed upon the family estate, we came up in our cess of Swappenbach,) said, “ Lord! Mr. Hornem, old chariot,—of which, by the by, my wife grew so can't you see they are valtzing ?" or waltzing (I forget much ashamed in less than a week, that I was which); and then up she got, and her mother and obliged to buy a second-hand barouche, of which sister, and away they went, and round-abouted it I might mount the box, Mrs. H. says, if I could drive, till supper-lime. Now, that I know what it is, I but never see the inside—that place being reserved like it of all things, and so does Mrs. H. (though I for the Honourable Augustus Tiptoe, her partner- have broken my shins, and four times overturned general and opera knight. Hearing great praises Mrs. Hornem's maid, in practising the preliminary of Mrs. H. 's dancing (she was famous for birth night steps in a morning). Indeed, so much do I like minuets in the latter end of the last century), 1 it, that having a turn for rhyme, tastily displayed in unbooted, and went to a ball at the countess's, ex- some election ballads, and songs in honour of all pecting to see a country dance, or, at most, cotil- the victories (but till lately I have had little practice lions, reels, and all the old paces to the newest in that way), I sat down, and with the aid of tunes. But judge of my surprise, on arriving, lo William Fitzgerald, Esq., (4) and a few hints from see poor dear Mrs. Hornem with her arms half round Dr. Busby, (5)whose recitations I attend, and am the loins of a huge Hussar-looking gentleman I moustrous fond of Master Busby's manner of deli

Cape Sunium in themselves. But it is the “arl,' the columns, the tributed to me. This report, I suppose, you will lake care 10 temples, the wrecked vessel, which give them their antique and contradict; as the author, I am sure, will not like that I should their modern poetry, and not the spots themselves. I opposert, wear his cap and hells."-E. and will ever oppose, the robbery of ruins from Athens, lo in- (2) State of the poll (last day), 5. struct the English in sculpture; but why did I so? The ruins (3) My Latin is all forgotten, is a man can be said to have forare as poetical in Piccadilly as they were in the Parthenon; but gollen what he never remembered; but I bought my lille-page the Parthenon and its rock are less so without them. Such is molio of a Catholic priest for a three-shilling bank token, aster the poetry of art.” B. Letters, 1821.-E.

much haggling for the even sixpence. I grudged the money to a (1) This trise was written at Cheltenham, in the autumn of papist, being all for the memory of Perceval and “No popery, 1812, and published anonymously in the spring of the following and quite regretting the downfall of the Pope, because we can't year. It was not very well received at the time by the public; burn liim any more. and the author was by no means anxious that it should be con- (4) Sep anlė, p. 55.-E. sidered as his handiwork. “I hear,” he says, in a letter 10 a (6) Ser Rejected Addresses.-E. friend, "that a certain malicious publication on walizing is al

« PreviousContinue »