Page images
PDF
EPUB

'Tis vain-my tongue can not impart
My almost drunkenness of heart,
When first this liberated eye
Survey'd earth, ocean, sun, and sky,
As if my spirit pierced them through,
And all their inmost wonders knew!
One word alone can paint to thee
That more than feeling-I was free!
E'en for thy presence ceased to pine;
The world—nay, heaven itself-was mine!

XIX.
"The shallop of a trusty Moor
Convey'd me from this idle shore;
I long'd to see the isles that gem
Old Ocean's purple diadem:
I sought by turns, and saw them all; (1)

But when and where I join'd the crew
With whom I’m pledged to rise or fall,

When all that we design to do
Is done, 't will then be time more meet
To tell thee, when the tale's complete.

XX.
"T is true, they are a lawless brooil,
1

But rough in form, nor mild in mood;
And every creed, and every race,
With them hath found—may find-a place:

But open speech, and ready hand,
| Obedience to their chief's command;

A soul for every enterprise,
That never sees with Terror's eyes;
Friendship for each, and faith to all,
And vengeance vowd for those who fall,

Have made them fitting instruments
For morc than even my own intents.
And some-and I have studied all

Distinguish'd from the vulgar rank,
But chiefly to my council call

The wisdom of the cautious Frank-
And some to higher thoughts aspire,

The last of Lambro's(2) patriots there

Anticipated freedom share;
And oft around the cavern fire
On visionary schemes debate,
To snatch the Rayahs(3) from their fate.
So let them ease their hearts with prate
Of equal rights, which man ne'er knew;

I have a love for freedom too.
Ay! let me like the ocean-Patriarch (4) roam,
Or only know on land the Tartar's home! (5)
My tent on shore, my galley on the sea,
Are more than cities and serais to me:
Borne by my steed, or wafted by my sail,
Across the desert, or before the gale,
Bound where thou wilt, my barb! or glide, my prow!
But be the star that guides the wanderer, thou!
Thou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark;
The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark!(6)
Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife,
Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tinis to-morrow with prophetic ray!(7)
Blest—as the muezzin's strain from Mecca's wall(8)
To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call;
Soft—as the melody of youthful days,
That steals the trembling tear of speechless praise;

gilds

tints

[ocr errors]

(1) The Turkish notions of almost all islands are confined to will do, tell me, and I will dream another.” In a subsequent the Archipelago, the sea alluded to.

letter, he says" Instead of Lambro Cadzani, a Greek, famous for his efforts, in 1789-90,

• And lints tomorrow with a fancied ray, for the independence of his country. Abandoned by the Rus Print

• And lints to-morrow with prophetic ray, caos, be became a pirate, and the Archipelago was the scene of

Orhis enterprises. He is said to be still alive at Petersburg. He

+ And } the hope of morning with its ray. and Riga are the two most celebrated of the Greek revolutionists.

Or (3) "Rayabs," – all who pay the capitation-tax, called the

· And gilds to-morow's hope with heavenly ray.' "Haratch."

I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford which of them is best; or, (6) The first of voyages is one of the few with which the Mus- rather, not worst.”—E. sulmans profess much acquaintance.

“It is therefore probable that, after all, the merit of the choice (5) The Wandering life of the Arabs, Tartars, and Turkomans, may have belonged to Mr. Gifford.” Moore.-E. will be found well detailed in any book of Eastern travels. That

(8) six lines beginning “Blest as the muezzin's strain," etc. possesses a charm peculiar to itself, cannot be denied. A

were among the additions made to the poem, and when despatched Foang French renegado confessed to Chateaubriand, that he to the printer for insertion, the first couplet was originally as never found bimself alone, galloping in the desert, without a follows:sensation approaching to rapture, which was indescribable.

“ Soft as the Mecca muezzin's strains invite, 6) "The longest, as well as most splendid, of those passages, Him who hath journey'd far to join the rite." with which the perusal of his own strains, during revision, in- In a few hours after, another scrap was sent off, containing the spired him, was that rich flow of eloquent feeling wbich follows lines thus:the couplet, - Tbou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark,' etc. -3 strain of poetry, which for energy and tenderness of thought,

“Blest as the muezzin's strain from Mecca's dome,

Wbich welcomes Faith to view her Prophet's tomb;" for music of versification, and selectness of diction, has throughicat ibe greater portion of it, but few rivals in either ancient or with the following note to Mr. Murray:-“ Look out in the Enmjera song." Moore.-E.

cyclopedia, article Mecca, whether it is there or at Medina the ) Originally written thus

Prophet is entombed. If at Medina, the first lines of my altera

tion must run :" And lints to-morrow with

an airy
a fancied
ray!"

• Blest as the call which from Medina's dome, the following note being annexed :-"Mr. Murray, choose which

Invites Devotion to her Prophet's tomb.' of the two epithets, ó fancied' or airy,'may be best; or is neither If at Mecca, the lines may stand as before."

Dear—as bis native song to exile's ears,

The deepest murmur of this lip shall be Shall sound each tone thy long-loved voice endears: No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee! For thee in those bright isles is built a bower The war of elements no fears impart Blooming as Aden(1)in its earliest hour.

To love, whose deadliest bane is human art: A thousand swords, with Selim's heart and hand, There lie the only rocks our course can check; Wail-wave-defend-destroy-al thy command! Here moments menace-there are years of wreck! Girt by my band, Zuleika at my side,

But hence ye thoughts that rise in Horror's shape! The spoil of nations shall bedeck my bride. This hour bestows, or ever bars, escape. The haram's languid years of listless ease

Few words remain of mine my tale to close; Are well resign’d for cares-for joys like these: Of thine but one lo waft us from our focs; Not blind to fate, I see, where'er 1 rove,

Yes—foes—to me will Giaffir's hate decline ? Unnumber'd perils,-but one only love!

And is not Osman, who would part us, thine? Yet well my toils shall that fond breast repay,

XXI.
Though Fortune frown, or falser friends betray.
How dear the dream in darkest hours of ill,

“ His head and faith from doubt and death Should all be changed, to find thee faithful still!

Return'd in lime my guard to save; Be but thy soul, like Selim's, firmly shown;

Few heard, none told, that o'er the wave To thee lie Selim's tender as thine own;

From isle to isle I roved the wbile; To soothe each sorrow, share in each delight,

And since, though parted from my band, Blenil every thought, do all—but disunite!

Too seldom now I leave the land, Once free, 't is mine vur horde again to guide;

No deed they've done, nor deed shall do, Friends to each other, foes to aught beside : (2)

Ere I have heard and doom'd it too: Yet there we follow but the bent assign'd

I form the plan, decree the spoil, By falal Nature to man's warring kind:

'T is fit I oftener share the toil, Mark! where his carnage and his conquests cease!

But now too long I've held thine ear; He makes a solitude, and calls it-peace!

Time presses, floats my bark, and here 1, like the rest, must use my skill or strength,

We leave behind but hate and fear. But ask no land beyond my sabre's length:

To-morrow Osman with his train Power sways but by division-her resource

Arrives-to-night must break thy chain: The blest alternative of fraud or force!

And wouldst thou save that haughty Bey, Ours be the last; in time deceit may come

Perchance, his life who gave thee thine, When cities cage us in a social home:

With me this hour away-away! There even thy soul might err-how oft the heart

But yet, though thou are plighted mine, Corruption shakes which peril could not part!

Wouldst thou recall thy willing vow, And woman, more than man, when death or woe,

Appall'd by truths imparted now, Or even disgrace, would lay her lover low,

Here rest 1-not to sce thec wed:
Sunk in the lap of Luxury will shame-

But be that peril on my head!"
Away suspicion !-not Zuleika's name!
But life is hazard at the ljest; and here

XXII.
No more remains to win, and much to fear:
Yes, fear!—the doubt, the dread of losing thee, Zuleika, mute and motionless,
By Osman's power, and Giaffir's stern decree.

Stood like that statue of distress,
That dread shall vanish with the favouring gale, When, her last hope for ever gone,
Which love to-night hath promised to my sail:

The mother harden'd into stone;
No danger daunts the pair his smile hath blest, All in the maid that eye could see
Their steps still roving, but their hearts at rest. Was but a younger Niobe.
With thee all toils are sweet, each clime hath charms; But ere her lip, or even her eye,
Earth--sea alike-our world within our arms!

Essay'd to speak, or look reply,
Ay-let the loud winds whistle o'er the deck,

Beneath the garden's wicket porch So that those arms cling closer round my neck: Far flash'd on high a blazing torch!

[ocr errors]

(1) “Jannat al Aden,” the perpetual abode, the Mussulman for eternally pestering you with alterations, I send you Cobbell, paradise.

-lo confirm your orthodoxy." Lord B. to Mr. M. (2) “You wanted some reflections; and I send you, per Selim, eighteen lines in decent couplels, of a pensive, is not an elhical, among them, the Bride of Abydos. It is very very beautiful. Lord tendency. One more revise-positively the last, if decently Byron (when I met him, one day, at a dinner, at Mr. Ward's) was done-at any rate, the penultimale. Mr. Canning's approbation, so kind is to promise to give me a copy of it. I mention this, nut I need not say, makes me proud.* To make you some arends

to save my purchase, but because I should be really Gallered by

the present."-E. * Mr. Canning's note was as follows :-"I received the books, and

Wet-wild-unwearied, to the strand They struggle-now they touch the land! They come—'t is but to add to slaughterHis heart's best blood is on the water.

XXV.

Escaped from shot, unharm’d by steel,
Or scarcely grazed its force to feel,
Had Selim won, betray'd, beset,
To where the strand and billows met;
There as his last step left the land,
And the last death-blow dealt his hand-
Ah! wherefore did he turn to look

For her his eye but sought in vain ?
That pause, that fatal gaze he took,

Hath doom'd his death, or fix'd his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain,
How late will lover's hope remain!
His back was to the dashing spray;
Behind, but close, his comrades lay,
When, at the instant, hiss'd the ball-
“So may the foes of Giaffir fall!”
Whose voice is heard ? whose carbine rang ?
Whose bullet through the night-air sang,
Too nearly, deadly aim'd to err?
'Tis thine-Abdallah's murderer!
The father slowly rued thy bate,
The son hath found a quicker fate:
Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling,
The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling-
If aught his lips essay’d to groan,
The rushing billows choked the tone!

XXVI.
Morn slowly rolls the clouds away;

Few trophies of the fight are there:
The shouts that shook the midnight-bay
Are silent; but some signs of fray

That strand of strife may bear,
And fragments of each shiver'd brand;
Steps stamp'd; and dash'd into the sand
The print of many a struggling hand

May there be mark’d; nor far remote

A broken torch, an oarless boat; And, tangled on the weeds that heap The beach where shelving to the deep,

There lies a white capote!
'Tis rent in twain-one dark-red stain
The wave yet ripples o'er in vain:

But where is he who wore?
Ye! who would o'er his relics weep,
Go, seek them where the surges sweep
Their burthen round Sigæum's sleep

And cast on Lemnos' shore:
The sea-birds shriek above the prey,
O’er which their hungry beaks delay,
As shaken on his restless pillow,
His head heaves with the heaving billow;

Another-and another and another
“Oh! fly-no more—yet now my more than

brother!"
Far, wide, through every thicket spread,
The fearful lights are gleaming red;
Nor these alone-for each right hand
Is ready with a sheathless brand.
They part, pursue, return, and wheel
With searching flambeau, shining steel;
And last of all, his sabre waving,
Stern Giaffir in his fury raving:
And now almost they touch the cave-
Oh! must that grot be Selim's grave?

XXIII.

Dauntless he stood—“'Tis come—soon past-
One kiss, Zuleika—'t is my last:

But yet my band not far from shore
May hear this signal, see the flash;
Yet now too few—the attempt were rash:

No malter-yet one effort more.”
Forth to the cavern mouth he stept;

His pistol's echo rang on high,
Zuleika started not, nor wept,

Despair benumb’d her breast and eye!
“They hear me not, or if they ply
Their oars, 't is but to see me die;
That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh.
Then forth my father's scimitar,
Thou ne'er hast seen less equal war!
Farewell, Zuleika!-Sweet! retire:

Yet stay within-here linger safe,

At thee his rage will only chafe.
Stir not-lest even to thee perchance
Some erring blade or ball should glance.
Fear'st thou for him ?-may I expire
If in this strife I seek thy sire!
No—though by him that poison pour’d:
No-though again he call me cowardl!
But tamely shall I meet their steel?
No—as each crest save his may feel!"

XXIV,

One bound he made, and gain'd the sand:

Already at his feet hath sunk
The foremost of the prying band,

A gasping head, a quivering trunk:
Another falls—but round him close
A swarming circle of his foes;
From right to left his path he clave,

And almost met the meeting wave:
His boat appears-not five oars' length-
His comrades strain with desperate strength-

Oh! are they yet in time to save ?

His feet the foremost breakers lave; His band are plunging in the bay, Their sabres glitter through the spray;

Thy pride of heart, thy bride of Osman's bed, She, whom thy sultan had but seen to wed,

Thy daughter 's dead! Hope of thine age, thy twilight's lonely beam,

The star hath set that shone on Helle's stream. What quench'd its ray 2-the blood that thou hast Hark! to the hurried question of Despair :(4) (shed! " Where is my child? ” an echo answers " Where?”

XXVIII.
Within the place of thousand tombs

That shine beneath, while dark above
The sad but living cypress glooms,
And withers not, though branch and leaf
Are stamp'd with an eternal grief,

Like early unrequited Love,
One spot exists, which ever blooms,

Even in that deadly grove-
A single rose is shedding there

Its lonely lustre, meek and pale:
It looks as planted by Despair-

So white--so faint--the slightest gale
Might whirl the leaves on high ;

And yet, though storms and blight assail,
And hands more rude than wintry sky

May wring it from the stem-in vain

To-morrow secs it bloom again!
The stalk some spirit gently reurs,
And waters with celestial tears;

For well may maids of Helle deem
That this can be no earthly flower,
Which mocks the tempesi's withering hour,
And buds unshelter'd by a bower;
Nor droops, though spring refuse her shower,

Nor woos the summer beam:
To it the livelong night there sings

A bird unseen-but not remote:
Invisible his airy wings,
But soft as harp that houri strings

His long entrancing note!
It were the bulbul; but his throat,

Though mournful, pours not such a strain;
For they who listen cannot leave
The spot, but linger there and grieve,

As if they loved in vain !
And yet so sweel the tears they shed,
"T is sorrow so unmix'd with dread,
They scarce can bear the morn to break

That melancholy spell,
And longer yet would weep and wake,

He sings so wild and well!

That hand, whose motion is not life,
Yet feebly seems to menace strife,
Flung by the tossing tide on high,

Then levell’d with the wave (1)
What recks it, though that corse shall lie

Within a living grave?
The bird that tears that prostrate form
Hath only robb’d the meaner worm;
The only heart, the only eye
Had bled or wept to see him die,
Had seen those scatter'd kimbs composed,

And mourn’d above his turban-stone, (2)
That heart hath burst-that eye was closed-
Yea-closed before his own!

XXVII.
By Helle's stream there is a voice of wail !
And woman's eye is wel-man's cheek is pale:
Zuleika! last of Giaffir's race,

Thy destined lord is come too late:
He sees not-ne'er shall see thy face!

Can he no: hear
The loud Wul-wulleh (3) warn his distant ear?

Thy handmaids weeping at the gate,

The Koran-chanters of the hymn of fate,
The silent slaves with folded arms that wait,
Sighs in the hall, and shrieks upon the gale,

Tell him thy tale!
Thou didst not view thy Selim fall!
That fearful moment when he left the cave

Thy heart grew chill:
He was thy hope-thy joy-thy love-lhine all-
And that last thought on him thou couldst not save

Sufficed to kill;
Burst forth in one wild cry—and all was still.

Peace to thy broken heart and virgin grave!
Ah! happy! but of life to lose the worst!
That grief-though deep-though fatal-was thy

first!
Thrice happy! ne'er to feel nor fear the force
Of absence, shame, pride, hate, revenge, remorse!
And, oh! that pang where more than madness lies !
The worm that will not sleep—and never dies;
Thought of the gloomy day and ghastly night,
That dreads the darkness, and yet loathes the light,
That winds around and tears the quivering heart!
Ah! wherefore not consume il—and depart !
Woe to thee, rash and unrelenting chief!

Vainly thou heap'st the dust upon thy head,
Vainly the sackcloth o'er thy limbs dost spread:

By that same hand Abdallalı-Selim-bleu.
Now let it tear thy beard in idle grief:

(1) “While the Salselle lay off the Dardanelles, Lord Byron (3) The death-song of the Turkish women. The “silent slaves" saw the body of a man, who had been execuled by being cast into are the men, whose notions of decorum forbid complaint in the sea, floating on the stream, moving to and fro with the public. trembling of the water, which gave to his arms ihe effect of scaring (4) “I came to the place of my birth, and cried, 'The friends away several sea-fowi that were hovering to devour. This in- of my youth, where are they?' and an echo answered Where are cident has been strikingly depicted." Gall.

they?'”—From an Arabic MS. The above quotation (from (2) A turban is carved in stone above the graves of men only. which the idea in the text is taken) must be already familiar lo

But when the day-blush bursts from high,

It was no mortal arm that bore Expires that magic melody.

That deep-fix'd pillar to the shore; And some have been who coull believe,

For there, as Helle's legends tell, So fondly youthful dreams deceive,

Next morn 't was found where Selim fell; Yet harsh be they that blame,)

Lash'd by the tumbling lide, whose wave Thal note so piercing and profound

Denied his bones a holier grave: Will shape and syllable(1) its sound

And there by night, reclined, 't is said, Into Zuleika's name. (2)

Is seen a ghastly turban'd head : 'T is from her cypress summit heard,

And hence extended by the billow, That melts in air the liquid word:

'T is named the “Pirate-phantom's pillow!" 'T is from her lowly virgin earth

Where first it lay, that morning flower That while rose lakes its tender birth.

Hath flourish’d; flourisheth this hour, There late was laid a marble stone;

Alone and dewy, coldly pure and pale; Eve saw it placed—ihe morrow gone!

As weeping Beauty's cheek at Sorrow's tale!(3) every reader : il is given in the first annotation, p. 67, of the prising, with no more rashness Iban becomes his youth; and Pleasures of Memory; a poem so well known as lo render a when disappointed in the success of a well-concerted project, reference almost superfluous; but to whose pages all will be

he meets, with intrepidity, the sale to which he is exposed through delighted to recur.

his own generous sorbearance. To us, The Bride of Abydos (1) " And airy tongues, that syllable men's names."- Milton. appears to be, in every respect, superior to The Giaour, though, For a belief that the souls of the dead inhabit the form of birds, in point of diction, it has been, perhaps, less warmly admired. se need not travel to the East. Lord Lyttleton's ghost story,

We will not argue this point, but will simply observe, that what the belief of the Duchess of kendal, that George I. New into her

is read with ease is generally read with rapidity; and that many window in the shape of a raven (sce Orford's Reminiscences), beauties of style, which escape observation io a simple and conaod many other instances, bring this superstition nearer home. nected narrative, would be forced on the reader's allention by The most singular was the whim of a Worcester lady, who, abrupt and perplexing transitions. It is only when a traveller believing her daughter to exist in the shape of a singing-bird, is obliged to stop on his journey, that he is disposed to examine literally furnished her pew in the cathedral with cages full of the and admire the prospect." George Ellis. Liud; and as she was rich, and a benefactress in beautifying the

(3) “The Bride, such as it is, is my first entire composition church, no objection was made to her harmless folly. For this of any length (except the Satire, and be d--d to it), for the anecdote, see Orford's Lellers.

Giaour is but a string of passages, and Childe Harold is, and I (9) "The heroine of this poem, the blooming Zuleika, is all rather think always will be, unconcluded. It was published on purity and loveliness. Never was a faultless character more de- Thursday, the 2d of .December; but how it is liked, I know not. licately or more justly delinea ed. ller piety, her intelligence, whether it succeeds or not, is no fault of the public, against her strict sense of duty, and her undeviating love of truth, appear

whom I can have no complaint. But I am much more indebied to bave been originally blended in her mind, rather than inculcated

10 the tale than I can ever be to the most important reader; as it by education. She is always natural, always attractive, always wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination ; from selfish affectionate; and it must be admitted that her affections are not regrets to vivid recollections; and recalled me to a country unworthily bestowed. Selim, while an orphan and dependanı, is : replete with the brightest and darkest, but always most lively, herer degraded by calamily; when belter hopes are presented 10

colours of my memory.” B. Diary, Dec. 5, 1813.-E. him, bis buoyant spirit riscs with his expectations: he is cnler

The Corsair ;

A TALE. (1)

I suoi pensieri in lui dormir non ponno."

Tasso Gerusalemme Liberala, canto 1.

[ocr errors]

TO THOMAS MOORE, ESQ.

and the most undoubted and various talents. While

Ireland ranks you among the firmest of her patriols ; My DEAR MOORE,—I dedicate to you the last pro- while you stand alone the first of her bards in her duction with which I shall trespass on public pa- estimation, and Britain repeats and ratifies the tience, and your indulgence, for some years; and decree, permit one, whose only regret, since our Town that I feel anxious to avail myself of this latest first acquaintance, bas been the years he had lost and only opportunity of adorning my pages with a before it commenced, to add the bumble but sincere name, consecrated by unshaken public principle, suffrage of friendship, to the voice of more than onc

1

(1) The Corsair was begun on the 18th, and finished on the perhaps, unparalleled in the literary bistory of the country 31st, of December, 1813; a rapidity of composition which, taking Lord Byron states it to have been wrillen "con amore, and very into consideration the extraordinary beauty of the poem, is, much from existence."-E.

« PreviousContinue »