« PreviousContinue »
Thus bending o'er the vessel's laving side, To gaze on Dlan's wave-reflected sphere, The soul forgets her schemes of hope and pride, And flies unconscious o'er each backward year. Sane are so desolate but something dear, Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd A thought, and claims the homage of a tear; A Cashing pang: of which the weary breast Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell, To slowly trace the forest's shady scene, Where things that own not man's dominion dwell, And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been; To climb tbe trackless mountain all unseen, With the wild flock that never needs a fold; Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean; This U not solitude; 't is but to hold [unroll'd. Convene with Nature's charms, and view her stores
But "midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men, To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess, And roam along, the world's tired denizen, With none who bless us, none whom we can bless; Minions of splendour shrinking from distress t None that, with kindred consciousness endued, If wo were not, would seem to smile the less, Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued; This is to be alone; this, this is solitude 1
More blest the life of godly eremite, Sucb as on lonely Athos may be seen,1 Watching at eve upon the giant height, Which looks o'er waves so blue, skies so serene, That he who there at such an hour hath been Will wistful linger on that hallow'd spot; Then slowly tear him from the 'witching scene, Sigh forth one wish that such had been his lot, Then turn to hate a world he had almost forgot
II Pas* we the long, unvarying course, the track
1 'One of Lard Byron's chief delights was, as he himself <tr* in ooe of his journals, alter bathing tn some retired at, to scat himself on a high rock above the sea, and there for hours, gazing upon the sky and the waters. "He Ird the life," says Sir Egerton Brydges, "as he wrote the (.Trains, of a true poet. He could sleep, and very frequently to. sieep, wrapped up in his rough great coat, on the hard fcttxrds of a deck, while the winds and the waves were roaring I ncad him on every side, and could subsist on a crust and a caw of water. It would be difficult to persuade me, that he rsi is a coxcomb in his manners, and artificial in his habits a? life, could write good poetry. "J
* Coxa is said to have been tbe island of Calypso [" The
■dvwtjty of tbe habitation assigned by poets to the nymph Carypao, baa occasioned much discussion and variety of 'waum. Some place it at Malta, and some at Goza.'"— Hoara's Classical Tour.] I 1 ff'or an account of this accomplished but eccentric lady,
But not in silence pass Calypso's isles,4 The sister tenants of the middle deep; There for the weary still a haven smiles, Though the fair goddess long hath ceased to weep, And o'er her cliffs a fruitless watch to keep For him who dared prefer a mortal bride: Here, too, his boy essay'd the dreadful leap Stern Mentor urged from high to yonder tide; While thus of both bereft, the nymph-queen doubly sighed.
Her reign is past, her gentle glories gone: But trust not this: too easy youth, beware! A mortal sovereign holds her dangerous throne, And thou may'st find a new Calypso there. Sweet Florence! could another ever share This wayward, loveless heart, it would be thine: But check'd by every tie, I may not dare To cast a worthless offering at thy shrine, Nor ask so dear a breast to feel one pang for mine.
Thus Harold deem'd, as on that lady's eye He look'd, and met its beam without a thought Save Admiration glancing harmless by: Love kept aloof, albeit not far remote, Who knew his votary often lost and caught, But knew him as his worshipper no more, And ne'er again the boy his bosom sought: Since now he vainly urged him to adore. Well deem'd the little God his ancient sway was o'er.
Fair Florence3 found, in sooth with some amaze, One who, 't was said, still sigh'd to all he saw, Withstand, unmoved, the lustre of her gaze, Which others liail'd with real or mimic awe, [law; Their hope, their doom, their punishment, their All that gay Beauty from her bondsmen claims: And much she marvell'd that a youth so raw Nor felt, nor feign'd at least, the oft-told flames, Which, though sometimes they frown, yet rarely anger
Little knew she that seeming marble heart. Now mask'd in silence or withheld by pride, Was not unskilful in the spoiler's art,4 And spread its snares licentious far and wide; * Nor from the base pursuit had turn'd aside, As long as aught was worthy to pursue: But Harold on such arts no more relied; And had he doted on those eyes so blue, Yet never would he join the lover's whining crew.
whose acquaintance the poet formed at Malta, see Miscellaneous Poems, September, 1H09, * To Florence." "In one so imaginative as Lord Byron, who, while he infused so much of his life into his poetry, mingled also not a little of poetry with his life, It is difficult," says Moore, "in unravelling the texture of his feelings, to distinguish at all times between the fanciful and the real. His description Actt, for instance, of the unmoved and * loveless heart,' with which lie contemplated even the charms of this attractive person, is wholly at variance with the statements in many of his letters; and, above all, with one of the most graceful of his lesser poems, addressed to this same lady, during a thunder-storm on his road to Zltxa."]
4 [Against this line it is sufficient to set the poet's own declaration, in Ih21 : —" I am not a Joseph, nor a Scipio. but 1 can safely affirm, that 1 never in my life seduced any woman. "J
1 Wo have here another instance of his propensity to XXXIV.
Not much he kens, I ween, of woman's breast, w!in thinks that wanton thing is won by sighs; What careth she for hearts when once possess'd? Do proper homage to thine idol's eyes; But not too humbly, or she will despise Thee and thy suit, though told in moving tropes: Disguise ev'n tenderness, if thou art wise; Brisk Confidence 1 still best with woman copes: Pique her and soothe in turn, soon Passion crowns thy hopes.
'T is an old lesson; Time approves it true. And those who know it best, deplore it most; When all is won that all desire to woo, The paltry prize is hardly worth the cost: Youth wasted, minds degraded, honour lost, These are thy fruits, successful Passion ! these! If, kindly cruel, early hope is crest, Still to the last it rankles, a disease, Mot to be cured when love itself forgets to please.
Away I nor let me loiter in my song, For we have many a mountain-path to tread, And many a varied shore to sail along, By pensive Sadness, not by Fiction, led — Climes, fair withal as ever mortal head Imagined in its little schemes of thought; Ot e'er in new Utopias were ared, To teach man what he might be, or he ought; If that corrupted thing could ever such be taught.
Dear Nature is the kindest mother still, Though always changing in her aspect mild; From her bare bosom let me take my fill, Her never-wean'd, though not her favour'd child. Oh! she is fairest in her features wild, Where nothing polish'd dares pollute her path: To me by day or night she ever smiled, Though I have mark'd her when none other hath, And sought her more and more, and loved her best in wrath.
XXXVIII. Land of Albania! where Iskander rose, Theme of the young, and beacon of the wise, And he his namesake, whose oft-baffied foes Shrunk from his deeds of chivalrous emprize: Land of Albania 2 ! let me bend mine eyes On thee, thou rugged nurse of savage men! The cross descends, thy minarets arise. And the pale crescent sparkles in the glen, Through many a cypress grove within each city's ken.
self-misrepresentation. However great might have been the irregularities of his college life, such phrases as 'the spoiler's art,' -anil * spreading snares,' were in no wise applicable to them."— Mourn:. J
'[" Brisk Impudence." Ac. — M.S.]
* See Appendix to this Canto, Note [BJ.
s Ithaca. — [" Sept. 14th," says Mr. Hohhouse, "we were In the channel, with Ithaca, then in the hands of the French, to th« west of us. We w*cre close to It, and saw a few shruhs on a brown heathy land, two little towns in the hills, scat, tercd amongst trees, and a windmill or two, with a tower on the heights. That Ithaca was not very strongly garrisoned, you will easily believe, when I tell, that a month afterwards, when the Ionian Islands were invested by a British squadron, it was surrendered into the hands of a sergeant and seven
Child-i Harold sail'd, and pass'd the barren spot Where sad Penelope o'crlook'd the wave; s And onward view'd the mount, not yet forgot, The lover's refuge, and the Lesbian's grave. Dark Sappho i could not verse immortal save That breast Imbued with such immortal fire? Could she not live who life eternal gave? It life eternal may await the lyre, That only Heaven to which Earth's children may aspire.
'T was on a Grecian autumn's gentle eve Childe Harold hail'd Leucadia's cape afar; * A spot he long'd to see, nor cared to leave: Oft did he mark the scenes of vanish'd war, Actium, Lcpanto, fatal Trafalgar;5 Mark them unmoved, for he would not delight (Born beneath some remote inglorious star) In themes of bloody fray, or gallant fight, [wight But loathed the bravo's trade, and laughed at martial
But when he saw the evening star above Leucadia's far-projecting rock of woe, And hail'd the last resort of fruitless love, He felt, or deem'd he felt, no common glow: And as the stately vessel glided slow Beneath the shadow of that ancient mount, He watch'd the billows' melancholy flow, And, sunk albeit in thought as he was wont, More placid seem'd his eye, and smooth his pallid front •
Mom dawns: and with it stern Albania's hills, Dark Suli's rocks, and Pindus' inland peak. Robed half in mist, bedew'd with snowy rills, Array'd in many a dun and purple streak, Arise; and, as the clouds along them break, Disclose the dwelling of the mountaineer; Here roams the wolf, the eagle whets his beak, Birds, beasts of prey, and wilder men appear, [year. And gathering storms around convulse the closing
Now Harold felt himself at length alone, And bade to Christian tongues a long adieu; Now he adventured on a shore unknown. Which all admire, but many dread to view: His breast was arm'd 'gainst fate, his wants were few; Peril he sought not, but ne'er shrank to meet: The scene was savage, but the scene was new; This made the ceaseless toil of travel sweet, [heat Boat back keen winter's blast, and welcomed summer's
men." For a very curious account of the state of the kingdom of Ulysses in 1816, see Williams's Travels, vol. ii. p. 427.J
4 Leucadla, now Santa Maura. From the promontory (the Lover's Leap) Sappho is said to have thrown herself. — [" Sept. 28th, we doubled the promontory of Santa Maura, and saw the precipice which the fate of Sappho, the poetry of Ovid, and the rocks so formidable to the ancient mariners, have made for ever memorable," — Hobhousk.]
3 Actium and Trafalgar need no further mention. The battle of Lopanto, equally bloody and considerable, but less known, was fought in the Gulf of Patras. Here the author of Don Quixote lost his left band.
6 [" And roused him more from thought than he was wont. While Pleasure almost seemed to smooth bit placid front"—MS.]
I] Here the red cross, for still the cross is here.
Arabracia's gulf behold, where once was lost A world for woman, lovely, harmless thing! In yonder rippling bay, their naval host Did many a Roman chief and Asian king > To doubtful conflict, certain slaughter bring: look where the second Caesar's trophies rose :5 Now, like the hands that rear'd them, withering: imperial anarchs, doubling human woes! Goo: was thy globe ordain'd for such to win and lose?
From the dark barriers of that rugged clime, Er'n to the centre of Dlyria's vales, Cailde Harold pass'd o'er many a mount sublime, I Through lands scarce noticed in historic talcs; Yet in famed Attica such lovely dales Are rarely seen; nor can fair Tempe boast A charm they know not; loved Parnassus falls, Though classic ground and consecrated most. To match some spots that lurk within this lowering
He pass'd bleak Pindus, Acherusia's lake,3 And left the primal city of the land, And onwards did his further journey take To greet Albania's chief 4, whose dread command Is lawless law; for with a bloody hand He sways a nation, turbulent and bold; Trt here and there some daring mountain-band Disdain his power, and from their rocky hold Hnri their defiance far, nor yield, unless to gold.*
1 It is said, that, on the day previous to the battle of Atiom, Antony had thirteen kings at his levee— [" Town" (not. 11}, " I saw the remains of the town of Actium, tir which Antony lost the world, in a small bay, where two 'nan could hardly manoeuvre: a broken wall is the solo roimot. On another part of the gulf stand the ruins of >ieor*Us, built by Augustus, in honour of his victory." — la kit Mouut, 1809 ]
: Xicopous, whose ruins are most extensive, Is at some aatinee from Actium, where the wall of the Hippodrome wrrires iQ a few fragments. These ruins are large masses « brickwork, the bricks of which are joined by interstices « mortar, as large as the bricks themselves, and equally ihiribk.
1 According to Pouquevllle, the lake of Yanina: but TouI Rwrthe is always out.
1 The celebrated All Pacha. Of this extraordinary man ; j«re Is an incorrect account in Pouquevillc's Travels. — £" I Malta In the Spider brig-of-war, on the 21st of September, wd arrived in eight days at Prevesa. I thence have traversed t".:nt-nor of the province of Albania, on a visit to the "tf-ia, a* far as Tepaleen, his highness's country palace, 1 stayed three days. The name of the Pacha is All, "a he is considered a man of the first abilities : he governs '-' whole of Albania (the ancient Illyricum), Epirus, and Wnf Macedonia."— B. la hit Mother.]
irre thousand Suliotes, among the rocks and In the castle
tf Suli. with*tn,iH thirtv M
Soli, withstood thirty thousand Albanians for efghttren fears; the castle at last was taken by bribery. In this contest 'ficre were leveral act* performed not unworthy of the better kpofGrwce.
The convent and village of Zltia are four hours' journey
Monastic Zitza6 ! from thy shady brow, Thou small but favour'd spot of holy ground I Where'er we gaze, around, above, below, What rainbow tints, what magic charms are found! Rock, river, forest, mountain, all abound, And bluest skies that harmonise the whole: Beneath, the distant torrent's rushing sound Tells where the volumed cataract doth roll Between those hanging rocks, that shock yet please the soul.
Amidst the grove that crowns yon tufted hill, Which, were it not for many a mountain nigh Rising in lofty ranks, and loftier still, Might well itself be deem'd of dignity, The convent's white walls glisten fair on high: Here dwells the caloyer nor rude is he, Nor niggard of his cheer; the passer by Is welcome still; nor heedless will he flee From hence, if he delight kind Nature's sheen to see.
Here in the sultriest season let him rest, Fresh is the green beneath those aged trees; Here winds of gentlest wing will fan his breast, From heaven itself he may inhale the breeze: The plain is far beneath — oh 1 let him seize Pure pleasure while he can; the scorching ray Here pierceth not, impregnate with disease: Then let his length the loitering pilgrim lay, And gaze, untired, the morn, the noon, the eve away.
Dusky and huge, enlarging on the sight.
Close shamed Elysium's gates, my shade shall seek for
from Joannina, or Yanina, the capital of the Pachalick. In the valley the river Kalamas (once the Acheron) flows, and, not far from Zttza. forms a fine cataract. The situation is per. haps the finest in Greece, though the approach to Dclvlnachi and parts of Acarnania and AEtolia may contest the palm. Delphi, Parnassus, and, in Attica, even Cape Colonna and Port Raphti, are very inferior; as also every scene in Ionia, or the Troad: 1 am almost inclined to add the approach to Constantinople; but, from the different features of the last, a comparison can hardly be made. [M Zitza," says the poet's companion," is a village inhabited by Greek peasants. Perhaps there is not in the world a more romantic prospect than that which is viewed from the summit of the hill. The foreground is a gentle declivity, terminating on every side in an extensive landscape of green hills antl dale, enriched with vinevards. and dotted with frequent flocks."]
• The Greek monks are so called. —[" We went Into the monastery," says Mr. Hobhouse, "after some parley with one of the monks, through a small door plated with iron, on which the marks of violence were very apparent, and which, before the country hod been tranquiliiscd under the powerful government of All, had been battered in vain by the troops of robbers then, by turns, infesting every district. The prior, a humble, meek-mannered man, entertained us in a warm chamber with grapes, and a pleasant white wine, not trodden out, as he told us, by the feet, but pressed from the grape by the hand; niid we were so well pleased with every thing about us, that wc agreed to lodge with him on our return from the Vizier."]
H The Chimariot mountains appear to have been volcanic.
9 Now called Kalamas.
10 F' Keep heaven for better souls, my shade," &c — MS.]
Ne city's towers pollute the lovely view; Unseen is Yanina, though not remote, Veil'd by the screen of hills: here men are few, Scanty the hamlet, rare the lonely cot: But, peering down each precipice, the goat Browseth j and, pensive o'er his scatter'd flock, The little shepherd in his white capote' Doth lean his boyish form along the rock, Or in his cave awaits the tempest's short-lived shock.
Oh! where, Dodona! is thine aged grove, Prophetic fount, and oracle divine? What valley echoed the response of Jove? What trace remaineth of the Thunderer's shrine? All, all forgotten — and shall man repine That his frail bonds to fleeting life are broke? Cease, fool! the fate of gods may well be thine: Wouldst thou survive the marble or the oak? When nations, tongues, and worlds must sink beneath the stroke!
Epirus' bounds recede, and mountains fail j Tired of up-gazing still, the wearied eye Reposes gladly on as smooth a vale As ever Spring yclad in grassy dye: Kv'n on a plain no humble beauties lie, Where some bold river breaks the long expanse, And woods along the banks are waving high, Whose shadows in the glassy waters dance, Or with the moonbeam sleep in midnight's solemn trance.
The sun had sunk behind vast Tomerit,« And Laos wide and fierce came roaring by; > The shades of wonted night were gathering yet, When, down the steep banks winding warily, Childc Harold saw, like meteors in the sky. The glittering minarets of Tepalen, Whose walls o'erlook the stream -, and drawing nigh, He heard the busy hum of warrior-men [glen. * Swelling the breeze that sigh'd along the lengthening
He pass'd the sacred Haram's silent tower,
1 Albanese cloak.
8 Anciently Mount Tomarus.
s The river Laos was full at the time the author passed it; and, immediately above Tepaleen, was to the eye as wide as the Thames at Westminster ; at least in the opinion of the author and his fellow-traveller. In the summer it must be much narrower. It certainly is the finest river in the Levant; neither Achelous, Alpheus, Acheron, Scamander.nor Cayster, approached it in breadth or beauty.
* P* All Pacha, hearing that an Englishman of rank was in his dominions, left orders, in Yanina, with the commandant, to provide a house, and supply me with every kind of necessary gratis. I rode out on the vizier's horses, and saw the palaces of himself and grandsons. I shall never forget the singular scene on entering Tepaleen, at live in the afternoon (Oct. 11.), as the sun was going down. It brought to my mind (with some change of dress, however,) Scott's description of Branksome Castle in his Lay, and the feudal system. The Albanians in their dresses (the most magnificent in the world, consisting of a long white kilt, gold-worked cloak, crimson velvet gold-laced jacket and waistcoat, silver-mounted pistols and daggers); the Tartars, with their high caps; the Turks in their vast pelisses and turbans; the soldiers and black slaves with the horses, the former In groups, in an immense
Amidst no common pomp the despot sate, While busy preparation shook the court, Slaves, eunuchs, soldiers, guests, and santons wait; Within, a palace, and without, a fort: Here men of every clime appear to make resort.
Richly caparisou'd, a ready row Of armed horse, and many a warlike store. Circled the wide-extending court below; Above, strange groups adorn'd the corridore; And oft-times through the area's echoing door. Some high-capp'd Tartar spurr'd his steed away: The Turk, the Greek, the Albanian, and the Moor, Here mingled in their many-hued array, [of day. While the deep war-drum's sound announced the close
The wild Albanian kirtled to his knee,
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 solemn sound, The Muezzin's call doth shake the minaret, "There is no god hut God 1 — to prayer — lo! God is great!" 5
Just at this season Ramazani's fast6 Through the long day its penance did maintain: 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.
large open gallery in front of the palace, the latter placed in a kind of cloister below It; two hundred steeds ready caparisoned to move in a moment; couriers entering or passing out with despatches; the kettle-drums beating; boys coiling the hour from the minaret of the mosque ; —altogether, with the singular appearance of the building Itself, formed a new and delightful spectacle to a stranger. I was conducted to a very handsome apartment, and my health Inquired after by the vizier's secretary,4 a la mode Turque.'" — B. Letters.']
5 £M On our arrival at Tepaleen, we were lodged la the palace. During the night, we were disturbed by the perpetual carousal which seemed to bo 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 or the raosck attached to the palace. The chanter was a boy, and he aang out his hymn in a sort of loud melancholy recitative. He was a long time repeating the purport of these few word*: 'God most high 1 1 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.]'
0 [" We were a little unfortunate in the time we chose for travelling, for It was during the Ramazan, or Turkish Lent, which fell this year in October, and was hailed at the riling