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The Moslem warriors sternly teach
His skill to pierce the promised breach:
Within these walls a maid was pent
HU hope would win, without consent
Of that inexorable sire,
Whose heart refused him in its ire,
Then Alp, beneath his Christian name,
Her virgin hand aspired to claim.
In happier mood, and earlier time,
While unimpeach'd for traitorous crime,
Git est in gondola or hall,
He clitter'd through the Carnival; *
And tuned the softest serenade
Thit e'er on Adria's waters play'd
At midnight to Italian maid. 1
And many deem'd her heart was won;
Sent by the state to guard the land,
(Which, wrested from the Moslem's hand,
While Sobieski tamed his pride
By Buda't wall and Danube's side,
The chiefs of Venice wrung away
From Patra to Eubora's bay,)
MiDotti held in Corinth's towers
The Doge's delegated powers,
While yet the pitying eye of Peace
Smiled o'er her long forgotten Greece:
And ere that faithless truce was broke
Which freed her from the unchristian yolce,
With him his gentle daughter came;
Sor there, since Menelaus' dame
Forsook her lord and land, to prove
What woes await on lawless love,
Had fairer form adorn'd the shore
Than she, the matchless stranger, bore.
The wall is rent, the ruins yawn;
'[" k midnight eoartihlp to Italian maid." —MS.] 1 p* And make a melancholy moan.
To murtal voice and ear unknown." — MS.]
The full of hope, misnamed " forlorn,"
'T is midnight: on the mountains brown
The cold, round moon shines deeply down;
Blue roll the waters, blue the sky
Spreads like an ocean hung on high,
Bespangled with those isles of light,
So wildly, spiritually bright;
Who ever gazed upon them shining
And turn'd to earth without repining,
Nor wish'd for wings to flee away,
And mix with their eternal ray?
The waves on either shore lay there
Calm, clear, and azure as the air;
And scarce their foam the pebbles shook,
But murmur'd meekly as the brook.
The winds were pillow'd on the waves;
The banners droop'd along their staves,
And, as they fell around them furling,
Above them shone the crescent curling;
And that deep silence was unbroke.
Save where the watch his signal spoke,
Save where the steed neigh'd oft and shrill,
And echo answer'd from the hill,
And the wide hum of that wild host
Rustled like leaves from coast to coast,
As rose the Muezzin's voice in air
In midnight call to wonted prayer;
It rose, that chanted mournful strain,
Like some lone spirit's o'er the plain:
'T was musical, but sadly sweet,
Such as when winds and harp-strings meet,
And take a long unmeasured tone.
To mortal minstrelsy unknown. 2
It scem'd to those within the wall
A cry prophetic of their fall:
It struck even the besieger's ear
With something ominous and drear,
An undefined and sudden thrill,
Which makes the heart a moment still,
Then beat with quicker pulse, ashamed
Of that strange sense its silence framed;
Such as a sudden passing-bell
Wakes, though but for a stranger's knell. 3
The tent of Alp was on the shore;
The sound was hush'd, the prayer was o'er;
The watch was set, the night-round made,
All mandates Issued and obey'd:
'T is but another anxious night,
His pains the morrow may requite
With all revenge and love can pay,
In guerdon for their long delay.
Few hours remain, and he hath need
Of rest, to nerve for many a deed
Of slaughter: but within his soul
The thoughts like troubled waters roll.
> [" Which rlngu a deep, internal knell, A visionary pasting bell." — Ms. J
He stood alone among the host;
Not Uis the loud fanatic boast
To plant the crescent o'er the cross.
Or risk a life with little loss,
Secure in paradise to be
By Houris loved immortally:
Nor his, what burning patriots feel,
The stern exaltedness of zeal,
Profuse of blood, untired in toil.
When battling on the parent 60IL
He stood alone — a renegade
Against the country he betray'd;
He stood alone amidst his band,
Without a trusted heart or hand:
They follow'd him, for he was brave,
And great the spoil he got and gave ;*
They crouch'd to him, for he had skill
To warp and wield the vulgar will:
But still his Christian origin
With them was little less than sin.
They envied even the faithless fame
He earn'd beneath a Moslem name ,
Since he, their mightiest chief, had been
In youth a bitter Nazarene.
They did not know how pride can stoop,
When baffled feelings withering droop;
They did not know how hate can burn
In hearts once changed from soft to stern;
Nor all the false and fatal ieal
The convert of revenge can feeL
He ruled them — man may rule the worst,
By ever daring to be first:
So lions o'er the jackal sway;
The jackal points, he fells the prey,1
Then on the vulgar yelling press,
To gorge the relics of success.
His head grows fever'd, and his pulse
1 As lions o'er the jackal
on the 1
liow on, and yelling press To gorge the fragments of success."— MS.J
He felt his soul become more light
Not mindless of these mighty times
Was Alp, despite his flight and crimes;
And through this night, as on he wander'd.
And o'er the past and present ponder'd.
And thought upon the glorious dead
Who there in better cause had bled,
He felt how faint and feebly dim
The fame that could accrue to him,
Who cheer'd the band, and waved the sword,
A traitor in a turban'd horde;
And led them to the lawless siege,
Whose best success were sacrilege.
Not so had those his fancy number'd.
The chiefs whose dust around him slumber'd;
Their phalanx marshall'd on the plain,
Whose bulwarks were not then in vain.
They fell devoted, but undying;
The very gale their name seem'd sighing:
The waters murmur'd of their name;
The woods were peopled with their fame;
The silent pillar, lone and grey,
Claim'd kindred with their sacred clay;
Their spirits wrapp'd the dusky mountain.
Their memory sparkled o'er the fountain;
The meanest rill, the mightiest river
Roll'd mingling with their fame for ever.
Despite of every yoke she bears.
That land Is glory's still and theirs ! 3
1 He v.Linl v tum'il from side to ilde,
And each reposing posture tried."— MS.J » [Here followi. In MS.—
"Immortal —lioundlesi — undecay'd—-
T U still a watch-word to the earth:
Still by the shore Alp mutely mused,
: wildest of waves, in their angriest mood,
Be wander'd on along the beach,
- [• Where Freedom loveliest may be won." — MS.] 1 The reader need hardly be reminded that there are no percrptiole tides in the Mediterranean. I 1 [~ Or would not waste on a single head I The hail on numbers better sped." — MS.]
* [Omit the rest of this section. — Giftobd.] | 1 This spectacle I have seen, such as described, beneath the nD of the Seraglio at Constantinople, in the little cavities •vn by the Bosphorus in the rock, a narrow terrace of which presets between the wail and the water. 1 think the fact is alio DieMkmed in Hobhouse's Travels. The bodies were fntmbt? those of some refractory Janixarics. [" The sensaonoa produced by the state of the weather, and leaving a ODsBfortabse cabin, were in unison with the impressions which •e frit when, passing under the palace of the sultans, and rasing at the snoomy cypresses which rise above the walls, wo Mp two dogs gnawing a dead body." — Hobhousb.] 1 [This passage shows the force of Lord Byron's pencil. —
I This toft, or long lock. Is left, from a superstition that HabotDpt will draw them into Paradise by it. s [Than the mangled corpse in its own blood lying. — G.]
So well had they broken a lingering fast
With those who had fallen for that night's repast. s
And Alp knew, by the turbans that roll'd on the sand,
The foremost of these were the best of his band:
Crimson and green were the shawls of their wear,
And each scalp bad a single long tuft of hair, 7
All the rest was shaven and bare.
The scalps were In the wild dog's maw,
The hair was tangled round his jaw:
But close by the shore, on the edge of the gulf,
There sat a vulture flapping a wolf.
Who had stolen from the hills, but kept away,
Scared by the dogs, from the human prey;
But he seized on his share of a steed that lay,
Plck'd by the birds, on the sands of the bay.
Alp turn'd him from the sickening sight:
Never had shaken his nerves in light;
But he better could brook to behold the dying,
Deep in the tide of their warm blood lying,8
Scorch'd with the death-thirst, and writhing in vain,
Than the perishing dead who arc past all pain. •
There Is something of pride in the perilous hour,
Whate'er be the shape In which death may lower;
For Fame is there to say who bleeds,
And Honour's eye on daring deeds!
But when all is past, it is humbling to tread
O'er the weltering field of the tombless dead, ">
And see worms of the earth, and fowls of the air,
Beasts of the forest, all gathering there;
All regarding man as their prey,
All rejoicing in his decay, i >
There is a temple in ruin stands,
What we have seen, our sons shall sec;
» [Strike out—
"Scorch'd with the death-thirst, and writhing in vain, Than the perishing dead who are past all pain." What is a "perishing dead?"— Giftobd]
10 [O'er the weltering limbs of the tombless dead — G-]
11 [" All that liveth on man will prey,
All rejoice in his decay,
All that can kimllc dismay and disgust
Follow his frame from the bier to the dust."— MS.] IS [Omit this couplet. _ G.] B [After this follows In MS.—
u Monuments tliat the coming ape
leaves to the spoil of the seasons' rage —
Till Ruin makes the relics scarce,
Then Learning acts her solemn farce,
And, roaming through the marble waste,
Prates of beauty, art, and taste.
"That Temple was more in the midst of the plain;
He sate him down at a pillar's base, >
And pass'd bis band athwart bis face;
Like one in drear; musing mood,
Declining was his attitude;
His head was drooping on his breast,
Fever'd, throbbing, and oppress'd:
And o'er his brow, so downward bent,
Oft his beating fingers went,
Hurriedly, as you may see
Tour own run over the ivory key,
Ere the measured tone is taken
By the chords you would awaken.
There he sate all heavily,
As he heard the night-wind sigh.
Was it the wind through some hollow stone
Sent that soft and tender moan ? f
He lifted his head, and he look'd on the sea,
But it was unrippled as glass may be;
He look'd on the long grass — it waved not a blade;
How was that gentle sound convey'd?
He look'd to the banners—each flag lay still,
So did the leaves on Citha:ron's hill,
And he felt not a breath come over his check;
What did that sudden sound bespeak?
He turn'd to the left—is he sure of sight?
There sate a lady, youthful and bright!
He started up with more of fear
Than if an armed foe were near.
"God of ray fathers! what is here?
Who art thou, and wherefore sent
So near a hostile armament?"
His trembling hands refused to sign
The cross he deem'd no more divine:
He had resumed it in that hour,
But conscience wrung away the power.
He gazed, he saw: he knew the face
Of beauty, and the form of grace;
It was Francesca by his side,
The maid who might have been his bride!
The rose was yet upon her check,
< [From thli, all is beautiful to — ** He uw not, he knew not; but nothing ii there."— GirroRD.]
2 I must hero acknowledge a close, though unintentional, resemblance in these twelve lines to a passage in an unpublished poem of Mr. Coleridge, called " Christabel." It was not till after these lines were written that I heard that wild and singularly original and beautiful poem recited; and the MS. of that production 1 never saw till very recently, by the kindness of Mr. Coleridge himself, who, I hope, is convinced that I have not been a wilful plagiarist The original idea undoubtedly pertains to Mr. Coleridge, whose poem has been composed above fourteen years. Let me conclude by a hope that he will not longer delay the publication of a production, of which I can only add my mite of approbation to the applause
And ere yet she made reply,
Once she raised her hand on high;
It was so wan, and transparent of hue,
You might have seen the moon shine through.
"I come from my rest to him I love best,
That I may be happy, and he may be bless'd.
I have pass'd the guards, the gate, the wall;
Sought thee in safety through foes and all.
'T is said the lion will turn and flee
From a maid in the pride of her purity;
And the Power on high, that can shield the good
Thus from the tyrant of the wood,
Hath extended its mercy to guard me as well
From the hands of the leaguering infidel.
I come—and if I come in vain,
Never, oh never, we meet again!
Thou hast done a fearful deed
In falling away from thy fathers' creed:
But dash that turban to earth, and sign
The sign of the cross, and for ever be mine;
Wring the black drop from thy heart,
And to-morrow unites us no more to part."
"And where should our bridal couch be spread?
In the midst of the dying and the dead?
For to-morrow we give to the slaughter and flame
The sons and the shrines of the Christian name.
None, save thou and thine, I've sworn,
Shall be left upon the morn:
But thee will I bear to a lovely spot, [forgot.
Upon his hand she laid her own—
Light was the touch, but it thrill'd to the bone,
And shot a chillness to his heart,
Which flx'd him beyond the power to start.
Though slight was that grasp so mortal cold,
He could not loose him from its hold;
But never did clasp of one so dear
Strike on the pulse with such feeling of fear,
As those thin fingers, long and white,
Froze through his blood by their touch that night.
The feverish glow of his brow was gone,
And his heart sank so still that it felt like stone,
As he look'd on the face, and beheld its hue,
So deeply changed from what he knew:
Fair hut faint—without the ray
Of mind, that made each feature play
Like sparkling waves on a sunny day;
of far more competent Judges—[The following are the lines in "Christabel" which Lord Byron had unintentionally imitated:—
"The night is chill, the forest hare.
1 [And its thrilling glance, &c. — Gifford.]
And her motionless lips lay still as death,
.lad hrr words came forth without her breath,
And there rose not a heave o'er her bosom's swell,
And then seem'd not a pulse in her veins to dwell.
Though hrr eye shone out, yet the lids were flx'd,
And the glance that it gave was wild and unmix'd
With aught of change, as the eyes may seem
Of tat restless who walk in a troubled dream;
Lib the figures on arras, that gloomily glare,
Sbrra by the breath of the wintry air,1
- Ken by the dying lamp's fitful light,
Lifeless hut life-like, and awful to sight; [down
At they seem, through the dimness, about to come
Fiwn the shadowy wall where their images frown;4
FnrfuUj flitting to and fro,
A) the gusts on the tapestry come and go.
* If not for love of me be given
Thus much, then, for the love of heaven, —
Again I say — that turban tear
From off thy faithless brow, and swear
Thine injured country's sons to spare,
Or thou art lost; and never shalt see—
Not earth—that's past—but heaven or me.
If this thou dost accord, albeit
A heavy doom 'tis thine to meet,
That doom shall half absolve thy sin,
And mercy's gate may receive thee within:
But pause one moment more, and take
The curse of Him thou didst forsake;
And look once more to heaven, and sec
to lore for ever shut from thee.
There is a light cloud by the moon—'
"T is passing, and will pass full soon —
If, by the time its vapoury sail
Hath ceased her shaded orb to veil,
Thy heart within thee is not changed,
Then God and man are both avenged;
Dark will thy doom be, darker still
Thine immortality of ill."
Alp look'd to heaven, and saw on high
The <ign she spake of in the sky;
But his heart was swollen, and turn'd aside,
By deep interminable pride.
This first false passion of his breast
Boll'd like a torrent o'er the rest.
ft sue for mercy! He dismay'd
By wild words of a timid maid.'
He, wrong'd by Venice, vow to save
Her sons, devoted to the grave I
1 [" Like a picture, that magic had charm'd from its frame.
Lifeless but life-like, and ever the same."—MS.] •Tin the summer of 1803, when in his sixteenth year, L<*d Byron, though offered a bed at Annesley, used at first to mum every night to sleep at Newstead; alleging as a "awn, that he was afraid of the family pictures of the Cias-orths; that he fancied " they had taken a grudge to him sreount of the duel." Mr. Moon' thinks it may possibly Ssrc been the recollection of these pictures that suggested to a» that lines.] 1 I have been told that the idea expressed In this and the lines has been admired by those whose appro
n li valuable. I am glad of it: but It is not original — * least not mine; it may be found much better expressed in ssra ltt-J-4. of the English version of " Vathek" (I forget Csr precise page of the French), a work to which I have "saws referred; and never recur to, or read, without a re
aewal of gratification [The following Is the passage: —
"Deluded prince !' said the Genius, addressing the Caliph, 'to whom Providence hath confided the care of innumerable subjects; is it thus that thou fulfillest thy mission? TV crimes are already completed; and art thou now Uueamj to thy punishment? Thou knowest that bo
No—though that cloud were thunder's worst,
He look'd upon it earnestly,
Without an accent of reply;
He watch'd it passing; it is flown:
Full on his eye the clear moon shone,
And thus he spake — " Whate'er my fate,
I am no changeling—'tis too late:
The reed in storms may bow and quiver,
Then rise again; the tree must shiver.
What Venice made me, I must be,
Her foe in all, save love to thee:
But thou art safe: oh, fly with me!"
The night is past, and shines the sun
As if that morn were a jocund one.4
Lightly and brightly breaks away
The Morning from her mantle grey,
And the Noon will look on a sultry day.5
Hark to the trump, and the drum,
The horsetails 6 are pluck'd from the ground, and the
yond those mountains Eblis and his accursed dives hold their infernal empire; and, seduced by a malignant phantom, thou art proceeding to surrender thyself to them 1 This moment is the last of grace allowed thee : give back Nourouahar to her father, who still retains a few sparks of life: destroy tby tower with all its abominations: drive Carathis from thy councils : be just to thy subjects: respect the ministers of the prophet: compensate for thy impieties by an exemplary life; and, instead of squandering thy days in voluptuous indulgence, lament thy crimes on the sepulchres of thy ancestors. Thou beholdest the clouds that obscure the sun: at the instant he recovers his splendour, if thy heart be not changed, the time of mercy assigned thee will be past for ever.' "J
* [Leave out this couplet— GlFFoaD.]
*j;Strike out —" And the Noon will look on a sultry day."
8 The horsetails, fixed upon a lance, a pacha's standard. ■ [Omit —
"While your fellows on foot, in a fiery mass,
Bloodstain the breach through which they pass." _ G.l 8 [And crush the wail they have shaken before.— G.l