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3 [These lines were written at Malta. The lady to whom they were addressed, and whom he afterwards apostrophises in the stanzas on the thunderstorm of Zitza and in Childe Harold, is thus mentioned in a letter to his mother:-" This letter is committed to the charge of a very extraordinary lady, whom you have doubtless heard of, Mrs. Spencer Smith, of whose escape the Marquis de Salvo published a narrative a few years ago. She has since been shipwrecked; and her life has been from its commencement so fertile in remarkable incidents, that in a romance they would appear improbable.
Yet here, amidst this barren isle,
Where panting Nature droops the head, Where only thou art seen to smile,
I view my parting hour with dread. Though far from Albin's craggy shore, Divided by the dark blue main ; A few, brief, rolling, seasons o'er, Perchance I view her cliffs again: But wheresoe'er I now may roam, Through scorching clime, and varied sea, Though Time restore me to my home,
I ne'er shall bend mine eyes on thee:
On thee, in whom at once conspire
All charms which heedless hearts can move, Whom but to see is to admire,
And, oh! forgive the word- to love.
Forgive the word, in one who ne'er
With such a word can more offend; And since thy heart I cannot share, Believe me, what I am, thy friend. And who so cold as look on thee,
Thou lovely wand'rer, and be less? Nor be, what man should ever be,
The friend of Beauty in distress?
Ah! who would think that form had past
Through Danger's most destructive path, Had braved the death-wing'd tempest's blast, And 'scaped a tyrant's fiercer wrath?
Lady! when I shall view the walls
Where free Byzantium once arose, And Stamboul's Oriental halls
The Turkish tyrants now enclose;
Though mightiest in the lists of fame,
And though I bid thee now farewell,
When I behold that wondrous scene, Since where thou art I may not dwell, 'T will soothe to be, where thou hast been. September, 1809.
COMPOSED DURING A THUNDER-STORM.
CHILL and mirk is the nightly blast, Where Pindus' mountains rise, And angry clouds are pouring fast The vengeance of the skies.
She was born at Constantinople, where her father, Baron Herbert, was Austrian ambassador; married unhappily, yet has never been impeached in point of character; excited the vengeance of Buonaparte, by taking a part in some conspiracy; several times risked her life; and is not yet five and twenty. She is here on her way to England to join her husband, being obliged to leave Trieste, where she was paying a visit to her mother, by the approach of the French, and embarks soon in a ship of war. Since my arrival here I have had scarcely any other companion. I have found her very pretty, very accomplished, and extremely eccentric. Buonaparte is even now so incensed against her, that her life would be in danger if she were taken prisoner a second time."]
4 [This thunderstorm occurred during the night of the 11th October, 1809, when Lord Byron's guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called
Pindus, in Albania. Mr. Hobhouse, who had rode on before the rest of the party, and arrived at Zitza just as the evening set in, describes the thunder as "roaring without intermission, the echoes of one peal not ceasing to roll in the mountains, before another tremendous crash burst over our heads; whilst the plains and the distant hills appeared in a perpetual blaze." "The tempest," he says, was altogether terrific, and worthy of the Grecian Jove. My Friend, with the priest and the servants, did not enter our hut till three
To others give a thousand smiles, To me a single sigh. 1
And when the admiring circle mark The paleness of thy face,
A half-form'd tear, a transient spark Of melancholy grace,
Again thou 'It smile, and blushing shun Some coxcomb's raillery;
Nor own for once thou thought'st on one, Who ever thinks on thee.
Though smile and sigh alike are vain, When sever'd hearts repine,
My spirit flies o'er mount and main, And mourns in search of thine.
WRITTEN IN PASSING THE AMBRACIAN GULF.
THROUGH cloudless skies, in silvery sheen,
Full beams the moon on Actium's coast; And on these waves, for Egypt's queen,
The ancient world was won and lost.
And now upon the scene I look,
The azure grave of many a Roman ; Where stern Ambition once forsook
His wavering crown to follow woman.
Florence! whom I will love as well
As ever yet was said or sung, (Since Orpheus sang his spouse from hell) Whilst thou art fair and I am young;
Sweet Florence! those were pleasant times, When worlds were staked for ladies' eyes: Had bards as many realms as rhymes,
Thy charms might raise new Antonies.
Though Fate forbids such things to be
Yet, by thine eyes and ringlets curl'd! I cannot lose a world for thee,
But would not lose thee for a world November 14. 1809.
THE SPELL IS BROKE, THE CHARM IS FLOWN!
WRITTEN AT ATHENS, JANUARY 16. 1810. THE spell is broke, the charm is flown! Thus is it with life's fitful fever:
We madly smile when we should groan; Delirium is our best deceiver.
Each lucid interval of thought
Recalls the woes of Nature's charter, And he that acts as wise men ought,
But lives, as saints have died, a martyr.
in the morning. I now learnt from him that they had lost their way, and that, after wandering up and down in total ignorance of their position, they had stopped at last near some Turkish tombstones and a torrent, which they saw by the flashes of lightning. They had been thus exposed for nine hours. It was long before we ceased to talk of the thunderstorm in the plain of Zitza."]
1["These stanzas," says Mr. Moore," have a music in them, which, independently of all meaning, is enchanting."1
On the 3d of May, 1810, while the Salsette (Captain Bathurst) was lying in the Dardanelles, Lieutenant Ekenhead of that frigate and the writer of these rhymes swam from the European shore to the Asiatic-by the by, from Abydos to Sestos would have been more correct. The whole distance from the place whence we started to our landing on the other side, including the length we were carried by the current, was computed by those ou board the frigate at upwards of four English miles; though the actual breadth is barely one. The rapidity of the current is such that no boat can row directly across, and it may, in some measure, be estimated from the circumstance of the whole distance being accomplished by one of the parties in an hour and five, and by the other in an hour and ten, minutes. The water was extremely cold, from the melting of the mountain snows. About three weeks before, in April, we had made an attempt; but, having ridden all the way from the Troad the same morning, and the water being of an icy chillness, we found it necessary to postpone the completion till the frigate anchored below the castles, when we swam the straits, as just stated; entering a considerable way above the European, and landing below the Asiatic, fort. Chevalier says that a young Jew swam the same distance for his mistress, and Oliver mentions its having been done by a Neapolitan; but our consul, Tarragona, remembered neither of these circumstances, and tried to dissuade us from the attempt. A number of the Salsette's crew were known to have accomplished a greater distance; and the only thing that surprised me was, that, as doubts had been entertained of the truth of Leander's story, no traveller had ever endeavoured to ascertain its practicability.
2 ["My companion," says Mr. Hobhouse, "had before made a more perilous, but less celebrated passage; for I recollect that, when we were in Portugal, he swam from Old Lisbon to Belem Castle, and having to contend with a tide and ounter current, the wind blowing was but little less than two hours in crossing."]
3 [At Orchomenus, where stood the Temple of the Graces, I was tempted to exclaim, "Whither have the Graces fled?" Little did I expect to find them here; yet here comes one of them with golden cups and coffee, and another with a book. The book is a register of names, some of which are far sounded by the voice of fame. Among them is Lord Byron's, connected with some lines which I here send you.H. W. WILLIAMS.]
4 [We copy the following interesting account of the Maid of Athens and her family from the late eminent artist, Mr. Hugh Williams of Edinburgh's, "Travels in Italy, Greece,' &c." Our servant, who had gone before to procure accommodation, met us at the gate, and conducted us to Theodore
LINES WRITTEN IN THE TRAVELLERS' BOOK AT ORCHOMENUS.
IN THIS BOOK A TRAVELLER HAD WRITTEN :
"FAIR Albion, smiling, sees her son depart To trace the birth and nursery of art: Noble his object, glorious is his aim;
He comes to Athens, and he writes his name.'
THE modest bard, like many a bard unknown,
His name would bring more credit than his verse. ? 1810.
MAID OF ATHENS, ERE WE PART. Ζώη μοῦ, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.
MAID of Athens 4, ere we part,
By those tresses unconfined,
Macri, the Consulina's, where we at present live. This lady is the widow of the consul, and has three lovely daughters; the eldest celebrated for her beauty, and said to be the 'Maid of Athens' of Lord Byron. Their apartment is immediately opposite to ours, and, if you could see them, as we do now, through the gently waving aromatic plants before our window, you would leave your heart in Athens. Theresa, the Maid of Athens, Catinco, and Mariana, are of middle stature. On the crown of the head of each is a red Albanian skull-cap, with a blue tassel spread out and fastened down like a star. Near the edge or bottom of the skull-cap is a handkerchief of various colours bound round their temples. The youngest wears her hair loose, falling on her shoulders, -the hair behind descending down the back nearly to the waist, and, as usual, mixed with silk. The two eldest gene. rally have their hair bound, and fastened under the handkerchief. Their upper robe is a pelisse edged with fur, hanging loose down to the ankles; below is a handkerchief of muslin covering the bosom, and terminating at the waist, which is short; under that, a gown of striped silk or muslin, with a gore round the swell of the loins, falling in front in graceful negligence; white stockings and yellow slippers complete their attire. The two eldest have black, or dark, hair and eyes; their visage oval, and complexion somewhat pale, with teeth of dazzling whiteness. Their cheeks are rounded, and noses straight, rather inclined to aquiline. The youngest, Mariana, is very fair, her face not so finely rounded, but has a gayer expression than her sisters', whose countenances, except when the conversation has something of mirth in it, may be said to be rather pensive. Their persons are elegant, and their manners pleasing and ladylike, such as would be fascinating in any country. They possess very considerable powers of conversation, and their minds seem to be more instructed than those of the Greek women in general. With such attractions, it would, indeed, be remarkable, if they did not meet with great attentions from the travellers who occasionally are resident in Athens. They sit in the eastern style, a little reclined, with their limbs gathered under them on the divan, and without shoes. Their employments are the needle, tambouring, and reading." There is a beautiful engraving of the Maid of Athens in Finden's Illustrations of Byron, No. I.]
5 Romaic expression of tenderness: if I translate it, I shall affront the gentlemen, as it may seem that I supposed they could not; and if I do not, I may affront the ladies. For fear of any misconstruction on the part of the latter, I shall do so, begging pardon of the learned. It means. "My life, I love you! which sounds very prettily in all languages, and is as much in fashion in Greece at this day as, Juvenal tells us, the two first words were amongst the Roman ladies, whose erotic expressions were all Hellenised.
6 [On the departure, in July, 1810, of his friend and fellowtraveller, Mr. Hobhouse, for England, Lord Byron fixed his head-quarters at Athens, where he had taken lodgings in a Franciscan convent; making occasional excursions through Attica and the Morea, and employing himself, in the interval of his tours, in collecting materials for those notices on the state of modern Greece which are appended to the second canto of "Childe Harcld." In this retreat also he wrote "Hints from Horace," "The Curse of Minerva," and "Remarks on the Romaic, or Modern Greek Language." He thus writes to his mother:-" At present, I do not care to venture a winter's voyage, even if I were otherwise tired of travelling: but I am so convinced of the advantages of looking at mankind, instead of reading about them, and the bitter
LINES WRITTEN BENEATH A PICTURE. 5
DEAR object of defeated care!
Though now of Love and thee bereft,
Thine image and my tears are left.
"Tis said with Sorrow Time can cope;
Athens, January, 1811.
TRANSLATION OF THE FAMOUS GREEK WAR SONG,
“ Δεύτε παῖδες τῶν ̔Ελλήνων." Η
SONS of the Greeks, arise!
The glorious hour's gone forth,
Sons of Greeks! let us go
Then manfully despising
The Turkish tyrant's yoke, Let your country see you rising, And all her chains are broke. Brave shades of chiefs and sages, Behold the coming strife! Hellénes of past ages,
Oh, start again to life!
At the sound of my trumpet, breaking
Sons of Greeks, &c.
effects of staying at home with all the narrow prejudices of an islander, that I think there should be a law amongst us to send our young men abroad, for a term, among the few allies our wars have left us. Here I see, and have conversed with, French, Italians, Germans, Danes, Greeks, Turks, Americans, &c. &c. &c.; and, without losing sight of my own, I can judge of the countries and manners of others. When I see the superiority of England (which, by the by, we are a good deal mistaken about in many things), I am pleased; and where I find her inferior, I am at least enlightened. Now, I might have stayed, smoked in your towns, or fogged in your country, a century, without being sure of this, and without acquiring any thing more useful or amusing at home. I keep no journal; nor have I any intention of scribbling my travels. I have done with authorship; and if, in my last production, I have convinced the critics or the world I was something more than they took me for, I am satisfied; nor will I hazard that reputation by a future effort. It is true I have some others in manuscript, but I leave them for those who come after me; and, if deemed worth publishing, they may serve to prolong my memory, when I myself shall cease to remember. I have a famous Bavarian artist taking some views of Athens, &c. &c. for me. This will be better than scribbling-a disease I hope myself cured of. I hope, on my return, to lead a quiet, recluse life; but God knows, and does best for us all."]
7 The song Alúti taides, &c. was written by Riga, who perished in the attempt to revolutionise Greece. This translation is as literal as the author could make it in verse. It is of the same measure as that of the original. [While at the Capuchin convent, Lord Byron devoted some hours daily to the study of the Romaic; and various proofs of his diligence will be found in the APPENDIX. See Remarks on the Romaic or Modern Greek Language, with Specimens and Translations.]
Constantinople. “ Εττάλας."
Sparta, Sparta, why in slumbers Lethargic dost thou lie? Awake, and join thy numbers With Athens, old ally! Leonidas recalling,
That chief of ancient song, Who saved ye once from falling, The terrible! the strong! Who made that bold diversion In old Thermopylæ, And warring with the Persian
To keep his country free; With his three hundred waging The battle, long he stood, And like a lion raging,
Expired in seas of blood.
Sons of Greeks, &c. 1
TRANSLATION OF THE ROMAIC SONG,
“ Μτενω μες τ' περιβόλι
I ENTER thy garden of roses, 3 Beloved and fair Haidée,
Each morning where Flora reposes,
For surely I see her in thee.
Oh, Lovely! thus low I implore thee,
Receive this fond truth from my tongue,
Which utters its song to adore thee,
Yet trembles for what it has sung;
As the branch, at the bidding of Nature,
Adds fragrance and fruit to the tree, Through her eyes, through her every feature, Shines the soul of the young Haidée.
But the loveliest garden grows hateful
When Love has abandon'd the bowers; Bring me hemlock - since mine is ungrateful, That herb is more fragrant than flowers. The poison, when pour'd from the chalice,
Will deeply embitter the bowl; But when drunk to escape from thy malice, The draught shall be sweet to my soul. Too cruel! in vain I implore thee
My heart from these horrors to save: Will nought to my bosom restore thee? Then open the gates of the grave.
As the chief who to combat advances
Hast pierced through my heart to its core. Ah, tell me, my soul! must I perish
By pangs which a smile would dispel? [rish, Would the hope, which thou once bad'st me cheFor torture repay me too well?
[Riga was a Thessalian, and passed the first part of his youth among his native mountains, in teaching ancient Greek to his countrymen. On the first burst of the French revolution, he joined himself to some other enthusiasts, and with them perambulated Greece, rousing the bold, and encouraging the timid, by his minstrelsy. He afterwards went to Vienna to solicit aid for a rising, which he and his comrades had for years been endeavouring to accomplish; but he was given up by the Austrian government to the Turks, who vainly endea voured by torture to force from him the names of the other conspirators.]
2 The song from which this is taken is a great favourite with the young girls of Athens of all classes. Their manner
EPITAPH FOR JOSEPH BLACKETT,
Malta, May 16. 1811.
of singing it is by verses in rotation, the whole number present joining in the chorus. I have heard it frequently at our zés," in the winter of 1810-11. The air is plaintive and
3 [National songs and popular works of amusement throw no small light on the manners of a people: they are materials which most travellers have within their reach, but which they almost always disdain to collect. Lord Byron has shown a better taste; and it is to be hoped that his example will, in future, be generally followed.-GEORGE ELLIS.]
4 [Some notice of this poctaster has been given, antè, p. 432. He died in 1810, and his works have followed him.]