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He cannot curb his haughty mood, Nor I forgive a father's blood.
"Within thy father's house are foes;
His days, his very hours were few:
This tale, whose close is almost nigh:
He in Abdallah's palace grew,
And held that post in his Serai
Which holds he here he saw him die : But what could single slavery do? Avenge his lord? alas! too late; Or save his son from such a fate? He chose the last, and when elate
With foes subdued, or friends betray'd,
And not in vain it seems essay'd
From all and each, but most from me; Thus Giaffir's safety was ensured.
Removed he too from Roumelie To this our Asiatic side,
"All this, Zuleika, harshly sounds;
But harsher still my tale must be :
Yet is it one I oft have worn,
And long must wear: this Galiongée,
To whom thy plighted vow is sworn,
Is leader of those pirate hordes,
Whose laws and lives are on their swords;
To hear whose desolating tale
Would make thy waning cheek more pale:
Is fill'd once quaff'd, they ne'er repine: Our prophet might forgive the slaves; They're only infidels in wine.
"What could I be? Proscribed at home,
The Turkish notions of almost all islands are confined to the Archipelago, the sea alluded to.
2 Lambro Canzani, a Greek, famous for his efforts in 178990, for the independence of his country. Abandoned by the Russians, he became a pirate, and the Archipelago was the
To Haroun's care with women left,
Awaitedst there the field's event.
His captive, though with dread resigning,
The day when Giaffir's charge was o'er.
"The shallop of a trusty Moor
Convey'd me from this idle shore;
I sought by turns, and saw them all; 1
""Tis true, they are a lawless brood,
With them hath found-may find a place :
But open speech, and ready hand,
That never sees with terror's eyes;
Distinguish'd from the vulgar rank,
The wisdom of the cautious Frank-
The last of Lambro's 2 patriots there
And oft around the cavern fire
To snatch the Rayahs 3 from their fate.
scene of his enterprises. He is said to be still alive at Petersburg. He and Riga are the two most celebrated of the Greek revolutionists.
3" Rayahs," all who pay the capitation tax, called the "Haratch."
So let them ease their hearts with prate
Bound where thou wilt, my barb! or glide, my prow!
That steals the trembling tear of speechless praise;
A thousand swords, with Selim's heart and hand,
The first of voyages is one of the few with which the Mussulmans profess much acquaintance.
2 The wandering life of the Arabs, Tartars, and Turkomans, will be found well detailed in any book of Eastern travels. That it possesses a charm peculiar to itself, cannot be denied. A young French renegado confessed to Chateaubriand, that he never found himself alone, galloping in the desert, without a sensation approaching to rapture, which was indescribable. 3 [The longest, as well as most splendid, of those passages, with which the perusal of his own strains, during revision, inspired him, was that rich flow of eloquent feeling which follows the couplet, "Thou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark," &c. a strain of poetry, which, for energy and tenderness of thought, for music of versification, and selectness of diction, has, throughout the greater portion of it, but few rivals in either ancient or modern song. - MOORE.] 4 [Originally written thus
And tints to-morrow with La fancied ray."
The following note being annexed:-"Mr. Murray, choose which of the two epithets, fancied,' or 'airy,' may be best; or if neither will do, tell me, and I will dream another." a subsequent letter, he says: "Instead of—
"And tints to-morrow with a fancied ray,
"And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray;
I like the rest must use my skill or strength,
the hope of morning with its ray;
"And gilds to-morrow's hope with heavenly ray.
I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford which of them is best; or rather, not worst."]
5" Jannat al Aden," the perpetual abode, the Mussulman paradise.
6 [" You wanted some reflections; and I send you, per Selim, eighteen lines in decent couplets, of a pensive, if not an ethical, tendency. One more revise-positively the last, if decently done at any rate, the penultimate. Mr. Can ning's approbation, I need not say, makes me proud. To make you some amends for eternally pestering you with alterations, I send you Cobbett, -to confirm your orthodoxy." -Lord B. to Mr. Murray.]
7 [" Then if my lip once murmurs, it must be."— MS.]
[Mr. Canning's note was as follows:-"I received the books, and among them, the Bride of Abydos.' It is very, very beautiful. Lord Byron (when I met him, one day, at a dinner at Mr. Ward's) was so kind as to promise to give me a copy of it. I mention this, not to save my purchase, but because I should be really flattered by the present."]
I form the plan, decree the spoil,
But yet, though thou art plighted mine,
Zuleika, mute and motionless,
"Oh! fly-no more-yet now my more than brother!"
Far, wide, through every thicket spread,
The fearful lights are gleaming red;
Dauntless he stood" "T is come-soon past —
One kiss, Zuleika-'tis 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 :
Forth to the cavern mouth he stept;
Despair benumb'd her breast and eye! -
That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh.
Yet stay within-here linger safe,
No as each crest save his may feel!"
Escaped from shot, unharm'd by steel,
For her his eye but sought in vain ?
Hath doom'd his death, or fix'd his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain,
The father slowly rued thy hate,
The son hath found a quicker fate :
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
"T is rent in twain -one dark-red stain
By Helle's stream there is a voice of wail!
Thy destined lord is come too late :
The loud Wul-wulleh 3 warn his distant ear ?
Thou didst not view thy Selim fall!
That fearful moment when he left the cave
Thy heart grew chill:
Thrice happy! ne'er to feel nor fear the force
While the Salsette lay off the Dardanelles, Lord Byron saw the body of a man who had been executed by being cast into the sea, floating on the stream to and fro with the trembling of the water, which gave to its arms the effect of scaring away several sea-fowl that were hovering to devour. This incident has been strikingly depicted."— GALT.]
2 A turban is carved in stone above the graves of men only. 3 The death-song of the Turkish women. The "silent
Now let it tear thy beard in idle grief:
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?-the blood that thou hast shed!
Hark! to the hurried question of Despair: "Where is my child?". -an Echo answers — "Where ? "4
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
A single rose is shedding there
And yet, though storms and blight assail, And hands more rude than wintry sky
May wring it from the stem in vain To-morrow sees it bloom again! The stalk some spirit gently rears, And waters with celestial tears;
For well may maids of Helle deem That this can be no earthly flower, Which mocks the tempest's withering hour, And buds unshelter'd by a bower; Nor droops, though spring refuse ber shower, Nor woos the summer beam:
To it the livelong night there sings
A bird unseen - but not remote :
But soft as harp that Houri strings
It were the Bulbul; but his throat,
As if they loved in vain !
And yet so sweet the tears they shed,
And longer yet would weep and wake,
And some have been who could believe,
slaves" are the men, whose notions of decorum forbid complaint in public.
"I came to the place of my birth, and cried, 'The friends of my youth, where are they?' and an Echo answered, Where are they?'"- From an Arabic MS. The above quotation (from which the idea in the text is taken) must be already familiar to every reader: it is given in the first an. notation, p. 67., of The Pleasures of Memory; " a poem so well known as to render a reference almost superfluous; but to whose pages all will be delighted to recur.
Yet harsh be they that blame,) That note so piercing and profound Will shape and syllable its sound
Into Zuleika's name. 2
'Tis from her cypress' summit heard,
That white rose takes its tender birth.
For there, as Helle's legends tell,
And there by night, reclined, 'tis said,
Is seen a ghastly turban'd head: And hence extended by the billow, "Tis named the "Pirate-phantom's pillow! Where first it lay that mourning flower Hath flourished; flourisheth this hour, Alone and dewy, coldly pure and pale; As weeping Beauty's cheek at Sorrow's tale! 3
TO THOMAS MOORE, ESQ.
MY DEAR MOORE,
I DEDICATE to you the last production with which I shall trespass on public patience, and your indulgence, for some years; and I own that I feel anxious to avail myself of this latest and only opportunity of adorning my pages with a name, consecrated by unshaken public principle, and the most undoubted and various talents. While Ireland ranks you among the firmest of her patriots; while you stand alone the first of her bards in her estimation, and Britain repeats and ratifies the decree, permit one, whose
1 " And airy tongues that syllable men's names."-MILTON. For a belief that the souls of the dead inhabit the form of birds, we need not travel to the East. Lord Lyttleton's ghost story, the belief of the Duchess of Kendal, that George I. flew into her window in the shape of a raven (see Orford's Reminiscences), and many other instances, bring this superstition nearer home. The most singular was the whim of a Worcester lady, who, believing her daughter to exist in the shape of a singing bird, literally furnished her pew in the cathedral with cages full of the kind; and as she was rich, and a benefactress in beautifying the church, no objection was made to her harmless folly. For this anecdote, see Orford's Letters.
[The heroine of this poem, the blooming Zuleika, is all purity and loveliness. Never was a faultless character more delicately or more justly delineated. Her piety, her intelligence, her strict sense of duty, and her undeviating love of truth, appear to have been originally blended in her mind, rather than inculcated by education. She is always natural, always attractive, always affectionate; and it must be ad mitted that her affections are not unworthily bestowed. Selim, while an orphan and dependant, is never degraded by calamity; when better hopes are presented to him, his buoyant spirit rises with his expectations: he is enterprising, with no more rashness than becomes his youth; and when disappointed in the success of a well-concerted project, he meets, with intrepidity, the fate to which he is exposed through his own generous forbearance. To us, "The Bride of Abydos" appears to be, in every respect, superior to " The Giaour," though, in point of diction, it has been, perhaps, less warmly admired. We will not argue this point, but will simply ob serve, that what is read with ease is generally read with rapidity; and that many beauties of style which escape observation in a simple and connected narrative, would be forced on the reader's attention by abrupt and perplexing transitions. is only when a traveller is obliged to stop on his journey, that he is disposed to examine and admire the prospect.-GEORGE ELLIS.]
only regret, since our first acquaintance, has been the years he had lost before it commenced, to add the humble but sincere suffrage of friendship, to the voice of more than one nation. It will at least prove to you, that I have neither forgotten the gratification derived from your society, nor abandoned the prospect of its renewal, whenever your leisure or inclination allows you to atone to your friends for too long an absence. It is said among those friends, I trust truly, that you are engaged in the composition of a poem whose scene will be laid in the East; none can do those scenes so much justice. The wrongs of your own country 5, the mag
3" The Bride,' such as it is, is my first entire composition of any length (except the Satire, and be d-d to it), for the Giaour' is but a string of passages, and Childe Harold' is, and I rather think always will be, unconcluded. It was published on Thursday, the 2d of December; but how it is liked, I know not. Whether it succeeds or not, is no fault of the public, against whom I can have no complaint. But I am much more indebted to the tale than I can ever be to the most important reader; as it wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination; from selfish regrets to vivid recollections; and recalled me to a country replete with the brightest and darkest, but always most lively colours of my memory."Byron Diary, Dec. 5. 1813.]
4["The Corsair" was begun on the 18th, and finished on the 31st, of December, 1813; a rapidity of composition which, taking into consideration the extraordinary beauty of the poem, is, perhaps, unparalleled in the literary history of the country. Lord Byron states it to have been written "con amore, and very much from existence." In the original MS. the chief female character was called Francesca, in whose person the author meant to delineate one of his acquaintance; but, while the work was at press, he changed the name to Medora.]
[This political allusion having been objected to by a friend, Lord Byron sent a second dedication to Mr. Moore, with a request that he would "take his choice." It ran as follows: