“I loved her, friar! nay, adored

But these are words that all can use I proved it more in deed than word; There's blood upon that dinted sword,

A stain its steel can never lose: 'Twas shed for her, who died for me,

It warm'd the heart of one abhorr'd: Nay, start not-no-nor bend thy knee,

Nor 'midst my sins such act record; Thou wilt absolve me from the deed, For he was hostile to thy creed ! The very name of Nazarene Was wormwood to his Paynim spleen. Ungrateful fool! since but for brands Well wielded in some hardy hands, And wounds by Galileans given, The surest pass to Turkish heaven, For him his houris still might wait Impatient at the Prophet's gate. I loved her-love will find its way Through paths where wolves would fear to prey; And if it dares enough, 't were hard If passion met not some rewardNo matter how, or where, or why, I did not vainly seek, nor sigh: Yet sometimes, with remorse, in vain I wish she had not loved again.

His death sits lightly; but her fate
Has made me—what thou well mayst hate.

His doom was seal'd-he knew it well,
Warn’d by the voice of stern Taheer,
Deep in whose darkly-boding ear(1)
The death-shot peald of murder near,

As filed the troop to where they fell! He died too in the battle broil, A time that heeds nor pain nor toil; One cry to Mahomet for aid, One prayer to Alla all he made : He knew and crossd me in the frayI gazed upon him where he lay, And watch'd his spirit ebb away: Though pierced like pard by hunters' steel, He felt not half that now I feel. I search’d, but vainly search’d, to find The workings of a wounded mind; Each feature of that sullen corse Betray'd his rage, but no remorse. Oh, what had Vengeance given to trace Despair upon his dying face! The late repentance of that hour, When Penitence hath lost her power To tear one terror froin the grave, And will not soothe, and cannot save.

“She died—I dare not tell thee how; But look—'t is written on my brow! There read of Cain the curse and crime, In characters unworn by time: Still, ere thou dost condemn me, pause; Not mine the act, though I the cause. Yet did he but what I had done Had she been false to more than one. Faithless to him, he gave the blow; But true to me, I laid him low: Howe'er deserved her doom might be, Her treachery was truth to me; To me she gave her heart, that all Which tyranny can ne'er enthrall; And I, alas! too late to save! Yet all I then could give, I gave, 'T was some relief, our foe a grave.

“The cold in clime are cold in blood,

Their love can scarce deserve the name; But mine was like the lava flood

That boils in Etna's breast of flame. I cannot prate in puling strain Of ladye-love, and beauty's chain : If changing cheek, and scorching vein, Lips taught to writhe, but not complain, If bursting heart, and maddening brain, And daring deed, and vengeful steel, And all that I have felt, and feel, Betoken love—that love was inine, And shown by many a bitter sign. "Tis true, I could not whine nor sigh, I knew but to obtain or die. I die--but first I have possessid, And, come what may, I have been blest.

This superstition of a second hearing (for I never met with downright second-sight in the East) fell once under my own observation. On my third journey to Cape Colonna, early in 1811, as we passed through the defile that leads from the hamlet between Keratia and Colonna, I observed Dervish Tahiri riding rather out of the path, and leaning his head upon his band, as if in pain. I rode up and inquired. “We are in peril," he answered. “What peril? we are not now in Albania, nor in the passes to Ephesus, Messalunghi, or Lepanto; there are plenty of us, well arm. ed, and the Choriates have not courage to be thieves."" True, Affendi, but nevertheless the shot is ringing in my ears."-" The sbot! not a tophaike has been fired this morning."_"I hear it notwithstanding-bom-bom-as plainly as I hear your voice."--" Psha!”_"As you please, Affendi; if it is written, so will it be." - I left this quick-eared predestinarian, and rode up to Basili, his Christian compatriot, whose ears, though not at all prophetic, by no means re. lisbed the intelligence. We all arrived at Colonna, remained somne hours, and returned leisurely. saying a variety of brilliant things, in more languages than spoiled the building of Babel, upon the mistaken seer. Romaie, Arnaout, Turkisb, Italian, and English were all exercised, in various conceits, upon the unfortunate Mussulman. While we were contemplating the beautiful prospect, Dervish was occupied about the columns. I thought he was deranged into an antiquarian, and asked him if he had become a “ Palao.

castro” man? "No," said he, «but these pillars will be useful in making a stand ;” and added other remarks, which at least evinced his own belief in his troublesome faculty of forehearing. On our return to Athens we heard from Leone (a prisoner set ashore some days after) of the intended attack of the Mainotes, mentioned, with the cause of its not taking place, in the notes to Childe Harold, Canto 2d. I was at some pains to question the man, and he described the dresses, arms, and marks of the horses of our party so accurately, that, with other circumstances, we could not doubt of his having been in villanous company," and our. selves in a bad neighbourhood. Dervish became a soothsayer for life, and I dare say is now hearing more musketry than ever will be fired, to the great refreshment of the Ar. naouts of Berat, and his native mountains.-I shall mention one trait more of this singular race. In March, 1811, a remarkably stont and active Arnaout came (I believe the fif. tieth on the same errand) to offer himself as an attendant, which was declined: “Well, Affendi," quoth he, “may you livelyou would have found me useful. I shall leave the town for the hills to-morrow, in the winter I return, perhaps you will then receive me." Dervish, who was present, remarked, as a thing of course and of no consequence, “In the mean time he will join the Klephtes(robbers), which was true to the letter. If not cut off, they come down in the winter, and pass it nomnolested in some town, where they are often as well known as their exploits.

Shall I the doom I sought upbraid?
No-rest of all, yet undismay'd
But for the thought of Leila slain,
Give me the pleasure with the pain,
So would I live and love again.
I grieve, but not, my holy guide!
For him who dies, but her who died:
She sleeps beneath the wandering wave-
Ah! had she but an earthly grave,
This breaking heart and throbbing head
Should seek and share her narrow bed.(1)
She was a form of life and light,(2)
That, seen, became a part of sight;
And rose, where'er I turn'd mine eye,
The morning-star of Memory!

“ Yes, Love indeed is light from heaven;(3)

A spark of that immortal fire With angels shared, by Alla given,

To lift from earth our low desire.
Devotion wafts the mind above,
Bnt Heaven itself descends in love;
A feeling from the Godhead caught,
To wean from self each sordid thought;
A ray of him who form'd the whole;
A glory circling round the soul!
I grant my love imperfect, all
That mortals by the name miscall;
Then deem it evil, what thou wilt;
But say, oh say, hers was not guilt!
She was my life's unerring light:
That quench'd, what beam shall break my night?
Oh! would it shone to lead me still,
Although to death or deadliest ill!
Why marvel ye, if they who lose

This present joy, this future hope,
No more with sorrow meekly cope;
In frenzy then their fate accuse:
In madness do those fearful deeds

That seem to add but guilt to woe?
Alas! the breast that inly bleeds

Hath nought to dread from outward blow: Who falls from all he knows of bliss, Cares little into what abyss.

Fierce as the gloomy vulture's now

To thee, old man, my deeds appear: I read abhorrence on thy brow,

And this too was I born to bear! 'Tis true, that, like that bird of prey, With havock have I mark'd my way: But this was taught me by the dove, To die and know no second love. This lesson yet hath man to learn, Taught by the thing he dares to spurn: The bird that sings within the brake, The swan that swims upon the lake, One mate, and one alone, will take. And let the fool, still prone to range And sneer on all who cannot change, Partake his jest with boasting boys; I envy not his varied joys, But deem such feeble heartless man Less than yon solitary swan; Far far beneath the shallow maid He left believing and betray'd. Such shame at least was never mineLeila! each thought was only thine! My good, my guilt, my weal, my woe, My hope on high-my all below. Earth holds no other like to thee, Or, if it doth, in vain for me: For worlds I dare not view the dame Resembling thee, yet not the same.(4) The very crimes that mar my youth, This bed of death-attest my truth! 'Tis all too late-thou wert, thou art The cherish'd madness of my heart!

4 And she was lost--and yet I breathed,

But not the breath of human life: A serpent round my heart was wreathed,

And stung my every thought to strife. Alike all time, abhorr'd all place, Shuddering I shrunk from Nature's face, Where every hue that charm'd before The blackness of my bosom wore. The rest thou dost already know, And all my sins, and half my woe.

To human hearts in merey given

To lift from earth our low desire. A feeling from the Godhead caught,

(I) « These, in our opinion, are the most beautiful pas. sages of the poem; and some of them of a beauty which it would not be easy to eclipse by many citations in the lan. guage.” Jeffrey.-L. E.

(2) This and the three following lines were added after the poem had gone through several editions.-P. E.

(3) The hundred and twenty-six lines which follow, down to “Tell me no more of fancy's gleam," first appeared in the fifth edition in returning the proof, Lord Byron says: “I bave, but with some difficulty, not added any more to this snake of a poem, which has been lengthening its rattles every month. It is now fearfully long, being more than a canto and a half of Childe Haroid. The last lines Hodgson likes. It is not often he does; and when he don't, he tells me with great energy, and I fret, and alter. I have thrown them in to soften the ferocity of our Infidel; and, for a dying man, bave given him a good deal to say for himself. Do you know any body who can stopI mean, point-commas, and so forth? for I am, I hear, a sad hand at your punctuation." Among the Giaour MSS. is the first draught of this passage, which we subjoin :

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Alas! the breast that inly bleeds,

[ocr errors]

Has nought to dread from outward foe," etc.-L. E.

(4) These beautiful lines were probably suggested by the following passuge which occurs in Byron's Diary Tonight I saw both the sisters of my God! the youngest so like! I thought I should have sprung across the house, and am so glad no one was with me in Lady I.'s box. I hate those likenesses--the mock-bird, but not the night. ingale-so like as to remind, so different as to be painful. One quarrels equally with the points of resemblance and of distinction." --P. E.

[blocks in formation]

A spark of that


But talk no more of penitence;
Thou see'st I soon shall part from hence:
And if thy holy tale were true,
The deed that's done canst thou undo?
Think me not thankless—but this grief
Looks not to priesthood for relief.(1)
My soul's estate in secret guess :
But wouldst thou pity more, say less.
When thou canst bid my Leila live,
Then will I sue thee to forgive;
Then plead my cause in that high place
Where purchased masses proffer grace.
Go, when the bunter's hand hath wrung
From forest-cave her shrieking young,
And calm the lonely lioness:
But soothe not-mock not my distress!

"In earlier days, and calmer hours,

When heart with heart delights to blend, Where bloom my native valley's bowers

I had-ah! have I now ?-a friend! To him this pledge I charge thee send,

Memorial of a youthful vow; I would remind him of my end:

Though souls absorb'd like mine allow Brief thought to distant friendship's claim,

Yet dear to him my blighted name. 'Tis strange-he prophesied my doom,

And I have smiled-1 then could smileWhen Prudence would his voice assume,

And warn-I reck'd not what-the wbile: But now remembrance whispers o'er Those accents scarcely mark'd before. Say—that his bodings came to pass, And he will start to hear their truth,

And wish his words had not been sooth: Tell him, unheeding as I was,

Through many a busy bitter scene

Of all our golden youth bad been,
In pain, my faltering tongue had tried
To bless his memory ere I died;
But Heaven in wrath would turn away,
If Guilt should for the guiltless pray.
I do not ask him not to blame,
Too gentle he to wound my name;
And what have I to do with fame?
I do not ask him not to mourn,
Such cold request might sound like scorn;
And what than friendship's manly tear
May better grace a brother's bier ?
But bear this ring, his own of old,
And tell him what thou dost behold!
The wither'd frame, the ruin'd mind,
The wreck by passion left behind;
A shrivellid scroll, a scatter'd leaf,
Sear'd by the autumn blast of grief !

I wish'd but for a single tear, As something welcome, new, and dear: . I wish'd it then, I wish it still; Despair is stronger than my will. Waste not thine orison, des pair Is mightier than thy pious prayer : I would not, if I might, be blest; I want no paradise, but rest. 'T was then, I tell thee, father! then I saw her; yes, she lived again; And shining in her white symar, (2) As through yon pale grey cloud the star Which now I gaze on as on her, Who look'd and looks far lovelier; Dimly I view its trembling spark; To-morrow's night shall be more dark; And I, before its rays appear, That lifeless thing the living fear. I wander, father! for my soul Is fleeting towards the final goal. I saw her, friar! and I rose Forgetful of our former woes; And, rushing from my couch, I dart, And clasp her to my desperate heart; I clasp—what is it that I clasp? No breathing form within my grasp, No heart that beats reply to mine, Yet, Leila! yet the form is thine ! And art thou, dearest, changed so much, As meet my eye, yet mock my touch ? Ah! were thy beauties e'er so cold, I care not; so my arms enfold The all they ever wish'd to hold. Alas! around a shadow prest They shrink upon my lonely breast; Yet still 't is there! In silence stands, And beckons with beseeching hands! With braided hair, and bright-black eyeI knew 't was false—she could not die! But he is dead! within the dell I saw him buried where he fell; He comes not, for he cannot break From earth; why then art thou awake? They told me wild waves rollid above The face I view, the form I love; They told me-'t was a hideous tale! I'd tell it, but my tongue would fail : If true, and from thine ocean-cave Thou comest to claim a calmer grave, Oh! pass thy dewy fingers o'er This brow, that then will burn no more; Or place them on my hopeless heart: But, shape or shade! whate'er thou art, In mercy ne'er again depart! Or farther with thee bear my soul Than winds can waft or waters roll!

“Tell me no more of fancy's gleam, No, father, no, 't was not a dream; Alas! the dreamer first must sleep, I only watch'd, and wish'd to weep; But could not, for my burning brow Throbb’d to the very brain as now:

“Such is my name, and such my tale.

Confessor! to thy secret ear I breathe the sorrows I bewail,

And thank thee for the generous tear This glazing eye could never shed. Then lay me with the humblest dead,

(1) The monk's sermon is omitted. It seems to have had terruptions and uneasiness of the patient), and was deso little effect upon the patient, that it could have no hopes | livered in the usual tone of all orthodox preachers. from the reader. It may be sufficient to say, that it was

(2) "Symar," a shroud. of a customary length (as may be perceived from the in.

And, såve the cross above my head,
Be neither name nor emblem spread,
By prying stranger to be read,
Or stay the passing pilgrim's tread.” (1)

He pass'd-nor of his name and race
Hath left a token or a trace,
Save what the father must not say
Who shrived him on his dying day:
This broken tale was all we knew
Of her he loved, or him he slew.(2)

(1) The circumstance to which the above story relates that singular volume may have drawn his materials; some was not very uncommon in Turkey. A few years ago the wife of his incidents are to be found in the Bibliothèque Orienof Muchtar Pacha complained to his father of his son's sup. tale; but for correctness of costume, beauty of description, posed infidelity; he asked with wbom, and she had the and power of imagination, it far surpasses all European barbarity to give in a list of the twelve handsomest women imitations; and bears such marks of originality, that those in Yanina. They were seized, fastened up in sacks, and who bave visited the East will find some difficulty in believ. drowned in the lake the same night! One of the guards ing it to be more than a translation. As an Eastern tale, who was present informed me, that not one of the victims even Rasselas must bow before it; his "Happy Valley" uttered a cry, or showed a symptom of terror at so sudden will not bear a comparison with the “Hall of Eblis." a "wrench from all we know, from all we love." The fato (2) "In this poem, which was published after the two first of Phrosine, the fairest of this sacrifice, is the subject of cantos of Childe Harold, Lord Byron began to show his many a Romaic and Arnaout ditty. The story in the text powers. He had now received encouragement which set is one told of a young Venetian many years ago, and now free his daring hands, and gave his strokes their natural nearly forgotten. I heard it by accident recited by one of force. Here, then, we first find passages of a tone peculiar the coffee-house story-tellers who abound in the Levant, to Lord Byron ; but still this appearance was not uniform: and sing or recite their narratives. The addition, and in he often returned to his trammels, and reminds us of the terpolations by the translator will be easily distinguished manner of some favourite predecessor; among these, I think from the rest, by the want of Eastern imagery; and I regret we sometimes catch the notes of Sir Walter Scott. But the that my memory has retained so few fragments of the ori. | internal tempest--the deep passion, sometimes buried, and ginal. For the contents of some of the notes I am indebted sometimes blazing from some incidental touch the intensity partly to D'Herbelot, and partly to that most Eastern, and of agonising reflection, which will always distinguish Lord as Mr. Weber justly entitles it, “ snblime tale," the Caliph Byron from other writers-now began to display them. Vathek. I do not know from what source the author of selves.” Sir Egerton Brydges.-L.E.

The Bride of Abydos,


"Had we never loved so kindly,
Had we never loved so blindly,
Never met or never parted,
We bad ne'er been broken-hearted."--Burns.





Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle(2)

Are emblems of derds that are done in their cline, Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,

Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime ?

(1) The Bride of Abydos was published in the beginning of December, 1813. The mood of mind in which it was struck off is thus stated by Lord Byron, in a letter to Mr. Gifford :-* You have been good enough to look at a thing of mine in MS.-a Turkish story--and I should feel gratified if you would do it the same favour in its probationary state of printing. It was written, I cannot say for amusement, nor obliged by hunger and request of friends,' but in a state of mind, from circumstances which occasionally occnr to us youth,' that rendered it necessary for me to apply my mind to something, any thing, but reality ; and under this not very brilliant inspiration it was composed. Send it either to the flames, or

A hundred hawkers' load,

On wings of winds to fly or fall abroad.' It deserves no better than the first, as the work of a week, and scribbled 'stans pede in uno (by the by, the only foot I have to stand on); and I promise never to trouble

Know ye the land of the cedar and vine,
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine;
Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppress'd with

Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gul(3) in her bloom;
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute:
you again under forty cantos, and a royage between cach."

"Murray tells me that Croker asked him why the thing is called the Bride of Abydos ?' It is an awkward question, being unanswerable: she is not a bride ; only about to be one. I don't wonder at his finding out the bull; but the detection is too late to do any good. I was a great fool to bave made it, and am ashamed of not being an Irishman.” B, Diary, Dec. 6, 1813.-L E.

(2) To the Bride of Abydos, Lord Byron made many additions during its progress through the press, amounting to about two hundred lines; and, as in the case of the Giaour, the passages so added will be seen to be some of the most splendid in the whole poem. These opening lines, which are among the new insertions, are supposed to have been suggested by a song of Goethe's—

"Kennst du das land wo die citronen blühn." -LE. (3) “Gúl," the rose.

Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky,
In colour though varied, in beauty may vie,
And the purple of Ocean is deepest in dye;
Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,
And all, save the spirit of man, is divine?
'Tis the clime of the East; 'tis the land of the Sun-
Can he smile on such deeds as his children have

done?(1) Oh! wild as the accents of lovers' farewell Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which,

they tell.

Soon turns the haram's grating key, Before the guardian slaves awoke We to the cypress groves had flown, And made earth, main, and heaven our own! There linger'd we, beguiled too tong With Mejnoun's tale, or Sadi's song;(2) Till I, who heard the deep tambour (3) Beat thy divan's approaching hour, To thee, and to my duty true, Warn’d by the sound, to greet thee flew : But there Zuleika wanders yetNay, father, rage not—nor forget That none can pierce that secret bower But those who watch the women's tower."

Begirt with many a gallant slave,
Apparelld as becomes the brave,
Awaiting each his lord's behest
To guide his steps, or guard his rest,
Old Giaffir sate in his divan:

Deep thought was in his aged eye;
And though the face of Mussulman

Not oft betrays to standers by
The mind within, well skilld to hide
All but unconquerable pride,
His pensive cheek and pondering brow
Did more than he was wont avow.

Let the chamber be clear’d.” — The train disap-

“Now call me the chief of the haram guard."
With Giaflir is none but his only son,
And the Nubian awaiting the sire's award.

“Haroun—when all the crowd that wait
Are pass'd beyond the outer gate,
(Woe to the bead whose eye beheld
My child Zuleika's face unveil'd!)
Hence, lead my daughter from her tower;
Her fate is fix'd this very hour:
Yet not to her repeat my thought;
By me alone be duty taught!"
" Pacha! to hear is to obey."
No more must slave to despot say
Then to the tower had ta’en his way,
But here young Selim silence brake,

First lowly rendering reverence meet;
And downcast look'd, and gently spake,

Still standing at the Pacha's feet:
For son of Moslem must expire,
Ere dare to sit before his sire!
“Father! for fear that thou shouldst chide
My sister, or her sable guide,
Know--for the fault, if fault there be,
Was mine, then fall thy frowns on me.-
So lovelily the morning shone,

That--let the old and weary sleep
I could not; and to view alone

The fairest scenes of land and deep,
With none to listen and reply
To thoughts with which my heart beat high
Were irksome--for whate'er my mood,
In sooth I love not solitude;
I on Zuleika's slumber broke,

And, as thou knowest that for me

IV. “Son of a slave! ” — the Pacha said “ From unbelieving mother bred, Vain were a father's hope to see Aught that beseems a man in thee. Thou, when thine arm should bend the bow,

And hurl the dart, and curb the steed,

Thou, Greek in soul if not in creed,
Must pore where babbling waters flow,
And watch unfolding roses blow.
Would that yon orb, whose matin glow
Thy listless eyes so much admire,
Would lend thee something of his fire!
Thou, who wouldst see this battlement
By Christian cannon piecemeal rent;
Nay, tamely view old Stambol's wall
Before the dogs of Moscow fall,
Nor strike one stroke for life and death
Against the curs of Nazareth!
Go-let thy less than woman's hand
Assume the distaff--not the brand.
But, Haroun !-to my daughter speed:
And hark-of thine own head take heed-
If thus Zuleika oft takes wing-
Thou see'st yon bow-it bath a string !"

No sound from Selim's lip was heard,
At least that met old Giaffir's ear,
But every frown and every word
Pierced keener than a Christian's sword.

"Son of a slave!—reproach'd with fear!

Those gibes had cost another dear. Son of a slave!—and who my sire ?"

Thus held his thoughts their dark career; And glances even of more than ire

Flash forth, then faintly disappear.
Old Giaffir gazed upon his son

And started; for within his eye
He read how much his wrath had done;
He saw rebellion there begun: .

“Come hither, boy-what, no reply?
I mark thee-and I know thee too;
But there be deeds thou darest not do:
But if thy beard had manlier length,
And if thy hand had skill and strength,
I'd joy to see thee break a lance,
Albeit against my own perchance!"

(1) "Souls made of fire, and children of the Sun, With whom revenge is virtue."

Young's Revenge.

(2) Mejnoun and Leila, the Romeo and Juliet of the East. Sadi, the moral poet of Persia.

(3) Tambour. Turkish drum, which sounds at sunrise, noon, and twilight.

« ElőzőTovább »