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WRITTEN AFTER SWIMMING FROM SESTOS LINES WRITTEN IN THE TRAVELLERS' BOOK TO ABYDOS.1
1On 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 on 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 endeavored to ascertain its practicability.
"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 counter current, the wind blowing freshly, was but little less than two hours in crossing."]
[At Orehomenus, 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.]
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
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."
BENEATH WHICH LORD BYRON INSERTED THE FOLLOWING:
THE modest bard, like many a bard unknown,
MAID OF ATHENS, ERE WE PART. Ζώη μοῦ, σάς ἀγαπῶ,
MAID of Athens, ere we part,
Give, oh, give me back my heart!
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 colors 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 generally 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.
LINES WRITTEN BENEATH A PICTURE.
DEAR object of defeated care!
Though now of Love and thee bereft,
Thine image and my tears are left.
Athens, January, 1811.
TRANSLATION OF THE FAMOUS GREEK WAR SONG,
Sons of Greeks! let us go
The Turkish tyrant's yoke,
Oh, start again to life! At the sound of my trumpet, breaking Your sleep, oh, join with me! And the seven-hill'd' city seeking, Fight, conquer, till we're free. 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 fugged in your country, a century, without being sure of this, an without acquiring any thing inore 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, it 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, ACUTE Raides, &c., was written by Riga, who perished in the attempt to revolutionize Greece. This translation is as literal as the author could make it to verse, It is of the same measure as that of the original. [While at the Capuchin convent, Lord Byron devoted soine 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.]
8 Constantinople. “Επτάλοφος.”
[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 endeavoring to accomplish; but he was given up by the Austrian government to the Turks, who vainly endeavored by torture to force from him the names of the other conspirators.]
The song from which this is taken is a great favorite with the young girls of Athens of all classes. Their man
Now sad is the garden of roses,
Beloved but false Haidée! There Flora all wither'd reposes,
And mourns o'er thine absence with me.
THE kiss, dear maid! thy lip has left
Till happier hours restore the gift
Thy parting glance, which fondly beams, An equal love may see:
The tear that from thine eyelid streams Can weep no change in me.
I ask no pledge to make me blest
Nor one memorial for a breast,
Nor need I write-to tell the talo My pen were doubly weak: Oh! what can idle words avail, Unless the heart could speak?
By day or night, in weal or wo,
EPITAPH FOR JOSEPH BLACKETT,
LATE POET AND SHOEMAKER.
Malta, May 16, 1811.
ner of singing it is by verses in rotation, the whole number present joining in the chorus. I have heard it frequently at our "xópot," in the winter of 1810-11. The air is plaintive and pretty.
[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 poetaster has been given, antè, p. 442. He died in 1810, and his works have followed him.]
FAREWELL TO MALTA.
ADIEU, ye joys of La Valette!
Adieu to Peter-whom no fault 's in,
Of all that strut "en militaire !"
Farewell to these, but not adieu,
And now I've got to Mrs. Fraser,
May 26, 1811. [First published, 1832.]
["On a leaf of one of Lord Byron's paper-books I find an Epigram, which, though not perhaps particularly good, I consider myself bound to insert."-MOORE. The farce in question was called "M. P.; or, the Blue Stocking," and
UNHAPPY Dives! in an evil hour
'Gainst Nature's voice seduced to deeds accursed!
ON MOORE'S LAST OPERATIC FARCE, OR FARCICAL OPERA.
GOOD plays are scarce,
The poet's fame grows brittle
We knew before
That Little 's Moore,
But now 'tis Moore that 's little.
EPISTLE TO A FRIEND,
IN ANSWER TO SOME LINES EXHORTING THE AUTHOR
"Twere long to tell, and vain to hear, The tale of one who scorns a tear; And there is little in that tale Which better bosoms would bewail. But mine has suffer'd more than well "Twould suit philosophy to tell. I've seen my bride another's bride,Have seen her seated by his side,Have seen the infant, which she bore, Wear the sweet smile the mother wore, When she and I in youth have smiled, As fond and faultless as her child;Have seen her eyes, in cold disdain, Ask if I felt no secret pain;
came out at the Lyceum Theatre, on the 9th of Septem ber.] [Mr. Francis Hodgson, (not then the Reverend.) See antė, p. 552.]
[These lines will show with what gloomy fidelity, even while under the pressure of recent sorrow, Lord Byron reverted to the disappointment of his early affection, as the chief source of all his sufferings and errors, present and to come.--MOORE.]
[The anticipation of his own future career in these coneluding lines are of a nature, it must be owned, to awaken more of horror than of interest, were we not prepared, by so raany instances of his exaggeration in this respect, not to be startled at any lengths to which the spirit of self-libelling would carry him. It seemed as if, with the power of paintng fierce and gloomy personages, he had also the ambition to be, himself, the dark subline he drew," and that, in his fondness for the delineation of heroic crime, he endeavored to fancy, where he could not find in his own character, fit subjects for his pencil.-MOORE.]
[Two days after, in another letter to Mr. Hodgson, Lord Byron says, "I am growing nervous, (how you will laugh!) -but it is true.-really, wretchedly, ridicuously, fine-ladieally nervous. Your climate kills me; I can neither read, write, nor amuse myself, or any one else. My days are listless, and my nights restless: I have seldom any society, and, when I have, I run out of it. I don't know that I sha'n't end with insanity; for I find a want of method in arranging my thoughts that perplexes me strangely."]
[Mr. Moore considers "Thyrza" as if she were a mere
Oh! who like him had watch'd thee here?
Till all was past! But whe, no more "Twas thine to reck of human wo, Affection's heart-drops, gushing o'er,
Had flow'd as fast-as now they flow.
Shall they not flow, when many a day
In these, to me, deserted towers, Ere call'd but for a time away,
Affection's mingling tears were ours?
Ours too the glance none saw beside;
The smile none else might understand; The whisper'd thought of hearts allied,
The pressure of the thrilling hand;
The kiss, so guiltless and refined,
That Love each warmer wish forbore; Those eyes proclaim'd so pure a mind, Even passion blush'd to plead for more. The tone, that taught me to rejoice,
When prone, unlike thee, to repine; The song, celestial from thy voice,
But sweet to me from none but thine;
The pledge we wore-I wear it still,
But where is thine?-Ah! where art thou? Oft have I borne the weight of ill,
But never bent beneath till now!
Well hast thou left in life's best bloom
I would not wish thee here again;
But if in worlds more blest than this
Thy virtues seck a fitter sphere, Impart some portion of thy bliss,
To wean me from mine anguish here.
Teach me too early taught by thee!
It fain would form my hope in heaven!
creature of the poet's brain. "It was," he says, "about the time when he was thus bitterly feeling, and expressing, the blight which his heart had suffered from a reul object of affection, that his poems on the death of an imaginary one were written ;-nor is it any wonder, when we consider the peculiar circumstances under which these beautiful effusions flowed from his fancy, that, of all his strains of pathos, they should be the most touching and most pure. They were, indeed, the essence, the abstract spirit, as it were, of many
griefs;-a confluence of sad thoughts from many sources of sorrow, refined and warmed in their passage through his fancy, and forming thus one dep reservoir of mournful feeling." It is a pity to disturb a sentiment thus beautifully expressed; but Lord Byron, in a letter to Mr. Dallas, bearing the exact date of these lmes, viz. Oct. 11th, 1811, writes as follows:-"I have been again shocked with a death, and have lost one very dear to me in happier times: but I have almost forgot the taste of grief,' and supped full of horrors,' till I have become callous; nor have I a tear left for an event which, five years ago, would have bowed my head to the earth." In his reply to this letter, Mr. Dallas says-“ I thank you for your confidential communication. How truly do I wish that that being had lived, and lived yours! What your obligations to her would have been in that case is inconceivable." Several years after the series of poems on Thyrza were written, Lord Byron, on being asked to whom they referred, by a person in whose tenderness he never ceased to