Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

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 cross'd me in the fray-
I 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 from the grave,
And will not soothe, and cannot save.

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.
She was a form of life and light,
That, seen, became a part of sight;
And rose, where'er I turn'd mine eye,
The Morning-star of Memory!

6. The cold in clime are cold in blood,

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

That boils in Ætna'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 maddning brain, And daring deed, and vengeful steel, And all that I have felt and feel, Betoken love that love was mine, 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 possess'd, And come what may, I have been bless'd. Shall I the doom I sought upbraid? Noreft of all, yet undismay'da

“ Yes, Love indeed is light from heaven;"

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

To lift from earth our low desire. Devotion wafts the mind above, But 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 phrensy then their fate accuse :
In madness do those fearful deeds

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

Hath naught to dread from outward blow;

"Yes

fire,

in his troublesome faculty of fore-hearing. On our return to Athens we heard from Leoné (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 cir. cumstances, we could not doubt of his having been in “vil. lanous company," and ourselves in a bad neighborhood. 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 Arnaouts of Berat, and his native mountains.--I shall mention one trait more of this singular race. In March, 1811, a remarkably stout and active Arnaout came (I believe the fiftieth on the same errand) to offer himself as an attendant, which was declined: “Well, Affendi," quoth he,“ may you live !-you 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 unmolested in some town, where they are often as well known as their exploits. ?["I cannot prate in puling strain

Of bursting heart and maddening brain,

And fire that raged in every vein.”-MS.) ? [“ Even now alone, yet undismay'd,

I know no friend and ask no aid."-MS.) 3 [These, in our opinion, are the most beautiful passages of the poem ; and soine of them of a beauty which it would not be easy to eclipse by many citations in the language.JEFFREY.)

*[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 to Mr. Murray, Lord

Byron says :-" I have, 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 llarold. 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, have given him a good deal to say for himself. Do you know anybody who can stop-I mean, point-commas, and so forth? for I am, I hear, a sad hand at your punctuation."

5 [Among the Giaour MSS. is the first draught of this passage, which we subjoin :

doth spring)
Love indeed descend from heaven;
If

be born

immortal
A spark of that eternal

celestial
To human hearts in mercy given,

To lift from earth our low desire.
A feeling from the Godhead caught,
To wean from self eur sordid thought ;

Devotion sends the soul above,

But Heaven itself descends to love.
Yet marvel not, if they who love

This present joy, this future liope,

Which taught them with all ill to cope,
In madness, then, their fate accuse-

In madness do those fearful deeds
That seem

{
to add but guilt to

WO.
but to augment their

that inly bleeds,

heart Has naught to dread from outward foe,” &c.) of" "Tis quench'd, and I am lost in night."-MS.)

}

Who falls from all he knows of bliss,
Cores little into what abyss.
Fierce as the gloomy culture'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 havoc have I mark'd my way: But this was tanght me by the dove, To dio-and know 10 second love. This lesson yet hath man to learn, Taught by the thing ho 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, Purtake his jest with boasting boys; I cry not his raried jovs, But deem such feeble, heartless man, Less than you solitary swan; Far, far beneath the shallow maid He left believing and betray'd. Such share at least was never mineLeila! each thonglit was only thine ! My good, my guilt, my weal, my wo, My hope on hig'i—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 damo Resembling theo, yet not the same. 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!

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 :S

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 smile
When Prudence would his voice assume,

And warn-I reck'd not what-the while : 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 had 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 hiin 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 wrack by passion left behind, A shrivellid scroll, a scatter'd leaf, Sear'd by the autumn blast of grief!

1" 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 wo.
But talk no more of penitence;
Thou xre'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.?
My soul's estate in secret guess :3
But wouldst thou pity more, say less.
Wben thou canst bid iny Leila live,
Then will I sue thee to forgive ;
Then pleard my cause in that high place
Where purchased masses proffer grace.
Go, when the hunter's hand hath wrung
Frogn forest-cave her shrieking young,

“ Tell me no more of fancy's gleam,

No, father, no, 'twas 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:
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, despair®
Is mightier than thy pious prayer:
I would not, if I might, be blest ;
I want no paradise, but rest.
'Twas then, I tell thee, father! then
I saw her; yes, she lived again;
And shining in her white symar,"
As through yon pale gray cloud the star

! " And let the light, inconstant fool

That ancers lus coxcomb ridicule."-MS.] * The monk's sermon is omitted. It seems to have had so et le ellert upon the pauent, that it could have no hopes from the render. It may be sufficient to say, that it was of a procomary length, las may be perceived from the interruptenia and uneasiness of ihe patient,) and was delivered in Dhe nsual tone of all orthodox preachers.

3 [

" but this grief In truth is not for thy relief,

My state thy thought can never guess."-MS.) + [“ Where rise iny native city's towers."-MS.] 6 ["I have no heart to love him now,

And 'ris but to declare my end."--MS.] & p" Nay, kneel not, father, rise-despair," &c.-MS.]

Symar,” a shroud.

7.

They told me wild waves roll'd abovo
The face I view, the form I love;
They told mo—'twas a hideous tale!
I'd tell it, but my tongue would fail :
If true, and from thine ocean-cavo
Thou com'st 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 ?

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 press'd,
They shrink upon my lonely breast;
Yet still 'tis there! In silence stands,
And beckons with beseeching hands!
With braided hair, and bright-black eye
I knew 'twas false—she could not die !
But he is dead! within the dell
I saw him buried where he fell;
Ho comes not, for he cannot break
From earth ; why then art thou awake?

“ 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 mo with the humblest dead,
And, save the cross above my head,
Be neither namo nor emblem spread,
By prying stranger to be read,
Or stay the passing pilgrim's tread.”

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 knews
Of her he loved, or him he slew..

2

3

(“Which now I view with trembling spark.”—MS.")

of his incidents are to be found in the “ Bibliothèque Orien3 The circumstance to which the above story relates was tale;" but for correctness of costume, beauty of description, not very uncommon in Turkey. A few years ago the wife of and power of imagination, it far surpasses all European imiMuchtar Pacha complained to his father of his son's sup tations; and bears such marks of originality, that those who posed infidelity; he asked with whoin, and she had the bar. have visited the East will find some difficulty in believing barity to give in a list of the twelve handsomest women in it to be more than a translation. As an Eastern tale, even Yanina. They were seized, fastened up in sacks, and Rasselas must bow before it; his “Happy Valley" will not drowned in the lake the same night! One of the guards bear a comparison with the “ Hall of Eblis." who was present informed me, that not one of the victims

[“ Nor whether most he mourn'd none knew, uttered a cry, or showed a symptom of terror at so sudden

For her he loved, or him he slew."-MS.) a “ wrench from all we know, from all we love." The fate of Phrosine, the fairest of this sacritice, is the subject of * (In this poem, which was published after the first two many a Romaic and Arnaout ditty. The story in the text canios of Childe Harold, Lord Byron began to show his is one told of a young Venetian many years ago, and now powers. He had now received encouragement which set nearly forgotten. I heard it by accident recited by one of free bis daring hands, and gave his strokes their natural the coffee-house storytellers who abound in the Levant, and force. Here, then, we first find passages of a tone peculiar sing or recite their narratives. The additions and interpo. to Lord Byron ; but still this appearance was not uniform : lations by the translator will be easily distinguished from he often returned to his trammels, and reminds us of the the rest, by the want of Eastern imagery; and I regret that manner of some favorite predecessor: among these, I think my memory has retained so few fragments of the original. we sometimes catch the notes of Sir Walter Scott. But the For the contents of some of the notes I am indebted partly internal tempest-the deep passion, sometimes buried, and to D'Herbelot, and partly to that most Eastern, and, as sometimes blazing from some incidental touch-the intensity Mr. Weber justly entitles it, “sublime tale," the “ Caliph of agonizing reflection, which will always distinguish Lora | Vathek." I do not know from what source the author of Byron from other writers-now began to display them: 1 that singular volume may have drawn his materials; some selves.-SiR EGERTON BRYDGES.)

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

CANTO THE FIRST.

1.
Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle

Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime,
Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
Now melt into borrow, now madden to crime ?
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

perfume, War faint o'er the gardens of Gúl* in her bloom ; Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, And the voice of the nightingale never is mute : Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, la color 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 SunCan he smile on such deeds as his children have

II.
Begirt with many a gallant slave,
Apparell’d 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 skill'd to hide
All but unconquerable pride,
His pensive cheek and pondering brow
Did more than he was wont avow.

III. “Let tho chamber be clear'd.”—The train disap

pear'd-
“ Now call me the chief of the Harem guard."
With Gjaffir 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,
(Wo to the head whose eye beheld
My child Zuleika's face unveil'd!)

[ocr errors]

done?

"[The “* Bride of Abydos" was published in the begin aink of December, 1813. The mood of mind in which it

truek 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 erabied if you would do it the same favor in its probatione sale of printing. It was written, I cannot say for assement, nor obliged by hunger and request of friends,' tot in a state of mind, from circumstances which ocčasonally occur to us youth,' that rendered it necessary for me to apply my mind to something, any thing, but realty; 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.' I deserves no better than the first, as the work of a week, and scribbled stans pede in uno (by the by, the only I bave to stand on ;) and I promise never to trouble you szam under forty cantos, and a voyage between each.")

? (“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 have made it, and am ashamed of not being an Irishman." Byron Diary, Dec. 6, 1813.)

$[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.") 4 “Gúl," the rose. 8" Souls made of fire, and children of the Sun,

With whom revenge is virtue."--Young's Revenge.

But, Haroun !—to my danghter speed :
And hark-of thine own head take heed-
If thus Zuleika oft takes wing-
Thou seest yon bow—it hath a string !"

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 spako,

Still standing at the Pacha's feet:
For son of Moslem must expire,
Ere dare to sit before his sire !

V.
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 siro ?”

Thus held his thoughts their dark career; And glances ev’n 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 dar'st 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."

“ 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

Soon turns the harem'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 long With Mejnoun's tale, or Sadi's song;' Till I, who heard the deep tamboura 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."

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 theo 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.

As sneeringly these accents fell,
On Selim's eye he fiercely gazed :

That eye return'd him glance for glance And proudly to his sire's was raised,

Till Giaffir's quaild and shrunk askanceAnd why-he felt, but durst not tell. “ Much I misdoubt this wayward boy Will one day work me more annoy : I never loved him from his birth, And--but his arm is little worth, And scarcely in the chase could cope With timid fawn or antelope, Far less would venture into strife Where man contends for fame and lifeI would not trust that look or tone: No-nor the blood so near my own. That blood-he hath not heard-no moreI'll watch him closer than before. He is an Arabs to my sight, Or Christian crouching in the fightBut hark !--I hear Zuleika's voice;

Like Houris' hymn it meets mine ear:
She is the offspring of my choice;

Oh! more than ev'n her mother dear,
With all to hope, and naught to fear-
My Peri! ever welcome here !
Sweet, as the desert fountain's wave,
To lips just cool'd in time to save-

Such to my longing sight art thou ;
Nor can they waft to Mecca's shrine
More thanks for life, than I for thine,

Who blest thy birth, and bless thee now."

VI.
Fair, as the first that fell of womankind,

When on that dread yet lovely serpent smiling,

I Mejnoun and Leila, the Romeo and Juliet of the East. Sadi, the moral poet of Persia.

2 Turkish drum, which sounds at sunrise, noon, and twi.

3 The Turks abhor the Arabs (who return the complimnent hundred-fold) even more than they hate the Chris tians.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »