The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Hebrew Melodies/Herod's Lament for Mariamne
HEROD'S LAMENT FOR MARIAMNE.
Oh, Mariamne! now for thee
And is she dead?—and did they dare
She's gone, who shared my diadem;
Jan. 15, 1815.
- [Mariamne, the wife of Herod the Great, falling under the suspicion of infidelity, was put to death by his order. Ever after, Herod was haunted by the image of the murdered Mariamne, until disorder of the mind brought on disorder of body, which led to temporary derangement. See History of the Jews, by H. H. Milman, 1878, pp, 236, 237. See, too, Voltaire's drama, Mariamne, passim. Nathan, wishing "to be favoured with so many lines pathetic, some playful, others martial, etc. ... one evening ... unfortunately (while absorbed for a moment in worldly affairs) requested so many dull lines—meaning plaintive." Byron instantly caught at the expression, and exclaimed, "Well, Nathan! you have at length set me an easy task," and before parting presented him with "these beautifully pathetic lines, saying, 'Here, Nathan, I think you will find these dull enough.'"—Fugitive Pieces, 1829, p. 51.]
- And what was rage is agony.—[MS. erased.]
Revenge is turned ——.—[MS.]
- And deep Remorse ——.—[MS.]
- And what am I thy tyrant pleading.—[MS. erased.]
Thou art not dead—they could not dare
Obey my jealous Frenzy's raving.—[MS.]
- But yet in death my soul enslaving.—[MS. erased.]
- Oh I have earned ——.—[MS.]