Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/122

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88
[CANTO I.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

of their slain equals that of our countrymen butchered by these kind creatures, now metamorphosed into 'Caçadores,' and what not. I merely state a fact, not confined to Portugal; for in Sicily and Malta we are knocked on the head at a handsome average nightly, and not a Sicilian or Maltese is ever punished! The neglect of protection is disgraceful to our government and governors; for the murders are as notorious as the moon that shines upon them, and the apathy that overlooks them. The Portuguese, it is to be hoped, are complimented with the 'Forlorn Hope,'—if the cowards are become brave (like the rest of their kind, in a corner), pray let them display it. But there is a subscription for these θρασύδειλοι[1] (they need not be ashamed of the epithet once applied to the Spartans); and all the charitable patronymics, from ostentatious A. to diffident Z., and £1 1s. 0d. from 'An Admirer of Valour,' are in requisition for the lists at Lloyd's, and the honour of British benevolence. Well! we have fought, and subscribed, and bestowed peerages, and buried the killed by our friends and foes; and, lo! all this is to be done over again! Like Lien Chi (in Goldsmith's Citizen of the World), as we 'grow older, we grow never the better.' It would be pleasant to learn who will subscribe for us, in or about the year 1815, and what nation will send fifty thousand men, first to be decimated in the capital, and then decimated again (in the Irish fashion, nine out of ten), in the 'bed of honour;' which, as Serjeant Kite says [in Farquhar's Recruiting Officer, act i. sc. 1], is considerably larger and more commodious than 'the bed of Ware.' Then they must have a poet to write the 'Vision of Don Perceval,'[2] and generously bestow the profits of the well and widely printed quarto, to rebuild the 'Backwynd' and the 'Canongate,' or furnish new kilts for the half-roasted Highlanders. Lord Wellington, however, has enacted marvels; and so did his Oriental brother, whom I saw charioteering over the French flag, and heard clipping bad Spanish, after listening to the speech of a patriotic cobler of Cadiz, on the event of his own entry

  1. [Vide post, p. 196, note 1.]
  2. [In a letter to J. B. S. Morritt, April 26, 1811, Sir Walter Scott writes, "I meditate some wild stanzas referring to the Peninsula; if I can lick them into any shape, I hope to get something handsome from the booksellers for the Portuguese sufferers: 'Silver and gold have I none, but that which I have I will give unto them.' My lyrics are called The Vision of Don Roderick."—Lockhart's Mem. of the Life of Sir W. Scott, 1871, p. 205.]