Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/123

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CANTO I.]
89
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

into that city, and the exit of some five thousand bold Britons out of this 'best of all possible worlds' [Pangloss, in Candide]. Sorely were we puzzled how to dispose of that same victory of Talavera; and a victory it surely was somewhere, for everybody claimed it. The Spanish despatch and mob called it Cuesta's, and made no great mention of the Viscount; the French called it theirs (to my great discomfiture,—for a French consul stopped my mouth in Greece with a pestilent Paris Gazette, just as I had killed Sebastiani[1] 'in buckram,' and King Joseph 'in Kendal green'),—and we have not yet determined what to call it, or whose; for, certes, it was none of our own. Howbeit, Massena's retreat [May, 1811] is a great comfort; and as we have not been in the habit of pursuing for some years past, no wonder we are a little awkward at first. No doubt we shall improve; or, if not, we have only to take to our old way of retrograding, and there we are at home."—Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron, 1824, pp. 179-185.]


7.

When Cava's traitor-sire first called the band
That dyed thy mountain streams with Gothic gore.

Stanza xxxv. lines 3 and 4.

Count Julian's daughter, the Helen of Spain. Pelagius preserved his independence in the fastnesses of the Asturias, and the descendants of his followers, after some centuries, completed their struggle by the conquest of Grenada.

[Roderick the Goth violated Florinda, or Caba, or Cava, daughter of Count Julian, one of his principal lieutenants. In revenge for this outrage, Julian allied himself with Musca, the Caliph's lieutenant in Africa, and countenanced the invasion of Spain by a body of Saracens and Africans commanded by Tarik, from whom Jebel Tarik, Tarik's Rock, that is, Gibraltar, is said to have been named. The issue was the defeat and death of Roderick and the Moorish occupation of Spain. A Spaniard, according to Cervantes, may call his dog, but not his daughter, Florinda. (See Vision of Don Roderick, by Sir W. Scott, stanza iv. note 5.)]


  1. [François Horace Bastien Sebastiani (1772-1851), one of Napoleon's generals, defeated the Spanish at Ciudad Real, March 17, 1809. In his official report he said that he had sabred more than 3000 Spaniards in flight. At the battle of Talavera, July 27, his corps suffered heavily; but at Almonacid, August 11, he was again victorious over the Spanish.]