Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/179

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Childe Harold at a little distance stood
And viewed, but not displeased, the revelrie,
Nor hated harmless mirth, however rude:
In sooth, it was no vulgar sight to see
Their barbarous, yet their not indecent, glee;
And, as the flames along their faces gleamed,
Their gestures nimble, dark eyes flashing free,
The long wild locks that to their girdles streamed,
While thus in concert they this lay half sang, half screamed:[1]N30

    astonishing energy. All their songs were relations of some robbing exploits. One of them ... began thus: 'When we set out from Parga there were sixty of us!' then came the burden of the verse—

    'Robbers all at Parga!
    Robbers all at Parga!'

    'Κλέφτεις ποτὲ Πάργα!
    Κλέφτεις ποτὲ Πάργα!'

    And as they roared out this stave, they whirled round the fire, dropped, and rebounded from their knees, and again whirled round as the chorus was again repeated."—Travels in Albania, i. 166, 167.]

  1. [This was not Byron's first experience of an Albanian war-song. At Salakhora, on the Gulf of Arta (nine miles northeast of Prevesa), which he reached on October 1, the Albanian guard at the custom-house entertained the travellers by "singing some songs." "The music is extremely monotonous and nasal; and the shrill scream of their voices was increased by each putting his hand behind his ear and cheek, to give more force to the sound."—Travels in Albania, i. 28.

    Long afterwards, in 1816, one evening, on the Lake of Geneva, Byron entertained Shelley, Mary, and Claire with "an Albanian song." They seem to have felt that such melodies "unheard are sweeter." Hence, perhaps, his petit nom, "Albè," that is, the "Albaneser."—Life of Shelley, by Edward Dowden, 1896, p. 309.]