Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/291

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

A bony heap, through ages to remain,
Themselves their monument;[1]—the Stygian coast
Unsepulchred they roamed, and shrieked each wandering ghost.[2][3]N13


While Waterloo with Cannæ's carnage vies,[4]
Morat and Marathon twin names shall stand;
They were true Glory's stainless victories,

Won by the unambitious heart and hand
  1. [The inscription on the ossuary of the Burgundian troops which fell in the battle of Morat, June 14, 1476, suggested this variant of Si monumentum quæris

    "Deo Optimo Maximo.

    "Inclytissimi et fortissimi Burgundia; ducis exercitus,
    Moratum obsidens, ab Helvetiis cæsus, hoc sui monumentum reliquit."]

  2. Unsepulchred they roam, and shriek——.—[MS.]
  3. [The souls of the suitors when Hermes "roused and shepherded them followed gibbering" (τρίζουσαι).—Od., xxiv. 5. Once, too, when the observance of the dies Parentales was neglected, Roman ghosts took to wandering and shrieking.

    "Perque vias Urbis, Latiosque ululasse per agros
    Deformes animas, vulgus inane ferunt."

    Ovid, Fasti, ii. lines 553, 554.

    The Homeric ghosts gibbered because they were ghosts; the Burgundian ghosts because they were confined to the Stygian coast, and could not cross the stream. For once the "classical allusions" are forced and inappropriate.]

  4. [Byron's point is that at Morat 15,000 men were slain in a righteous cause—the defence of a republic against an invading tyrant; whereas the lives of those that fell at Cannæ and at Waterloo were sacrificed to the ambition of rival powers fighting for the mastery.]