Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/70

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36
[CANTO I.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

XXI.

And here and there, as up the crags you spring,
Mark many rude-carved crosses near the path:[1]
Yet deem not these Devotion's offering—
These are memorials frail of murderous wrath:
For wheresoe'er the shrieking victim hath
Pour'd forth his blood beneath the assassin's knife,
Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath;
And grove and glen with thousand such are rife
Throughout this purple land, where Law secures not life.N3


XXII.

On sloping mounds, or in the vale beneath,[2]

Are domes where whilome kings did make repair;
  1. "I don't remember any crosses there."—[Pencilled note by J. C. Hobhouse.]

    [The crosses made no impression upon Hobhouse, who, no doubt, had realized that they were nothing but guideposts. For an explanation, see letter of Mr. Matthew Lewtas to the Athenæum, July 19, 1873: "The track from the main road to the convent, rugged and devious, leading up to the mountain, is marked out by numerous crosses now, just as it was when Byron rode along it in 1809, and it would appear he fell into the mistake of considering that the crosses were erected to show where assassinations had been committed."]

  2. [Beckford, describing the view from the convent, notices the wild flowers which adorned "the ruined splendour." "Amidst the crevices of the mouldering walls ... I noticed some capillaries and polypodiums of infinite delicacy; and on a little flat space before the convent a numerous tribe of pinks, gentians, and other Alpine plants, fanned and invigorated by the fresh mountain air."—Italy, etc., 1834, p. 229.

    The "Prince's palace" (line 5) may be the royal palace at Cintra, "the Alhambra of the Moorish kings," or, possibly, the palace (vide post, stanza xxix. line 7) at Mafra, ten miles from Cintra.]