The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 2/Childe Harold's Pilgrimage/Canto II
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
CANTO THE SECOND.
Byron. Joannina in Albania.
Begun Oct. 31st 1809.
Concluded Canto 2. Smyrna.
March 28th, 1810. [MS. D.]
CANTO THE SECOND.
Come, blue-eyed Maid of Heaven!—but Thou, alas!
Didst never yet one mortal song inspire—
Goddess of Wisdom! here thy temple was,
And is, despite of War and wasting fire,N1
And years, that bade thy worship to expire:
But worse than steel, and flame, and ages slow,N2
Is the dread sceptre and dominion dire
Of men who never felt the sacred glow
That thoughts of thee and thine on polished breasts bestow.
Ancient of days! august Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul?
Gone—glimmering through the dream of things that were:
First in the race that led to Glory's goal,
They won, and passed away—is this the whole?
A schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour!
The Warrior's weapon and the Sophist's stole
Are sought in vain, and o'er each mouldering tower,
Dim with the mist of years, gray flits the shade of power.
Son of the Morning, rise! approach you here!
Come—but molest not yon defenceless Urn:
Look on this spot—a Nation's sepulchre!
Abode of Gods, whose shrines no longer burn.
Even Gods must yield—Religions take their turn:
'Twas Jove's—'tis Mahomet's—and other Creeds
Will rise with other years, till Man shall learn
Vainly his incense soars, his victim bleeds;
Poor child of Doubt and Death, whose hope is built on reeds.
Bound to the Earth, he lifts his eye to Heaven—
Is 't not enough, Unhappy Thing! to know
Thou art? Is this a boon so kindly given,
That being, thou would'st be again, and go,
Thou know'st not, reck'st not to what region, so
On Earth no more, but mingled with the skies?
Still wilt thou dream on future Joy and Woe?
Regard and weigh yon dust before it flies:
That little urn saith more than thousand Homilies.
Or burst the vanished Hero's lofty mound;
Far on the solitary shore he sleeps:N3
He fell, and falling nations mourned around;
But now not one of saddening thousands weeps,
Nor warlike worshipper his vigil keeps
Where demi-gods appeared, as records tell.
Remove yon skull from out the scattered heaps:
Is that a Temple where a God may dwell?
Why ev'n the Worm at last disdains her shattered cell!
Look on its broken arch, its ruined wall,
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul:
Yes, this was once Ambition's airy hall,
The Dome of Thought, the Palace of the Soul:
Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
The gay recess of Wisdom and of Wit
And Passion's host, that never brooked control:
Can all Saint, Sage, or Sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?
Well didst thou speak, Athena's wisest son!
"All that we know is, nothing can be known."
Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun?
Each hath its pang, but feeble sufferers groan
With brain-born dreams of Evil all their own.
Pursue what Chance or Fate proclaimeth best;
Peace waits us on the shores of Acheron:
There no forced banquet claims the sated guest,
But Silence spreads the couch of ever welcome Rest.
Yet if, as holiest men have deemed, there be
A land of Souls beyond that sable shore,
To shame the Doctrine of the Sadducee
And Sophists, madly vain of dubious lore;
How sweet it were in concert to adore
With those who made our mortal labours light!
To hear each voice we feared to hear no more!
Behold each mighty shade revealed to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the Right!
There, Thou!—whose Love and Life together fled,
Have left me here to love and live in vain—
Twined with my heart, and can I deem thee dead
When busy Memory flashes on my brain?
Well—I will dream that we may meet again,
And woo the vision to my vacant breast:
If aught of young Remembrance then remain,
Be as it may Futurity's behest,
For me 'twere bliss enough to know thy spirit blest!
Here let me sit upon this massy stone,
The marble column's yet unshaken base;
Here, son of Saturn! was thy favourite throne:N4
Mightiest of many such! Hence let me trace
The latent grandeur of thy dwelling-place.
It may not be: nor ev'n can Fancy's eye
Restore what Time hath laboured to deface.
Yet these proud Pillars claim no passing sigh;
Unmoved the Moslem sits, the light Greek carols by.
But who, of all the plunderers of yon Fane
On high—where Pallas linger'd, loth to flee
The latest relic of her ancient reign—
The last, the worst, dull spoiler, who was he?
Blush, Caledonia! such thy son could be!
England! I joy no child he was of thine:
Thy free-born men should spare what once was free;
Yet they could violate each saddening shrine,
And bear these altars o'er the long-reluctant brine.N5
But most the modern Pict's ignoble boast,
To rive what Goth, and Turk, and Time hath spared:N6
Cold as the crags upon his native coast,
His mind as barren and his heart as hard,
Is he whose head conceived, whose hand prepared,
Aught to displace Athenæ's poor remains:
Her Sons too weak the sacred shrine to guard,
Yet felt some portion of their Mother's pains,N7
And never knew, till then, the weight of Despot's chains.
What! shall it e'er be said by British tongue,
Albion was happy in Athena's tears?
Though in thy name the slaves her bosom wrung.
Tell not the deed to blushing Europe's ears;
The Ocean Queen, the free Britannia, bears
The last poor plunder from a bleeding land:
Yes, she, whose generous aid her name endears,
Tore down those remnants with a Harpy's hand,
Where was thine Ægis, Pallas! that appalled
Stern Alaric and Havoc on their way?N8
Where Peleus' son? whom Hell in vain enthralled,
His shade from Hades upon that dread day
Bursting to light in terrible array!
What! could not Pluto spare the Chief once more,
To scare a second robber from his prey?
Idly he wandered on the Stygian shore,
Nor now preserved the walls he loved to shield before.
Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on Thee,
Nor feels as Lovers o'er the dust they loved;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best behoved
To guard those relics ne'er to be restored:—
Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
And snatched thy shrinking Gods to Northern climes abhorred!
But where is Harold? shall I then forget
To urge the gloomy Wanderer o'er the wave?
Little recked he of all that Men regret;
No loved-one now in feigned lament could rave;
No friend the parting hand extended gave,
Ere the cold Stranger passed to other climes:
Hard is his heart whom charms may not enslave;
But Harold felt not as in other times,
And left without a sigh the land of War and Crimes.
He that has sailed upon the dark blue sea
Has viewed at times, I ween, a full fair sight,
When the fresh breeze is fair as breeze may be,
The white sail set, the gallant Frigate tight—
Masts, spires, and strand retiring to the right,
The glorious Main expanding o'er the bow,
The Convoy spread like wild swans in their flight,
The dullest sailer wearing bravely now—
So gaily curl the waves before each dashing prow.
And oh, the little warlike world within!
The well-reeved guns, the netted canopyN9
The hoarse command, the busy humming din,
When, at a word, the tops are manned on high:
Hark, to the Boatswain's call, the cheering cry!
While through the seaman's hand the tackle glides;
Or schoolboy Midshipman that, standing by,
Strains his shrill pipe as good or ill betides,
And well the docile crew that skilful Urchin guides.
White is the glassy deck, without a stain,
Where on the watch the staid Lieutenant walks:
Look on that part which sacred doth remain
For the lone Chieftain, who majestic stalks,
Silent and feared by all—not oft he talks
With aught beneath him, if he would preserve
That strict restraint, which broken, ever balks
Conquest and Fame: but Britons rarely swerve
From law, however stern, which tends their strength to nerve.
Blow! swiftly blow, thou keel-compelling gale!
Till the broad Sun withdraws his lessening ray:
Then must the Pennant-bearer slacken sail,
That lagging barks may make their lazy way.
Ah! grievance sore, and listless dull delay,
To waste on sluggish hulks the sweetest breeze!
What leagues are lost, before the dawn of day,
Thus loitering pensive on the willing seas,
The flapping sail hauled down to halt for logs like these!
The Moon is up; by Heaven, a lovely eve!
Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand;
Now lads on shore may sigh, and maids believe:
Such be our fate when we return to land!
Meantime some rude Arion's restless hand
Wakes the brisk harmony that sailors love;
A circle there of merry listeners stand
Or to some well-known measure featly move,
Thoughtless, as if on shore they still were free to rove.
Through Calpe's straits survey the steepy shore;
Europe and Afric on each other gaze!
Lands of the dark-eyed Maid and dusky Moor
Alike beheld beneath pale Hecate's blaze:
How softly on the Spanish shore she plays!
Disclosing rock, and slope, and forest brown,
Distinct, though darkening with her waning phase;
But Mauritania's giant-shadows frown,
From mountain-cliff to coast descending sombre down.
'Tis night, when Meditation bids us feel
We once have loved, though Love is at an end:
The Heart, lone mourner of its baffled zeal,
Though friendless now, will dream it had a friend.
Who with the weight of years would wish to bend,
When Youth itself survives young Love and Joy?
Alas! when mingling souls forget to blend,
Death hath but little left him to destroy!
Ah! happy years! once more who would not be a boy?
Thus bending o'er the vessel's laving side,
To gaze on Dian's wave-reflected sphere,
The Soul forgets her schemes of Hope and Pride,
And flies unconscious o'er each backward year;
None are so desolate but something dear,
Dearer than self, possesses or possessed
A thought, and claims the homage of a tear;
A flashing pang! of which the weary breast
Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
To sit on rocks—to muse o'er flood and fell—
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not Man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not Solitude—'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.
But midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the World's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of Splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less,
Of all that flattered—followed—sought, and sued;
This is to be alone—This, This is Solitude!
More blest the life of godly Eremite,
Such as on lonely Athos may be seen,
Watching at eve upon the Giant Height,
Which looks o'er waves so blue, skies so serene,
That he who there at such an hour hath been
Will wistful linger on that hallowed spot;
Then slowly tear him from the 'witching scene,
Sigh forth one wish that such had been his lot,
Then turn to hate a world he had almost forgot.
Pass we the long unvarying course, the track
Oft trod, that never leaves a trace behind;
Pass we the calm—the gale—the change—the tack,
And each well known caprice of wave and wind;
Pass we the joys and sorrows sailors find,
Cooped in their wingéd sea-girt citadel;
The foul—the fair—the contrary—the kind—
As breezes rise and fall and billows swell,
Till on some jocund morn—lo, Land! and All is well!
But not in silence pass Calypso's isles,N10
The sister tenants of the middle deep;
There for the weary still a Haven smiles,
Though the fair Goddess long hath ceased to weep,
And o'er her cliffs a fruitless watch to keep
For him who dared prefer a mortal bride:
Here, too, his boy essayed the dreadful leap
Stern Mentor urged from high to yonder tide;
While thus of both bereft, the Nymph-Queen doubly sighed.
Her reign is past, her gentle glories gone:
But trust not this; too easy Youth, beware!
A mortal Sovereign holds her dangerous throne,
And thou may'st find a new Calypso there.
Sweet Florence! could another ever share
This wayward, loveless heart, it would be thine:
But checked by every tie, I may not dare
To cast a worthless offering at thy shrine,
Nor ask so dear a breast to feel one pang for mine.
Thus Harold deemed, as on that Lady's eye
He looked, and met its beam without a thought,
Save Admiration glancing harmless by:
Love kept aloof, albeit not far remote,
Who knew his Votary often lost and caught,
But knew him as his Worshipper no more,
And ne'er again the Boy his bosom sought:
Since now he vainly urged him to adore,
Well deemed the little God his ancient sway was o'er.
Fair Florence found, in sooth with some amaze,
One who, 'twas said, still sighed to all he saw,
Withstand, unmoved, the lustre of her gaze,
Which others hailed with real or mimic awe,
Their hope, their doom, their punishment, their law;
All that gay Beauty from her bondsmen claims:
And much she marvelled that a youth so raw
Nor felt, nor feigned at least, the oft-told flames,
Which though sometimes they frown, yet rarely anger dames.
Little knew she that seeming marble heart,
Now masked in silence or withheld by Pride,
Was not unskilful in the spoiler's art,
And spread its snares licentious far and wide;
Nor from the base pursuit had turned aside,
As long as aught was worthy to pursue:
But Harold on such arts no more relied;
And had he doted on those eyes so blue,
Yet never would he join the lover's whining crew.
Not much he kens, I ween, of Woman's breast,
Who thinks that wanton thing is won by sighs;
What careth she for hearts when once possessed?
Do proper homage to thine Idol's eyes;
But not too humbly, or she will despise
Thee and thy suit, though told in moving tropes:
Disguise ev'n tenderness, if thou art wise;
Brisk Confidence still best with woman copes:
Pique her and soothe in turn—soon Passion crowns thy hopes.
'Tis an old lesson—Time approves it true,
And those who know it best, deplore it most;
When all is won that all desire to woo,
The paltry prize is hardly worth the cost:
Youth wasted—Minds degraded—Honour lost—
These are thy fruits, successful Passion! these!
If, kindly cruel, early Hope is crost,
Still to the last it rankles, a disease,
Not to be cured when Love itself forgets to please.
Away! nor let me loiter in my song,
For we have many a mountain-path to tread,
And many a varied shore to sail along,
By pensive Sadness, not by Fiction, led—
Climes, fair withal as ever mortal head
Imagined in its little schemes of thought;
Or e'er in new Utopias were ared,
To teach Man what he might be, or he ought—
If that corrupted thing could ever such be taught.
Dear Nature is the kindest mother still!
Though always changing, in her aspect mild;
From her bare bosom let me take my fill,
Her never-weaned, though not her favoured child.
Oh! she is fairest in her features wild,
Where nothing polished dares pollute her path:
To me by day or night she ever smiled,
Though I have marked her when none other hath,
And sought her more and more, and loved her best in wrath.
Land of Albania! where Iskander rose,
Theme of the young, and beacon of the wise,
And he his namesake, whose oft-baffled foes
Shrunk from his deeds of chivalrous emprize:
Land of Albania! let me bend mine eyesN11
On thee, thou rugged Nurse of savage men!
The Cross descends, thy Minarets arise,
And the pale Crescent sparkles in the glen,
Through many a cypress-grove within each city's ken.
Childe Harold sailed, and passed the barren spot,
Where sad Penelope o'erlooked the wave;N12
And onward viewed the mount, not yet forgot,
The Lover's refuge, and the Lesbian's grave.
Dark Sappho! could not Verse immortal save
That breast imbued with such immortal fire?
Could she not live who life eternal gave?
If life eternal may await the lyre,
That only Heaven to which Earth's children may aspire.
'Twas on a Grecian autumn's gentle eve
Childe Harold hailed Leucadia's cape afar;
A spot he longed to see, nor cared to leave:
Oft did he mark the scenes of vanished war,
Mark them unmoved, for he would not delight
(Born beneath some remote inglorious star)
In themes of bloody fray, or gallant fight,
But loathed the bravo's trade, and laughed at martial wight.
But when he saw the Evening star above
Leucadia's far-projecting rock of woe,
And hailed the last resort of fruitless love,N14
He felt, or deemed he felt, no common glow:
And as the stately vessel glided slow
Beneath the shadow of that ancient mount,
He watched the billows' melancholy flow,
And, sunk albeit in thought as he was wont,
More placid seemed his eye, and smooth his pallid front.
Morn dawns; and with it stern Albania's hills,
Dark Suli's rocks, and Pindus' inland peak,
Robed half in mist, bedewed with snowy rills,
Arrayed in many a dun and purple streak,
Arise; and, as the clouds along them break,
Disclose the dwelling of the mountaineer:
Here roams the wolf—the eagle whets his beak—
Birds—beasts of prey—and wilder men appear,
And gathering storms around convulse the closing year.
Now Harold felt himself at length alone,
And bade to Christian tongues a long adieu;
Now he adventured on a shore unknown,
Which all admire, but many dread to view:
His breast was armed 'gainst fate, his wants were few;
Peril he sought not, but ne'er shrank to meet:
The scene was savage, but the scene was new;
This made the ceaseless toil of travel sweet,
Beat back keen Winter's blast, and welcomed Summer's heat.
Here the red Cross, for still the Cross is here,
Though sadly scoffed at by the circumcised,
Forgets that Pride to pampered priesthood dear;
Churchman and Votary alike despised.
Foul Superstition! howsoe'er disguised,
For whatsoever symbol thou art prized,
Thou sacerdotal gain, but general loss!
Who from true Worship's gold can separate thy dross?
Ambracia's gulf behold, where once was lost
A world for Woman, lovely, harmless thing!
In yonder rippling bay, their naval host
Did many a Roman chief and Asian KingN15
To doubtful conflict, certain slaughter bring:
Look where the second Cæsar's trophies rose!N16
Now, like the hands that reared them, withering:
Imperial Anarchs, doubling human woes!
God! was thy globe ordained for such to win and lose?
From the dark barriers of that rugged clime,
Ev'n to the centre of Illyria's vales,
Childe Harold passed o'er many a mount sublime,
Through lands scarce noticed in historic tales:
Yet in famed Attica such lovely dales
Are rarely seen; nor can fair Tempe boast
A charm they know not; loved Parnassus fails,
Though classic ground and consecrated most,
To match some spots that lurk within this lowering coast.
He passed bleak Pindus, Acherusia's lake,N17
And left the primal city of the land,
And onwards did his further journey take
To greet Albania's Chief, whose dread commandN18
Is lawless law; for with a bloody hand
He sways a nation, turbulent and bold:
Yet here and there some daring mountain-band
Disdain his power, and from their rocky hold
Hurl their defiance far, nor yield, unless to gold.N19
Monastic Zitza! from thy shady brow,N20
Thou small, but favoured spot of holy ground!
Where'er we gaze—around—above—below,—
What rainbow tints, what magic charms are found!
Rock, river, forest, mountain, all abound,
And bluest skies that harmonise the whole:
Beneath, the distant Torrent's rushing sound
Tells where the volumed Cataract doth roll
Between those hanging rocks, that shock yet please the soul.
Amidst the grove that crowns yon tufted hill,
Which, were it not for many a mountain nigh
Rising in lofty ranks, and loftier still,
Might well itself be deemed of dignity,
The Convent's white walls glisten fair on high:
Here dwells the caloyer, nor rude is he,N21
Nor niggard of his cheer; the passer by
Is welcome still; nor heedless will he flee
From hence, if he delight kind Nature's sheen to see.
Here in the sultriest season let him rest,
Fresh is the green beneath those aged trees;
Here winds of gentlest wing will fan his breast,
From Heaven itself he may inhale the breeze:
The plain is far beneath—oh! let him seize
Pure pleasure while he can; the scorching ray
Here pierceth not, impregnate with disease:
Then let his length the loitering pilgrim lay,
And gaze, untired, the Morn—the Noon—the Eve away.
Dusky and huge, enlarging on the sight,
Nature's volcanic Amphitheatre,N22
Chimæra's Alps extend from left to right:
Beneath, a living valley seems to stir;
Flocks play, trees wave, streams flow, the mountain-fir
Nodding above; behold black Acheron!N23
Once consecrated to the sepulchre.
Pluto! if this be Hell I look upon,
Close shamed Elysium's gates, my shade shall seek for none.
Ne city's towers pollute the lovely view;
Unseen is Yanina, though not remote,
Veiled by the screen of hills: here men are few,
Scanty the hamlet, rare the lonely cot:
But, peering down each precipice, the goat
Browseth; and, pensive o'er his scattered flock,
The little shepherd in his white capoteN24
Doth lean his boyish form along the rock,
Or in his cave awaits the Tempest's short-lived shock."
Oh! where, Dodona! is thine agéd Grove,
Prophetic Fount, and Oracle divine?
What valley echoed the response of Jove?
What trace remaineth of the Thunderer's shrine?
All, all forgotten—and shall Man repine
That his frail bonds to fleeting life are broke?
Cease, Fool! the fate of Gods may well be thine:
Wouldst thou survive the marble or the oak?
When nations, tongues, and worlds must sink beneath the stroke!
Epirus' bounds recede, and mountains fail;
Tired of up-gazing still, the wearied eye
Reposes gladly on as smooth a vale
As ever Spring yclad in grassy dye:
Ev'n on a plain no humble beauties lie,
Where some bold river breaks the long expanse,
And woods along the banks are waving high,
Whose shadows in the glassy waters dance,
Or with the moonbeam sleep in Midnight's solemn trance.
The Sun had sunk behind vast Tomerit,N25
And Laos wide and fierce came roaring by;N26
The shades of wonted night were gathering yet,
When, down the steep banks winding warily,
Childe Harold saw, like meteors in the sky,
The glittering minarets of Tepalen,
Whose walls o'erlook the stream; and drawing nigh,
He heard the busy hum of warrior-men
Swelling the breeze that sighed along the lengthening glen.
He passed the sacred Haram's silent tower,
And underneath the wide o'erarching gate
Surveyed the dwelling of this Chief of power,
Where all around proclaimed his high estate.
Amidst no common pomp the Despot sate,
While busy preparation shook the court,
Slaves, eunuchs, soldiers, guests, and santons wait;
Within, a palace, and without, a fort:
Here men of every clime appear to make resort.
Richly caparisoned, a ready row
Of arméd horse, and many a warlike store,
Circled the wide-extending court below;
Above, strange groups adorned the corridore;
And oft-times through the area's echoing door
Some high-capped Tartar spurred his steed away:
The Turk—the Greek—the Albanian—and the Moor,
Here mingled in their many-hued array,
While the deep war-drum's sound announced the close of day.
The wild Albanian kirtled to his knee,
With shawl-girt head and ornamented gun,
And gold-embroidered garments, fair to see;
The crimson-scarféd men of Macedon;
The Delhi with his cap of terror on,
And crooked glaive—the lively, supple Greek
And swarthy Nubia's mutilated son;
The bearded Turk that rarely deigns to speak,
Master of all around, too potent to be meek,
Are mixed conspicuous: some recline in groups,
Scanning the motley scene that varies round;
There some grave Moslem to devotion stoops,
And some that smoke, and some that play, are found;
Here the Albanian proudly treads the ground;
Half-whispering there the Greek is heard to prate;
Hark! from the Mosque the nightly solemn sound,
The Muezzin's call doth shake the minaret,
"There is no god but God!—to prayer—lo! God is great!"
Just at this season Ramazani's fast
Through the long day its penance did maintain:
But when the lingering twilight hour was past,
Revel and feast assumed the rule again:
Now all was bustle, and the menial train
Prepared and spread the plenteous board within;
The vacant Gallery now seemed made in vain,
But from the chambers came the mingling din,
As page and slave anon were passing out and in.
Here woman's voice is never heard: apart,
And scarce permitted, guarded, veiled, to move,
She yields to one her person and her heart,
Tamed to her cage, nor feels a wish to rove:
For, not unhappy in her Master's love,
And joyful in a mother's gentlest cares,
Blest cares! all other feelings far above!
Herself more sweetly rears the babe she bears
Who never quits the breast—no meaner passion shares.
In marble-paved pavilion, where a spring
Of living water from the centre rose,
Whose bubbling did a genial freshness fling,
And soft voluptuous couches breathed repose,
Ali reclined, a man of war and woes:
Yet in his lineaments ye cannot trace,
While Gentleness her milder radiance throws
Along that agéd venerable face,
The deeds that lurk beneath, and stain him with disgrace.
It is not that yon hoary lengthening beard
Ill suits the passions which belong to Youth;
Love conquers Age—so Hafiz hath averr'd,
So sings the Teian, and he sings in sooth—
But crimes that scorn the tender voice of ruth,"
Beseeming all men ill, but most the man
In years, have marked him with a tiger's tooth;
Blood follows blood, and, through their mortal span,
In bloodier acts conclude those who with blood began.
'Mid many things most new to ear and eye
The Pilgrim rested here his weary feet,
And gazed around on Moslem luxury,
Till quickly wearied with that spacious seat
Of Wealth and Wantonness, the choice retreat
Of sated Grandeur from the city's noise:
And were it humbler it in sooth were sweet;
But Peace abhorreth artificial joys,
And Pleasure, leagued with Pomp, the zest of both destroys.
Fierce are Albania's children, yet they lack
Not virtues, were those virtues more mature.
Where is the foe that ever saw their back?
Who can so well the toil of War endure?
Their native fastnesses not more secure
Than they in doubtful time of troublous need:
Their wrath how deadly! but their friendship sure,
When Gratitude or Valour bids them bleed,
Unshaken rushing on where'er their Chief may lead.
Childe Harold saw them in their Chieftain's tower
Thronging to War in splendour and success;
And after viewed them, when, within their power,
Himself awhile the victim of distress;
That saddening hour when bad men hotlier press:
But these did shelter him beneath their roof,
When less barbarians would have cheered him less,
And fellow-countrymen have stood aloof—N27
In aught that tries the heart, how few withstand the proof!
It chanced that adverse winds once drove his bark
Full on the coast of Suli's shaggy shore,
When all around was desolate and dark;
To land was perilous, to sojourn more;
Yet for awhile the mariners forbore,
Dubious to trust where Treachery might lurk:
At length they ventured forth, though doubting sore
That those who loathe alike the Frank and Turk
Might once again renew their ancient butcher-work.
Vain fear! the Suliotes stretched the welcome hand,
Led them o'er rocks and past the dangerous swamp,
Kinder than polished slaves though not so bland,
And piled the hearth, and wrung their garments damp,
And filled the bowl, and trimmed the cheerful lamp,
And spread their fare; though homely, all they had:
Such conduct bears Philanthropy's rare stamp:
To rest the weary and to soothe the sad,
Doth lesson happier men, and shames at least the bad.
It came to pass, that when he did address
Himself to quit at length this mountain-land,
Combined marauders half-way barred egress,
And wasted far and near with glaive and brand;
And therefore did he take a trusty band
To traverse Acarnania's forest wide,
In war well-seasoned, and with labours tanned,
Till he did greet white Achelous' tide,
And from his further bank Ætolia's wolds espied.
Where lone Utraikey forms its circling cove,
And weary waves retire to gleam at rest,
How brown the foliage of the green hill's grove,
Nodding at midnight o'er the calm bay's breast,
As winds come lightly whispering from the West,
Kissing, not ruffling, the blue deep's serene:—
Here Harold was received a welcome guest;
Nor did he pass unmoved the gentle scene,
For many a joy could he from Night's soft presence glean.
On the smooth shore the night-fires brightly blazed,
The feast was done, the red wine circling fast,N28
And he that unawares had there ygazed
With gaping wonderment had stared aghast;
For ere night's midmost, stillest hour was past,
The native revels of the troop began;
Each Palikar his sabre from him cast,N29
And bounding hand in hand, man linked to man,
Yelling their uncouth dirge, long daunced the kirtled clan.
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:N30
Oh! who is more brave than a dark Suliote,
In his snowy camese and his shaggy capote?
To the wolf and the vulture he leaves his wild flock,
And descends to the plain like the stream from the rock.
Macedonia sends forth her invincible race;
For a time they abandon the cave and the chase:
But those scarfs of blood-red shall be redder, before
The sabre is sheathed and the battle is o'er.
Then the Pirates of Parga that dwell by the waves,
And teach the pale Franks what it is to be slaves,
Shall leave on the beach the long galley and oar,
And track to his covert the captive on shore.
I ask not the pleasures that riches supply,
My sabre shall win what the feeble must buy;
Shall win the young bride with her long flowing hair,
And many a maid from her mother shall tear.
I love the fair face of the maid in her youth,
Her caresses shall lull me, her music shall soothe;
Let her bring from the chamber her many-toned lyre,
And sing us a song on the fall of her Sire.
Remember the moment when Previsa fell,N32
The shrieks of the conquered, the conquerors' yell;
The roofs that we fired, and the plunder we shared,
The wealthy we slaughtered, the lovely we spared.
I talk not of mercy, I talk not of fear;
He neither must know who would serve the Vizier:
Since the days of our Prophet the Crescent ne'er saw
A chief ever glorious like Ali Pashaw.
Dark Muchtar his son to the Danube is sped,
Let the yellow-haired Giaours view his horse-tail with dread;
When his Delhis come dashing in blood o'er the banks,
How few shall escape from the Muscovite ranks!
Fair Greece! sad relic of departed Worth!N33
Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great!
Who now shall lead thy scattered children forth,
And long accustomed bondage uncreate?
Not such thy sons who whilome did await,
The helpless warriors of a willing doom,
In bleak Thermopylæ's sepulchral strait—
Oh! who that gallant spirit shall resume,
Leap from Eurotas' banks, and call thee from the tomb?
Spirit of Freedom! when on Phyle's browN34
Thou sat'st with Thrasybulus and his train,
Couldst thou forebode the dismal hour which now
Dims the green beauties of thine Attic plain?
Not thirty tyrants now enforce the chain,
But every carle can lord it o'er thy land;
Nor rise thy sons, but idly rail in vain,
Trembling beneath the scourge of Turkish hand,
From birth till death enslaved; in word, in deed, unmanned.
In all save form alone, how changed! and who
That marks the fire still sparkling in each eye,
Who but would deem their bosoms burned anew
With thy unquenchéd beam, lost Liberty!
And many dream withal the hour is nigh
That gives them back their fathers' heritage:
For foreign arms and aid they fondly sigh,
Nor solely dare encounter hostile rage,
Or tear their name defiled from Slavery's mournful page.
Hereditary Bondsmen! know ye not
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?
By their right arms the conquest must be wrought?
Will Gaul or Muscovite redress ye? No!
True—they may lay your proud despoilers low,
But not for you will Freedom's Altars flame.
Shades of the Helots! triumph o'er your foe!
Greece! change thy lords, thy state is still the same;
Thy glorious day is o'er, but not thine years of shame.
The city won for Allah from the Giaour
The Giaour from Othman's race again may wrest;
And the Serai's impenetrable tower
Receive the fiery Frank, her former guest;N35
Or Wahab's rebel brood who dared divest
The Prophet's tomb of all its pious spoil,N36
May wind their path of blood along the West;
But ne'er will Freedom seek this fated soil,
But slave succeed to slave through years of endless toil.
Yet mark their mirth—ere Lenten days begin,
That penance which their holy rites prepare
To shrive from Man his weight of mortal sin,
By daily abstinence and nightly prayer;
But ere his sackcloth garb Repentance wear,
Some days of joyaunce are decreed to all,
To take of pleasaunce each his secret share,
In motley robe to dance at masking ball,
And join the mimic train of merry Carnival.
And whose more rife with merriment than thine,
Oh Stamboul! once the Empress of their reign?
Though turbans now pollute Sophia's shrine,
And Greece her very altars eyes in vain:
(Alas! her woes will still pervade my strain!)
Gay were her minstrels once, for free her throng,
All felt the common joy they now must feign,
Nor oft I've seen such sight, nor heard such song,
As wooed the eye, and thrilled the Bosphorus along.
Loud was the lightsome tumult on the shore,
Oft Music changed, but never ceased her tone,
And timely echoed back the measured oar,
And rippling waters made a pleasant moan:
The Queen of tides on high consenting shone,
And when a transient breeze swept o'er the wave,
'Twas, as if darting from her heavenly throne,
A brighter glance her form reflected gave,
Till sparkling billows seemed to light the banks they lave.
Glanced many a light Caique along the foam,
Danced on the shore the daughters of the land,
No thought had man or maid of rest or home,
While many a languid eye and thrilling hand
Exchanged the look few bosoms may withstand,
Or gently prest, returned the pressure still:
Oh Love! young Love! bound in thy rosy band,
Let sage or cynic prattle as he will,
These hours, and only these, redeem Life's years of ill!
But, midst the throng in merry masquerade,
Lurk there no hearts that throb with secret pain,
Even through the closest searment half betrayed?
To such the gentle murmurs of the main
Seem to re-echo all they mourn in vain;
To such the gladness of the gamesome crowd
Is source of wayward thought and stern disdain:
How do they loathe the laughter idly loud,
And long to change the robe of revel for the shroud!
This must he feel, the true-born son of Greece,
If Greece one true-born patriot still can boast:
Not such as prate of War, but skulk in Peace,
The bondsman's peace, who sighs for all he lost,
Yet with smooth smile his Tyrant can accost,
And wield the slavish sickle, not the sword:
Ah! Greece! they love thee least who owe thee most—
Their birth, their blood, and that sublime record
Of hero Sires, who shame thy now degenerate horde!
When riseth Lacedemon's Hardihood,
When Thebes Epaminondas rears again,
When Athens' children are with hearts endued,
When Grecian mothers shall give birth to men,
Then may'st thou be restored; but not till then.
A thousand years scarce serve to form a state;
An hour may lay it in the dust: and when
Can Man its shattered splendour renovate,
Recall its virtues back, and vanquish Time and Fate?
And yet how lovely in thine age of woe,
Land of lost Gods and godlike men, art thou!
Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow,N37
Proclaim thee Nature's varied favourite now:
Thy fanes, thy temples to thy surface bow,
Commingling slowly with heroic earth,
Broke by the share of every rustic plough:
So perish monuments of mortal birth,
So perish all in turn, save well-recorded Worth:
Save where some solitary column mourns
Above its prostrate brethren of the cave;N38
Save where Tritonia's airy shrine adorns
Colonna's cliff, and gleams along the wave;
Save o'er some warrior's half-forgotten grave,
Where the gray stones and unmolested grass
Ages, but not Oblivion, feebly brave;
While strangers, only, not regardless pass,
Lingering like me, perchance, to gaze, and sigh "Alas!"
Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild;
Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled,
And still his honied wealth Hyniettus yields;
There the blithe Bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The free-born wanderer of thy mountain-air;
Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare:
Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair.
Where'er we tread 'tis haunted, holy ground;
No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould,
But one vast realm of Wonder spreads around,
And all the Muse's tales seem truly told,
Till the sense aches with gazing to behold
The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon;
Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold
Defies the power which crushed thy temples gone:
Age shakes Athenæ's tower, but spares gray Marathon.
The Sun, the soil—but not the slave, the same;—
Unchanged in all except its foreign Lord,
Preserves alike its bounds and boundless fame
The Battle-field, where Persia's victim horde
First bowed beneath the brunt of Hellas' sword,
As on the morn to distant Glory dear,
When Marathon became a magic word;N39
Which uttered, to the hearer's eye appear
The camp, the host, the fight, the Conqueror's career,
The flying Mede, his shaftless broken bow—
The fiery Greek, his red pursuing spear;
Mountains above—Earth's, Ocean's plain below—
Death in the front, Destruction in the rear!
Such was the scene—what now remaineth here?
What sacred Trophy marks the hallowed ground,
Recording Freedom's smile and Asia's tear?'
The rifled urn, the violated mound,
The dust thy courser's hoof, rude stranger! spurns around.
Yet to the remnants of thy Splendour past
Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied, throng;
Long shall the voyager, with th' Ionian blast,
Hail the bright clime of Battle and of Song:
Long shall thine annals and immortal tongue
Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore;
Boast of the agéd! lesson of the young!
Which Sages venerate and Bards adore.
As Pallas and the Muse unveil their awful lore.
The parted bosom clings to wonted home,
If aught that's kindred cheer the welcome hearth;
He that is lonely—hither let him roam,
And gaze complacent on congenial earth.
Greece is no lightsome land of social mirth:
But he whom Sadness sootheth may abide,
And scarce regret the region of his birth,
When wandering slow by Delphi's sacred side,
Or gazing o'er the plains where Greek and Persian died.
Let such approach this consecrated Land,
And pass in peace along the magic waste;
But spare its relics—let no busy hand
Deface the scenes, already how defaced!
Not for such purpose were these altars placed:
Revere the remnants Nations once revered:
So may our Country's name be undisgraced,
So may'st thou prosper where thy youth was reared,
By every honest joy of Love and Life endeared!
For thee, who thus in too protracted song
Hast soothed thine Idlesse with inglorious lays,
Soon shall thy voice be lost amid the throng
Of louder Minstrels in these later days:
To such resign the strife for fading Bays—
Ill may such contest now the spirit move
Which heeds nor keen Reproach nor partial Praise,
Since cold each kinder heart that might approve—
And none are left to please when none are left to love.
Thou too art gone, thou loved and lovely one!
Whom Youth and Youth's affections bound to me;
Who did for me what none beside have done,
Nor shrank from one albeit unworthy thee.
What is my Being! thou hast ceased to be!
Nor staid to welcome here thy wanderer home,
Who mourns o'er hours which we no more shall see—
Would they had never been, or were to come!
Would he had ne'er returned to find fresh cause to roam!
Oh! ever loving, lovely, and beloved!
How selfish Sorrow ponders on the past,
And clings to thoughts now better far removed!
But Time shall tear thy shadow from me last.
All thou couldst have of mine, stern Death! thou hast;
The Parent, Friend, and now the more than Friend:
Ne'er yet for one thine arrows flew so fast,
And grief with grief continuing still to blend,
Hath snatched the little joy that Life had yet to lend.
Then must I plunge again into the crowd,
And follow all that Peace disdains to seek?
Where Revel calls, and Laughter, vainly loud,
False to the heart, distorts the hollow cheek,
To leave the flagging spirit doubly weak;
Still o'er the features, which perforce they cheer,
To feign the pleasure or conceal the pique:
Smiles form the channel of a future tear,
Or raise the writhing lip with ill-dissembled sneer,
What is the worst of woes that wait on Age?
What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow?
To view each loved one blotted from Life's page,
And be alone on earth, as I am now.
Before the Chastener humbly let me bow,
O'er Hearts divided and o'er Hopes destroyed:
Roll on, vain days! full reckless may ye flow,
Since Time hath reft whate'er my soul enjoyed,
And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloyed.
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
Despite of War and wasting fire.
Stanza i. line 4.
Part of the Acropolis was destroyed by the explosion of a magazine during the Venetian siege.
[In 1684, when the Venetian Armada threatened Athens, the Turks removed the Temple of Victory, and made use of the materials for the construction of a bastion. In the autumn of 1687, when the city was besieged by the Venetians under Francesco Morosini (1618-1694; Doge of Venice, 1688), "mortars were planted ... near the north-east corner of the rock, which threw their shells at a high angle, with a low charge, into the Acropolis.... On the 25th of September, a Venetian bomb blew up a small powder-magazine in the Propylæa, and on the following evening another fell in the Parthenon, where the Turks had deposited ... a considerable quantity of powder.... A terrific explosion took place; the central columns of the peristyle, the walls of the cella, and the immense architraves and cornices they supported, were scattered around the remains of the temple. The Propylæa had been partly destroyed in 1656 by the explosion of a magazine which was struck by lightning."—Finlay's History of Greece, 1887, i. 185.]
But worse than steel, and flame, and ages slow,
Is the dread sceptre and dominion dire.
Stanza i. lines 6, 7.
We can all feel, or imagine, the regret with which the ruins of cities, once the capitals of empires, are beheld: the reflections suggested by such objects are too trite to require recapitulation. But never did the littleness of man, and the vanity of his very best virtues, of patriotism to exalt, and of valour to defend his country appear more conspicuous than in the record of what Athens was, and the certainty of what she now is. This theatre of contention between mighty factions, of the struggles of orators, the exaltation and deposition of tyrants, the triumph and punishment of generals, is now become a scene of petty intrigue and perpetual disturbance, between the bickering agents of certain British nobility and gentry. "The wild foxes, the owls and serpents in the ruins of Babylon," were surely less degrading than such inhabitants. The Turks have the plea of conquest for their tyranny, and the Greeks have only suffered the fortune of war, incidental to the bravest; but how are the mighty fallen, when two painters contest the privilege of plundering the Parthenon, and triumph in turn, according to the tenor of each succeeding firman! Sylla could but punish, Philip subdue, and Xerxes burn Athens; but it remained for the paltry antiquarian, and his despicable agents, to render her contemptible as himself and his pursuits. The Parthenon, before its destruction, in part, by fire during the Venetian siege, had been a temple, a church, and a mosque. In each point of view it is an object of regard: it changed its worshippers; but still it was a place of worship thrice sacred to devotion: its violation is a triple sacrifice. But—
"Man, proud man, Drest in a little brief authority, Plays such fantastic tricks before high Heaven As make the angels weep."
[Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, act ii. sc. 2,
Far on the solitary shore he sleeps.
Stanza v. line 2.
It was not always the custom of the Greeks to burn their dead; the greater Ajax, in particular, was interred entire. Almost all the chiefs became gods after their decease; and he was indeed neglected, who had not annual games near his tomb, or festivals in honour of his memory by his countrymen, as Achilles, Brasidas, etc., and at last even Antinous, whose death was as heroic as his life was infamous.
Here, son of Saturn! was thy favourite throne.
Stanza x. line 3.
The Temple of Jupiter Olympius, of which sixteen columns, entirely of marble, yet survive; originally there were one hundred and fifty. These columns, however, are by many supposed to have belonged to the Pantheon.
[The Olympieion, or Temple of Zeus Olympius, on the south-east of the Acropolis, some five hundred yards from the foot of the rock, was begun by Pisistratos, and completed seven hundred years later by Hadrian. It was one of the three or four largest temples of antiquity. The cella had been originally enclosed by a double row of twenty columns at the sides, and a triple row of eight columns at each front, making a hundred and four columns in all; but in 1810 only sixteen "lofty Corinthian columns" were standing. Mr. Tozer points out that "'base' is accurate, because Corinthian columns have bases, which Doric columns have not," and notes that the word "'unshaken' implies that the column itself had fallen, but the base remains."—Childe Harold, 1888, p. 228.]
And bear these altars o'er the long-reluctant brine.
Stanza xi. line 9.
The ship was wrecked in the Archipelago.
[The Mentor, which Elgin had chartered to convey to England a cargo consisting of twelve chests of antiquities, was wrecked off the Island of Cerigo, in 1803. His secretary, W. R. Hamilton, set divers to work, and rescued four chests; but the remainder were not recovered till 1805.]
To rive what Goth, and Turk, and Time hath spared.
Stanza xii. line 2.
At this moment (January 3, 1810), besides what has been already deposited in London, an Hydriot vessel is in the Pyræus to receive every portable relic. Thus, as I heard a young Greek observe, in common with many of his countrymen—for, lost as they are, they yet feel on this occasion—thus may Lord Elgin boast of having ruined Athens. An Italian painter of the first eminence, named Lusieri, is the agent of devastation; and like the Greek finder of Verres in Sicily, who followed the same profession, he has proved the able instrument of plunder. Between this artist and the French Consul Fauvel, who wishes to rescue the remains for his own government, there is now a violent dispute concerning a car employed in their conveyance, the wheel of which—I wish they were both broken upon it!—has been locked up by the Consul, and Lusieri has laid his complaint before the Waywode. Lord Elgin has been extremely happy in his choice of Signer Lusieri. During a residence of ten years in Athens, he never had the curiosity to proceed as far as Sunium (now Cape Colonna), till he accompanied us in our second excursion. However, his works, as far as they go, are most beautiful: but they are almost all unfinished. While he and his patrons confine themselves to tasting medals, appreciating cameos, sketching columns, and cheapening gems, their little absurdities are as harmless as insect or fox-hunting, maiden-speechifying, barouche-driving, or any such pastime; but when they carry away three or four ship-loads of the most valuable and massy relics that time and barbarism have left to the most injured and most celebrated of cities: when they destroy, in a vain attempt to tear down, those works which have been the admiration of ages, I know no motive which can excuse, no name which can designate, the perpetrators of this dastardly devastation. It was not the least of the crimes laid to the charge of Verres, that he had plundered Sicily, in the manner since imitated at Athens. The most unblushing impudence could hardly go farther than to affix the name of its plunderer to the walls of the Acropolis; while the wanton and useless defacement of the whole range of the basso-relievos, in one compartment of the temple, will never permit that name to be pronounced by an observer without execration.
On this occasion I speak impartially: I am not a collector or admirer of collections, consequently no rival; but I have some early prepossession in favour of Greece, and do not think the honour of England advanced by plunder, whether of India or Attica.
Another noble Lord [Aberdeen] has done better, because he has done less: but some others, more or less noble, yet "all honourable men," have done best, because, after a deal of excavation and execration, bribery to the Waywode, mining and countermining, they have done nothing at all. We had such ink-shed, and wine-shed, which almost ended in bloodshed! Lord E.'s "prig"—see Jonathan Wild for the definition of "priggism"—quarrelled with another, Gropius by name (a very good name too for his business), and muttered something about satisfaction, in a verbal answer to a note of the poor Prussian: this was stated at table to Gropius, who laughed, but could eat no dinner afterwards. The rivals were not reconciled when I left Greece. I have reason to remember their squabble, for they wanted to make me their arbitrator.
Her Sons too weak the sacred shrine to guard,
Yet felt some portion of their Mother's pains.
Stanza xii. lines 7 and 8.
I cannot resist availing myself of the permission of my friend Dr. Clarke, whose name requires no comment with the public, but whose sanction will add tenfold weight to my testimony, to insert the following extract from a very obliging letter of his to me, as a note to the above lines:—"When the last of the Metopes was taken from the Parthenon, and, in moving of it, great part of the superstructure with one of the triglyphs was thrown down by the workmen whom Lord Elgin employed, the Disdar, who beheld the mischief done to the building, took his pipe from his mouth, dropped a tear, and in a supplicating tone of voice, said to Lusieri, !—I was present." The Disdar alluded to was the father of the present Disdar.
[Disdar, or Dizdar, i.e. castle-holder—the warden of a castle or fort (N. Eng. Dict., art. "Dizdar"). The story is told at greater length in Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa, by Edward Daniel Clarke, LL. D., 1810-14, Part II. sect. ii. p. 483.]
Where was thine Ægis, Pallas! that appalled
Stern Alaric and Havoc on their way?
Stanza xiv. lines 1 and 2.
According to Zosimus, Minerva and Achilles frightened Alaric from the Acropolis: but others relate that the Gothic king was nearly as mischievous as the Scottish peer.—See Chandler.
[Zosimus, Historiæ, lib. v. cap. 6, Corp. Scr. Byz., 1837, p. 253. As a matter of fact, Alaric, King of the Visigoths, occupied Athens in A.D. 395 without resistance, and carried off the movable treasures of the city, though he did not destroy buildings or works of art.—Note by Rev. E. C. Owen, Childe Harold, 1898, p. 162.]
The netted canopy.
Stanza xviii. line 2.
To prevent blocks or splinters from falling on deck during action.
But not in silence pass Calypso's isles.
Stanza xxix. line 1.
Goza is said to have been the island of Calypso.
[Strabo (Paris, 1853), lib. i. cap. ii. 57 and lib. vii. cap, iii. 50, says that Apollodorus blamed the poet Callimachus, who was a grammarian and ought to have known better, for his contention that Gaudus, i.e. Gozo, was Calypso's isle. Ogygia (Odyssey, i. 50) was
"a sea-girt isle,
"Where is the navel of the sea, a woodland isle."
It was surely as a poet, not as a grammarian, that Callimachus was at fault.]
Land of Albania! let me bend mine eyes
On thee, thou rugged Nurse of savage men!
Stanza xxxviii. lines 5 and 6.
Albania comprises part of Macedonia, Illyria, Chaonia, and Epirus. Iskander is the Turkish word for Alexander; and the celebrated Scanderbeg (Lord Alexander) is alluded to in the third and fourth lines of the thirty-eighth stanza. I do not know whether I am correct in making Scanderbeg the countryman of Alexander, who was born at Pella in Macedon, but Mr. Gibbon terms him so, and adds Pyrrhus to the list, in speaking of his exploits.
Of Albania Gibbon remarks that a country "within sight of Italy is less known than the interior of America." Circumstances, of little consequence to mention, led Mr. Hobhouse and myself into that country before we visited any other part of the Ottoman dominions; and with the exception of Major Leake, then officially resident at Joannina, no other Englishmen have ever advanced beyond the capital into the interior, as that gentleman very lately assured me. Ali Pacha was at that time (October, 1809) carrying on war against Ibrahim Pacha, whom he had driven to Berat, a strong fortress, which he was then besieging: on our arrival at Joannina we were invited to Tepaleni, his highness's birthplace, and favourite Serai, only one day's distance from Berat; at this juncture the Vizier had made it his headquarters. After some stay in the capital, we accordingly followed; but though furnished with every accommodation, and escorted by one of the Vizier's secretaries, we were nine days (on account of the rains) in accomplishing a journey which, on our return, barely occupied four. On our route we passed two cities, Argyrocastro and Libochabo, apparently little inferior to Yanina in size; and no pencil or pen can ever do justice to the scenery in the vicinity of Zitza and Delvinachi, the frontier village of Epirus and Albania Proper.
On Albania and its inhabitants I am unwilling to descant, because this will be done so much better by my fellow-traveller, in a work which may probably precede this in publication, that I as little wish to follow as I would to anticipate him. But some few observations are necessary to the text. The Arnaouts, or Albanese, struck me forcibly by their resemblance to the Highlanders of Scotland, in dress, figure, and manner of living. Their very mountains seemed Caledonian, with a kinder climate. The kilt, though white; the spare, active form; their dialect, Celtic in its sound; and their hardy habits, all carried me back to Morven. No nation are so detested and dreaded by their neighbours as the Albanese; the Greeks hardly regard them as Christians, or the Turks as Moslems; and in fact they are a mixture of both, and sometimes neither. Their habits are predatory—all are armed; and the red-shawled Arnaouts, the Montenegrins, Chimariots, and Gegdes, are treacherous; the others differ somewhat in garb, and essentially in character. As far as my own experience goes, I can speak favourably. I was attended by two, an Infidel and a Mussulman, to Constantinople and every other part of Turkey which came within my observation; and more faithful in peril, or indefatigable in service, are rarely to be found. The Infidel was named Basilius; the Moslem, Dervish Tahiri; the former a man of middle age, and the latter about my own. Basili was strictly charged by Ali Pacha in person to attend us; and Dervish was one of fifty who accompanied us through the forests of Acarnania to the banks of Achelous, and onward to Messalonghi in Ætolia. There I took him into my own service, and never had occasion to repent it till the moment of my departure.
When, in 1810, after the departure of my friend Mr. Hobhouse for England, I was seized with a severe fever in the Morea, these men saved my life by frightening away my physician, whose throat they threatened to cut if I was not cured within a given time. To this consolatory assurance of posthumous retribution, and a resolute refusal of Dr. Romanelli's prescriptions, I attributed my recovery. I had left my last remaining English servant at Athens; my dragoman was as ill as myself, and my poor Arnaouts nursed me with an attention which would have done honour to civilization. They had a variety of adventures; for the Moslem, Dervish, being a remarkably handsome man, was always squabbling with the husbands of Athens; insomuch that four of the principal Turks paid me a visit of remonstrance at the Convent on the subject of his having taken a woman from the bath—whom he had lawfully bought, however—a thing quite contrary to etiquette. Basili also was extremely gallant amongst his own persuasion, and had the greatest veneration for the church, mixed with the highest contempt of churchmen, whom he cuffed upon occasion in a most heterodox manner. Yet he never passed a church without crossing himself; and I remember the risk he ran in entering St. Sophia, in Stambol, because it had once been a place of his worship. On remonstrating with him on his inconsistent proceedings, he invariably answered, "Our church is holy, our priests are thieves:" and then he crossed himself as usual, and boxed the ears of the first "papas" who refused to assist in any required operation, as was always found to be necessary where a priest had any influence with the Cogia Bashi of his village. Indeed, a more abandoned race of miscreants cannot exist than the lower orders of the Greek clergy.
When preparations were made for my return, my Albanians were summoned to receive their pay. Basili took his with an awkward show of regret at my intended departure, and marched away to his quarters with his bag of piastres. I sent for Dervish, but for some time he was not to be found; at last he entered, just as Signer Logotheti, father to the ci-devant Anglo-consul of Athens, and some other of my Greek acquaintances, paid me a visit. Dervish took the money in his hand, but on a sudden dashed it to the ground; and clasping his hands, which he raised to his forehead, rushed out of the room weeping bitterly. From that moment to the hour of my embarkation, he continued his lamentations, and all our efforts to console him only produced this answer, "Μ' αφεινει," "He leaves me." Signor Logotheti, who never wept before for anything less than the loss of a para (about the fourth of a farthing), melted; the padre of the convent, my attendants, my visitors—and I verily believe that even Sterne's "foolish fat scullion" would have left her "fish-kettle" to sympathize with the unaffected and unexpected sorrow of this barbarian.
For my own part, when I remembered that, a short time before my departure from England, a noble and most intimate associate had excused himself from taking leave of me because he had to attend a female relation "to a milliner's," I felt no less surprised than humiliated by the present occurrence and the past recollection. That Dervish would leave me with some regret was to be expected; when master and man have been scrambling over the mountains of a dozen provinces together, they are unwilling to separate; but his present feelings, contrasted with his native ferocity, improved my opinion of the human heart. I believe this almost feudal fidelity is frequent amongst them. One day, on our journey over Parnassus, an Englishman in my service gave him a push in some dispute about the baggage, which he unluckily mistook for a blow; he spoke not, but sat down leaning his head upon his hands. Foreseeing the consequences, we endeavoured to explain away the affront, which produced the following answer:—"I have been a robber; I am a soldier; no captain ever struck me; you are my master, I have eaten your bread, but by that bread! (a usual oath) had it been otherwise, I would have stabbed the dog, your servant, and gone to the mountains." So the affair ended, but from that day forward he never thoroughly forgave the thoughtless fellow who insulted him. Dervish excelled in the dance of his country, conjectured to be a remnant of the ancient Pyrrhic: be that as it may, it is manly, and requires wonderful agility. It is very distinct from the stupid Romaika, the dull round-about of the Greeks, of which our Athenian party had so many specimens.
The Albanians in general (I do not mean the cultivators of the earth in the provinces, who have also that appellation, but the mountaineers) have a fine cast of countenance; and the most beautiful women I ever beheld, in stature and in features, we saw levelling the road broken down by the torrents between Delvinachi and Libochabo. Their manner of walking is truly theatrical; but this strut is probably the effect of the capote, or cloak, depending from one shoulder. Their long hair reminds you of the Spartans, and their courage in desultory warfare is unquestionable. Though they have some cavalry amongst the Gegdes, I never saw a good Arnaout horseman; my own preferred the English saddles, which, however, they could never keep. But on foot they are not to be subdued by fatigue.
And passed the barren spot,
Where sad Penelope o'erlooked the wave.
Stanza xxxix. lines 1 and 2.
Stanza xl. line 5.
Actium and Trafalgar need no further mention. The battle of Lepanto [October 7, 1571], equally bloody and considerable, but less known, was fought in the Gulf of Patras. Here the author of Don Quixote lost his left hand.
["His [Cervantes'] galley the Marquesa, was in the thick of the fight, and before it was over he had received three gun-shot wounds, two in the breast and one on the left hand or arm." In consequence of his wound "he was seven months in hospital before he was discharged. He came out with his left hand permanently disabled; he had lost the use of it, as Mercury told him in the 'Viaje del Parnase,' for the greater glory of the right."—Don Quixote, A Translation by John Ormsby, 1885, Introduction, i. 13.]
And hailed the last resort of fruitless love.
Stanza xli. line 3.
Leucadia, now Santa Maura. From the promontory (the Lover's Leap) Sappho is said to have thrown herself.
[Strabo (lib. x. cap. 2, ed. Paris, 1853, p. 388) gives Menander as an authority for the legend that Sappho was the first to take the "Lover's Leap" from the promontory of Leucate. Writers, he adds, better versed in antiquities (ἀρχαιολογικώτεροι), prefer the claims of one Cephalus. Another legend, which he gives as a fact, perhaps gave birth to the later and more poetical fiction. The Leucadians, he says, once a year, on Apollo's day, were wont to hurl a criminal from the rock into the sea by way of expiation and propitiation. Birds of all kinds were attached to the victim to break his fall, and, if he reached the sea uninjured, there was a fleet of little boats ready to carry him to other shores. It is possible that dim memories of human sacrifice lingered in the islands, that in course of time victims were transformed into "lovers," and it is certain that poets and commentators, "prone to lie," are responsible for names and incidents.]
Many a Roman chief and Asian King.
Stanza xlv. line 4.
It is said, that on the day previous to the battle of Actium, Antony had thirteen kings at his levee.
[Plutarch, in his Antonius, gives the names of "six auxiliary kings who fought under his banners," and mentions six other kings who did not attend in person but sent supplies. Shakespeare (Anthony and Cleopatra, act iii. sc. 6, lines 68-75), quoting Plutarch almost verbatim, enumerates ten kings who were "assembled" in Anthony's train—
"Bocchus, the king of Libya; Archelaus, Of Cappadocia; Philadelphos, king Of Paphlagonia; the Thracian king, Adallas; King Malchus of Arabia; king of Pont; Herod of Jewry; Mithridates, king Of Comagene; Polemon and Amintas, The kings of Mede and Lycaonia, With a more larger list of sceptres."
Other authorities for the events of the campaign and battle of Actium (Dion Cassius, Appian, and Orosius) are silent as to "kings;" but Florus (iv. 11) says that the wind-tossed waters "vomited back" to the shore gold and purple, the spoils of the Arabians and Sabæans, and a thousand other peoples of Asia.]
Look where the second Cæsar's trophies rose.
Stanza xlv. line 6.
Nicopolis, whose ruins are most extensive, is at some distance from Actium, where the wall of the Hippodrome survives in a few fragments. These ruins are large masses of brickwork, the bricks of which are joined by interstices of mortar, as large as the bricks themselves, and equally durable.
Stanza xlvii. line 1.
According to Pouqueville, the lake of Yanina; but Pouqueville is always out.
[The lake of Yanina (Janina or Joannina) was the ancient Pambotis. "At the mouth of the gorge [of Suli], where it suddenly comes to an end, was the marsh, the Palus Acherusia, in the neighbourhood of which was the Oracle."—Geography of Greece, by H. F. Tozer, 1873, p. 121.]
To greet Albania's Chief.
Stanza xlvii. line 4.
The celebrated All Pacha. Of this extraordinary man there is an incorrect account in Pouqueville's Travels. [For note on Ali Pasha (1741-1822), see Letters, 1898, i. 246.]
Yet here and there some daring mountain-band
Disdain his power, and from their rocky hold
Hurl their defiance far, nor yield, unless to gold.
Stanza xlvii. lines 7, 8, and 9.
Five thousand Suliotes, among the rocks and in the castle of Suli, withstood thirty thousand Albanians for eighteen years; the castle at last was taken by bribery. In this contest there were several acts performed not unworthy of the better days of Greece.
[Ali Pasha assumed the government of Janina in 1788, but it was not till December 12, 1803, that the Suliotes, who were betrayed by their leaders, Botzaris and Koutsonika and others, finally surrendered.—Finlay's History of Greece, 1877, vi. 45-50.]
Monastic Zitza! etc.
Stanza xlviii. line 1.
The convent and village of Zitza are four hours' journey from Joannina, or Yanina, the capital of the Pachalick. In the valley the river Kalamas (once the Acheron) flows, and, not far from Zitza, forms a fine cataract. The situation is perhaps the finest in Greece, though the approach to Delvinachi and parts of Acarnania and Ætolia may contest the palm. Delphi, Parnassus, and, in Attica, even Cape Colonna and Port Raphti, are very inferior; as also every scene in Ionia, or the Troad: I am almost inclined to add the approach to Constantinople; but, from the different features of the last, a comparison can hardly be made.
Here dwells the caloyer.
Stanza xlix. line 6.
The Greek monks are so called.
[Caloyer is derived from the late Greek καλόγηρος, "good in old age," through the Italian caloieso. Hence the accent on the last syllable.—N. Eng. Dict.]
Nature's volcanic Amphitheatre.
Stanza li. line 2.
The Chimariot mountains appear to have been volcanic.
[By "Chimæra's Alps" Byron probably meant the Ceraunian Mountains, which are "woody to the top, but disclose some wide chasms of red rock" (Travels in Albania, i. 73) to the north of Jannina,—not the Acroceraunian (Chimariot) Mountains, which run from north to south-west along the coast of Mysia. "The walls of rock (which do not appear to be volcanic) rise in tiers on every side, like the seats and walls of an amphitheatre" (H. F. Tozer). The near distance may have suggested an amphitheatre; but he is speaking of the panorama which enlarged on his view, and uses the word not graphically, but metaphorically, of the entire "circle of the hills."]
Behold black Acheron!
Stanza li. line 6.
Now called Kalamas.
In his white capote.
Stanza lii. line 7.
[The capote (feminine of capot, masculine diminutive of cope, cape) was a long shaggy cloak or overcoat, with a hood, worn by soldiers, etc,—N. Eng. Dict., art. "Capote."]
The Sun had sunk behind vast Tomerit.
Stanza lv. line 1.
Anciently Mount Tomarus.
["Mount Tomerit, or Tomohr," says Mr. Tozer, "lies north-east of Tepalen, and therefore the sun could not set behind it" (Childe Harold, 1885, p. 272). But, writing to Drury, May 3, 1810, Byron says that "he penetrated as far as Mount Tomarit." Probably by "Tomarit" he does not mean Mount Tomohr, which lies to the north-east of Berat, but Mount Olytsika, ancient Tomaros (vide ante, p. 132, note 1), which lies to the west of Janina, between the valley of Tcharacovista and the sea. "Elle domine," writes M. Carapanos, "toutes les autres montagnes qui l'entourent." "Laos," Mr. Tozer thinks, "is a mere blunder for Aöus, the Viosa (or Voioussa), which joins the Derapuli a few miles south of Tepaleni, and flows under the walls of the city" (Dodone et ses Ruines, 1878, p. 8). (For the Aöus and approach to Tepeleni, see Travels in Albania, i. 91.)]
And Laos wide and fierce came roaring by.
Stanza lv. line 2.
The river Laos was full at the time the author passed it; and, immediately above Tepaleen, was to the eye as wide as the Thames at Westminster; at least in the opinion of the author and his fellow-traveller. In the summer it must be much narrower. It certainly is the finest river in the Levant; neither Achelous, Alpheus, Acheron, Scamander, nor Cayster, approached it in breadth or beauty.
And fellow-countrymen have stood aloof.
Stanza lxvi. line 8.
Alluding to the wreckers of Cornwall.
The red wine circling fast.
Stanza lxxi. line 2.
The Albanian Mussulmans do not abstain from wine, and, indeed, very few of the others.
Each Palikar his sabre from him cast.
Stanza lxxi. line 7.
Palikar, shortened when addressed to a single person, from Παλικαρι [παλληκάρι], a general name for a soldier amongst the Greeks and Albanese, who speak Romaic: it means, properly, "a lad."
While thus in concert, etc.
Stanza lxxii. line 9.
As a specimen of the Albanian or Arnaout dialect of the Illyric, I here insert two of their most popular choral songs, which are generally chanted in dancing by men or women indiscriminately. The first words are merely a kind of chorus without meaning, like some in our own and all other languages.
|1. Bo, Bo, Bo, Bo, Bo, Bo,
|1. Lo, Lo, I come, I come; be thou silent.|
|2. Naciarura na civin
Ha pen derini ti hin.
|2. I come, I run; open the door that I may enter.|
|3. Ha pe uderi escrotini
Ti vin ti mar servetini.
|3. Open the door by halves, that I may take my turban.|
|4. Caliriote me surme
Ea ha pe pse dua tive.
|4. Caliriotes with the dark eyes, open the gate that I may enter.|
|5. Buo, Bo, Bo, Bo, Bo,
Gi egem spirta esimiro.
|5. Lo, Lo, I hear thee, my soul.|
|6. Caliriote vu le funde
Ede vete tunde tunde.
|6. An Arnaout girl, in costly garb, walks with graceful pride.|
|7. Caliriote me surme
Ti mi put e poi mi le.
|7. Caliriot maid of the dark eyes, give me a kiss.|
|8. Se ti puta citi mora
Si mi ri ni veti udo gia.
|8. If I have kissed thee, what hast thou gained? My soul is consumed with fire.|
|9. Va le ni il che cadale
Celo more, more celo.
|9. Dance lightly, more gently, and gently still.|
|10. Plu hari ti tirete
Plu huron cia pra seti.
|10. Make not so much dust to destroy your embroidered hose.|
The last stanza would puzzle a commentator: the men have certainly buskins of the most beautiful texture, but the ladies (to whom the above is supposed to be addressed) have nothing under their little yellow boots and slippers but a well-turned and sometimes very white ankle. The Arnaout girls are much handsomer than the Greeks, and their dress is far more picturesque. They preserve their shape much longer also, from being always in the open air. It is to be observed, that the Arnaout is not a written language: the words of this song, therefore, as well as the one which follows, are spelt according to their pronunciation. They are copied by one who speaks and understands the dialect perfectly, and who is a native of Athens.
|1. Ndi sefda tinde ulavossa
Vettimi upri vi lofsa.
|1. I am wounded by thy love, and have loved but to scorch myself.|
|2. Ah vaisisso mi privi lofse
Si mi rini mi la vosse.
|2. Thou hast consumed me! Ah, maid! thou hast struck me to the heart.|
|3. Uti tasa roba stua
Sitti eve tulati dua.
|3. I have said I wish no dowry, but thine eyes and eyelashes.|
|4. Roba stinori ssidua
Qu mi sini vetti dua.
|4. The accursed dowry I want not, but thee only.|
|5. Qurmini dua civileni
Roba ti siarmi tildi eni.
|5. Give me thy charms, and let the portion feed the flames.|
|6. Utara pisa vaisisso me simi rin ti hapti
Eti mi bire a piste si gui dendroi tiltati.
|6. I have loved thee, maid, with a sincere soul, but thou hast left me like a withered tree.|
|7. Udi vura udorini udiri cicova cilti mora
Udorini talti hollna u ede caimoni mora.
|7. If I have placed my hand on thy bosom, what have I gained? my hand is withdrawn, but retains the flame.|
I believe the two last stanzas, as they are in a different measure, ought to belong to another ballad. An idea something similar to the thought in the last lines was expressed by Socrates, whose arm having come in contact with one of his "ὑποκολπιοι," Critobulus or Cleobulus, the philosopher complained of a shooting pain as far as his shoulder for some days after, and therefore very properly resolved to teach his disciples in future without touching them.
Tambourgi! Tambourgi! thy 'larum afar.
Song, stanza 1, line 1.
These stanzas are partly taken from different Albanese songs, as far as I was able to make them out by the exposition of the Albanese in Romaic and Italian.
Remember the moment when Previsa fell.
Song, stanza 8, line 1.
It was taken by storm from the French [October, 1798].
Fair Greece! sad relic of departed Worth! etc.
Stanza lxxiii. line 1.
Some thoughts on this subject will be found in the subjoined papers, pp. 187-208.
Spirit of Freedom! when on Phyle's brow
Thou sat'st with Thrasybulus and his train.
Stanza lxxiv. lines 1 and 2.
Phyle, which commands a beautiful view of Athens, has still considerable remains: it was seized by Thrasybulus, previous to the expulsion of the Thirty.
[Byron and Hobhousc caught their first glance of Athens from this spot, December 25, 1809. (See Byron's note.) "The ruins," says Hobhouse, "are now called Bigla Castro, or The Watchtower."]
Receive the fiery Frank, her former guest.
Stanza lxxvii. line 4.
When taken by the Latins, and retained for several years. See Gibbon. [From A.D. 1204 to 1261.]
The Prophet's tomb of all its pious spoil.
Stanza lxxvii. line 6.
Mecca and Medina were taken some time ago by the Wahabees, a sect yearly increasing. [Vide supra, p. 151.]
Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow.
Stanza lxxxv. line 3.
On many of the mountains, particularly Liakura, the snow never is entirely melted, notwithstanding the intense heat of the summer; but I never saw it lie on the plains, even in winter.
[This feature of Greek scenery, in spring, may, now and again, be witnessed in our own country in autumn—a blue lake, bordered with summer greenery in the foreground, with a rear-guard of "hills of snow" glittering in the October sunshine.]
Save where some solitary column mourns
Above its prostrate brethren of the cave.
Stanza lxxxvi. lines 1 and 2.
Of Mount Pentelicus, from whence the marble was dug that constructed the public edifices of Athens. The modern name is Mount Mendeli. An immense cave, formed by the quarries, still remains, and will till the end of time.
[Mendeli is the ancient Pentelicus. "The white lines marking the projecting veins" of marble are visible from Athens (Geography of Greece, by H. F. Tozer, 1873, p. 129).]
When Marathon became a magic word.
Stanza lxxxix. line 7.
"Siste Viator—heroa calcas!" was the epitaph on the famous Count Merci;—what then must be our feelings when standing on the tumulus of the two hundred (Greeks) who fell on Marathon? The principal barrow has recently been opened by Fauvel: few or no relics, as vases, etc.) were found by the excavator. The plain of Marathon was offered to me for sale at the sum of sixteen thousand piastres, about nine hundred pounds! Alas!—"Expende—quot libras in duce summo—invenies!"—was the dust of Miltiades worth no more? It could scarcely have fetched less if sold by weight.
Before I say anything about a city of which every body, traveller or not, has thought it necessary to say something, I will request Miss Owenson, when she next borrows an Athenian heroine for her four volumes, to have the goodness to marry her to somebody more of a gentleman than a "Disdar Aga" (who by the by is not an Aga), the most impolite of petty officers, the greatest patron of larceny Athens ever saw (except Lord E.), and the unworthy occupant of the Acropolis, on a handsome annual stipend of 150 piastres (eight pounds sterling), out of which he has only to pay his garrison, the most ill-regulated corps in the ill-regulated Ottoman Empire. I speak it tenderly, seeing I was once the cause of the husband of "Ida of Athens" nearly suffering the bastinado; and because the said "Disdar" is a turbulent husband, and beats his wife; so that I exhort and beseech Miss Owenson to sue for a separate maintenance in behalf of "Ida." Having premised thus much, on a matter of such import to the readers of romances, I may now leave Ida to mention her birthplace.
Setting aside the magic of the name, and all those associations which it would be pedantic and superfluous to recapitulate, the very situation of Athens would render it the favourite of all who have eyes for art or nature. The climate, to me at least, appeared a perpetual spring; during eight months I never passed a day without being as many hours on horseback: rain is extremely rare, snow never lies in the plains, and a cloudy day is an agreeable rarity. In Spain, Portugal, and every part of the East which I visited, except Ionia and Attica, I perceived no such superiority of climate to our own; and at Constantinople, where I passed May, June, and part of July (1810), you might "damn the climate, and complain of spleen," five days out of seven.
The air of the Morea is heavy and unwholesome, but the moment you pass the isthmus in the direction of Megara the change is strikingly perceptible. But I fear Hesiod will still be found correct in his description of a Bœotian winter.
We found at Livadia an "esprit fort" in a Greek bishop, of all free-thinkers! This worthy hypocrite rallied his own religion with great intrepidity (but not before his flock), and talked of a mass as a "coglioneria." It was impossible to think better of him for this; but, for a Bœotian, he was brisk with all his absurdity. This phenomenon (with the exception indeed of Thebes, the remains of Chæronea, the plain of Platea, Orchomenus, Livadia, and its nominal cave of Trophonius) was the only remarkable thing we saw before we passed Mount Cithæron.
The fountain of Dirce turns a mill: at least my companion (who, resolving to be at once cleanly and classical, bathed in it) pronounced it to be the fountain of Dirce, and any body who thinks it worth while may contradict him. At Castri we drank of half a dozen streamlets, some not of the purest, before we decided to our satisfaction which was the true Castalian, and even that had a villanous twang, probably from the snow, though it did not throw us into an epic fever, like poor Dr. Chandler.
From Fort Phyle, of which large remains still exist, the plain of Athens, Pentelicus, Hymettus, the Ægean, and the Acropolis, burst upon the eye at once; in my opinion, a more glorious prospect than even Cintra or Istambol. Not the view from the Troad, with Ida, the Hellespont, and the more distant Mount Athos, can equal it, though so superior in extent.
I heard much of the beauty of Arcadia, but excepting the view from the Monastery of Megaspelion (which is inferior to Zitza in a command of country), and the descent from the mountains on the way from Tripolitza to Argos, Arcadia has little to recommend it beyond the name.
"Sternitur, et dulces moriens reminiscitur Argos."
Æneid, x. 782.
Virgil could have put this into the mouth of none but an Argive, and (with reverence be it spoken) it does not deserve the epithet. And if the Polynices of Statius, "In mediis audit duo litora campis" (Thebaidos, i. 335), did actually hear both shores in crossing the isthmus of Corinth, he had better ears than have ever been worn in such a journey since.
"Athens," says a celebrated topographer, "is still the most polished city of Greece." Perhaps it may of Greece, but not of the Greeks; for Joannina in Epirus is universally allowed, amongst themselves, to be superior in the wealth, refinement, learning, and dialect of its inhabitants. The Athenians are remarkable for their cunning; and the lower orders are not improperly characterised in that proverb, which classes them with the "Jews of Salonica, and the Turks of the Negropont."
Among the various foreigners resident in Athens, French, Italians, Germans, Ragusans, etc., there was never a difference of opinion in their estimate of the Greek character, though on all other topics they disputed with great acrimony.
M. Fauvel, the French Consul, who has passed thirty years principally at Athens, and to whose talents as an artist, and manners as a gentleman, none who have known him can refuse their testimony, has frequently declared in my hearing, that the Greeks do not deserve to be emancipated; reasoning on the grounds of their "national and individual depravity!" while he forgot that such depravity is to be attributed to causes which can only be removed by the measure he reprobates.
M. Roque, a French merchant of respectability long settled in Athens, asserted with the most amusing gravity, "Sir, they are the same canaille that existed in the days of Themistocles!" an alarming remark to the "Laudator temporis acti." The ancients banished Themistocles; the moderns cheat Monsieur Roque; thus great men have ever been treated!
In short, all the Franks who are fixtures, and most of the Englishmen, Germans, Danes, etc., of passage, came over by degrees to their opinion, on much the same grounds that a Turk in England would condemn the nation by wholesale, because he was wronged by his lacquey, and overcharged by his washerwoman.
Certainly it was not a little staggering when the Sieurs Fauvel and Lusieri, the two greatest demagogues of the day, who divide between them the power of Pericles and the popularity of Cleon, and puzzle the poor Waywode with perpetual differences, agreed in the utter condemnation, "nulla virtute redemptum" (Juvenal, lib. i. Sat. iv. line 2), of the Greeks in general, and of the Athenians in particular. For my own humble opinion, I am loth to hazard it, knowing as I do, that there be now in MS. no less than five tours of the first magnitude, and of the most threatening aspect, all in typographical array, by persons of wit and honour, and regular common-place books: but, if I may say this, without offence, it seems to me rather hard to declare so positively and pertinaciously, as almost everybody has declared, that the Greeks, because they are very bad, will never be better.
The Greeks will never be independent; they will never be sovereigns as heretofore, and God forbid they ever should! but they may be subjects without being slaves. Our colonies are not independent, but they are free and industrious, and such may Greece be hereafter.
At present, like the Catholics of Ireland and the Jews throughout the world, and such other cudgelled and heterodox people, they suffer all the moral and physical ills that can afflict humanity. Their life is a struggle against truth; they are vicious in their own defence. They are so unused to kindness, that when they occasionally meet with it they look upon it with suspicion, as a dog often beaten snaps at your fingers if you attempt to caress him. "They are ungrateful, notoriously, abominably ungrateful!"—this is the general cry. Now, in the name of Nemesis! for what are they to be grateful? Where is the human being that ever conferred a benefit on Greek or Greeks? They are to be grateful to the Turks for their fetters, and to the Franks for their broken promises and lying counsels. They are to be grateful to the artist who engraves their ruins, and to the antiquary who carries them away; to the traveller whose janissary flogs them, and to the scribbler whose journal abuses them. This is the amount of their obligations to foreigners.
Franciscan Convent, Athens, January 23, 1811.
Amongst the remnants of the barbarous policy of the earlier ages, are the traces of bondage which yet exist in different countries; whose inhabitants, however divided in religion and manners, almost all agree in oppression.
The English have at last compassionated their negroes, and under a less bigoted government, may probably one day release their Catholic brethren; but the interposition of foreigners alone can emancipate the Greeks, who, otherwise, appear to have as small a chance of redemption from the Turks, as the Jews have from mankind in general.
Of the ancient Greeks we know more than enough; at least the younger men of Europe devote much of their time to the study of the Greek writers and history, which would be more usefully spent in mastering their own. Of the moderns, we are perhaps more neglectful than they deserve; and while every man of any pretensions to learning is tiring out his youth, and often his age, in the study of the language and of the harangues of the Athenian demagogues in favour of freedom, the real or supposed descendants of these sturdy republicans are left to the actual tyranny of their masters, although a very slight effort is required to strike off their chains.
To talk, as the Greeks themselves do, of their rising again to their pristine superiority, would be ridiculous: as the rest of the world must resume its barbarism, after reasserting the sovereignty of Greece: but there seems to be no very great obstacle, except in the apathy of the Franks, to their becoming an useful dependency, or even a free state, with a proper guarantee;—under correction, however, be it spoken, for many and well-informed men doubt the practicability even of this.
The Greeks have never lost their hope, though they are now more divided in opinion on the subject of their probable deliverers. Religion recommends the Russians; but they have twice been deceived and abandoned by that power, and the dreadful lesson they received after the Muscovite desertion in the Morea has never been forgotten. The French they dislike; although the subjugation of the rest of Europe will, probably, be attended by the deliverance of continental Greece. The islanders look to the English for succour, as they have very lately possessed themselves of the Ionian republic, Corfu excepted. But whoever appear with arms in their hands will be welcome; and when that day arrives, Heaven have mercy on the Ottomans; they cannot expect it from the Giaours.
But instead of considering what they have been, and speculating on what they may be, let us look at them as they are.
And here it is impossible to reconcile the contrariety of opinions: some, particularly the merchants, decrying the Greeks in the strongest language; others, generally travellers, turning periods in their eulogy, and publishing very curious speculations grafted on their former state, which can have no more effect on their present lot, than the existence of the Incas on the future fortunes of Peru.
One very ingenious person terms them the "natural allies of Englishmen;" another no less ingenious, will not allow them to be the allies of anybody, and denies their very descent from the ancients; a third, more ingenious than either, builds a Greek empire on a Russian foundation, and realises (on paper) all the chimeras of Catharine II. As to the question of their descent, what can it import whether the Mainotes are the lineal Laconians or not? or the present Athenians as indigenous as the bees of Hymettus, or as the grasshoppers, to which they once likened themselves? What Englishman cares if he be of a Danish, Saxon, Norman, or Trojan blood? or who, except a Welshman, is afflicted with a desire of being descended from Caractacus?
The poor Greeks do not so much abound in the good things of this world, as to render even their claims to antiquity an object of envy; it is very cruel, then, in Mr. Thornton to disturb them in the possession of all that time has left them; viz. their pedigree, of which they are the more tenacious, as it is all they can call their own. It would be worth while to publish together, and compare, the works of Messrs. Thornton and De Pauw, Eton and Sonnini; paradox on one side, and prejudice on the other. Mr. Thornton conceives himself to have claims to public confidence from a fourteen years' residence at Pera; perhaps he may on the subject of the Turks, but this can give him no more insight into the real state of Greece and her inhabitants, than as many years spent in Wapping into that of the Western Highlands.
The Greeks of Constantinople live in Fanal; and if Mr. Thornton did not oftener cross the Golden Horn than his brother merchants are accustomed to do, I should place no great reliance on his information. I actually heard one of these gentlemen boast of their little general intercourse with the city, and assert of himself, with an air of triumph, that he had been but four times at Constantinople in as many years.
As to Mr. Thornton's voyages in the Black Sea with Greek vessels, they gave him the same idea of Greece as a cruise to Berwick in a Scotch smack would of Johnny Groat's house. Upon what grounds then does he arrogate the right of condemning by wholesale a body of men of whom he can know little? It is rather a curious circumstance that Mr. Thornton, who so lavishly dispraises Pouqueville on every occasion of mentioning the Turks, has yet recourse to him as authority on the Greeks, and terms him an impartial observer. Now, Dr. Pouqueville is as little entitled to that appellation as Mr. Thornton to confer it on him.
The fact is, we are deplorably in want of information on the subject of the Greeks, and in particular their literature; nor is there any probability of our being better acquainted, till our intercourse becomes more intimate, or their independence confirmed. The relations of passing travellers are as little to be depended on as the invectives of angry factors; but till something more can be attained, we must be content with the little to be acquired from similar sources.
However defective these may be, they are preferable to the parodoxes of men who have read superficially of the ancients, and seen nothing of the moderns, such as De Pauw; who, when he asserts that the British breed of horses is ruined by Newmarket, and that the Spartans were cowards in the field, betrays an equal knowledge of English horses and Spartan men. His "philosophical observations" have a much better claim to the title of "poetical." It could not be expected that he who so liberally condemns some of the most celebrated institutions of the ancient, should have mercy on the modern Greeks; and it fortunately happens, that the absurdity of his hypothesis on their forefathers refutes his sentence on themselves.
Let us trust, then, that, in spite of the prophecies of De Pauw, and the doubts of Mr. Thornton, there is a reasonable hope of the redemption of a race of men, who, whatever may be the errors of their religion and policy, have been amply punished by three centuries and a half of captivity.
Athens, Franciscan Convent, March 17, 1811.
"I must have some talk with this learned Theban."
Some time after my return from Constantinople to this city I received the thirty-first number of the Edinburgh Review as a great favour, and certainly at this distance an acceptable one, from the captain of an English frigate off Salamis. In that number, Art. 3, containing the review of a French translation of Strabo, there are introduced some remarks on the modern Greeks and their literature, with a short account of Coray, a co-translator in the French version. On those remarks I mean to ground a few observations; and the spot where I now write will, I hope, be sufficient excuse for introducing them in a work in some degree connected with the subject. Coray, the most celebrated of living Greeks, at least among the Franks, was born at Scio (in the Review, Smyrna is stated, I have reason to think, incorrectly), and besides the translation of Beccaria and other works mentioned by the Reviewer, has published a lexicon in Romaic and French, if I may trust the assurance of some Danish travellers lately arrived from Paris; but the latest we have seen here in French and Greek is that of Gregory Zolikogloou. Coray has recently been involved in an unpleasant controversy with M. Gail, a Parisian commentator and editor of some translations from the Greek poets, in consequence of the Institute having awarded him the prize for his version of Hippocrates' "Περὶ ὑδάτων," etc., to the disparagement, and consequently displeasure, of the said Gail. To his exertions, literary and patriotic, great praise is undoubtedly due; but a part of that praise ought not to be withheld from the two brothers Zosimado (merchants settled in Leghorn), who sent him to Paris and maintained him, for the express purpose of elucidating the ancient, and adding to the modern, researches of his countrymen. Coray, however, is not considered by his countrymen equal to some who lived in the two last centuries; more particularly Dorotheus of Mitylene, whose Hellenic writings are so much esteemed by the Greeks, that Meletius terms him "Μετὰ τὸν Θουκυδίδην καὶ Ξενοφώντα ἄριοτος Ἑλλήνων" (p. 224, Ecclesiastical History, iv.).
Panagiotes Kodrikas, the translator of Fontenelle, and Kamarases, who translated Ocellus Lucanus on the Universe into French, Christodoulus, and more particularly Psalida, whom I have conversed with in Joannina, are also in high repute among their literati. The last-mentioned has published in Romaic and Latin a work on True Happiness, dedicated to Catherine II. But Polyzois, who is stated by the Reviewer to be the only modern except Coray who has distinguished himself by a knowledge of Hellenic, if he be the Polyzois Lampanitziotes of Yanina, who has published a number of editions in Romaic, was neither more nor less than an itinerant vender of books; with the contents of which he had no concern beyond his name on the title page, placed there to secure his property in the publication; and he was, moreover, a man utterly destitute of scholastic acquirements. As the name, however, is not uncommon, some other Polyzois may have edited the Epistles of Aristænetus.
It is to be regretted that the system of continental blockade has closed the few channels through which the Greeks received their publications, particularly Venice and Trieste. Even the common grammars for children are become too dear for the lower orders. Amongst their original works the Geography of Meletius, Archbishop of Athens, and a multitude of theological quartos and poetical pamphlets, are to be met with; their grammars and lexicons of two, three, and four languages are numerous and excellent. Their poetry is in rhyme. The most singular piece I have lately seen is a satire in dialogue between a Russian, English, and French traveller, and the Waywode of Wallachia (or Blackbey, as they term him), an archbishop, a merchant, and Cogia Bachi (or primate), in succession; to all of whom under the Turks the writer attributes their present degeneracy. Their songs are sometimes pretty and pathetic, but their tunes generally unpleasing to the ear of a Frank; the best is the famous "Δεύτε, παῖδες τῶν Ἑλλήνων," by the unfortunate Riga. But from a catalogue of more than sixty authors, now before me, only fifteen can be found who have touched on any theme except theology.
I am intrusted with a commission by a Greek of Athens named Marmarotouri to make arrangements, if possible, for printing in London a translation of Barthelemi's Anacharsis in Romaic, as he has no other opportunity, unless he dispatches the MS. to Vienna by the Black Sea and Danube.
The Reviewer mentions a school established at Hecatonesi, and suppressed at the instigation of Sebastiani: he means Cidonies, or, in Turkish, Haivali; a town on the continent, where that institution for a hundred students and three professors still exists. It is true that this establishment was disturbed by the Porte, under the ridiculous pretext that the Greeks were constructing a fortress instead of a college; but on investigation, and the payment of some purses to the Divan, it has been permitted to continue. The principal professor, named Ueniamin (i.e. Benjamin), is stated to be a man of talent, but a freethinker. He was born in Lesbos, studied in Italy, and is master of Hellenic, Latin, and some Frank languages: besides a smattering of the sciences.
Though it is not my intention to enter farther on this topic than may allude to the article in question, I cannot but observe that the Reviewer's lamentation over the fall of the Greeks appears singular, when he closes it with these words: "The change is to be attributed to their misfortunes rather than to any 'physical degradation.'" It may be true that the Greeks are not physically degenerated, and that Constantinople contained on the day when it changed masters as many men of six feet and upwards as in the hour of prosperity; but ancient history and modern politics instruct us that something more than physical perfection is necessary to preserve a state in vigour and independence; and the Greeks, in particular, are a melancholy example of the near connexion between moral degradation and national decay.
The Reviewer mentions a plan "we believe" by Potemkin for the purification of the Romaic; and I have endeavoured in vain to procure any tidings or traces of its existence. There was an academy in St. Petersburg for the Greeks; but it was suppressed by Paul, and has not been revived by his successor.
There is a slip of the pen, and it can only be a slip of the pen, in p. 58, No. 31, of the Edinburgh Review, where these words occur: "We are told that when the capital of the East yielded to Solyman"—It may be presumed that this last word will, in a future edition, be altered to Mahomet II. The "ladies of Constantinople," it seems, at that period spoke a dialect, "which would not have disgraced the lips of an Athenian." I do not know how that might be, but am sorry to say that the ladies in general, and the Athenians in particular, are much altered; being far from choice either in their dialect or expressions, as the whole Attic race are barbarous to a proverb:—
"Ὦ Ἀθῆναι, πρώτε χώρα,
Τί γαϊδάρους τρέφεις τώρα;"
In Gibbon, vol. x. p. 161, is the following sentence:—"The vulgar dialect of the city was gross and barbarous, though the compositions of the church and palace sometimes affected to copy the purity of the Attic models." Whatever may be asserted on the subject, it is difficult to conceive that the "ladies of Constantinople," in the reign of the last Cæsar, spoke a purer dialect than Anna Comnena wrote, three centuries before: and those royal pages are not esteemed the best models of composition, although the princess γλῶτταν εἶχεν ἈΚΡΙΒΩ̃Σ Ἀττικιζούσαν. In the Fanal, and in Yanina, the best Greek is spoken: in the latter there is a flourishing school under the direction of Psalida.
There is now in Athens a pupil of Psalida's, who is making a tour of observation through Greece: he is intelligent, and better educated than a fellow-commoner of most colleges. I mention this as a proof that the spirit of inquiry is not dormant among the Greeks.
The Reviewer mentions Mr. Wright, the author of the beautiful poem Horæ Ionicæ, as qualified to give details of these nominal Romans and degenerate Greeks; and also of their language: but Mr. Wright, though a good poet and an able man, has made a mistake where he states the Albanian dialect of the Romaic to approximate nearest to the Hellenic; for the Albanians speak a Romaic as notoriously corrupt as the Scotch of Aberdeenshire, or the Italian of Naples. Yanina, (where, next to the Fanal, the Greek is purest,) although the capital of Ali Pacha's dominions, is not in Albania, but Epirus; and beyond Delvinachi in Albania Proper up to Argyrocastro and Tepaleen (beyond which I did not advance) they speak worse Greek than even the Athenians. I was attended for a year and a half by two of these singular mountaineers, whose mother tongue is Illyric, and I never heard them or their countrymen (whom I have seen, not only at home, but to the amount of twenty thousand in the army of Vely Pacha) praised for their Greek, but often laughed at for their provincial barbarisms.
I have in my possession about twenty-five letters, amongst which some from the Bey of Corinth, written to me by Notaras, the Cogia Bachi, and others by the dragoman of the Caimacam of the Morea (which last governs in Vely Pacha's absence), are said to be favourable specimens of their epistolary style. I also received some at Constantinople from private persons, written in a most hyperbolical style, but in the true antique character.
The Reviewer proceeds, after some remarks on the tongue in its past and present state, to a paradox (page 59) on the great mischief the knowledge of his own language has done to Coray, who, it seems, is less likely to understand the ancient Greek, because he is perfect master of the modern! This observation follows a paragraph, recommending, in explicit terms, the study of the Romaic, as "a powerful auxiliary," not only to the traveller and foreign merchant, but also to the classical scholar; in short, to every body except the only person who can be thoroughly acquainted with its uses; and by a parity of reasoning, our own language is conjectured to be probably more attainable by "foreigners" than by ourselves! Now, I am inclined to think, that a Dutch Tyro in our tongue (albeit himself of Saxon blood) would be sadly perplexed with "Sir Tristram," or any other given "Auchinleck MS." with or without a grammar or glossary; and to most apprehensions it seems evident that none but a native can acquire a competent, far less complete, knowledge of our obsolete idioms. We may give the critic credit for his ingenuity, but no more believe him than we do Smollett's Lismahago, who maintains that the purest English is spoken in Edinburgh. That Coray may err is very possible; but if he does, the fault is in the man rather than in his mother tongue, which is, as it ought to be, of the greatest aid to the native student.—Here the Reviewer proceeds to business on Strabo's translators, and here I close my remarks.
Sir W. Drummond, Mr. Hamilton, Lord Aberdeen, Dr. Clarke, Captain Leake, Mr. Gell, Mr. Walpole, and many others now in England, have all the requisites to furnish details of this fallen people. The few observations I have offered I should have left where I made them, had not the article in question, and above all the spot where I read it, induced me to advert to those pages, which the advantage of my present situation enabled me to clear, or at least to make the attempt.
I have endeavoured to waive the personal feelings which rise in despite of me in touching upon any part of the Edinburgh Review; not from a wish to conciliate the favour of its writers, or to cancel the remembrance of a syllable I have formerly published, but simply from a sense of the impropriety of mixing up private resentments with a disquisition of the present kind, and more particularly at this distance of time and place.
Additional Note on the Turks.
The difficulties of travelling in Turkey have been much exaggerated, or rather have considerably diminished, of late years. The Mussulmans have been beaten into a kind of sullen civility very comfortable to voyagers.
It is hazardous to say much on the subject of Turks and Turkey; since it is possible to live amongst them twenty years without acquiring information, at least from themselves. As far as my own slight experience carried me, I have no complaint to make; but am indebted for many civilities (I might almost say for friendship), and much hospitality, to Ali Pacha, his son Vely Pacha of the Morea, and several others of high rank in the provinces. Suleyman Aga, late Governor of Athens, and now of Thebes, was a bon vivant, and as social a being as ever sat cross-legged at a tray or a table. During the carnival, when our English party were masquerading, both himself and his successor were more happy to "receive masks" than any dowager in Grosvenor-square.
On one occasion of his supping at the convent, his friend and visitor, the Cadi of Thebes, was carried from table perfectly qualified for any club in Christendom; while the worthy Waywode himself triumphed in his fall.
In all money transactions with the Moslems, I ever found the strictest honour, the highest disinterestedness. In transacting business with them, there are none of those dirty peculations, under the name of interest, difference of exchange, commission, etc., etc., uniformly found in applying to a Greek consul to cash bills, even on the first houses in Pera.
With regard to presents, an established custom in the East, you will rarely find yourself a loser; as one worth acceptance is generally returned by another of similar value—a horse, or a shawl.
In the capital and at court the citizens and courtiers are formed in the same school with those of Christianity; but there does not exist a more honourable, friendly, and high-spirited character than the true Turkish provincial Aga, or Moslem country gentleman. It is not meant here to designate the governors of towns, but those Agas who, by a kind of feudal tenure, possess lands and houses, of more or less extent, in Greece and Asia Minor.
The lower orders are in as tolerable discipline as the rabble in countries with greater pretensions to civilisation. A Moslem, in walking the streets of our country-towns, would be more incommoded in England than a Frank in a similar situation in Turkey. Regimentals are the best travelling dress.
The best accounts of the religion and different sects of Islamism may be found in D'Ohsson's French; of their manners, etc., perhaps in Thornton's English. The Ottomans, with all their defects, are not a people to be despised. Equal at least to the Spaniards, they are superior to the Portuguese. If it be difficult to pronounce what they are, we can at least say what they are not: they are not treacherous, they are not cowardly, they do not burn heretics, they are not assassins, nor has an enemy advanced to their capital. They are faithful to their sultan till he becomes unfit to govern, and devout to their God without an inquisition. Were they driven from St. Sophia to-morrow, and the French or Russians enthroned in their stead, it would become a question whether Europe would gain by the exchange. England would certainly be the loser.
With regard to that ignorance of which they are so generally, and sometimes justly accused, it may be doubted, always excepting France and England, in what useful points of knowledge they are excelled by other nations. Is it in the common arts of life? In their manufactures? Is a Turkish sabre inferior to a Toledo? or is a Turk worse clothed or lodged, or fed and taught, than a Spaniard? Are their Pachas worse educated than a Grandee? or an Effendi than a Knight of St. Jago? I think not.
I remember Mahmout, the grandson of Ali Pacha, asking whether my fellow-traveller and myself were in the upper or lower House of Parliament. Now, this question from a boy of ten years old proved that his education had not been neglected. It may be doubted if an English boy at that age knows the difference of the Divan from a College of Dervises; but I am very sure a Spaniard does not. How little Mahmout, surrounded as he had been entirely by his Turkish tutors, had learned that there was such a thing as a Parliament, it were useless to conjecture, unless we suppose that his instructors did not confine his studies to the Koran.
In all the mosques there are schools established, which are very regularly attended; and the poor are taught without the church of Turkey being put into peril. I believe the system is not yet printed (though there is such a thing as a Turkish press, and books printed on the late military institution of the Nizam Gedidd); nor have I heard whether the Mufti and the Mollas have subscribed, or the Caimacan and the Tefterdar taken the alarm, for fear the ingenuous youth of the turban should be taught not to "pray to God their way." The Greeks also—a kind of Eastern Irish papists—have a college of their own at Maynooth,—no, at Haivali; where the heterodox receive much the same kind of countenance from the Ottoman as the Catholic college from the English legislature. Who shall then affirm that the Turks are ignorant bigots, when they thus evince the exact proportion of Christian charity which is tolerated in the most prosperous and orthodox of all possible kingdoms? But though they allow all this, they will not suffer the Greeks to participate in their privileges: no, let them fight their battles, and pay their haratch (taxes), be drubbed in this world, and damned in the next. And shall we then emancipate our Irish Helots? Mahomet forbid! We should then be bad Mussulmans, and worse Christians: at present we unite the best of both—jesuitical faith, and something not much inferior to Turkish toleration.
Amongst an enslaved people, obliged to have recourse to foreign presses even for their books of religion, it is less to be wondered at that we find so few publications on general subjects than that we find any at all. The whole number of the Greeks, scattered up and down the Turkish empire and elsewhere, may amount, at most, to three millions; and yet, for so scanty a number, it is impossible to discover any nation with so great a proportion of books and their authors as the Greeks of the present century. "Aye," but say the generous advocates of oppression, who, while they assert the ignorance of the Greeks, wish to prevent them from dispelling it, "ay, but these are mostly, if not all, ecclesiastical tracts, and consequently good for nothing." Well! and pray what else can they write about? It is pleasant enough to hear a Frank, particularly an Englishman, who may abuse the government of his own country; or a Frenchman, who may abuse every government except his own, and who may range at will over every philosophical, religious, scientific, sceptical, or moral subject, sneering at the Greek legends. A Greek must not write on politics, and cannot touch on science for want of instruction; if he doubts he is excommunicated and damned; therefore his countrymen are not poisoned with modern philosophy; and as to morals, thanks to the Turks! there are no such things. What then is left him, if he has a turn for scribbling? Religion and holy biography; and it is natural enough that those who have so little in this life should look to the next. It is no great wonder then, that in a catalogue now before me of fifty-five Greek writers, many of whom were lately living, not above fifteen should have touched on anything but religion. The catalogue alluded to is contained in the twenty-sixth chapter of the fourth volume of Meletius' Ecclesiastical History.
[The above forms a preface to an Appendix, headed "Remarks on the Romaic or Modern Greek Language, with Specimens and Translations," which was printed at the end of the volume, after the "Poems," in the first and successive editions of Childe Harold. It contains (1) a "List of Romaic Authors;" (2) the "Greek War-Song," Δεῦτε, Παῖδες τῶν Ἑλλήνων; (3) "Romaic Extracts," of which the first, "a Satire in dialogue" (vide Note III. supra), is translated (see Epigrams, etc., vol. vi. of the present issue); (4) scene from Ὁ Καφενὲς (the Café), translated from the Italian of Goldoni by Spiridion Vlanti, with a "Translation;" (5) "Familiar Dialogues" in Romaic and English; (6) "Parallel Passages from St. John's Gospel;" (7) "The Inscriptions at Orchomenos from Meletius" (see Travels in Albania, etc., i. 224); (8) the "Prospectus of a Translation of Anacharsis into Romaic, by my Romaic master, Marmarotouri, who wished to publish it in England;" (9) "The Lord's Prayer in Romaic" and in Greek.
The Excursus, which is remarkable rather for the evidence which it affords of Byron's industry and zeal for acquiring knowledge, than for the value or interest of the subject-matter, has been omitted from the present issue. The "Remarks," etc., are included in the "Appendix" to Lord Byron's Poetical Works, 1891, pp. 792-797. (See, too, letter to Dallas, September 21, 1811: Letters, ii. 43.)]
- [Stanzas i.-xv. form a kind of dramatic prologue to the Second Canto of the Pilgrimage. The general meaning is clear enough, but the unities are disregarded. The scene shifts more than once, and there is a moral within a moral. The poet begins by invoking Athena (Byron wrote Athenæ) to look down on the ruins of "her holy and beautiful house," and bewails her unreturning heroes of the sword and pen. He then summons an Oriental, a "Son of the Morning," Moslem or "light Greek," possibly a Canis venaticus, the discoverer or vendor of a sepulchral urn, and, with an adjuration to spare the sacred relic, points to the Acropolis, the cemetery of dead divinities, and then once more to the urn at his feet. "'Vanity of vanities—all is vanity!' Gods and men may come and go, but Death 'goes on for ever.'" The scene changes, and he feigns to be present at the rifling of a barrow, the "tomb of the Athenian heroes" on the plain of Marathon, or one of the lonely tumuli on Sigeum and Rhœteum, "the great and goodly tombs" of Achilles and Patroclus ("they twain in one golden urn"); of Antilochus, and of Telamonian Ajax. Marathon he had already visited, and marked "the perpendicular cut" which at Fauvel's instigation had been recently driven into the large barrow; and he had, perhaps, read of the real or pretended excavation by Signor Ghormezano (1787) of a tumulus at the Sigean promontory. The "mind's eye," which had conjured up "the shattered heaps," images a skull of one who "kept the world in awe," and, after moralizing in Hamlet's vein on the humorous catastrophe of decay, the poet concludes with the Preacher "that there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave." After this profession of unfaith, before he returns to Harold and his pilgrimage, he takes up his parable and curses Elgin and all his works.
The passage as a whole suggests the essential difference between painting and poetry. As a composition, it recalls the frontispiece of a seventeenth-century classic. The pictured scene, with its superfluity of accessories, is grotesque enough; but the poetic scenery, inconsequent and yet vivid as a dream, awakens, and fulfills the imagination. (Travels in Albania, by Lord Broughton, 1858, i. 380; ii. 128, 129, 138; The Odyssey, xxiv. 74, sq. See, too, Byron's letters to his mother, April 17, and to H. Drury May 3, 1810: Letters, 1898, i. 262.)]
- Ancient of days! august Athenæ! where.—[MS. D.]
- Gone—mingled with the waste ——.—[MS. erased.]
- ["Stole," apart from its restricted use as an ecclesiastical vestment, is used by Spenser and other poets as an equivalent for any long and loosely flowing robe, but is, perhaps inaccurately, applied to the short cloak (tribon), the "habit" of Socrates when he lived, and, after his death, the distinctive dress of the cynics.]
- —— gray flits the Ghost of Power.—[MS. D. erased.]
- —— whose altars cease to burn.—[D.]
- —— whose Faith is built on reeds.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [Compare Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, act iii. sc. 1, lines 5-7—
"Reason thus with life:
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep."]
- Still wilt thou harp ——.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Though 'twas a God, as graver records tell.—[MS. erased.]
- [The demigods Erechtheus and Theseus "appeared" at Marathon, and fought side by side with Miltiades (Grote's History of Greece, iv. 284).]
- [Compare Shakespeare, Hamlet, act v. sc. 1, passim.]
- [Socrates affirmed that true self-knowledge was to know that we know nothing, and in his own case he denied any other knowledge; but "this confession of ignorance was certainly not meant to be a sceptical denial of all knowledge." "The idea of knowledge was to him a boundless field, in the face of which he could not but be ignorant" (Socrates and the Socratic Schools, by Dr. E. Zeller, London, 1868, p. 102).]
- [Stanzas viii. and ix. are not in the MS.
The expunged lines (see var. i.) carried the Lucretian tenets of the preceding stanza to their logical conclusion. The end is silence, not a reunion with superior souls. But Dallas objected; and it may well be that, in the presence of death, Byron could not "guard his unbelief," or refrain from a renewed questioning of the "Grand Perhaps." Stanza for stanza, the new version is an improvement on the original. (See Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron, 1824, p. 169. See, too, letters to Hodgson, September 3 and September 13, 1811: Letters, 1898, ii. 18, 34.)]
Frown not upon me, churlish Priest! that I
Look not for Life, where life may never be:
I am no sneerer at thy phantasy;
Thou pitiest me, alas! I envy thee,
Thou bold Discoverer in an unknown sea
Of happy Isles and happier Tenants there;
I ask thee not to prove a Sadducee;[a]
Still dream of Paradise, thou know'st not where,[b]
Which if it be thy Sins will never let thee share[c].—[MS. D. erased.]
^ a. The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection.—[MS. D.]
^ b. But look upon a scene that once was fair.—[Erased.]
Zion's holy hill which thou wouldst fancy fair.—[Erased.]
^ c. As those, which thou delight'st to rear in upper air.—[Erased.]
Yet lovs't too well to bid thine erring brother share.—[D. erased.]
- [Byron forwarded this stanza in a letter to Dallas, dated October 14, 1811, and was careful to add, "I think it proper to state to you, that this stanza alludes to an event which has taken place since my arrival here, and not to the death of any male friend" (Letters, 1898, ii. 57). The reference is not to Edleston, as Dallas might have guessed, and as Wright (see Poetical Works, 1891, p. 17) believed. Again, in a letter to Dallas, dated October 31, 1811 (ibid., ii. 65), he sends "a few stanzas," presumably the lines "To Thyrza," which are dated October 11, 1811, and says that "they refer to the death of one to whose name you are a stranger, and, consequently, cannot be interested (sic) ... They relate to the same person whom I have mentioned in Canto 2nd, and at the conclusion of the poem." It follows from this second statement that we have Byron's authority for connecting stanza ix. with stanzas xcv., xcvi., and, inferentially, his authority for connecting stanzas ix., xcv., xcvi. with the group of "Thyrza" poems. And there our knowledge ends. We must leave the mystery where Byron willed that it should be left. "All that we know is, nothing can be known."]
Howe'er may be
Futurity's behest.[a] Or seeing thee no more to sink in sullen rest.—[MS. D.]
^ a. [See letter to Dallas, October 14, 1811.]
- [For note on the "Elgin Marbles," see Introduction to the Curse of Minerva: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 453-456.]
The last, the worst dull Robber, who was he?
Blush Scotland such a slave thy son could be—
England! I joy no child he was of thine:
Thy freeborn men revere what once was free,
Nor tear the Sculpture from its saddening shrine,
Nor bear the spoil away athwart the weeping Brine.—[MS. D. erased.]
This be the wittol Picts ignoble boast.—[MS. D.]
To rive what Goth and Turk, and Time hath spared:
Cold and accursed as his native coast.—[MS. D. erased.]
- ["On the plaster wall of the Chapel of Pandrosos adjoining the Erechtheum, these words have been very deeply cut—
'Quod non fecerunt Goti,
Hoc fecerunt Scoti'"
(Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 299). M. Darmesteter quotes the original: "mot sur les Barberini" ("Quod non fecere Barbari, Fecere Barberini"). It may be added that Scotchmen are named among the volunteers who joined the Hanoverian mercenaries in the Venetian invasion of Greece in 1686. (See The Curse of Minerva: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 463, note 1; Finlay's Hist. of Greece, v. 189.)]
What! shall it e'er be said by British tongue,
Albion was happy while Athenæa mourned?
Though in thy name the slave her bosom wrung,
Albion! I would not see thee thus adorned
With gains thy generous spirit should have scorned,
From Man distinguished by some monstrous sign,
Like Attila the Hun was surely horned,[a]
Who wrought the ravage amid works divine:
Oh that Minerva's voice lent its keen aid to mine.—[MS. D. erased.]
What! shall it e'er be said by British tongue,
Albion was happy in Athenæ's tears?
Though in thy name the slave her bosom wrung,
Let it not vibrate in pale Europe's ears,[b]
The Saviour Queen, the free Britannia, wears
The last poor blunder of a bleeding land:
That she, whose generous aid her name endears,
Tore down those remnants with a Harpy's hand,
Which Envious Eld forbore and Tyrants left to stand.—[MS. D.][c]
^ a. Attila was horned, if we may trust contemporary legends, and the etchings of his visage in Lavater.—[MS.]
^ b. Lines 5-9 in the Dallas transcript are in Byron's handwriting.
^ c. Which centuries forgot ——.—[D. erased.]
- After stanza xiii. the MS. inserts the two following stanzas:—
Come then, ye classic Thieves of each degree,
Dark Hamilton[a] and sullen Aberdeen,
Come pilfer all the Pilgrim loves to see,
All that yet consecrates the fading scene:
Ah! better were it ye had never been,
Nor ye, nor Elgin, nor that lesser wight,
The victim sad of vase-collecting spleen,
House-furnisher withal, one Thomas[b] hight,
Than ye should bear one stone from wronged Athenæ's site.
Or will the gentle Dilettanti crew
Now delegate the task to digging Gell,[c]
That mighty limner of a bird's eye view,
How like to Nature let his volumes tell:
Who can with him the folio's limit swell
With all the Author saw, or said he saw?
Who can topographize or delve so well?
No boaster he, nor impudent and raw,
His pencil, pen, and spade, alike without a flaw.—[D. erased.]
^ a. [William Richard Hamilton (1777-1859) was the son of Anthony Hamilton, Archdeacon of Colchester, etc., and grandson of Richard Terrick, Bishop of London. In 1799, when Lord Elgin was appointed Ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Hamilton accompanied him as private secretary. After the battle of Ramassieh (Alexandria, March 20, 1801), and the subsequent evacuation of Egypt by the French (August 30, 1801), Hamilton, who had been sent on a diplomatic mission, was successful in recapturing the Rosetta Stone, which, in violation of a specified agreement, had been placed on board a French man-of-war. He was afterwards employed by Elgin as agent plenipotentiary in the purchase, removal, and deportation of marbles. He held office (1809-22) as Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and as Minister at the Court of Naples (1822-25). From 1838 to 1858 he was a Trustee of the British Museum. He published, in 1809, Ægyptiaca, or Some Accotint of the Ancient and Modern State of Egypt; and, in 1811, his Memorandum on the Subject of the Earl of Elgin's Pursuits in Greece. (For Hamilton, see English Bards, etc., line 509: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 336, note 2.)]
^ b. Thomas Hope, Esqr., if I mistake not, the man who publishes quartos on furniture and costume.
[Thomas Hope (1770-1831) (see Hints from Horace, line 7: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 390, note 1) published, in 1805, a folio volume entitled, Household Furniture and Internal Decoration. It was severely handled in the Edinburgh Review (No. xx.) for July, 1807.]
^ c. It is rumoured Gell is coming out to dig in Olympia. I wish him more success than he had at Athens. According to Lusieri's account, he began digging most furiously without a firmann, but before the resurrection of a single sauce-pan, the Painter countermined and the Way-wode countermanded and sent him back to bookmaking.—[MS. D.]
[See English Bards, etc., lines 1033, 1034: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 379, note 1.]
- Where was thine Ægis, Goddess ——.—[MS. D. erased.]
- —— which it had well behoved.—[MS. D.]
- [The Athenians believed, or feigned to believe, that the marbles themselves shrieked out in shame and agony at their removal from their ancient shrines.]
- [Byron is speaking of his departure from Spain, but he is thinking of his departure from Malta, and his half-hearted amour with Mrs. Spencer Smith.]
- —— that rosy urchin guides.—[MS.]
- Save on that part ——.—[MS. erased.]
- From Discipline's stern law ——.—[MS.]
—— keen law.—[MS. D.]
- An additional "misery to human life!"—lying-to at sunset for a large convoy, till the sternmost pass ahead. Mem.: fine frigate, fair wind likely to change before morning, but enough at present for ten knots!—[MS. D.]
- —— their melting girls believe.—[MS.]
Meantime some rude musician's restless hand
Ply's the brisk instrument that sailors love.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Through well-known straits behold the steepy shore.—[MS. erased.]
- [Compare Coleridge's reflections, in his diary for April 19, 1804, on entering the Straits of Gibraltar: "When I first sat down, with Europe on my left and Africa on my right, both distinctly visible, I felt a quickening of the movements in the blood, but still felt it as a pleasure of amusement rather than of thought and elevation; and at the same time, and gradually winning on the other, the nameless silent forms of nature were working in me, like a tender thought in a man who is hailed merrily by some acquaintance in his work, and answers it in the same tone" (Anima Poetæ, 1895, pp. 70, 71).]
- ["The moon is in the southern sky as the vessel passes through the Straits; consequently, the coast of Spain is in light, that of Africa in shadow" (Childe Harold, edited by H. F. Tozer, 1885, p. 232).]
- [Campbell, in Gertrude of Wyoming, Canto I. stanza ii. line 6, speaks of "forests brown;" but, as Mr. Tozer points out, "'brown' is Byron's usual epithet for landscape seen in moonlight." (Compare Canto II. stanza lxx. line 3; Parisina, i. 10; and Siege of Corinth, ii. 1.)
Bleeds the lone heart, once boundless in its zeal.—[D.]
And friendless now, yet dreams it had a friend.—[MS.]
or, Far from affection's chilled or changing zeal.—[MS.]
Divided far by fortune, wave or steel
Though friendless now we once have had a friend.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Ah! happy years! I would I were once more a boy.—[MS.]
- To gaze on Dian's wan reflected sphere.—[MS. D.]
- —— her dreams of hope and pride.—[MS. D. erased.]
- None are so wretched[a] but that ——.—[MS. D.]
^ a. "Desolate."—[MS. pencil.]
- T. t. b. [tres tres bien], but why insert here.—[MS. pencil.]
- [In this stanza M. Darmesteter detects "l'accent Wordsworthien" prior to any "doses" as prescribed by Shelley, and quotes as a possible model the following lines from Beattie's Minstrel:—
"And oft the craggy cliff he lov'd to climb,
When all in mist the world below was lost,
What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime,
Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast,
And view th' enormous waste of vapour, tost
In billows, lengthening to th' horizon round,
Now scoop'd in gulfs, with mountains now emboss'd!
And hear the voice of mirth, and song rebound,
Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar profound."
In felicity of expression, the copy, if it be a copy, surpasses the original; but in the scope and originality of the image, it is vastly inferior. Nor are these lines, with the possible exception of line 3—
"Where things that own not Man's dominion dwell,"
at all Wordsworthian. They fail in that imaginative precision which the Lake poets regarded as essential, and they lack the glamour and passion without which their canons of art would have profited nothing. Six years later, when Byron came within sound of Wordsworth's voice, he struck a new chord—a response, not an echo. Here the motive is rhetorical, not immediately poetical.]
- —— and foaming linns to lean.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [There are none to bless us, for when we are in distress the great, the rich, the gay, shrink from us; and when we are popular and prosperous those who court us care nothing for us apart from our success. Neither do they bless us, or we them.]
- This is to live alone—This, This is solitude.—[MS. D.]
- [The MS. of stanza xxvii. is on the fly-leaf of a bound volume of proof-sheets entitled "Additions to Childe Harold," It was first published in the seventh edition, 1814.]
It may be taken for granted that Byron had seen what he describes. There is, however, no record of any visit to Mount Athos, either in his letters from the East or in Hobhouse's journals.
The actual mount, "the giant height [6350 feet], rears itself in solitary magnificence, an insulated cone of white limestone." "When it is seen from a distance, the peninsula [of which the southern portion rises to a height of 2000 feet] is below the horizon, and the peak rises quite solitary from the sea." Of this effect Byron may have had actual experience; but Hobhouse, in describing the prospect from Cape Janissary, is careful to record that "Athos itself is said to be sometimes visible in the utmost distance (circ. 90 miles), but it was not discernible during our stay on the spot." (Murray's Handbook for Greece, p. 843; Childe Harold, edited by H. F. Tozer, p. 233; Travels in Albania, 1858, ii. 103. Compare, too, the fragment entitled the Monk of Athos, first published in the Hon. Roden Noel's Life of Lord Byron, 1890.)]
- ["Le sage Mentor, poussant Télémaque, qui était assis sur le bord du rocher, le précipite dans le mer et s'y jette avec lui.... Calypso inconsolable, rentra dans sa grotte, qu'elle remplit de ses hurlements."—Fénelon's Télémaque, vi., Paris, 1837, iii. 43.]
- [For Mrs. Spencer Smith, see Letters, 1898, i. 244, 245, note. Moore (Life, pp. 94, 95) contrasts stanzas xxx.-xxxv., with their parade of secret indifference and plea of "a loveless heart," with the tenderness and warmth of his afterthoughts in Albania ("Lines composed during a Thunderstorm," etc.), and decides the coldness was real, the sentiment assumed. He forgets the flight of time. The lines were written in October, 1809, within a month of his departure from "Calypso's isles," and the Childe Harold stanzas belong to the early spring of 1810. "Ou sont les neiges d'antan?" Moreover, he speaks by the card. Writing at Athens, January 16, 1810, he tells us, "The spell is broke, the charm is flown."]
- [More than one commentator gravely "sets against" this line—Byron's statement to Dallas (Corr. of Lord Byron, Paris, 1824, iii. 91), "I am not a Joseph or a Scipio; but I can safely affirm that never in my life I seduced any woman." Compare Memoirs of Count Carlo Gozzi, 1890, ii. 12, "Never have I employed the iniquitous art of seduction ... Languishing in soft and thrilling sentiments, I demanded from a woman a sympathy and inclination of like nature with my own. If she fell ... I should have remembered how she made for me the greatest of all sacrifices.... I should have worshipped her like a deity. I could have spent my life's blood in consoling her; and without swearing eternal constancy, I should have been most stable on my side in loving such a mistress."]
- Brisk Impudence ——.—[MS.]
- Youth wasted, wretches born ——.—[MS. erased.]
- [Compare Lucretius, iv. 1121-4—
"Adde quod absumunt viris pereuntque labore,
Labitur interea res, et Babylonica fiunt:
Languent officia, atque ægrotat fama vacillans."]
- Climes strange withal as ever mortal head.—[MS.]
- Suspected in its little pride of thought.—[MS. erased.]
- ["Were counselled or advised." The passive "were ared" seems to lack authority. (See N. Eng. Dict., art. "Aread.")]
Her not unconscious though her weakly child.
or, —— her rudest child.—[MS. erased.]
- [Compare the description of the thunderstorm in the Alps (Canto III. stanzas xcii.-xcvi., pp. 273-275); and Manfred., act ii. sc. 2—
"My joy was in the wilderness; to breathe
The difficult air of the iced mountain-top—
In them my early strength exulted; or
To follow through the night the moving moon,
The stars and their development; or catch
The dazzling lightnings till my eyes grew dim."
Beattie, who describes the experiences of his own boyhood in the person of Edwin in The Minstrel, had already made a like protestation—
"In sooth he was a strange and wayward youth,
Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene.
In darkness and in storm he found delight;
Not less than when on ocean-wave serene
The Southern sun diffus'd his dazzling sheen;
Even sad vicissitude amus'd his soul."
Kirke White, too, who was almost Byron's contemporary, and whose verses he professed to admire—
"Would run a visionary boy
When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky."
This love of Nature in her wilder aspects, which was perfectly genuine, and, indeed, meritorious, was felt to be out of the common, a note of the poetic temperament, worth recording, but unlikely to pass without questioning and remonstrance.]
- [Alexander's mother, Olympias, was an Epiriote. She had a place in the original draft of Tennyson's Palace of Art (Life of Lord Tennyson, i. 119)—
"One was Olympias; the floating snake
Roll'd round her ankles, round her waist
Plutarch (Vitæ, Lipsiæ, 1814, vi. 170) is responsible for the legend: Ὤφθη δέ ποτε καὶ δράκων κοιμωμένης τῆς Ὀλυμπιάδου παρεκτεταμένος τῷ σώματι, "Now, one day, when Olympias lay abed, beside her body a dragon was espied stretched out at full length." (Compare, too, Dryden's Alexander's Feast, stanza ii.)]
- [Mr. Tozer (Childe Harold, p. 236) takes this line to mean "whom the young love to talk of, and the wise to follow as an example," and points to Alexander's foresight as a conqueror, and the "extension of commerce and civilization" which followed his victories. But, surely, the antithesis lies between Alexander the ideal of the young, and Alexander the deterrent example of the old. The phrase, "beacon of the wise," if Hector in Troilus and Cressida (act ii. sc. 2, line 16) is an authority, is proverbial.
" ... The wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd
The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches
To the bottom of the worst."
The beauty, the brilliance, the glory of Alexander kindle the enthusiasm of the young; but the murder of Clytus and the early death which he brought upon himself are held up by the wise as beacon-lights to save others from shipwreck.]
- [Byron and Hobhouse sailed for Malta in the brig-of-war Spider on Tuesday, September 19, 1809 (Byron, in a letter to his mother, November 12, says September 21), and anchored off Patras on the night of Sunday, the 24th. On Tuesday, the 26th, they were under way at 12 noon, and on the evening of that day they saw the sun set over Mesalonghi. The next morning, September 27, they were in the channel between Ithaca and the mainland, with Ithaca, then in the hands of the French, to the left. "We were close to it," says Hobhouse, "and saw a few shrubs on a brown heathy land, two little towns in the hills scattered among trees."
The travellers made "but little progress this day," and, apparently, having redoubled Cape St. Andreas, the southern extremity of Ithaca, they sailed (September 28) through the channel between Ithaca and Cephalonia, passed the hill of Ætos, on which stood the so-called "Castle of Ulysses," whence Penelope may have "overlooked the wave," and caught sight of "the Lover's refuge" in the distance. Towards the close of the same day they doubled Cape Ducato ("Leucadia's cape," the scene of Sappho's leap), and, sailing under "the ancient mount," the site of the Temple of Apollo, anchored off Prevesa at seven in the evening. Poetry and prose are not always in accord. If, as Byron says, it was "an autumn's eve" when they hailed "Leucadia's cape afar," if the evening star shone over the rock when they approached it, they must have sailed fast to reach Prevesa, some thirty miles to the north, by seven o'clock. But de minimis, the Muse is as disregardful as the Law. And, perhaps, after all, it was Hobhouse who misread his log-book. (Travels in Albania, i. 4, 5; Murray's Handbook for Greece, pp. 40, 46.)]
- [The meaning of this passage is not quite so obvious as it seems. He has in his mind the words, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save," and, applying this to Sappho, asks, "Why did she who conferred immortality on herself by her verse prove herself mortal?" Without Fame, and without verse the cause and keeper of Fame, there is no heaven, no immortality, for the sons of men. But what security is there for the eternity of verse and Fame? "Quis custodict custodes?"]
- [For Byron's "star" similes, see Canto III. stanza lxxxviii. line 9.]
- —— and looked askance on Mars.—[MS. erased.]
- [Compare the line in Tennyson's song, Break, break, break, "And the stately ships go on."]
And roused him more from thought than he was wont
While Pleasure almost seemed to smooth his pallid front.—[MS. D.]
While Pleasure almost smiled along ——.—[MS. erased.]
- [By "Suli's rocks" Byron means the mountainous district in the south of the Epirus. The district of Suli formed itself into a small republic at the close of the last century, and offered a formidable resistance to Ali Pacha. "Pindus' inland peak," Monte Metsovo, which forms part of the ridge which divides Epirus from Thessaly, is not visible from the sea-coast.]
- ["Shore unknown." (See Byron's note to stanza xxxviii. line 5.)]
- —— lovely harmful thing.—[MS. pencil.]
- [Compare Byron's Stanzas written .] passing the Ambracian Gulph
- [Nicopolis, "the city of victory," which Augustus, "the second Cæsar," built to commemorate Actium, is some five miles to the north of Prevesa. Byron and Hobhouse visited the ruins on the 30th of September, and again on the 12th of November (see Byron's letter to Mrs. Byron, November 12, 1809: Letters, 1898, i. 251).]
Imperial wretches, doubling human woes!
God! was thy globe ere made ——.—[MS. erased.]
- [The travellers left Prevesa on October 1, and arrived at Janina on October 5. They left Janina on October 11, and reached Zitza at nightfall (Byron at 3 a.m., October 12). They left Zitza on October 13, and arrived at Tepeleni on October 19.]
- [On the evening of October 11, as the party was approaching Zitza, Hobhouse and the Albanian, Vasilly, rode on, leaving "Lord Byron and the baggage behind." It was getting dark, and just as the luckier Hobhouse contrived to make his way to the village, the rain began to fall in torrents. Before long, "the thunder roared as it seemed without any intermission; for the echoes of one peal had not ceased to roll in the mountains before another crash burst over our heads." Byron, dragoman, and baggage were not three miles from Zitza when the storm began, and they lost their way. After many wanderings and adventures they were finally conducted by ten men with pine torches to the hut; but by that time it was three o'clock in the morning. Hence the "Stanzas composed during a Thunderstorm."—Hobhouse's Travels in Albania, i. 69-71.]
- ["The prior of the monastery, a humble, meek-mannered man, entertained us in a warm chamber with grapes and a pleasant white wine.... We were so well pleased with everything about us that we agreed to lodge with him."—Hobhouse's Travels in Albania, i. 73.]
- Here winds, if winds there be, will fan his breast.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Keep Heaven for better souls, my shade shall seek for none.—[MS. erased.]
But frequent is the lamb, the kid, the goat—
And watching pensive with his browsing flock.—[MS. erased.]
- Counting the hours beneath yon skies unerring shock.—[MS. erased.]
- [The site of Dodona, a spot "at the foot of Mount Tomaros" (Mount Olytsika) in the valley of Tcharacovista, was finally determined, in 1876, by excavations carried out, at his own expense, by M. Constantin Carapanos, a native of Arta. In his monograph, Dodone et ses Ruines (Paris, 1878, 4to), M. Carapanos gives a detailed description of the theatre, the twofold Temenos (I. L'Enceinte du Temple, II. Téménos, pp. 13–28), including the Temple of Zeus and a sanctuary of Aphrodite, and of the numerous ex voto offerings and inscriptions on lead which were brought to light during the excavations, and helped to identify the ruins. An accompanying folio volume of plates contains (Planches, i., ii.) a map of the valley of Tcharacovista, and a lithograph of Mount Tomaros, "d'un aspect majestueux et pittoresque … un roc nu sillonné par le lit de nombreux torrents" (p. 8). Behind Dodona, on the summit of the many-named chain of hills which confronts Mount Tomaros, are "bouquets de chêne," sprung it may be from the offspring of the προσήγορσοι δρύες (Æsch., Prom., 833), the "talking oaks," which declared the will of Zeus. For the "prophetic fount" (line 2), Servius, commenting on Virgil, Æneid, iii. 41-66, seems to be the authority: "Circa hoc templum quercus immanis fuisse dicitur ex cujus radicibus fons manebat, qui suo murmure instinctu Deorum diversis oracula reddebat" (Virgilii Opera, Leovardiæ, 1717, i. 548).
Byron and Hobhouse, on one of their excursions from Janina, explored and admired the ruins of the "amphitheatre," but knew not that "here and nowhere else" was Dodona (Travels in Albania, i. 53-56).]
- [The sentiment that man, "whose breath is in his nostrils," should consider the impermanence of all that is stable and durable before he cries out upon his own mortality, may have been drawn immediately from the famous letter of consolation sent by Sulpitius Severus to Cicero, which Byron quotes in a note to Canto IV. stanza xliv., or, in the first instance, from Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, xv. 20—
"Giace l'alta Cartago; appena i segni
Dell' alte sue ruini il lido serba.
Muojono le città; muojono i regni:
Copre i fasti, e le pompe, arena ed erba;
E l'uom d'esser mortal par cue si sdegni!"
Compare, too, Addison's "Reflections in Westminster Abbey," Spectator, No. 26.]
- [The six days' journey from Zitza to Tepeleni is compressed into a single stanza. The vale (line 3) may be that of the Kalama, through which the travellers passed (October 13) soon after leaving Zitza, or, more probably, the plain of Deropoli ("well-cultivated, divided by rails and low hedges, and having a river flowing through it to the south"), which they crossed (October 15) on their way from Delvinaki, the frontier village of Illyria, to Libokhovo.]
- ["Yclad," used as a preterite, not a participle (compare Coleridge's "I wis" [Christabel, part i. line 92]), is a Byronism—"archaisme incorrect," says M. Darmesteter.]
- ["During the fast of the Ramazan, ... the gallery of each minaret is decorated with a circlet of small lamps. When seen from a distance, each minaret presents a point of light, 'like meteors in the sky;' and in a large city, where they are numerous, they resemble a swarm of fireflies."—H. F. Tozer. (Compare The Giaour, i. 449-452—
"When Rhamazan's last sun was set,
And flashing from each minaret.
Millions of lamps proclaimed the feast
Of Bairam through the boundless East.")]
- ["A kind of dervish or recluse ... regarded as a saint."—Cent. Dict., art. "Santon."]
- —— guests and vassals wait.—[MS. erased.]
- While the deep Tocsin's sound ——.—[MS. D. erased.]
- ["We were disturbed during the night by the perpetual carousal which seemed to be kept up in the gallery, and by the drum, and the voice of the 'muezzinn,' or chanter, calling the Turks to prayers from the minaret of the mosck attached to the palace. This chanter was a boy, and he sang out his hymn is a sort of loud melancholy recitative. He was a long time repeating the Eraun. The first exclamation was repeated four times, the remaining words twice; and the long and piercing note in which he concluded his confession of faith, by twice crying out the word 'hou!' ['At solemn sound of "Alia Hu!"' Giaour, i. 734] still rings in my ears."—Hobhouse's Travels in Albania, i. 95. D'Ohsonn gives the Eraun at full length: "Most high God! [four times repeated]. I acknowledge that there is no other God except God! I acknowledge that there is no other God except God! I acknowledge that Mohammed is the prophet of God! Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to the temple of salvation! Come to the temple of salvation! Great God! great God! There is no God except God!"—Oriental Antiquities (Philadelphia, 1788), p. 341.]
- ["The Ramazan, or Turkish Lent, which, as it occurs in each of the thirteen months in succession, fell this year in October.... Although during this month the strictest abstinence, even from tobacco and coffee, is observed in the daytime, yet with the setting of the sun the feasting commences."—Travels in Albania, i. 66. "The Ramadan or Rhamazan is the ninth month of the Mohammedan year. As the Mohammedans reckon by lunar time, it begins each year eleven days earlier than in the preceding year, so that in thirty-three years it occurs successively in all the seasons."—Imp. Dictionary.]
- [The feast was spread within the courtyard, "in the part farthest from the dwelling," and when the revelry began the "immense large gallery" or corridor, which ran along the front of the palace and was open on one side to the court, was deserted. "Opening into the gallery were the doors of several apartments," and as the servants passed in and out, the travellers standing in the courtyard could hear the sound of voices.—Travels in Albania, i. 93.]
- —— even for health to move.—[MS.]
She saves for one ——.—[MS. erased.]
For boyish minions of unhallowed love
The shameless torch of wild desire is lit,
Caressed, preferred even to woman's self above,
Whose forms for Nature's gentler errors fit
All frailties mote excuse save that which they commit.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [For an account of Ali Pasha (1741-1822), see Letters, 1898, i. 246, note.]
- [In a letter to his mother, November 12, 1809, Byron writes, "He [Ali] said he was certain I was a man of birth, because I had small ears, curling hair, and little white hands.... He told me to consider him as a father whilst I was in Turkey, and said he looked on me as his son. Indeed, he treated me like a child, sending me almonds and sugared sherbet, fruit and sweetmeats, twenty times a day." Many years after, in the first letter On Bowles' Strictures, February 7, 1821, he introduces a reminiscence of Ali: "I never judge from manners, for I once had my pocket picked by the civillest gentleman I ever met with; and one of the mildest persons I ever saw was Ali Pasha" (Life, p. 689).]
- Delights to mingle with the lips of youth.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [Anacreon sometimes bewails, but more often defies old age. (Vide Carmina liv., xi., xxxiv.)
The paraphrase "Teian Muse" recurs in the song, "The Isles of Greece," Don Juan, Canto III.]
- But 'tis those ne'er forgotten acts of ruth.—[MS. D.]
- [In the first edition the reading (see var. ii.) is, "But crimes, those ne'er forgotten crimes of ruth." The mistake was pointed out in the Quarterly Review (March, 1812, No. 13, vol. vii. p. 193).
But in Spenser "ruth" means sorrow as well as pity, and three weeks after Childe Harold was published, Ali committed a terrible crime, the outcome of an early grief. On March 27, 1812, in revenge for wrongs done to his mother and sister nearly thirty years before, he caused 670 Gardhikiots to be massacred in the khan of Valiare, and followed up the act of treachery by sacking, plundering, and burning the town of Gardiki, and, "in direct violation of the Mohammedan law," carrying off and reducing to slavery the women and children.—Finlay's Hist. of Greece (edited by Rev. H. F. Tozer, 1877), vi. 67, 68.]
- Those who in blood begin in blood conclude their span.—[MS. erased.]
- [This was prophetic. "On the 5th of February, 1822, a meeting took place between Ali and Mohammed Pasha.... When Mohammed rose to depart, the two viziers, being of equal rank, moved together towards the door.... As they parted Ali bowed low to his visitor, and Mohammed, seizing the moment when the watchful eye of the old man was turned away, drew his hanjar, and plunged it in Ali's heart. He walked on calmly to the gallery, and said to the attendants, 'Ali of Tepalen is dead.' ... The head of Ali was exposed at the gate of the serai."—Finlay's Hist. of Greece, 1877, vi. 94, 95.]
Childe Harold with that chief held colloquy
Yet what they spake it boots not to repeat;
Converse may little charm strange ear or eye;
Albeit he rested on that spacious seat,
Of Moslem luxury the choice retreat.—[MS. D. erased.]
Four days he rested on that worthy seat.—[MS. erased.]
- [The travellers left Janina on November 3, and reached Prevesa November 7. At midday November 9 they set sail for Patras in a galliot of Ali's, "a vessel of about fifty tons burden, with three short masts and a large lateen sail." Instead of doubling Cape Ducato, they were driven out to sea northward, and, finally, at one o'clock in the morning, anchored off the Port of Phanari on the Suliote coast. Towards the evening of the next day (November 10) they landed in "the marshy bay" (stanza lxviii. line 2) and rode to Volondorako, where they slept. "Here they were well received by the Albanian primate of the place and by the Vizier's soldiers quartered there." Instead of re-embarking in the galliot, they returned to Prevesa by land (November 11). As the country to the north of the Gulf of Arta was up in arms, and bodies of robbers were abroad, they procured an escort of thirty-seven Albanians, hired another galliot, and on Monday, the 13th, sailed across the entrance of the gulf as far as the fortress of Vonitsa, where they anchored for the night. By four o'clock in the afternoon of November 14 they reached Utraikey or Lutraki, "situated in a deep bay surrounded with rocks at the south-east corner of the Gulf of Arta." The courtyard of a barrack on the shore is the scene of the song and dance (stanzas lxx.-lxxii.). Here, in the original MS., the pilgrimage abruptly ends, and in the remaining stanzas the Childe moralizes on the fallen fortunes and vanished heroism of Greece.—Travels in Albania, i. 157-165.]
- [The route from Utraikey to Gouria (November 15-18) lay through "thick woods of oak," with occasional peeps of the open cultivated district of Ætolia on the further side of the Aspropotamo, "white Achelous' tide." The Albanian guard was not dismissed until the travellers reached Mesolonghi (November 21).]
- [With this description Mr. Tozer compares Virgil, Æneid, i. 159-165, and Tasso's imitation in Gerus. Lib., canto xv. stanzas 42, 43. The following lines from Hoole's translation (Jerusalem Delivered, bk. xv. lines 310, 311, 317, 318) may be cited:—
"Amidst these isles a lone recess is found,
Where circling shores the subject flood resound ...
Within the waves repose in peace serene;
Black forests nod above, a silvan scene!"]
- ["In the evening the gates were secured, and preparations were made for feeding our Albanians. A goat was killed and roasted whole, and four tires were kindled in the yard, round which the soldiers seated themselves in parties. After eating and drinking, the greater part of them assembled round the largest of the fires, and, whilst ourselves and the elders of the party were seated on the ground, danced round the blaze to their own songs, in the manner before described, but with 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.]
- [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.]
- [Tambourgi, "drummer," a Turkish word, formed by affixing the termination -gi, which signifies "one who discharges any occupation," to the French tambour (H. F. Tozer, Childe Harold, p. 246).]
- —— thy tocsin afar.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [The camese is the fustanella or white kilt of the Toska, a branch of the Albanian, or Shkipetar, race. Spenser has the forms "camis," "camus." The Arabic quamīç occurs in the Koran, but is thought to be an adaptation of the Latin camisia, camisa.—Finlay's Hist. of Greece, vi. 39; N. Eng. Dict., art. "Camis." (For "capote," vide post, p. 181.)]
- Shall the sons of Chimæra ——.—[MS. D].
- [The Suliotes, after a protracted and often successful resistance, were finally reduced by Ali, in December, 1803. They are adjured to forget their natural desire for vengeance, and to unite with the Albanians against their common foe, the Russians.]
- Shall win the young minions ——.—[MS. D.]
- —— the maid and the youth.—[MS.]
- Their caresses shall lull us, their voices shall soothe.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [So, too, at Salakhora (October 1): "One of the songs was on the taking of Prevesa, an exploit of which the Albanians are vastly proud; and there was scarcely one of them in which the name of Ali Pasha was not roared out and dwelt upon with peculiar energy."—Travels in Albania, i. 29.
Prevesa, which, with other Venetian possessions, had fallen to the French in 1797, was taken in the Sultan's name by Ali, in October, 1798. The troops in the garrison (300 French, 460 Greeks) encountered and were overwhelmed by 5000 Albanians, on the plain of Nicopolis. The victors entered and sacked the town.]
- [Ali's eldest son, Mukhtar, the Pasha of Berat, had been sent against the Russians, who, in 1809, invaded the trans-Danubian provinces of the Ottoman Empire.]
- Yellow is the epithet given to the Russians.
- The insignia of a Pacha.
- [The literal meaning of Delhi or Deli, is, says M. Darmesteter, "fou" ["properly madmen" (D'Herbelot)], a title bestowed on Turkish warriors honoris causâ. Byron suggests "forlorn hope" as an equivalent; but there is a wide difference between the blood-drunkenness of the Turk and the "foolishness" of British chivalry.]
- Tambourgi! thy tocsin——.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [Compare "The Isles of Greece," stanza 7 (Don Juan, Canto III.)—
"Earth! render back from out thy heart
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three
To make a new Thermopylæ!"
- A fawning feeble race, untaught, enslaved, unmanned.—[MS. erased.]
- —— fair Liberty.—[MS. erased, D.]
- [Compare The Age of Bronze, vi. lines 39-46.]
- [The Wahabees, who took their name from the Arab sheik Mohammed ben Abd-el-Wahab, arose in the province of Nedj, in Central Arabia, about 1760. Half-socialists, half-puritans, they insisted on fulfilling to the letter the precepts of the Koran. In 1803-4 they attacked and ravaged Mecca and Medinah, and in 1808 they invaded Syria and took Damascus. During Byron's residence in the East they were at the height of their power, and seemed to threaten the very existence of the Turkish empire.]
- [Byron spent two months in Constantinople (Stamboul, i.e. εἰς τὴν πόλιν)—from May 14 to July 14, 1810. The "Lenten days," which were ushered in by a carnival, were those of the second "great" Lent of the Greek Church, that of St. Peter and St. Paul, which begins on the first Monday after Trinity, and ends on the 29th of June.]
- [These al-fresco festivities must, it is presumed, have taken place on the two days out of the seven when you "might not 'damn the climate' and complain of the spleen." Hobhouse records excursions to the Valley of Sweet Waters; to Belgrade, where "the French minister gave a sort of fête-champêtre," when "the carousal lasted four days," and when "night after night is kept awake by the pipes, tabors, and fiddles of these moonlight dances;" and to the grove of Fanar-Baktchesi.—Travels in Albania, ii. 242-258.]
["There's nothing like young Love, No! No!
There's nothing like young love at last."]
- [It has been assumed that "searment" is an incorrect form of "cerement," the cloth dipped "in melting wax, in which dead bodies were enfolded when embalmed" (Hamlet, act i. sc. 4), but the sense of the passage seems rather to point to "cerecloth," "searcloth," a plaster to cover up a wound. The "robe of revel" does but half conceal the sore and aching heart.]
- [For the accentuation of the word, compare Chaucer, "The Sompnour's Tale" (Canterbury Tales, line 7631)—
"And dronkennesse is eke a foul recórd
Of any man, and namely of a lord."]
- When Athens' children are with arts endued.—[MS. D.]
- [Compare Ecclus. xliv. 8, 9: "There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported. And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been."]
- [The "solitary column" may be that on the shore of the harbour of Colonna, in the island of Kythnos (Thermia), or one of the detached columns of the Olympeion.]
- [Tritonia, or Tritogenia, one of Athena's names of uncertain origin. Hofmann's Lexicon Universale, Tooke's Pantheon, and Smith's Classical Dictionary are much in the same tale. Lucan (Pharsalia, lib. ix. lines 350-354) derives the epithet from Lake Triton, or Tritonis, on the Mediterranean coast of Libya—
"Hanc et Pallas amat: patrio quæ vertice nata
Terrarum primum Libyen (nam proxima cœlo est,
Ut probat ipse calor) tetigit, stagnique quietâ
Vultus vidit aquâ, posuitque in margine plantas,
Et se dilectâ Tritonida dixit ab undâ."]
- [Hobhouse dates the first visit to Cape Colonna, January 24, 1810.]
- [Athené's dower of the olive induced the gods to appoint her as the protector and name-giver of Athens. Poseidon, who had proffered a horse, was a rejected candidate. (See note by Rev. E. C. Owen, Childe Harold., 1897, p. 175.)]
- ["The wild thyme is in great abundance; but there are only two stands of bee-hives on the mountains, and very little of the real honey of Hymettus is to be now procured at Athens.... A small pot of it was shown to me as a rarity" (Travels in Albania, i. 341). There is now, a little way out of Athens, a "honey-farm, where the honey from Hymettus is prepared for sale" (Handbook for Greece, p. 500).]
- Pentele's marbles glare.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [Stanzas lxxxviii.-xc. are not in the MS., but were first included in the seventh edition, 1814.]
- [Byron and Hobhouse, after visiting Colonna, slept at Keratea, and proceeded to Marathon on January 25, returning to Athens on the following day.]
- Preserve alike its form ——.—[MS. L.]
- When uttered to the listener's eye ——.—[MS. L.]
- The host, the plain, the fight ——.—[MS. L.]
- The shattered Mede who flies with broken bow.—[MS. L.]
- ["The plain of Marathon is enclosed on three sides by the rocky arms of Parnes and Pentelicus, while the fourth is bounded by the sea." After the first rush, when the victorious wings, where the files were deep, had drawn together and extricated the shallower and weaker centre, which had been repulsed by the Persians and the Sakæ, "the pursuit became general, and the Persians were chased to their ships, ranged in line along the shore. Some of them became involved in the impassable marsh, and there perished." (See Childe Harold, edited by H. F. Tozer, 1885, p. 253; Grote's History of Greece, iv. 276. See, too, Travels in Albania, i. 378-384.)]
- To tell what Asia troubled but to hear.—[MS. L.]
- [See note to Canto II. stanzas i.-xv., pp. 99, l00.]
- Long to the remnants ——.—[D.]
- [The "Ionian blast" is the western wind that brings the voyager across the Ionian Sea.]
- [The original MS. closes with this stanza.]
- Which heeds nor stern reproach ——.—[D.]
- Would I had ne'er returned ——.—[D.]
"To Mr. Dallas.
[4th Revise B.M.]
- But Time the Comforter shall come at last.—[MS. erased.]
- [Compare Young's Night Thoughts ("The Complaint," Night i.). Vide ante, p. 95.]
Though Time not yet hath ting'd my locks with snow,[a]
Yet hath he reft whate'er my soul enjoy'd.—[D.]
"To Mr. Dallas.
"If Mr. D. wishes me to adopt the former line so be it. I prefer the other I confess, it has less egotism—the first sounds affected.
[Note.—The MS. closes with stanza xcii. Stanzas xciii.-xcviii. were added after Childe Harold was in the press. Byron sent them to Dallas, October 11, 1811, and, apparently, on the same day composed the Epistle to a Friend (F. Hodgson) in answer to some lines exhorting the Author to be cheerful, and to "Banish Care," and the first poem To Thyrza ("Without a stone to mark the Spot"). "I have sent," he writes, "two or three additional stanzas for both 'Fyttes.' I have been again shocked with a death, and have lost one very dear to me in happier times; but 'I have almost forgot the taste of grief,' and 'supped full of horrors' till I have become callous, nor have I a tear left for an event which, five years ago, would have bowed down my head to the earth. It seems as though I were to experience in my youth the greatest misery of age. My friends fall around me, and I shall be left a lonely tree before I am withered." In one respect he would no longer disclaim identity with Childe Harold. "Death had deprived him of his nearest connections." He had seen his friends "around him fall like leaves in wintry weather." He felt "like one deserted;" and in the "dusky shadow" of that early desolation he was destined to walk till his life's end. It is not without cause when "a man of great spirit grows melancholy." In connection with this subject, it may be noted that lines 6 and 7 of stanza xcv. do not bear out Byron's contention to Dallas (Letters, October 14 and 31, 1811), that in these three in memoriam stanzas (ix., xcv., xcvi.) he is bewailing an event which took place after he returned to Newstead. The "more than friend" had "ceased to be" before the "wanderer" returned. It is evident that Byron did not take Dallas into his confidence.]
- ["Owls and serpents" are taken from Isa. xiii. 21, 22; "foxes" from Lam. v. 18, "Zion is desolate, the foxes walk upon it."]
- [For Herr Gropius, vide post, note 6.]
- [The Parthenon was converted into a church in the sixth century by Justinian, and dedicated to the Divine Wisdom. About 1460 the church was turned into a mosque. After the siege in 1687 the Turks erected a smaller mosque within the original enclosure. "The only relic of the mosque dedicated by Mohammed the Conqueror (1430-1481) is the base of the minaret ... at the south-west corner of the Cella" (Handbook for Greece, p. 319).]
- ["Don Battista Lusieri, better known as Don Tita," was born at Naples. He followed Sir William Hamilton "to Constantinople, in 1799, whence he removed to Athens." "It may be said of Lusieri, as of Claude Lorraine, 'If he be not the poet, he is the historian of nature.'"—Travels, etc., by E. D. Clarke, 1810-1823, Part II. sect. ii. p. 469, note. See, too, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 455.]
- ["Mirandum in modum (canes venaticos diceres) ita odorabantur omnia et pervestigabant, ut, ubi quidque esset, aliqua ratione invenirent" (Cicero, In Verrem, Act. II. lib. iv. 13). Verres had two finders: Tlepolemus a worker in wax, and Hiero a painter. (See Introduction to The Curse of Minerva: Poems, 1898, i. 455.)]
- [M. Fauvel was born in Burgundy, circ. 1754. In 1787 he was attached to the suite of the Count Choiseul-Gouffier, French Ambassador at Constantinople, and is said to have prepared designs and illustrations for his patron's Voyage Pittoresque de la Grèce, vol. i. 1787, vol. ii. 1809. He settled at Athens, and was made vice-consul by the French Government. In his old age, after more than forty years' service at Athens, he removed finally to Smyrna, where he was appointed consul-general.—Biographie des Contemporains (Rabbe), 1834, art. "(N.) Fauvel."]
- In all Attica, if we except Athens itself and Marathon, there is no scene more interesting than Cape Colonna.[a] To the antiquary and artist, sixteen columns are an inexhaustible source of observation and design; to the philosopher, the supposed scene of some of Plato's conversations will not be unwelcome; and the traveller will be struck with the beauty of the prospect over "Isles that crown the Ægean deep:" but, for an Englishman, Colonna has yet an additional interest, as the actual spot of Falconer's[b] shipwreck. Pallas and Plato are forgotten in the recollection of Falconer and Campbell:—
"Here in the dead of night, by Lonna's steep,[c]
The seaman's cry was heard along the deep."
This temple of Minerva may be seen at sea from a great distance. In two journeys which I made, and one voyage to Cape Colonna, the view from either side, by land, was less striking than the approach from the isles. In our second land excursion, we had a narrow escape from a party of Mainotes, concealed in the caverns beneath. We were told afterwards, by one of their prisoners, subsequently ransomed, that they were deterred from attacking us by the appearance of my two Albanians: conjecturing very sagaciously, but falsely, that we had a complete guard of these Arnaouts at hand, they remained stationary, and thus saved our party, which was too small to have opposed any effectual resistance. Colonna is no less a resort of painters than of pirates; there
"The hireling artist plants his paltry desk,
And makes degraded nature picturesque."
See Hodgson's Lady Jane Grey, etc.[d] [1809, p. 214].
But there Nature, with the aid of Art, has done that for herself. I was fortunate enough to engage a very superior German artist; and hope to renew my acquaintance with this and many other Levantine scenes, by the arrival of his performances.^ c.
^ a. [This must have taken place in 1811, after Hobhouse returned to England.—Travels in Albania, i. 373, note.]
^ b. [William Falconer (1732-1769), second mate of a vessel in the Levant trade, was wrecked between Alexandria and Venice. Only three of the crew survived. His poem, The Shipwreck, was published in 1762. It was dedicated to the Duke of York, and through his intervention he was "rated as a midshipman in the Royal Navy." Either as author or naval officer, he came to be on intimate terms with John Murray the first, who thought highly of his abilities, and offered him (October 16, 1768) a partnership in his new bookselling business in Fleet Street. In September, 1769, he embarked for India as purser of the Aurora frigate, which touched at the Cape, but never reached her destination. See Memoir, by J. S. Clarke; The Shipwreck, 1804, pp. viii.-xlvi.]
Yes, at the dead of night, etc.—
[Pleasures of Hope, lines 149, 150.]
^ d. [The quotation is from Hodgson's "Lines on a Ruined Abbey in a Romantic Country," vide ante, Canto I., p. 20, note.]
- ["It was, however, during our stay in the place, to be lamented that a war, more than civil, was raging on the subject of Lord Elgin's pursuits in Greece, and had enlisted all the French settlers and the principal Greeks on one side or the other of the controversy. The factions of Athens were renewed."—Travels in Albania, etc., i. 243.]
- This word, in the cant language, signifies thieving.—Fielding's History of Jonathan Wild, i. 3, note.
- This Sr. Gropius was employed by a noble Lord for the sole purpose of sketching, in which he excels: but I am sorry to say, that he has, through the abused sanction of that most respectable name, been treading at humble distance in the steps of Sr. Lusieri.—A shipful of his trophies was detained, and I believe confiscated, at Constantinople in 1810. I am most happy to be now enabled to state, that "this was not in his bond;" that he was employed solely as a painter, and that his noble patron disavows all connection with him, except as an artist. If the error in the first and second edition of this poem has given the noble Lord a moment's pain, I am very sorry for it: Sr. Gropius has assumed for years the name of his agent; and though I cannot much condemn myself for sharing in the mistake of so many, I am happy in being one of the first to be undeceived. Indeed, I have as much pleasure in contradicting this as I felt regret in stating it.—[Note to Third Edition.]
[According to Bryant's Dict. of Painters, and other biographical dictionaries, Karl Wilhelm Gropius (whom Lamartine, in his Voyage en Orient, identities with the Gropius "injustement accusé par lord Byron dans ses notes mordantes sur Athènes") was born at Brunswick, in 1793, travelled in Italy and Greece, making numerous landscape and architectural sketches, and finally settled at Berlin in 1827, where he opened a diorama, modelled on that of Daguerre, "in connection with a permanent exhibition of painting.... He was considered the first wit in Berlin, where he died in 1870." In 1812, when Byron wrote his note to the third edition of Childe Harold, Gropius must have been barely of age, and the statement "that he has for years assumed the name of his (a noble Lord's) agent" is somewhat perplexing.]
- [George Castriota (1404-1467) (Scanderbeg, or Scander Bey), the youngest son of an Albanian chieftain, was sent with his four brothers as hostage to the Sultan Amurath II. After his father's death in 1432 he carried on a protracted warfare with the Turks, and finally established the independence of Albania. "His personal strength and address were such as to make his prowess in the field resemble that of a knight of romance." He died at Lissa, in the Gulf of Venice, and when the island was taken by Mohammed II., the Turks are said to have dug up his bones and hung them round their necks, either as charms against wounds or "amulets to transfer his courage to themselves." (Hofmann's Lexicon Universale; Gorton's Biog. Dict., art. "Scanderbeg.")]
- [William Martin Leake (1777-1860), traveller and numismatist, published (inter alia) Researches in Greece, in 1814. He was "officially resident" in Albania, February, 1809—March, 1810.]
- [A Journey through Albania during the Years 1809-10, London, 1812.]
- [The inhabitants of Albania, of the Shkipetar race, consist of two distinct branches: the Gueghs, who belong to the north, and are for the most part Catholics; and the Tosks of the south, who are generally Mussulmans (Finlay's History of Greece, i. 35).]
- I laughed so much as to induce a violent perspiration to which ... I attribute my present individuality.—[D.]
- [The mayor of the village; in Greek, προεστός.]
- [The father of the Consulina Teodora Macri, and grandfather of the "Maid of Athens."]
- [Tristram Shandy, 1775, iv. 44.]
- [See Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron, 1824, p. 64.]
- [Compare The Waltz, line 125—
"O say, shall dull Romaika's heavy sound."
Poems, 1898, i. 492.]
- The Albanese, particularly the women, are frequently termed "Caliriotes," for what reason I inquired in vain.
- [François Mercy de Lorraine, who fought against the Protestants in the Thirty Years' War, was mortally wounded at the battle of Nordlingen, August 3, 1645.]
- [Byron and Hobhouse visited Marathon, January 25, 1810. The unconsidered trifle of the "plain" must have been offered to Byron during his second residence at Athens, in 1811.]
- ["Expende Annibalem—quot libras," etc. (Juvenal, x. 147), is the motto of the Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, which was written April 10, 1814.—Journal, 1814; Life, p. 325.]
- [Compare letter to Hodgson, September 25, 1811: Letters, 1898, ii. 45.]
- [Miss Owenson (Sydney, Lady Morgan), 1783-1859, published her Woman, or Ida of Athens, in 4 vols., in 1812. Writing to Murray, February 20, 1818, Byron alludes to the "cruel work" which an article (attributed to Croker but, probably, written by Hookham Frere) had made with her France in the Quarterly Review (vol. xvii. p. 260); and in a note to The Two Foscari, act iii. sc. 1, he points out that his description of Venice as an "Ocean-Rome" had been anticipated by Lady Morgan in her "fearless and excellent work upon Italy." The play was completed July 9, 1821, but the work containing the phrase, "Rome of the Ocean," had not been received till August 16 (see, too, his letter to Murray, August 23, 1821). His conviction of the excellence of Lady Morgan's work was, perhaps strengthened by her outspoken eulogium.]
- [For the Disdar's extortions, see Travels in Albania, i. 244.]
["The poor ... when once abroad,
Grow sick, and damn the climate like a lord."
Pope, Imit. of Horace, Ep. 1, lines 159, 160.]
- [Works and Days, v. 493, et seq.; Hesiod. Carm., C. Goettlingius (1843), p. 215.]
- Nonsense; humbug.
- [Hobhouse pronounced it to be the Fountain of Ares, the Paraporti Spring, "which serves to swell the scanty waters of the Dirce." The Dirce flows on the west; the Ismenus, which forms the fountain, to the east of Thebes. "The water was tepid, as I found by bathing in it" (Travels in Albania, i. 233; Handbook for Greece, p. 703).]
- [Travels in Greece, ch. lxvii.]
- [Gell's Itinerary of Greece (1810), Preface, p. xi.]
- [For M. Roque, see Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem: Œuvres Chateaubriand, Paris, 1837, ii. 258-266.]
- [William Eton published (1798-1809) A Survey of the Turkish Empire, in which he advocated the cause of Greek independence. Sonnini de Manoncourt (1751-1812), another ardent phil-Hellenist, published his Voyage en Grèce et en Turquie in 1801.]
- [Cornelius de Pauw (1739-1799), Dutch historian, published, in 1787, Recherches philosophiques sur les Grecs. Byron reflects upon his paradoxes and superficiality in Note II., infra. Thomas Thornton published, in 1807, a work entitled Present State of Turkey (see Note II., infra).]
- [The MSS. of Hints from Horace and The Curse of Minerva are dated, "Athens, Capuchin Convent, March 12 and March 17, 1811." Proof B of Hints from Horace is dated, "Athens, Franciscan Convent, March 12, 1811." Writing to Hodgson, November 14, 1810, he says, "I am living alone in the Franciscan monastery with one 'friar' (a Capuchin of course) and one 'frier' (a bandy-legged Turkish cook)" (Letters, 1898, i. 307).]
- [The Ionian Islands, with the exception of Corfù and Paxos, fell into the hands of the English in 1809, 1810. Paxos was captured in 1814, but Corfù, which had been blockaded by Napoleon, was not surrendered till the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815.]
- [The Mainotes or Mainates, who take their name from Maina, near Cape Tænaron, were the Highlanders of the Morea, "remarkable for their love of violence and plunder, but also for their frankness and independence." "Pedants have termed the Mainates descendants of the ancient Spartans," but "they must be either descended from the Helots, or from the Perioikoi.... To an older genealogy they can have no pretension."—Finlay's History of Greece, 1877, v. 113; vi. 26.]
- [The Fanal, or Phanár, is to the left, Pera to the right, of the Golden Horn. "The water of the Golden Horn, which flows between the city and the suburbs, is a line of separation seldom transgressed by the Frank residents."—Travels in Albania, ii. 208.]
- A word, en passant, with Mr. Thornton and Dr. Pouqueville, who have been guilty between them of sadly clipping the Sultan's Turkish.[a]
Dr. Pouqueville tells a long story of a Moslem who swallowed corrosive sublimate in such quantities that he acquired the name of "Suleyman Yeyen" i.e. quoth the Doctor, "Suleyman the eater of corrosive sublimate." "Aha," thinks Mr. Thornton (angry with the Doctor for the fiftieth time), "have I caught you?"[b]—Then, in a note, twice the thickness of the Doctor's anecdote, he questions the Doctor's proficiency in the Turkish tongue, and his veracity in his own.—"For," observes Mr. Thornton (after inflicting on us the tough participle of a Turkish verb), "it means nothing more than 'Suleyman the eater,' and quite cashiers the supplementary 'sublimate.'" Now both are right, and both are wrong. If Mr. Thornton, when he next resides "fourteen years in the factory," will consult his Turkish dictionary, or ask any of his Stamboline acquaintance, he will discover that "Suleyma'n yeyen," put together discreetly, mean the "Swallower of sublimate," without any "Suleyman" in the case: "Suleyma" signifying "corrosive sublimate," and not being a proper name on this occasion, although it be an orthodox name enough with the addition of n. After Mr. Thornton's frequent hints of profound Orientalism, he might have found this out before he sang such pæans over Dr. Pouqueville.
After this, I think "Travellers versus Factors" shall be our motto, though the above Mr. Thornton has condemned "hoc genus omne," for mistake and misrepresentation. "Ne Sutor ultra crepidam," "No merchant beyond his bales." N.B. For the benefit of Mr. Thornton, "Sutor" is not a proper name.
- Recherches Philosophiques sur les Grecs, 1787, i. 155.
- [De Pauw (Rech. Phil. sur les Grecs, 1788, ii. 293), in repeating Plato's statement (Laches, 191), that the Lacedæmonians at Platæa first fled from the Persians, and then, when the Persians were broken, turned upon them and won the battle, misapplies to them the term Θρασύδειλοι (Arist., Eth. Nic., iii. 9.7)—men, that is, who affect the hero, but play the poltroon.]
- [Attached as a note to line 562 of Hints from Horace (MS. M.).]
["I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban."
Shakespeare, King Lear, act iii. sc. 4, line 150.]
- [For April, 1810: vol. xvi. pp. 55, sq.]
- [Diamant or Adamantius Coray (1748-1833), scholar and phil-Hellenist, declared his views on the future of the Greeks in the preface to a translation of Beccaria Bonesani's treatise, Dei Delitti e delle Pene (1764), which was published in Paris in 1802. He began to publish his Bibliothèque Hellénique, in 17 vols., in 1805. He was of Chian parentage, but was born at Smyrna. Κοραη Αὐτοβιογραφια, Athens, 1891.]
- I have in my possession an excellent lexicon "τρίγλωσσον" which I received in exchange from S. G—, Esq., for a small gem: my antiquarian friends have never forgotten it or forgiven me.
[Λεξικὸν τρίγλωσσον τῆς Γαλλικῆς, Ἰταλικῆς, καὶ ’Ρωμαικῆς διαλέκτου, κ.τ.λ., 3 vols., Vienna, 1790. By Georgie Vendoti (Bentotes, or Bendotes) of Joanina. The book was in Hobhouse's possession in 1854.]
- In Gail's pamphlet against Coray, he talks of "throwing the insolent Hellenist out of the windows." On this a French critic exclaims, "Ah, my God! throw an Hellenist out of the window! what sacrilege!" It certainly would be a serious business for those authors who dwell in the attics: but I have quoted the passage merely to prove the similarity of style among the controversialists of all polished countries; London or Edinburgh could hardly parallel this Parisian ebullition.
[Jean Baptiste Gail (1755-1829), Professor of Greek in the Collége de France, published, in 1810, a quarto volume entitled, Réclamations de J. B. Gail,... et observations sur l'opinion en virtu de laquelle le juri—propose de décerner un prixM. Coray, à l'exclusion de la chasse de Xénophon, du Thucydide, etc., grec-latin-français, etc.]
- [Dorotheus of Mitylene (fl. sixteenth century), Archbishop of Monembasia (Anglicè "Malmsey"), on the south-east coast of Laconia, was the author of a Universal History (Βιβλίον Ἱστορικόν, κ.τ.λ.), edited by A. Tzigaras, Venice, 1637, 4to.]
- [Meletius of Janina (1661-1714) was Archbishop of Athens, 1703-14. His principal work is Ancient and Modern Geography, Venice, 1728, fol. He also wrote an Ecclesiastical History, in four vols., Vienna, 1783-95.]
- [Panagios (Panagiotes) Kodrikas, Professor of Greek at Paris, published at Vienna, in 1794, a Greek translation of Fontenelle's Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes. John Camarases, a Constantinopolitan, translated into French the apocryphal treatise, De Universi Natura, attributed to Ocellus Lucanus, a Pythagorean philosopher, who is said to have flourished in Lucania in the fifth century B.C.]
- [Christodoulos, an Acarnanian, published a work, Περὶ φιλοσόφου, φιλοσοφίας, φυσικῶν, Μεταφυσικῶν, κ.τ.λ., at Vienna, in 1786.]
- [Athanasius Psalidas published, at Vienna, in 1791, a sceptical work entitled, True Felicity (Ἀληθὴς Εὐδαιμονία). "Very learned, and full of quotations, but written in false taste."—MS. M. He was a schoolmaster at Janina, where Byron and Hobhouse made his acquaintance—"the only person," says Hobhouse, "I ever saw who had what might be called a library, and that a very small one" (Travels in Albania, etc., i. 508).]
- [Hobhouse mentions a patriotic poet named Polyzois, "the new Tyrtæus," and gives, as a specimen of his work, "a war-song of the Greeks in Egypt, fighting in the cause of Freedom."—Travels in Albania, etc., i. 507; ii. 6,7.]
- [By Blackbey is meant Bey of Vlack, i.e. Wallachia. (See a Translation of this "satire in dialogue"—"Remarks on the Romaic," etc., Poetical Works, 1891, p. 793.)]
- [Constantine Rhigas (born 1753), the author of the original of Byron's "Sons of the Greeks, arise," was handed over to the Turks by the Austrians, and shot at Belgrade in 1793, by the orders of Ali Pacha.]
- [The Hecatonnesi are a cluster of islands in the Gulf of Adramyttium, over against the harbour and town of Aivali or Aivalik. Cidonies may stand for ἡ πόλις κυδωνὶς, the quince-shaped city. "At Haivali or Kidognis, opposite to Mytilene, there is a sort of university for a hundred students and three professors, now superintended by a Greek of Mytilene, who teaches not only the Hellenic, but Latin, French, and Italian."—Travels in Albania, etc., i. 509, 510.]
- [François Horace Bastien, Conte Sebastiani (1772-1851), was ambassador to the Sublime Porte, May, 1806—June, 1807.]
- [Gregor Alexandrovitch Potemkin (1736-1791), the favourite of the Empress Catherine II.]
- In a former number of the Edinburgh Review, 1808, it is observed: "Lord Byron passed some of his early years in Scotland, where he might have learned that pibroch does not mean a bagpipe, any more than duet means a fiddle." Query,—Was it in Scotland that the young gentlemen of the Edinburgh Review learned that Solyman means Mahomet II. any more than criticism means infallibility?—but thus it is,
"Cædimus, inque vicem præbemus crura sagittis."
Persius, Sat. iv. 42.
The mistake seemed so completely a lapse of the pen (from the great similarity of the two words, and the total absence of error from the former pages of the literary leviathan) that I should have passed it over as in the text, had I not perceived in the Edinburgh Review much facetious exultation on all such detections, particularly a recent one, where words and syllables are subjects of disquisition and transposition; and the above-mentioned parallel passage in my own case irresistibly propelled me to hint how much easier it is to be critical than correct. The gentlemen, having enjoyed many a triumph on such victories, will hardly begrudge me a slight ovation for the present.
[At the end of the review of Childe Harold, February, 1812 (xix., 476), the editor inserted a ponderous retort to this harmless and good-natured "chaff:" "To those strictures of the noble author we feel no inclination to trouble our readers with any reply ... we shall merely observe that if we viewed with astonishment the immeasurable fury with which the minor poet received the innocent pleasantry and moderate castigation of our remarks on his first publication, we now feel nothing but pity for the strange irritability of temperament which can still cherish a private resentment for such a cause, or wish to perpetuate memory of personalities as outrageous as to have been injurious only to their authors."]
- ["O Athens, first of all lands, why in these latter days dost thou nourish asses?"]
- [Anna Comnena (1083-1148), daughter of Alexis I., wrote the Alexiad, a history of her father's reign.]
- [Zonaras (Annales, B 240), lib. viii. cap. 26, A 4. Venice, 1729.]
- [See English Bards, etc., line 877: Poems, 1898, i. 366, note 1.]
- [For Vely Pacha, the son of Ali Pacha, Vizier of the Morea, see Letters 1898, i. 248, note 1.]
- [The Caimacam was the deputy or lieutenant of the grand Vizier.]
- [Scott published "Sir Tristrem, a Metrical Romance of the Thirteenth Century, by Thomas of Ercildoun," in 1804.]
- [Captain Lismahago, a paradoxical and pedantic Scotchman, the favoured suitor of Miss Tabitha Bramble, in Smollett's Expedition of Humphry Clinker.]
- [Sir William Drummond (1780?-1828) published, inter alia, A Review of the Government of Athens and Sparta, in 1795; and Herculanensia, an Archæological and Philological Dissertation containing a Manuscript found at Herculaneum, in conjunction with the Rev. Robert Walpole (see letter to Harness, December 8, 1811. See Letters, 1898, ii. 79, note 3).
For Aberdeen and Hamilton, see English Bards, etc., line 509: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 336, note 2, and Childe Harold, Canto II. supplementary stanzas, ibid., ii. 108.
Edward Daniel Clarke, LL.D. (1769-1822), published Travels in Various Countries, 1810-1823 (vide ante, p. 172, note 7).
For Leake, vide ante, p. 174, note 1.
For Gell, see English Bards, etc., line 1034, note 1: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 379.
The Rev. Robert Walpole (1781-1856), in addition to his share in Herculanensia, completed the sixth volume of Clarke's Travels, which appeared in 1823.]
- [Compare English Bards, etc., line 655, note 2: Poetical Works, 1898, i. 349.]
- [The judge of a town or village—the Spanish alcalde.—N. Eng. Dict., art. "Cadi."]
- [Mouradja D'Ohsson (1740-1804), an Armenian by birth, spent many years at Constantinople as Swedish envoy. He published at Paris (1787-90, two vols. fol.) his Tableau général de l'empire Othoman, a work still regarded as the chief authority on the subject.]
- ["Effendi," derived from the Greek αὐθέντης, through the Romaic ἀφέντης, an "absolute master," is a title borne by distinguished civilians.
The Spanish order of St. James of Compostella was founded circ. A.D. 1170.]
- [The "Nizam Gedidd," or new ordinance, which aimed at remodelling the Turkish army on a quasi-European system, was promulgated by Selim III. in 1808.
A "mufti" is an expounder, a "molla" or "mollah" a superior judge, of the sacred Moslem law. The "tefterdars" or "defterdars" were provincial registrars and treasurers under the supreme defterdar, or Chancellor of the Exchequer.]