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The Works


Poetry. Vol. III.






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The present volume contains the six metrical tales which were composed within the years 1812 and 1815, the Hebrew Melodies, and the minor poems of 1809-1816. With the exception of the first fifteen poems (1809-1811)—Chansons de Voyage, as they might be called—the volume as a whole was produced on English soil. Beginning with the Giaour; which followed in the wake of Childe Harold and shared its triumph, and ending with the ill-omened Domestic Pieces, or Poems of the Separation, the poems which Byron wrote in his own country synchronize with his popularity as a poet by the acclaim and suffrages of his own countrymen. His greatest work, by which his lasting fame has been established, and by which his relative merits as a great poet will be judged in the future, was yet to come; but the work which made his name, which is stamped with his sign-manual, and [vi]which has come to be regarded as distinctively and characteristically Byronic, preceded maturity and achievement.

No poet of his own or other times, not Walter Scott, not Tennyson, not Mr. Kipling, was ever in his own lifetime so widely, so amazingly popular. Thousands of copies of the "Tales"—of the Bride of Abydos, of the Corsair, of Lara—were sold in a day, and edition followed edition month in and month out. Everywhere men talked about the "noble author"—in the capitals of Europe, in literary circles in the United States, in the East Indies. He was "the glass of fashion ... the observ'd of all observers," the swayer of sentiment, the master and creator of popular emotion. No other English poet before or since has divided men's attention with generals and sea-captains and statesmen, has attracted and fascinated and overcome the world so entirely and potently as Lord Byron.

It was Childe Harold, the unfinished, immature Childe Harold, and the Turkish and other "Tales," which raised this sudden and deafening storm of applause when the century was young, and now, at its close (I refer, of course, to the Tales, not to Byron's poetry as a whole, which, in spite of the critics, has held and still holds its own), are ignored if not forgotten, passed over if not despised—which but few know thoroughly, and "very few" are found to admire or to love. Ubi lapsus, quid feci? might the questioning spirit of the author exclaim with regard to his "Harrys and Larrys, Pilgrims and[vii] Pirates," who once held the field, and now seem to have gone under in the struggle for poetical existence!

To what, then, may we attribute the passing away of interest and enthusiasm? To the caprice of fashion, to an insistence on a more faultless technique, to a nicer taste in ethical sentiment, to a preference for a subtler treatment of loftier themes? More certainly, and more particularly, I think, to the blurring of outline and the blotting out of detail due to lapse of time and the shifting of the intellectual standpoint.

However much the charm of novelty and the contagion of enthusiasm may have contributed to the success of the Turkish and other Tales, it is in the last degree improbable that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were enamoured, not of a reality, but of an illusion born of ignorance or of vulgar bewilderment. They were carried away because they breathed the same atmosphere as the singer; and being undistracted by ethical, or grammatical, or metrical offences, they not only read these poems with avidity, but understood enough of what they read to be touched by their vitality, to realize their verisimilitude.

Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. Nay, more, the knowledge, the comprehension of essential greatness in art, in nature, or in man is not to know that there is aught to forgive. But that sufficing knowledge which the reader of average intelligence brings with him for the comprehension and appreciation of contemporary[viii] literature has to be bought at the price of close attention and patient study when the subject-matter of a poem and the modes and movements of the poet's consciousness are alike unfamiliar.

Criticism, however subtle, however suggestive, however luminous, will not bridge over the gap between the past and the present, will not supply the sufficing knowledge. It is delightful and interesting and, in a measure, instructive to know what great poets of his own time and of ours have thought of Byron, how he "strikes" them; but unless we are ourselves saturated with his thought and style, unless we learn to breathe his atmosphere by reading the books which he read, picturing to ourselves the scenes which he saw,—unless we aspire to his ideals and suffer his limitations, we are in no way entitled to judge his poems, whether they be good or bad.

Byron's metrical "Tales" come before us in the guise of light reading, and may be "easily criticized" as melo-dramatic—the heroines conventional puppets, the heroes reduplicated reflections of the author's personality, the Oriental "properties" loosely arranged, and somewhat stage-worn. A thorough and sympathetic study of these once extravagantly lauded and now belittled poems will not, perhaps, reverse the deliberate judgment of later generations, but it will display them for what they are, bold and rapid and yet exact presentations of the "gorgeous East," vivid and fresh from the hand of the great artist who conceived them out of the abundance[ix] of memory and observation, and wrought them into shape with the "pen of a ready writer." They will be once more recognized as works of genius, an integral portion of our literary inheritance, which has its proper value, and will repay a more assiduous and a finer husbandry.

I have once more to acknowledge the generous assistance of the officials of the British Museum, and, more especially, of Mr. A. G. Ellis, of the Oriental Printed Books and MSS. Department, who has afforded me invaluable instruction in the compilation of the notes to the Giaour and Bride of Abydos.

I have also to thank Mr. R. L. Binyon, of the Department of Prints and Drawings, for advice and assistance in the selection of illustrations.

I desire to express my cordial thanks to the Registrar of the Copyright Office, Stationers' Hall; to Professor Jannaris, of the University of St. Andrews; to Miss E. Dawes, M.A., D.L., of Heathfield Lodge, Weybridge; to my cousin, Miss Edith Coleridge, of Goodrest, Torquay; and to my friend, Mr. Frank E. Taylor, of Chertsey, for information kindly supplied during the progress of the work.

For many of the "parallel passages" from the works of other poets, which are to be found in the notes, I am indebted to a series of articles by A. A. Watts, in the Literary Gazette, February and March, 1821; and to the notes to the late Professor E. Kolbing's Siege of Corinth.

On behalf of the publisher, I beg to acknowledge[x] the kindness of Lord Glenesk, and of Sir Theodore Martin, K.C.B., who have permitted the examination and collation of MSS. of the Siege of Corinth and of the "Thyrza" poems, in their possession.

The original of the miniature of H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales (see p. 44) is in the Library of Windsor Castle. It has been reproduced for this volume by the gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen.


April 18, 1900.[xi]


Preface to Vol. III. of the Poems v
Introduction to Occasional Pieces (Poems 1809-1813; Poems 1814-1816) xix
Poems 1809-1813.
The Girl of Cadiz. First published in Works of Lord Byron, 1832, viii. 56 1
Lines written in an Album, at Malta. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 4
To Florence. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 5
Stanzas composed during a Thunderstorm. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 7
Stanzas written in passing the Ambracian Gulf. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 11
The Spell is broke, the Charm is flown! First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 12
Written after swimming from Sestos to Abydos. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 13
Lines in the Travellers' Book at Orchomenus. First published, Travels in Italy, Greece, etc., by H. W. Williams, 1820, ii. 290 15
Maid of Athens, ere we part. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 15
Fragment from the "Monk of Athos." First published, Life of Lord Byron, by the Hon. Roden Noel, 1890, pp. 206, 207 18
Lines written beneath a Picture. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to)[xii] 19
Translation of the famous Greek War Song, Δεῦτε πῖδες, κ.τ.λ. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 20
Translation of the Romaic Song, Μνέπω μεσ' τὸ περιβόλι, κ.τ.λ. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to)22
On Parting. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 23
Farewell to Malta. First published, Poems on his Domestic Circumstances, by W. Hone (Sixth Edition, 1816) 24
Newstead Abbey. First published, Memoir of Rev. F. Hodgson, 1878, i. 187 27
Epistle to a Friend, in answer to some Lines exhorting the Author to be Cheerful, and to "banish Care." First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 301 28
To Thyrza ["Without a stone," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 30
Stanzas ["Away, away," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 35
Stanzas ["One struggle more," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to) 36
Euthanasia. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 39
Stanzas ["And thou art dead," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 41
Lines to a Lady weeping. First published, Morning Chronicle, March 7, 1812 45
Stanzas ["If sometimes," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 46
On a Cornelian Heart which was broken. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition) 48
The Chain I gave was Fair to view. From the Turkish. First published, Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition) 49
Lines written on a Blank Leaf of The Pleasures of Memory. First published, Poems, 1816 50
Address, spoken at the Opening of Drury-Lane Theatre, Saturday, October 10, 1812. First published, Morning Chronicle, October 12, 1812 51
Parenthetical Address. By Dr. Plagiary. First published, Morning Chronicle, October 23, 1812 55
Verses found in a Summer-house at Hales-Owen. First published, Works of Lord Byron, 1832, xvii. 244 59
Remember thee! Remember thee! First published, Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824, p. 330 59
To Time. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition)60[xiii]
Translation of a Romaic Love Song. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 62
Stanzas ["Thou art not false," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 64
On being asked what was the "Origin of Love." First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 65
On the Quotation, "And my true faith," etc. MS. M. 65
Stanzas ["Remember him," etc.]. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 69
Impromptu, in Reply to a Friend. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition) 67
Sonnet. To Genevra ["Thine eyes' blue tenderness," etc.]. First published, Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition) 70
Sonnet. To Genevra ["Thy cheek is pale with thought," etc.]. First published, Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition) 71
From the Portuguese ["Tu mi chamas"]. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition). "Another Version." First published, 1831 71
The Giaour: A Fragment of a Turkish Tale.
Introduction to The Giaour 75
Bibliographical Note on The Giaour 78
Dedication 81
Advertisement 83
The Giaour 85
The Bride of Abydos. A Turkish Tale.
Introduction to The Bride of Abydos 149
Note to the MSS. of The Bride of Abydos 151
Dedication 155
The Bride of Abydos. Canto the First 157
Canto the Second 178
Note to The Bride of Abydos 211
The Corsair: A Tale.
Introduction to The Corsair 217
Bibliographical Note on The Corsair 220
Dedication 223
The Corsair. Canto the First 227
Canto the Second 249
Canto the Third270[xiv]
Introduction to the Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte 303
Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte 305
Lara: A Tale.
Introduction to Lara 319
Lara. Canto the First 323
Canto the Second 348
Hebrew Melodies.
Introduction to the Hebrew Melodies 375
Advertisement 379
She walks in Beauty 381
The Harp the Monarch Minstrel swept 382
If that High World 383
The Wild Gazelle 384
Oh! weep for those 385
On Jordan's Banks 386
Jephtha's Daughter 387
Oh! snatched away in Beauty's Bloom 388
My Soul is Dark 389
I saw thee weep 390
Thy Days are done 391
Saul 392
Song of Saul before his Last Battle 393
"All is Vanity, saith the Preacher" 394
When Coldness wraps this Suffering Clay 395
Vision of Belshazzar 397
Sun of the Sleepless! 399
Were my Bosom as False as thou deem'st it to be 399
Herod's Lament for Mariamne 400
On the Day of the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus 401
By the Rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept 402
"By the Waters of Babylon" 404
The Destruction of Sennacherib 404
A Spirit passed before me 406
Poems 1814-1816.
Farewell! if ever Fondest Prayer. First published, Corsair (Second Edition, 1814) 409
When we Two parted. First published, Poems, 1816 410
[Love and Gold.] MS. M. 411
Stanzas for Music ["I speak not, I trace not," etc.]. First published, Fugitive Pieces, 1829 413[xv]
Address intended to be recited at the Caledonian Meeting. First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 559 415
Elegiac Stanzas on the Death of Sir Peter Parker, Bart. First published, Morning Chronicle, October 7, 1814 417
Julian [a Fragment]. MS. M. 419
To Belshazzar. First published, 1831 421
Stanzas for Music ["There's not a joy," etc.]. First published, Poems, 1816 423
On the Death of the Duke of Dorset. MS. M 425
Stanzas for Music ["Bright be the place of thy soul"]. First published, Examiner, June 4, 1815 426
Napoleon's Farewell. First published, Examiner, July 30, 1815 427
From the French ["Must thou go, my glorious Chief?"]. First published, Poems, 1816 428
Ode from the French ["We do not curse thee, Waterloo!"]. First published, Morning Chronicle, March 15, 1816 431
Stanzas for Music ["There be none of Beauty's daughters"]. First published, Poems, 1816 435
On the Star of "the Legion of Honour." First published, Examiner, April 7, 1816 436
Stanzas for Music ["They say that Hope is happiness"]. First published, Fugitive Pieces, 1829 438
The Siege of Corinth.
Introduction to The Siege of Corinth 441
Dedication 445
Advertisement 447
Note on the MS. of The Siege of Corinth 448
The Siege of Corinth 449
Introduction to Parisina 499
Dedication 501
Advertisement 503
Parisina 505
Poems of the Separation.
Introduction to Poems of the Separation 531
Fare Thee Well 537
A Sketch 540
Stanzas to Augusta 544



1. Lord Byron in Albanian Dress, from a Portrait in Oils by T. Phillips, R.A., in the Possession of Mr. John Murray Frontispiece
2. H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales, from the Miniature in the Possession of H.M. the Queen, at Windsor Castleto face p. 44
3. Lady Wilmot Horton, from a Sketch by Sir Thomas Lawrence380
4. Temple of Zeus Nemeus, from a Drawing by William Pars, A.R.A., in the British Museum470
5. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from a Portrait in Oils by T. Phillips, R.A., in the Possession of Mr. John Murray472
6. The Hon. Mrs. Leigh, from a Sketch by Sir George Hayter, in the British Museum544


(POEMS 1809-1813; POEMS 1814-1816).

The Poems afterwards entitled "Occasional Pieces," which were included in the several editions of the Collected Works issued by Murray, 1819-1831, numbered fifty-seven in all. They may be described as the aggregate of the shorter poems written between the years 1809-1818, which the author thought worthy of a permanent place among his poetical works. Of these the first twenty-nine appeared in successive editions of Childe Harold (Cantos I., II.) «viz. fourteen in the first edition, twenty in the second, and twenty-nine in the seventh edition», while the thirtieth, the Ode on the Death of Sir Peter Parker, was originally attached to Hebrew Melodies. The remaining twenty-seven pieces consist of six poems first published in the Second Edition of the Corsair, 1814; eleven which formed the collection entitled "Poems," 1816; six which were appended to the Prisoner of Chillon, December, 1816; the Very Mournful Ballad, and the Sonnet by Vittorelli, which accompanied the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, 1818; the Sketch, first included by Murray in his edition of 1819; and the Ode to Venice, which appeared in the same volume as Mazeppa.

Thus matters stood till 1831, when seventy new poems (sixty had been published by Moore, in Letters and Journals, 1830, six were republished from Hobhouse's Imitations and Translations, 1809, and four derived from other sources) were included in a sixth volume of the Collected Works.[xx]

In the edition of 1832-35, twenty-four new poems were added, but four which had appeared in Letters and Journals, 1830, and in the sixth volume of the edition of 1831 were omitted. In the one-volume edition (first issued in 1837 and still in print), the four short pieces omitted in 1832 once more found a place, and the lines on "John Keats," first published in Letters and Journals, and the two stanzas to Lady Caroline Lamb, "Remember thee! remember thee," first printed by Medwin, in the Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824, were included in the Collection.

The third volume of the present issue includes all minor poems (with the exception of epigrams and jeux d'esprit reserved for the sixth volume) written after Byron's departure for the East in July, 1809, and before he left England for good in April, 1816.

The "Separation" and its consequent exile afforded a pretext and an opportunity for the publication of a crop of spurious verses. Of these Madame Lavalette (first published in the Examiner, January 21, 1816, under the signature B.B., and immediately preceding a genuine sonnet by Wordsworth, "How clear, how keen, how marvellously bright!") and Oh Shame to thee, Land of the Gaul! included by Hone, in Poems on his Domestic Circumstances, 1816; and Farewell to England, Ode to the Isle of St. Helena, To the Lily of France, On the Morning of my Daughter's Birth, published by J. Johnston, 1816, were repudiated by Byron, in a letter to Murray, dated July 22, 1816. A longer poem entitled The Tempest, which was attached to the spurious Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, published by Johnston, "the Cheapside impostor," in 1817, was also denounced by Byron as a forgery in a letter to Murray, dated December 16, 1816.

The Triumph of the Whale, by Charles Lamb, and the Enigma on the Letter H, by Harriet Fanshawe, were often included in piratical editions of Byron's Poetical Works. Other attributed poems which found their way into newspapers and foreign editions, viz. (i.) To my dear Mary Anne, 1804, "Adieu to sweet Mary for ever;" and (ii.) To Miss Chaworth, "Oh, memory, torture me no more," 1804, published in Works of Lord Byron, Paris, 1828; (iii.) lines written In the Bible, "Within this awful volume lies," quoted[xxi] in Life, Writings, Opinions, etc., 1825, iii. 414; (iv.) lines addressed to (?) George Anson Byron, "And dost thou ask the reason of my sadness?" Nicnac, March 29, 1823; (v.) To Lady Caroline Lamb, "And sayst thou that I have not felt," published in Works, etc., 1828; (vi.) lines To her who can best understand them, "Be it so, we part for ever," published in the Works of Lord Byron, In Verse and Prose, Hartford, 1847; (vii.) Lines found in the Travellers' Book at Chamouni, "How many numbered are, how few agreed!" published Works, etc., 1828; and (viii.) a second copy of verses with the same title, "All hail, Mont Blanc! Mont-au-Vert, hail!" Life, Writings, etc., 1825, ii. 384; (ix.) Lines addressed by Lord Byron to Mr. Hobhouse on his Election for Westminster, "Would you get to the house by the true gate?" Works, etc., 1828; and (x.) Enigma on the Letter I, "I am not in youth, nor in manhood, nor age," Works, etc., Paris, p. 720, together with sundry epigrams, must, failing the production of the original MSS., be accounted forgeries, or, perhaps, in one or two instances, of doubtful authenticity.

The following poems: On the Quotation, "And my true faith" etc.; [Love and Gold]; Julian [a Fragment]; and On the Death of the Duke of Dorset, are now published for the first time from MSS. in the possession of Mr. John Murray.


POEMS 1809-1813.



Oh never talk again to me
Of northern climes and British ladies;
It has not been your lot to see,[a]
Like me, the lovely Girl of Cadiz.
Although her eye be not of blue,
Nor fair her locks, like English lasses,
How far its own expressive hue
The languid azure eye surpasses!


Prometheus-like from heaven she stole
The fire that through those silken lashes
In darkest glances seems to roll,
From eyes that cannot hide their flashes:
[2] And as along her bosom steal
In lengthened flow her raven tresses,
You'd swear each clustering lock could feel,
And curled to give her neck caresses.


Our English maids are long to woo,[b][2]
And frigid even in possession;
And if their charms be fair to view,
Their lips are slow at Love's confession;
But, born beneath a brighter sun,
For love ordained the Spanish maid is,
And who,—when fondly, fairly won,—
Enchants you like the Girl of Cadiz?


The Spanish maid is no coquette,
Nor joys to see a lover tremble,
And if she love, or if she hate,
Alike she knows not to dissemble.
Her heart can ne'er be bought or sold—
Howe'er it beats, it beats sincerely;
And, though it will not bend to gold,
'Twill love you long and love you dearly.


The Spanish girl that meets your love
Ne'er taunts you with a mock denial,
For every thought is bent to prove
Her passion in the hour of trial.
[3] When thronging foemen menace Spain,
She dares the deed and shares the danger;
And should her lover press the plain,
She hurls the spear, her love's avenger.


And when, beneath the evening star,
She mingles in the gay Bolero,[3]
Or sings to her attuned guitar
Of Christian knight or Moorish hero,
Or counts her beads with fairy hand
Beneath the twinkling rays of Hesper,[c]
Or joins Devotion's choral band,
To chaunt the sweet and hallowed vesper;—


In each her charms the heart must move
Of all who venture to behold her;
Then let not maids less fair reprove
Because her bosom is not colder:
Through many a clime 'tis mine to roam
Where many a soft and melting maid is,
But none abroad, and few at home,
May match the dark-eyed Girl of Cadiz.[d]


[First published, 1832.][4]



As o'er the cold sepulchral stone
Some name arrests the passer-by;
Thus, when thou view'st this page alone,
May mine attract thy pensive eye!


And when by thee that name is read,
Perchance in some succeeding year,
Reflect on me as on the dead,
And think my Heart is buried here.

Malta, September 14, 1809.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



Oh Lady! when I left the shore,
The distant shore which gave me birth,
I hardly thought to grieve once more,
To quit another spot on earth:


Yet here, amidst this barren isle,
Where panting Nature droops the head,
Where only thou art seen to smile,
I view my parting hour with dread.


Though far from Albin's craggy shore,
Divided by the dark-blue main;
A few, brief, rolling seasons o'er,
Perchance I view her cliffs again:


But wheresoe'er I now may roam,
Through scorching clime, and varied sea,
Though Time restore me to my home,
I ne'er shall bend mine eyes on thee:


On thee, in whom at once conspire
All charms which heedless hearts can move,
Whom but to see is to admire,
And, oh! forgive the word—to love.


Forgive the word, in one who ne'er
With such a word can more offend;
And since thy heart I cannot share,
Believe me, what I am, thy friend.


And who so cold as look on thee,
Thou lovely wand'rer, and be less?
Nor be, what man should ever be,
The friend of Beauty in distress?


Ah! who would think that form had past
Through Danger's most destructive path,[g]
Had braved the death-winged tempest's blast,
And 'scaped a Tyrant's fiercer wrath?


Lady! when I shall view the walls
Where free Byzantium once arose,
And Stamboul's Oriental halls
The Turkish tyrants now enclose;


Though mightiest in the lists of fame,
That glorious city still shall be;
On me 'twill hold a dearer claim,
As spot of thy nativity:


And though I bid thee now farewell,
When I behold that wondrous scene—
Since where thou art I may not dwell—
'Twill soothe to be where thou hast been.

September, 1809.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



Chill and mirk is the nightly blast,
Where Pindus' mountains rise,
[8] And angry clouds are pouring fast
The vengeance of the skies.


Our guides are gone, our hope is lost,
And lightnings, as they play,
But show where rocks our path have crost,
Or gild the torrent's spray.


Is yon a cot I saw, though low?
When lightning broke the gloom—
How welcome were its shade!—ah, no!
'Tis but a Turkish tomb.


Through sounds of foaming waterfalls,
I hear a voice exclaim—
My way-worn countryman, who calls
On distant England's name.


A shot is fired—by foe or friend?
Another—'tis to tell
The mountain-peasants to descend,
And lead us where they dwell.


Oh! who in such a night will dare
To tempt the wilderness?
[9] And who 'mid thunder-peals can hear
Our signal of distress?


And who that heard our shouts would rise
To try the dubious road?
Nor rather deem from nightly cries
That outlaws were abroad.


Clouds burst, skies flash, oh, dreadful hour!
More fiercely pours the storm!
Yet here one thought has still the power
To keep my bosom warm.


While wandering through each broken path,
O'er brake and craggy brow;
While elements exhaust their wrath,
Sweet Florence, where art thou?


Not on the sea, not on the sea—
Thy bark hath long been gone:
Oh, may the storm that pours on me,
Bow down my head alone!


Full swiftly blew the swift Siroc,
When last I pressed thy lip;
And long ere now, with foaming shock,
Impelled thy gallant ship.


Now thou art safe; nay, long ere now
Hast trod the shore of Spain;
'Twere hard if aught so fair as thou
Should linger on the main.


And since I now remember thee
In darkness and in dread,
As in those hours of revelry
Which Mirth and Music sped;


Do thou, amid the fair white walls,
If Cadiz yet be free,
At times from out her latticed halls
Look o'er the dark blue sea;


Then think upon Calypso's isles,
Endeared by days gone by;
To others give a thousand smiles,
To me a single sigh.


And when the admiring circle mark
The paleness of thy face,
A half-formed tear, a transient spark
Of melancholy grace,


Again thou'lt smile, and blushing shun
Some coxcomb's raillery;
Nor own for once thou thought'st on one,
Who ever thinks on thee.


Though smile and sigh alike are vain,
When severed hearts repine,
My spirit flies o'er Mount and Main,
And mourns in search of thine.

October 11, 1809.

[MS. M. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



Through cloudless skies, in silvery sheen,
Full beams the moon on Actium's coast:
And on these waves, for Egypt's queen,
The ancient world was won and lost.


And now upon the scene I look,
The azure grave of many a Roman;
Where stern Ambition once forsook
His wavering crown to follow Woman.


Florence! whom I will love as well
(As ever yet was said or sung,
Since Orpheus sang his spouse from Hell)
Whilst thou art fair and I am young;


Sweet Florence! those were pleasant times,
When worlds were staked for Ladies' eyes:
[12] Had bards as many realms as rhymes,[j]
Thy charms might raise new Antonies.[k]


Though Fate forbids such things to be,[l]
Yet, by thine eyes and ringlets curled!
I cannot lose a world for thee,
But would not lose thee for a World.[6]

November 14, 1809.

[MS. M. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



The spell is broke, the charm is flown!
Thus is it with Life's fitful fever:
We madly smile when we should groan;
Delirium is our best deceiver.
Each lucid interval of thought
Recalls the woes of Nature's charter;
And He that acts as wise men ought,
But lives—as Saints have died—a martyr.

[MS. M. First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).][13]



If, in the month of dark December,
Leander, who was nightly wont
(What maid will not the tale remember?)
To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont!


If, when the wintry tempest roared,
He sped to Hero, nothing loth,
And thus of old thy current poured,
Fair Venus! how I pity both!


For me, degenerate modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May,
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I've done a feat to-day.


But since he crossed the rapid tide,
According to the doubtful story,
To woo,—and—Lord knows what beside,
And swam for Love, as I for Glory;


'Twere hard to say who fared the best:
Sad mortals! thus the Gods still plague you!
He lost his labour, I my jest:
For he was drowned, and I've the ague.[8]

May 9, 1810.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).][15]



Fair Albion, smiling, sees her son depart
To trace the birth and nursery of art:
Noble his object, glorious is his aim;
He comes to Athens, and he—writes his name.”


The modest bard, like many a bard unknown,
Rhymes on our names, but wisely hides his own;
But yet, whoe'er he be, to say no worse,
His name would bring more credit than his verse.


[First published, Life, 1830.]


Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.


Maid of Athens,[10] ere we part,
Give, oh give me back my heart!
[16] Or, since that has left my breast,
Keep it now, and take the rest!
Hear my vow before I go,
Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.[11]


By those tresses unconfined,
Wooed by each Ægean wind;
[17] By those lids whose jetty fringe
Kiss thy soft cheeks' blooming tinge;
By those wild eyes like the roe,
Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.


By that lip I long to taste;
By that zone-encircled waist;
By all the token-flowers[12] that tell
What words can never speak so well;
By love's alternate joy and woe,
Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.


Maid of Athens! I am gone:
Think of me, sweet! when alone.
Though I fly to Istambol,[13]
Athens holds my heart and soul:
Can I cease to love thee? No!
Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.

Athens, 1810.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]




Beside the confines of the Ægean main,
Where northward Macedonia bounds the flood,
And views opposed the Asiatic plain,
Where once the pride of lofty Ilion stood,
Like the great Father of the giant brood,
With lowering port majestic Athos stands,
Crowned with the verdure of eternal wood,
As yet unspoiled by sacrilegious hands,
And throws his mighty shade o'er seas and distant lands.


And deep embosomed in his shady groves
Full many a convent rears its glittering spire,
Mid scenes where Heavenly Contemplation loves
To kindle in her soul her hallowed fire,
Where air and sea with rocks and woods conspire
To breathe a sweet religious calm around,
Weaning the thoughts from every low desire,
And the wild waves that break with murmuring sound
Along the rocky shore proclaim it holy ground.


Sequestered shades where Piety has given
A quiet refuge from each earthly care,
[19] Whence the rapt spirit may ascend to Heaven!
Oh, ye condemned the ills of life to bear!
As with advancing age your woes increase,
What bliss amidst these solitudes to share
The happy foretaste of eternal Peace,
Till Heaven in mercy bids your pain and sorrows cease.

[First published in the Life of Lord Byron,
by the Hon. Roden Noel, London, 1890, pp. 206, 207.]



Dear object of defeated care!
Though now of Love and thee bereft,
To reconcile me with despair
Thine image and my tears are left.


'Tis said with Sorrow Time can cope;
But this I feel can ne'er be true:
For by the death-blow of my Hope
My Memory immortal grew.

Athens, January, 1811.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



"Δεῦτε παῖδες τῶν Ἑλλήνων." [16]

Sons of the Greeks, arise!
The glorious hour's gone forth,
And, worthy of such ties,
Display who gave us birth.


Sons of Greeks! let us go
In arms against the foe,
Till their hated blood shall flow
In a river past our feet.
Then manfully despising
The Turkish tyrant's yoke,
[21] Let your country see you rising,
And all her chains are broke.
Brave shades of chiefs and sages,
Behold the coming strife!
Hellénes of past ages,
Oh, start again to life!
At the sound of my trumpet, breaking
Your sleep, oh, join with me!
And the seven-hilled city[17] seeking,
Fight, conquer, till we're free.
Sons of Greeks, etc.
Sparta, Sparta, why in slumbers
Lethargic dost thou lie?
Awake, and join thy numbers
With Athens, old ally!
Leonidas recalling,
That chief of ancient song,
Who saved ye once from falling,
The terrible! the strong!
Who made that bold diversion
In old Thermopylæ,
And warring with the Persian
To keep his country free;
With his three hundred waging
The battle, long he stood,
And like a lion raging,
Expired in seas of blood.
Sons of Greeks, etc.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



“Μπένω μεσ' τὸ περιβόλι
Ὡραιοτάτη Χαηδή,” κ.τ.λ.[18]

I enter thy garden of roses,
Belovéd and fair Haidée,
Each morning where Flora reposes,
For surely I see her in thee.
Oh, Lovely! thus low I implore thee,
Receive this fond truth from my tongue,
Which utters its song to adore thee,
Yet trembles for what it has sung;
As the branch, at the bidding of Nature,
Adds fragrance and fruit to the tree,
Through her eyes, through her every feature,
Shines the soul of the young Haidée.
But the loveliest garden grows hateful
When Love has abandoned the bowers;
Bring me hemlock—since mine is ungrateful,
That herb is more fragrant than flowers.
The poison, when poured from the chalice,
Will deeply embitter the bowl;
But when drunk to escape from thy malice,
The draught shall be sweet to my soul.
Too cruel! in vain I implore thee
My heart from these horrors to save:
Will nought to my bosom restore thee?
Then open the gates of the grave.
As the chief who to combat advances
Secure of his conquest before,
Thus thou, with those eyes for thy lances,
Hast pierced through my heart to its core.
Ah, tell me, my soul! must I perish
By pangs which a smile would dispel?
Would the hope, which thou once bad'st me cherish,
For torture repay me too well?
Now sad is the garden of roses,
Belovéd but false Haidée!
There Flora all withered reposes,
And mourns o'er thine absence with me.


[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



The kiss, dear maid! thy lip has left
Shall never part from mine,
Till happier hours restore the gift
Untainted back to thine.


Thy parting glance, which fondly beams,
An equal love may see:[o]
The tear that from thine eyelid streams
Can weep no change in me.


I ask no pledge to make me blest
In gazing when alone;[24][p]
Nor one memorial for a breast,
Whose thoughts are all thine own.


Nor need I write—to tell the tale
My pen were doubly weak:
Oh! what can idle words avail,[q]
Unless the heart could speak?


By day or night, in weal or woe,
That heart, no longer free,
Must bear the love it cannot show,
And silent ache for thee.

March, 1811.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812(4to).]


Adieu, ye joys of La Valette!
Adieu, Sirocco, sun, and sweat!
Adieu, thou palace rarely entered!
Adieu, ye mansions where—I've ventured!
Adieu, ye curséd streets of stairs![20]
(How surely he who mounts them swears!)
Adieu, ye merchants often failing!
Adieu, thou mob for ever railing!
[25] Adieu, ye packets—without letters!
Adieu, ye fools—who ape your betters! 10
Adieu, thou damned'st quarantine,
That gave me fever, and the spleen!
Adieu that stage which makes us yawn, Sirs,
Adieu his Excellency's dancers![21]
Adieu to Peter—whom no fault's in,
But could not teach a colonel waltzing;
Adieu, ye females fraught with graces!
Adieu red coats, and redder faces!
Adieu the supercilious air
Of all that strut en militaire![22] 20
I go—but God knows when, or why,
To smoky towns and cloudy sky,
To things (the honest truth to say)
As bad—but in a different way.
Farewell to these, but not adieu,
Triumphant sons of truest blue!
While either Adriatic shore,[23]
And fallen chiefs, and fleets no more,
[26] And nightly smiles, and daily dinners,[24]
Proclaim you war and women's winners. 30
Pardon my Muse, who apt to prate is,
And take my rhyme—because 'tis "gratis."
And now I've got to Mrs. Fraser,[25]
Perhaps you think I mean to praise her—
And were I vain enough to think
My praise was worth this drop of ink,
A line—or two—were no hard matter,
As here, indeed, I need not flatter:
But she must be content to shine
In better praises than in mine, 40
With lively air, and open heart,
And fashion's ease, without its art;
Her hours can gaily glide along.
Nor ask the aid of idle song.
And now, O Malta! since thou'st got us,
Thou little military hot-house!
I'll not offend with words uncivil,
And wish thee rudely at the Devil,
But only stare from out my casement,
And ask, "for what is such a place meant?" 50
Then, in my solitary nook,
Return to scribbling, or a book,
[27] Or take my physic while I'm able
(Two spoonfuls hourly, by this label),
Prefer my nightcap to my beaver,
And bless my stars I've got a fever.

May 26, 1811.[26]

[First published, 1816.]



In the dome of my Sires as the clear moonbeam falls
Through Silence and Shade o'er its desolate walls,
It shines from afar like the glories of old;
It gilds, but it warms not—'tis dazzling, but cold.


Let the Sunbeam be bright for the younger of days:
'Tis the light that should shine on a race that decays,
When the Stars are on high and the dews on the ground,
And the long shadow lingers the ruin around.


And the step that o'erechoes the gray floor of stone
Falls sullenly now, for 'tis only my own;
And sunk are the voices that sounded in mirth,
And empty the goblet, and dreary the hearth.


And vain was each effort to raise and recall
The brightness of old to illumine our Hall;
And vain was the hope to avert our decline,
And the fate of my fathers had faded to mine.


And theirs was the wealth and the fulness of Fame,
And mine to inherit too haughty a name;[r]
And theirs were the times and the triumphs of yore,
And mine to regret, but renew them no more.


And Ruin is fixed on my tower and my wall,
Too hoary to fade, and too massy to fall;
It tells not of Time's or the tempest's decay,[s]
But the wreck of the line that have held it in sway.

August 26, 1811.

[First published in Memoir of Rev. F. Hodgson, 1878, i. 187.]



"Oh! banish care"—such ever be
The motto of thy revelry!
Perchance of mine, when wassail nights
Renew those riotous delights,
Wherewith the children of Despair
Lull the lone heart, and "banish care."
But not in Morn's reflecting hour,
When present, past, and future lower,
When all I loved is changed or gone,
Mock with such taunts the woes of one,
[29] Whose every thought—but let them pass—
Thou know'st I am not what I was.
But, above all, if thou wouldst hold
Place in a heart that ne'er was cold,
By all the powers that men revere,
By all unto thy bosom dear,
Thy joys below, thy hopes above,
Speak—speak of anything but Love.
'Twere long to tell, and vain to hear,
The tale of one who scorns a tear;
And there is little in that tale
Which better bosoms would bewail.
But mine has suffered more than well
'Twould suit philosophy to tell.
I've seen my bride another's bride,—
Have seen her seated by his side,—
Have seen the infant, which she bore,
Wear the sweet smile the mother wore,
When she and I in youth have smiled,
As fond and faultless as her child;—
Have seen her eyes, in cold disdain,
Ask if I felt no secret pain;
And I have acted well my part,
And made my cheek belie my heart,
Returned the freezing glance she gave,
Yet felt the while that woman's slave;—
Have kissed, as if without design,
The babe which ought to have been mine,
And showed, alas! in each caress
Time had not made me love the less.
But let this pass—I'll whine no more,
Nor seek again an eastern shore;
[30] The world befits a busy brain,—
I'll hie me to its haunts again.
But if, in some succeeding year,[28]
When Britain's "May is in the sere,"
Thou hear'st of one, whose deepening crimes
Suit with the sablest of the times,
Of one, whom love nor pity sways,
Nor hope of fame, nor good men's praise;
One, who in stern Ambition's pride,
Perchance not blood shall turn aside;
One ranked in some recording page
With the worst anarchs of the age,
Him wilt thou know—and knowing pause,
Nor with the effect forget the cause.

Newstead Abbey, Oct. 11, 1811.

[First published, Life, 1830.]

TO THYRZA.[t][29]

Without a stone to mark the spot,[30]
And say, what Truth might well have said,[u]
[31]By all, save one, perchance forgot,
Ah! wherefore art thou lowly laid?
By many a shore and many a sea[v]
Divided, yet beloved in vain;
[32] The Past, the Future fled to thee,
To bid us meet—no—ne'er again!
[33] Could this have been—a word, a look,
That softly said, "We part in peace,"
Had taught my bosom how to brook,
With fainter sighs, thy soul's release.
And didst thou not, since Death for thee
Prepared a light and pangless dart,
Once long for him thou ne'er shalt see,
Who held, and holds thee in his heart?
Oh! who like him had watched thee here?
Or sadly marked thy glazing eye,
In that dread hour ere Death appear,
When silent Sorrow fears to sigh,
Till all was past? But when no more
'Twas thine to reck of human woe,
Affection's heart-drops, gushing o'er,
Had flowed as fast—as now they flow.
Shall they not flow, when many a day[w]
In these, to me, deserted towers,
Ere called but for a time away,
Affection's mingling tears were ours?
Ours too the glance none saw beside;
The smile none else might understand;
The whispered thought of hearts allied,[x]
The pressure of the thrilling hand;
The kiss, so guiltless and refined,
That Love each warmer wish forbore;
Those eyes proclaimed so pure a mind,
Ev'n Passion blushed to plead for more.[y]
[34]The tone, that taught me to rejoice,
When prone, unlike thee, to repine;
The song, celestial from thy voice,
But sweet to me from none but thine;
The pledge we wore—I wear it still,
But where is thine?—Ah! where art thou?
Oft have I borne the weight of ill,
But never bent beneath till now!
Well hast thou left in Life's best bloom[z]
The cup of Woe for me to drain.[aa]
If rest alone be in the tomb,
I would not wish thee here again:
But if in worlds more blest than this
Thy virtues seek a fitter sphere,
Impart some portion of thy bliss,
To wean me from mine anguish here.
Teach me—too early taught by thee!
To bear, forgiving and forgiven:
On earth thy love was such to me;
It fain would form my hope in Heaven![ab]

October 11, 1811.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]




Away, away, ye notes of Woe!
Be silent, thou once soothing Strain,
Or I must flee from hence—for, oh!
I dare not trust those sounds again.[ad]
To me they speak of brighter days—
But lull the chords, for now, alas![ae]
I must not think, I may not gaze,[af]
On what I am—on what I was.


The voice that made those sounds more sweet[ag]
Is hushed, and all their charms are fled;
And now their softest notes repeat
A dirge, an anthem o'er the dead!
Yes, Thyrza! yes, they breathe of thee,
Belovéd dust! since dust thou art;
And all that once was Harmony
Is worse than discord to my heart!


'Tis silent all!—but on my ear[ah]
The well remembered Echoes thrill;
I hear a voice I would not hear,
A voice that now might well be still:
[36] Yet oft my doubting Soul 'twill shake;
Ev'n Slumber owns its gentle tone,
Till Consciousness will vainly wake
To listen, though the dream be flown.


Sweet Thyrza! waking as in sleep,
Thou art but now a lovely dream;
A Star that trembled o'er the deep,
Then turned from earth its tender beam.
But he who through Life's dreary way
Must pass, when Heaven is veiled in wrath,
Will long lament the vanished ray
That scattered gladness o'er his path.

December 8, 1811.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]



One struggle more, and I am free
From pangs that rend my heart in twain;[aj]
One last long sigh to Love and thee,
Then back to busy life again.
It suits me well to mingle now
With things that never pleased before:[ak]
Though every joy is fled below,
What future grief can touch me more?[al]



Then bring me wine, the banquet bring;
Man was not formed to live alone:
I'll be that light unmeaning thing
That smiles with all, and weeps with none.
It was not thus in days more dear,
It never would have been, but thou[am]
Hast fled, and left me lonely here;
Thou'rt nothing,—all are nothing now.


In vain my lyre would lightly breathe!
The smile that Sorrow fain would wear
But mocks the woe that lurks beneath,
Like roses o'er a sepulchre.
Though gay companions o'er the bowl
Dispel awhile the sense of ill;
Though Pleasure fires the maddening soul,
The Heart,—the Heart is lonely still!


On many a lone and lovely night
It soothed to gaze upon the sky;
For then I deemed the heavenly light
Shone sweetly on thy pensive eye:
And oft I thought at Cynthia's noon,
When sailing o'er the Ægean wave,
"Now Thyrza gazes on that moon"—
Alas, it gleamed upon her grave!


When stretched on Fever's sleepless bed,
And sickness shrunk my throbbing veins,
[38] "'Tis comfort still," I faintly said,[an]
"That Thyrza cannot know my pains:"
Like freedom to the time-worn slave—[ao]
A boon 'tis idle then to give—
Relenting Nature vainly gave[32]
My life, when Thyrza ceased to live!


My Thyrza's pledge in better days,[ap]
When Love and Life alike were new!
How different now thou meet'st my gaze!
How tinged by time with Sorrow's hue!
The heart that gave itself with thee
Is silent—ah, were mine as still!
Though cold as e'en the dead can be,
It feels, it sickens with the chill.


Thou bitter pledge! thou mournful token!
Though painful, welcome to my breast!
Still, still, preserve that love unbroken,
Or break the heart to which thou'rt pressed.
Time tempers Love, but not removes,
More hallowed when its Hope is fled:
Oh! what are thousand living loves
To that which cannot quit the dead?

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]




When Time, or soon or late, shall bring
The dreamless sleep that lulls the dead,
Oblivion! may thy languid wing
Wave gently o'er my dying bed!


No band of friends or heirs be there,[33]
To weep, or wish, the coming blow:
No maiden, with dishevelled hair,
To feel, or feign, decorous woe.


But silent let me sink to Earth,
With no officious mourners near:
I would not mar one hour of mirth,
Nor startle Friendship with a fear.


Yet Love, if Love in such an hour
Could nobly check its useless sighs,
Might then exert its latest power
In her who lives, and him who dies.


'Twere sweet, my Psyche! to the last
Thy features still serene to see:
[40] Forgetful of its struggles past,
E'en Pain itself should smile on thee.


But vain the wish—for Beauty still
Will shrink, as shrinks the ebbing breath;
And Woman's tears, produced at will,
Deceive in life, unman in death.


Then lonely be my latest hour,
Without regret, without a groan;
For thousands Death hath ceased to lower,
And pain been transient or unknown.


"Aye but to die, and go," alas!
Where all have gone, and all must go!
To be the nothing that I was
Ere born to life and living woe!


Count o'er the joys thine hours have seen,
Count o'er thy days from anguish free,
And know, whatever thou hast been,
'Tis something better not to be.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition).]



"Heu, quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse!"[34]


And thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft, and charms so rare,
Too soon returned to Earth![ar]
Though Earth received them in her bed,
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread[as]
In carelessness or mirth,
There is an eye which could not brook
A moment on that grave to look.


[42] I will not ask where thou liest low,[at]
Nor gaze upon the spot;
There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
So I behold them not:[au]
It is enough for me to prove
That what I loved, and long must love,
Like common earth can rot;[av]
To me there needs no stone to tell,
'Tis Nothing that I loved so well[aw]


Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,[ax]
Who didst not change through all the past,
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,[ay]
Nor falsehood disavow:[az]
And, what were worse, thou canst not see[ba]
Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.[bb]


The better days of life were ours;
The worst can be but mine:
[43] The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,[bc]
Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamless sleep[bd]
I envy now too much to weep;
Nor need I to repine,
That all those charms have passed away
I might have watched through long decay.


The flower in ripened bloom unmatched
Must fall the earliest prey;[be]
Though by no hand untimely snatched,
The leaves must drop away:
And yet it were a greater grief
To watch it withering, leaf by leaf,
Than see it plucked to-day;
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
To trace the change to foul from fair.


I know not if I could have borne[bf]
To see thy beauties fade;
The night that followed such a morn
Had worn a deeper shade:
Thy day without a cloud hath passed,[bg]
And thou wert lovely to the last;
Extinguished, not decayed;
[44] As stars that shoot along the sky[bh]
Shine brightest as they fall from high.


As once I wept, if I could weep,
My tears might well be shed,
To think I was not near to keep
One vigil o'er thy bed;
To gaze, how fondly! on thy face,
To fold thee in a faint embrace,
Uphold thy drooping head;
And show that love, however vain,
Nor thou nor I can feel again.


Yet how much less it were to gain,
Though thou hast left me free,[bi]
The loveliest things that still remain,
Than thus remember thee!
The all of thine that cannot die
Through dark and dread Eternity[bj]
Returns again to me,
And more thy buried love endears
Than aught, except its living years.

February, 1812.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition).]



Weep, daughter of a royal line,
A Sire's disgrace, a realm's decay;
Ah! happy if each tear of thine
Could wash a Father's fault away!
[46] Weep—for thy tears are Virtue's tears—
Auspicious to these suffering Isles;
And be each drop in future years
Repaid thee by thy People's smiles!

March, 1812.

[MS. M. First published, Morning Chronicle, March 7, 1812
(Corsair, 1814, Second Edition).]



If sometimes in the haunts of men
Thine image from my breast may fade,
The lonely hour presents again
The semblance of thy gentle shade:
And now that sad and silent hour
Thus much of thee can still restore,
And sorrow unobserved may pour
The plaint she dare not speak before.


Oh, pardon that in crowds awhile
I waste one thought I owe to thee,
And self-condemned, appear to smile,
Unfaithful to thy memory:
Nor deem that memory less dear,
That then I seem not to repine;
I would not fools should overhear
One sigh that should be wholly thine.


If not the Goblet pass unquaffed,
It is not drained to banish care;
The cup must hold a deadlier draught
That brings a Lethe for despair.
And could Oblivion set my soul
From all her troubled visions free,
I'd dash to earth the sweetest bowl
That drowned a single thought of thee.


For wert thou vanished from my mind,
Where could my vacant bosom turn?
And who would then remain behind
To honour thine abandoned Urn?
No, no—it is my sorrow's pride
That last dear duty to fulfil;
Though all the world forget beside,
'Tis meet that I remember still.


For well I know, that such had been
Thy gentle care for him, who now
[48] Unmourned shall quit this mortal scene,
Where none regarded him, but thou:
And, oh! I feel in that was given
A blessing never meant for me;
Thou wert too like a dream of Heaven,
For earthly Love to merit thee.

March 14, 1812.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition).]



Ill-fated Heart! and can it be,
That thou shouldst thus be rent in twain?
Have years of care for thine and thee
Alike been all employed in vain?


Yet precious seems each shattered part,
And every fragment dearer grown,
Since he who wears thee feels thou art
A fitter emblem of his own.

March 16, 1812.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition).]





The chain I gave was fair to view,
The lute I added sweet in sound;
The heart that offered both was true,
And ill deserved the fate it found.


These gifts were charmed by secret spell,
Thy truth in absence to divine;
And they have done their duty well,—
Alas! they could not teach thee thine.


That chain was firm in every link,
But not to bear a stranger's touch;
That lute was sweet—till thou couldst think
In other hands its notes were such.


Let him who from thy neck unbound
The chain which shivered in his grasp,
Who saw that lute refuse to sound,
Restring the chords, renew the clasp.


When thou wert changed, they altered too;
The chain is broke, the music mute,
'Tis past—to them and thee adieu—
False heart, frail chain, and silent lute.

[MS. M. First published, Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition).][50]



Absent or present, still to thee,
My friend, what magic spells belong!
As all can tell, who share, like me,
In turn thy converse,[37] and thy song.


But when the dreaded hour shall come
By Friendship ever deemed too nigh,
And "Memory" o'er her Druid's tomb[38]
Shall weep that aught of thee can die,


How fondly will she then repay
Thy homage offered at her shrine,
And blend, while ages roll away,
Her name immortally with thine!

April 19, 1812.

[First published, Poems, 1816.]


OCTOBER 10, 1812.[39]

In one dread night our city saw, and sighed,
Bowed to the dust, the Drama's tower of pride;
In one short hour beheld the blazing fane,
Apollo sink, and Shakespeare cease to reign.
Ye who beheld, (oh! sight admired and mourned,
Whose radiance mocked the ruin it adorned!)
Through clouds of fire the massy fragments riven,
Like Israel's pillar, chase the night from heaven;
Saw the long column of revolving flames
Shake its red shadow o'er the startled Thames,[40] 10
While thousands, thronged around the burning dome,
Shrank back appalled, and trembled for their home,
As glared the volumed blaze, and ghastly shone[52][bn]
The skies, with lightnings awful as their own,
Till blackening ashes and the lonely wall[bo]
Usurped the Muse's realm, and marked her fall;
Say—shall this new, nor less aspiring pile,
Reared where once rose the mightiest in our isle,
Know the same favour which the former knew,
A shrine for Shakespeare—worthy him and you? 20
Yes—it shall be—the magic of that name
Defies the scythe of time, the torch of flame;[bp]
On the same spot still consecrates the scene,
And bids the Drama be where she hath been:
This fabric's birth attests the potent spell——
Indulge our honest pride, and say, How well!
As soars this fane to emulate the last,
Oh! might we draw our omens from the past,
Some hour propitious to our prayers may boast
Names such as hallow still the dome we lost. 30
On Drury first your Siddons' thrilling art
O'erwhelmed the gentlest, stormed the sternest heart.
On Drury, Garrick's latest laurels grew;
Here your last tears retiring Roscius drew,
Sighed his last thanks, and wept his last adieu:
But still for living wit the wreaths may bloom,
[53] That only waste their odours o'er the tomb.
Such Drury claimed and claims—nor you refuse
One tribute to revive his slumbering muse;
With garlands deck your own Menander's head, 40
Nor hoard your honours idly for the dead![bq]
Dear are the days which made our annals bright,
Ere Garrick fled, or Brinsley[41] ceased to write[br]
Heirs to their labours, like all high-born heirs,
Vain of our ancestry as they of theirs;
While thus Remembrance borrows Banquo's glass
To claim the sceptred shadows as they pass,
And we the mirror hold, where imaged shine
Immortal names, emblazoned on our line,
Pause—ere their feebler offspring you condemn, 50
Reflect how hard the task to rival them!
Friends of the stage! to whom both Players and Plays
Must sue alike for pardon or for praise,
[54] Whose judging voice and eye alone direct
The boundless power to cherish or reject;
If e'er frivolity has led to fame,
And made us blush that you forbore to blame—
If e'er the sinking stage could condescend
To soothe the sickly taste it dare not mend—
All past reproach may present scenes refute, 60
And censure, wisely loud, be justly mute![42]
Oh! since your fiat stamps the Drama's laws,
Forbear to mock us with misplaced applause;
So Pride shall doubly nerve the actor's powers,
And Reason's voice be echoed back by ours!
This greeting o'er—the ancient rule obeyed,[43]
The Drama's homage by her herald paid[55]
Receive our welcome too—whose every tone
Springs from our hearts, and fain would win your own.
The curtain rises—may our stage unfold 70
Scenes not unworthy Drury's days of old!
Britons our judges, Nature for our guide,
Still may we please—long, long may you preside.

[First published, Morning Chronicle, Oct. 12, 1812.]



Half stolen, with acknowledgments, to be spoken in an inarticulate voice by Master —— at the opening of the next new theatre. [Stolen parts marked with the inverted commas of quotation—thus “——”.]

"When energising objects men pursue,"
Then Lord knows what is writ by Lord knows who.
[56] A modest Monologue you here survey,
Hissed from the theatre the "other day,"
[57] As if Sir Fretful wrote "the slumberous" verse,
And gave his son "the rubbish" to rehearse.
"Yet at the thing you'd never be amazed,"
Knew you the rumpus which the Author raised;
"Nor even here your smiles would be represt,"
Knew you these lines—the badness of the best, 10
"Flame! fire! and flame!" (words borrowed from Lucretius.[45])
"Dread metaphors" which open wounds like issues!
"And sleeping pangs awake—and——But away"—
(Confound me if I know what next to say).
Lo "Hope reviving re-expands her wings,"
And Master G—— recites what Dr. Busby sings!—
"If mighty things with small we may compare,"
(Translated from the Grammar for the fair!)
Dramatic "spirit drives a conquering car,"
And burn'd poor Moscow like a tub of "tar." 20
"This spirit" "Wellington has shown in Spain,"
To furnish Melodrames for Drury Lane.
"Another Marlborough points to Blenheim's story,"
And George and I will dramatise it for ye.
"In Arts and Sciences our Isle hath shone"
(This deep discovery is mine alone).
[58] Oh "British poesy, whose powers inspire"
My verse—or I'm a fool—and Fame's a liar,
"Thee we invoke, your Sister Arts implore"
With "smiles," and "lyres," and "pencils," and much more. 30
These, if we win the Graces, too, we gain
Disgraces, too! "inseparable train!"
"Three who have stolen their witching airs from Cupid"
(You all know what I mean, unless you're stupid):
"Harmonious throng" that I have kept in petto
Now to produce in a "divine sestetto"!!
"While Poesy," with these delightful doxies,
"Sustains her part" in all the "upper" boxes!
"Thus lifted gloriously, you'll sweep along,"
Borne in the vast balloon of Busby's song; 40
"Shine in your farce, masque, scenery, and play"
(For this last line George had a holiday).
"Old Drury never, never soar'd so high,"
So says the Manager, and so say I.
"But hold," you say, "this self-complacent boast;"
Is this the Poem which the public lost?
"True—true—that lowers at once our mounting pride;"
But lo;—the Papers print what you deride.
"'Tis ours to look on youyou hold the prize,"
'Tis twenty guineas, as they advertise! 50
"A double blessing your rewards impart"—
I wish I had them, then, with all my heart.
"Our twofold feeling owns its twofold cause,"
Why son and I both beg for your applause.
"When in your fostering beams you bid us live,"
My next subscription list shall say how much you give!

[First published, Morning Chronicle, October 23, 1812.][59]


When Dryden's fool, "unknowing what he sought,"
His hours in whistling spent, "for want of thought,"[47]
This guiltless oaf his vacancy of sense
Supplied, and amply too, by innocence:
Did modern swains, possessed of Cymon's powers,
In Cymon's manner waste their leisure hours,
Th' offended guests would not, with blushing, see
These fair green walks disgraced by infamy.
Severe the fate of modern fools, alas!
When vice and folly mark them as they pass.
Like noxious reptiles o'er the whitened wall,
The filth they leave still points out where they crawl.

[First published, 1832, vol. xvii.]



Remember thee! remember thee!
Till Lethe quench life's burning stream
[60] Remorse and Shame shall cling to thee,
And haunt thee like a feverish dream!


Remember thee! Aye, doubt it not.
Thy husband too shall think of thee:
By neither shalt thou be forgot,
Thou false to him, thou fiend to me![49]

[First published, Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824.]


Time! on whose arbitrary wing
The varying hours must flag or fly,
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring,
But drag or drive us on to die—
Hail thou! who on my birth bestowed
Those boons to all that know thee known;
Yet better I sustain thy load,
For now I bear the weight alone.
I would not one fond heart should share
The bitter moments thou hast given;
And pardon thee—since thou couldst spare
All that I loved, to peace or Heaven.
[61] To them be joy or rest—on me
Thy future ills shall press in vain;
I nothing owe but years to thee,
A debt already paid in pain.
Yet even that pain was some relief;
It felt, but still forgot thy power:[bs]
The active agony of grief
Retards, but never counts the hour.[bt]
In joy I've sighed to think thy flight
Would soon subside from swift to slow;
Thy cloud could overcast the light,
But could not add a night to Woe;
For then, however drear and dark,
My soul was suited to thy sky;
One star alone shot forth a spark
To prove thee—not Eternity.
That beam hath sunk—and now thou art
A blank—a thing to count and curse
Through each dull tedious trifling part,
Which all regret, yet all rehearse.
One scene even thou canst not deform—
The limit of thy sloth or speed
When future wanderers bear the storm
Which we shall sleep too sound to heed.
And I can smile to think how weak
Thine efforts shortly shall be shown,
When all the vengeance thou canst wreak
Must fall upon—a nameless stone.

[MS. M. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).]




Ah! Love was never yet without
The pang, the agony, the doubt,
Which rends my heart with ceaseless sigh,
While day and night roll darkling by.


Without one friend to hear my woe,
I faint, I die beneath the blow.
That Love had arrows, well I knew,
Alas! I find them poisoned too.


Birds, yet in freedom, shun the net
Which Love around your haunts hath set;
Or, circled by his fatal fire,
Your hearts shall burn, your hopes expire.


A bird of free and careless wing
Was I, through many a smiling spring;
But caught within the subtle snare,
I burn, and feebly flutter there.


Who ne'er have loved, and loved in vain,
Can neither feel nor pity pain,
The cold repulse, the look askance,
The lightning of Love's angry glance.


In flattering dreams I deemed thee mine;
Now hope, and he who hoped, decline;
[63] Like melting wax, or withering flower,
I feel my passion, and thy power.


My light of Life! ah, tell me why
That pouting lip, and altered eye?
My bird of Love! my beauteous mate!
And art thou changed, and canst thou hate?


Mine eyes like wintry streams o'erflow:
What wretch with me would barter woe?
My bird! relent: one note could give
A charm to bid thy lover live.


My curdling blood, my madd'ning brain,
In silent anguish I sustain;
And still thy heart, without partaking
One pang, exults—while mine is breaking.


Pour me the poison; fear not thou!
Thou canst not murder more than now:
I've lived to curse my natal day,
And Love, that thus can lingering slay.


My wounded soul, my bleeding breast,
Can patience preach thee into rest?
Alas! too late, I dearly know
That Joy is harbinger of Woe.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).][64]



Thou art not false, but thou art fickle,
To those thyself so fondly sought;
The tears that thou hast forced to trickle
Are doubly bitter from that thought:
'Tis this which breaks the heart thou grievest,
Too well thou lov'st—too soon thou leavest.


The wholly false the heart despises,
And spurns deceiver and deceit;
But she who not a thought disguises,[bv]
Whose love is as sincere as sweet,—
When she can change who loved so truly,
It feels what mine has felt so newly.


To dream of joy and wake to sorrow
Is doomed to all who love or live;
And if, when conscious on the morrow,
We scarce our Fancy can forgive,
That cheated us in slumber only,
To leave the waking soul more lonely,


What must they feel whom no false vision
But truest, tenderest Passion warmed?
[65] Sincere, but swift in sad transition:
As if a dream alone had charmed?
Ah! sure such grief is Fancy's scheming,
And all thy Change can be but dreaming!

[MS. M. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).]


The "Origin of Love!"—Ah, why
That cruel question ask of me,
When thou mayst read in many an eye
He starts to life on seeing thee?
And shouldst thou seek his end to know:
My heart forebodes, my fears foresee,
He'll linger long in silent woe;
But live until—I cease to be.

[First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).]


"And my true faith can alter never,
Though thou art gone perhaps for ever."


And "thy true faith can alter never?"—
Indeed it lasted for a—week!
I know the length of Love's forever,
And just expected such a freak.
In peace we met, in peace we parted,
In peace we vowed to meet again,
And though I find thee fickle-hearted
No pang of mine shall make thee vain.


One gone—'twas time to seek a second;
In sooth 'twere hard to blame thy haste.
And whatsoe'er thy love be reckoned,
At least thou hast improved in taste:
Though one was young, the next was younger,
His love was new, mine too well known—
And what might make the charm still stronger,
The youth was present, I was flown.


Seven days and nights of single sorrow!
Too much for human constancy!
A fortnight past, why then to-morrow,
His turn is come to follow me:
And if each week you change a lover,
And so have acted heretofore,
Before a year or two is over
We'll form a very pretty corps.


Adieu, fair thing! without upbraiding
I fain would take a decent leave;
Thy beauty still survives unfading,
And undeceived may long deceive.
With him unto thy bosom dearer
Enjoy the moments as they flee;
I only wish his love sincerer
Than thy young heart has been to me.


[From a MS. in the possession of Mr. Murray, now for the first time printed.]




Remember him, whom Passion's power
Severely—deeply—vainly proved:
Remember thou that dangerous hour,
When neither fell, though both were loved.[bx]


That yielding breast, that melting eye,[by]
Too much invited to be blessed:
That gentle prayer, that pleading sigh,
The wilder wish reproved, repressed.


Oh! let me feel that all I lost[bz]
But saved thee all that Conscience fears;
And blush for every pang it cost
To spare the vain remorse of years.


Yet think of this when many a tongue,
Whose busy accents whisper blame,
Would do the heart that loved thee wrong,
And brand a nearly blighted name.[ca]



Think that, whate'er to others, thou
Hast seen each selfish thought subdued:
I bless thy purer soul even now,
Even now, in midnight solitude.


Oh, God! that we had met in time,
Our hearts as fond, thy hand more free;
When thou hadst loved without a crime,
And I been less unworthy thee![cb]


Far may thy days, as heretofore,[cc]
From this our gaudy world be past!
And that too bitter moment o'er,
Oh! may such trial be thy last.


This heart, alas! perverted long,
Itself destroyed might there destroy;
To meet thee in the glittering throng,
Would wake Presumption's hope of joy.[cd]


Then to the things whose bliss or woe,
Like mine, is wild and worthless all,
That world resign—such scenes forego,
Where those who feel must surely fall.


Thy youth, thy charms, thy tenderness—
Thy soul from long seclusion pure;
[69] From what even here hath passed, may guess
What there thy bosom must endure.


Oh! pardon that imploring tear,
Since not by Virtue shed in vain,
My frenzy drew from eyes so dear;
For me they shall not weep again.


Though long and mournful must it be,
The thought that we no more may meet;
Yet I deserve the stern decree,
And almost deem the sentence sweet.


Still—had I loved thee less—my heart
Had then less sacrificed to thine;
It felt not half so much to part
As if its guilt had made thee mine.


[MS. M. First published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).]


When, from the heart where Sorrow sits,
Her dusky shadow mounts too high,
[70] And o'er the changing aspect flits,
And clouds the brow, or fills the eye;
Heed not that gloom, which soon shall sink:
My Thoughts their dungeon know too well;
Back to my breast the Wanderers shrink,
And droop within their silent cell.[ce]

September, 1813.

[MS. M. first published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).]



Thine eyes' blue tenderness, thy long fair hair,
And the warm lustre of thy features—caught
From contemplation—where serenely wrought,
Seems Sorrow's softness charmed from its despair—
Have thrown such speaking sadness in thine air,
That—but I know thy blessed bosom fraught
With mines of unalloyed and stainless thought—
I should have deemed thee doomed to earthly care.
With such an aspect, by his colours blent,
When from his beauty-breathing pencil born,
(Except that thou hast nothing to repent)
The Magdalen of Guido saw the morn—
Such seem'st thou—but how much more excellent!
With nought Remorse can claim—nor Virtue scorn.

December 17, 1813.[53]

[MS. M. First published, Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition).]




Thy cheek is pale with thought, but not from woe,[cf]
And yet so lovely, that if Mirth could flush
Its rose of whiteness with the brightest blush,
My heart would wish away that ruder glow:
And dazzle not thy deep-blue eyes—but, oh!
While gazing on them sterner eyes will gush,
And into mine my mother's weakness rush,
Soft as the last drops round Heaven's airy bow.
For, through thy long dark lashes low depending,
The soul of melancholy Gentleness
Gleams like a Seraph from the sky descending,
Above all pain, yet pitying all distress;
At once such majesty with sweetness blending,
I worship more, but cannot love thee less.

December 17, 1813.

[MS. M. First published, Corsair, 1814 (Second Edition).]




In moments to delight devoted,[54]
"My Life!" with tenderest tone, you cry;
[72] Dear words! on which my heart had doted,
If Youth could neither fade nor die.


To Death even hours like these must roll,
Ah! then repeat those accents never;
Or change "my Life!" into "my Soul!"
Which, like my Love, exists for ever.

[MS. M.]


You call me still your Life.—Oh! change the word—
Life is as transient as the inconstant sigh:
Say rather I'm your Soul; more just that name,
For, like the soul, my Love can never die.

[Stanzas 1, 2 first published, Childe Harold, 1814 (Seventh Edition).
"Another Version," first published, 1832.]



[1] [These stanzas were inserted in the first draft of the First Canto of Childe Harold, after the eighty-sixth stanza. "The struggle 'gainst the Demon's sway" (see stanza lxxxiv.) had, apparently, resulted in victory, for the "unpremeditated lay" poured forth at the time betrays the youth and high spirits of the singer. But the inconsistency was detected in time, and the lines, To Inez, dated January 25, 1810, with their "touches of dreariest sadness," were substituted for the simple and cheerful strains of The Girl of Cadiz (see Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 75, note 1; Life, p. 151).]

[a] {1} For thou hast never lived to see.—[MS. M. erased.]

[b] {2} The Saxon maids——.—[MS. M.]

[2] [Compare Childe Harold, Canto I. stanza lviii. lines 8, 9, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 59, note 1.]

[3] {3} [For "Bolero," see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 492, note 1.]


Or tells with light and fairy hand
Her beads beneath the rays of Hesper.—[MS. M. erased.]

[d] ——the lovely Girl of Cadiz.—[MS. M.]

[e] {4} Written in an Album.—[Editions 1812-1831.]
Written in Mrs. Spencer S.'s——.—[MS. M. erased]
Written at the request of a lady in her memorandum book.—[MS. B. M.]
"Mrs. S. S.'s request."—[Erased. MS. B.M.]

[4] [The possessor of the album was, doubtless, Mrs. Spencer Smith, the "Lady" of the lines To Florence, "the sweet Florence" of the Stanzas composed during a Thunderstorm, and of the Stanzas written in passing through the Ambracian Gulf, and, finally, when "The Spell is broke, the Charm is flown," the "fair Florence" of stanzas xxxii., xxxiii. of the Second Canto of Childe Harold. In a letter to his mother, dated September 15, 1809, Byron writes, "This letter is committed to the charge of a very extraordinary woman, whom you have doubtless heard of, Mrs. Spencer Smith, of whose escape the Marquis de Salvo published a narrative a few years ago (Travels in the Year 1806, from Italy to England through the Tyrol, etc., containing the particulars of the liberation of Mrs. Spencer Smith from the hands of the French Police, London: 12mo, 1807). She has since been shipwrecked, and her life has been from its commencement so fertile in remarkable incidents, that in a romance they would appear improbable. She was born at Constantinople [circ. 1785], where her father, Baron Herbert, was Austrian Ambassador; married unhappily, yet has never been impeached in point of character; excited the vengeance of Buonaparte by a part in some conspiracy; several times risked her life; and is not yet twenty-five."

John Spencer Smith, the "Lady's" husband, was a younger brother of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, the hero of the siege of Acre. He began life as a Page of Honour to Queen Charlotte, was, afterwards, attached to the Turkish Embassy, and (May 4, 1798) appointed Minister Plenipotentiary. On January 5, 1799, he concluded the treaty of defensive alliance with the Porte; and, October 30, 1799, obtained the freedom of the Black Sea for the English flag (see Remains of the late John Tweddell. London: 1815. See, too, for Mrs. Spencer Smith, Letters, 1898, i. 244, 245, note 1).]

[f] {5} To——.—[Editions 1812-1832.]

[g] {6} Through giant Danger's rugged path.—[MS. M.]

[h] {7} Stanzas—[1812.]

[5] Composed Octr. 11, 1809, during the night in a thunderstorm, when the guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called Pindus, in Albania. [Editions 1812-1831.]

[This thunderstorm occurred during the night of the 11th October, 1809, when Lord Byron's guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called Pindus, in Albania. Hobhouse, who had ridden on before the rest of the party, and arrived at Zitza just as the evening set in, describes the thunder as rolling "without intermission—the echoes of one peal had not ceased to roll in the mountains, before another tremendous crash burst over our heads, whilst the plains and the distant hills, visible through the cracks in the cabin, appeared in a perpetual blaze. The tempest was altogether terrific, and worthy of the Grecian Jove. Lord Byron, with the priest and the servants, did not enter our hut before three (in the morning). I now learnt from him that they had lost their way, ... and that after wandering up and down in total ignorance of their position, had, at last, stopped near some Turkish tombstones and a torrent, which they saw by the flashes of lightning. They had been thus exposed for nine hours. ... It was long before we ceased to talk of the thunderstorm in the plain of Zitza."—Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 70, 72; Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza xlviii., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 129, note 1.]

[i] {11} Stanzas.—[1812.]

[j] {12} Had Bards but realms along with rhymes.—[MS. M.]

[k] Again we'd see some Antonies.—[MS. M.]

[l] Though Jove——.—[MS. M.]

[6] [Compare [A Woman's Hair] stanza 1, line 4, "I would not lose you for a world."—Poetical Works, 1898, i. 233.]

[m] Written at Athens.—[1812.]

[7] {13} On the 3rd of May, 1810, while the Salsette (Captain Bathurst) was lying in the Dardanelles, Lieutenant Ekenhead, of that frigate, and the writer of these rhymes, swam from the European shore to the Asiatic—by the by, from Abydos to Sestos would have been more correct. The whole distance, from the place whence we started to our landing on the other side, including the length we were carried by the current, was computed by those on board the frigate at upwards of four English miles, though the actual breadth is barely one. The rapidity of the current is such that no boat can row directly across, and it may, in some measure, be estimated from the circumstance of the whole distance being accomplished by one of the parties in an hour and five, and by the other in an hour and ten minutes. The water was extremely cold, from the melting of the mountain snows. About three weeks before, in April, we had made an attempt; but having ridden all the way from the Troad the same morning, and the water being of an icy chillness, we found it necessary to postpone the completion till the frigate anchored below the castles, when we swam the straits as just stated, entering a considerable way above the European, and landing below the Asiatic, fort. [Le] Chevalier says that a young Jew swam the same distance for his mistress; and Olivier mentions its having been done by a Neapolitan; but our consul, Tarragona, remembered neither of these circumstances, and tried to dissuade us from the attempt. A number of the Salsette's crew were known to have accomplished a greater distance; and the only thing that surprised me was that, as doubts had been entertained of the truth of Leander's story, no traveller had ever endeavoured to ascertain its practicability. [See letter to Drury, dated May 3; to his mother, May 24, 1810, etc. (Letters, 1898, i. 262, 275). Compare the well-known lines in Don Juan, Canto II. stanza cv.—

"A better swimmer you could scarce see ever,
He could perhaps have passed the Hellespont,
As once (a feat on which ourselves we prided)
Leander, Mr. Ekenhead, and I did."

Compare, too, Childe Harold, Canto IV. stanza clxxxiv. line 3, and the Bride of Abydos, Canto II. stanza i.: Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 461, note 2, et post, p. 178.]

[8] {14} [Hobhouse, who records the first attempt to cross the Hellespont, on April 16, and the successful achievement of the feat, May 3, 1810, adds the following note: "In my journal, in my friend's handwriting: 'The whole distance E. and myself swam was more than four miles—the current very strong and cold—some large fish near us when half across—we were not fatigued, but a little chilled—did it with little difficulty.—May, 6, 1810. Byron.'"—Travels in Albania, ii. 195.]

[9] {15} ["At Orchomenus, where stood the Temple of the Graces, I was tempted to exclaim, 'Whither have the Graces fled?' Little did I expect to find them here. Yet here comes one of them with golden cups and coffee, and another with a book. The book is a register of names.... Among these is Lord Byron's connected with some lines which I shall send you: 'Fair Albion,' etc." (See Travels in Italy, Greece, etc., by H. W. Williams, ii. 290, 291; Life, p. 101.)]

[n] Song.—[1812.]

[10] [The Maid of Athens was, it is supposed, the eldest of three sisters, daughters of Theodora Macri, the widow of a former English vice-consul. Byron and Hobhouse lodged at her house. The sisters were sought out and described by the artist, Hugh W. Williams, who visited Athens in May, 1817: "Theresa, the Maid of Athens, Catinco, and Mariana, are of middle stature.... The two eldest have black, or dark hair and eyes; their visage oval, and complexion somewhat pale, with teeth of pearly whiteness. Their cheeks are rounded, their noses straight, rather inclined to aquiline. The youngest, Mariana, is very fair, her face not so finely rounded, but has a gayer expression than her sisters', whose countenances, except when the conversation has something of mirth in it, may be said to be rather pensive. Their persons are elegant, and their manners pleasing and lady-like, such as would be fascinating in any country. They possess very considerable powers of conversation, and their minds seem to be more instructed than those of the Greek women in general."—Travels in Italy, Greece, etc., ii. 291, 292.

Other travellers, Hughes, who visited Athens in 1813, and Walsh (Narrative of a Resident in Constantinople, i. 122), who saw Theresa in 1821, found her charming and interesting, but speak of her beauty as a thing of the past. "She married an Englishman named Black, employed in H.M. Consular Service at Mesolonghi. She survived her husband and fell into great poverty.... Theresa Black died October 15, 1875, aged 80 years." (See Letters, 1898, i. 269, 270, note 1; and Life, p. 105, note.)

"Maid of Athens" is possibly the best-known of Byron's short poems, all over the English-speaking world. This is no doubt due in part to its having been set to music by about half a dozen composers—the latest of whom was Gounod.]

[11] {16} Romaic expression of tenderness. If I translate it, I shall affront the gentlemen, as it may seem that I supposed they could not; and if I do not, I may affront the ladies. For fear of any misconstruction on the part of the latter, I shall do so, begging pardon of the learned. It means, "My life, I love you!" which sounds very prettily in all languages, and is as much in fashion in Greece at this day as, Juvenal tells us, the two first words were amongst the Roman ladies, whose erotic expressions were all Hellenised. [The reference is to the Ζωή καὶ Ψχὴ of Roman courtesans. Vide Juvenal, lib. ii., Sat. vi. line 195; Martial, Epig. x. 68. 5.]

[12] {17} In the East (where ladies are not taught to write, lest they should scribble assignations), flowers, cinders, pebbles, etc., convey the sentiments of the parties, by that universal deputy of Mercury—an old woman. A cinder says, "I burn for thee;" a bunch of flowers tied with hair, "Take me and fly;" but a pebble declares—what nothing else can. [Compare The Bride of Abydos, line 295—

"What! not receive my foolish flower?"

See, too, Medwin's story of "one of the principal incidents in The Giaour." "I was in despair, and could hardly contrive to get a cinder, or a token-flower sent to express it."—Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824, p. 122.]

[13] Constantinople. [Compare—

"Tho' I am parted, yet my mind
That's more than self still stays behind."

Poems, by Thomas Carew, ed. 1640, p. 36.]

[14] {18} [Given to the Hon. Roden Noel by S. McCalmont Hill, who inherited it from his great-grandfather, Robert Dallas. No date or occasion of the piece has been recorded.—Life of Lord Byron, 1890, p. 5.]

[15] {19} [These lines are copied from a leaf of the original MS. of the Second Canto of Childe Harold. They are headed, "Lines written beneath the Picture of J.U.D."

In a curious work of doubtful authority, entitled, The Life, Writings, Opinions and Times of the Right Hon. G. G. Noel Byron, London, 1825 (iii. 123-132), there is a long and circumstantial narrative of a "defeated" attempt of Byron's to rescue a Georgian girl, whom he had bought in the slave-market for 800 piastres, from a life of shame and degradation. It is improbable that these verses suggested the story; and, on the other hand, the story, if true, does afford some clue to the verses.]

[16] {20} The song Δεῦτε παῖδες, etc., was written by Riga, who perished in the attempt to revolutionize Greece. This translation is as literal as the author could make it in verse. It is of the same measure as that of the original. [For the original, see Poetical Works, 1891, Appendix, p. 792. For Constantine Rhigas, see Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 199, note 2. Hobhouse (Travels in Albania, 1858, ii. 3) prints a version (Byron told Murray that it was "well enough," Letters, 1899, iii. 13) of Δεῦτε παῖδες of his own composition. He explains in a footnote that the metre is "a mixed trochaic, except the chorus." "This song," he adds, "the chorus particularly, is sung to a tune very nearly the same as the Marseillois Hymn. Strangely enough, Lord Byron, in his translation, has entirely mistaken the metre." The first stanza runs as follows:—

"Greeks arise! the day of glory
Comes at last your swords to claim.
Let us all in future story
Rival our forefathers' fame.
Underfoot the yoke of tyrants
Let us now indignant trample,
Mindful of the great example,
And avenge our country's shame."]

[17] {21} Constantinople. "Ἑπτάλοφος."

[18] {22} The song from which this is taken is a great favourite with the young girls of Athens of all classes. Their manner of singing it is by verses in rotation, the whole number present joining in the chorus. I have heard it frequently at our "χόροι" in the winter of 1810-11. The air is plaintive and pretty.

[o] {23} Has bound my soul to thee——[MS. M.]

[p] When wandering forth alone——[MS. M.]

[q] {24}

Oh! what can tongue or pen avail
Unless my heart could speak.—[MS. M.]

[19] [These lines, which are undoubtedly genuine, were published for the first time in the sixth edition of Poems on his Domestic Circumstances (W. Hone, 1816). They were first included by Murray in the collected Poetical Works, in vol. xvii., 1832.]

[20] ["The principal streets of the city of Valetta are flights of stairs."—Gazetteer of the World.]

[21] {25} [Major-General Hildebrand Oakes (1754-1822) succeeded Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keates as "his Majesty's commissioner for the affairs of Malta," April 27, 1810. There was an outbreak of plague during his tenure of office (1810-13).—Annual Register, 1810, p. 320; Dict. Nat. Biog., art. "Oakes."]

[22] ["Lord Byron ... was once rather near fighting a duel—and that was with an officer of the staff of General Oakes at Malta" (1809).—Westminster Review, January, 1825, iii. 21 (by J. C. Hobhouse). (See, too, Life (First Edition, 1830, 4to), i. 202, 222.)]

[23] [On March 13, 1811, Captain (Sir William) Hoste (1780-1828) defeated a combined French and Italian squadron off the island of Lissa, on the Dalmatian coast. "The French commodore's ship La Favorite was burnt, himself (Dubourdieu) being killed." The four victorious frigates with their prizes arrived at Malta, March 31, when the garrison "ran out unarmed to receive and hail them." The Volage, in which Byron returned to England, took part in the engagement. Captain Hoste had taken a prize off Fiume in the preceding year.—Annual Register, 1811; Memoirs and Letters of Sir W. Hoste, ii. 79.]

[24] {26} ["We have had balls and fetes given us by all classes here, and it is impossible to convey to you the sensation our success has given rise to."—Memoirs and Letters of Sir W. Hoste, ii. 82.]

[25] [Mrs. (Susan) Fraser published, in 1809, "Camilla de Florian (the scene is laid in Valetta) and Other Poems. By an Officer's Wife." Byron was, no doubt, struck by her admiration for Macpherson's Ossian, and had read with interest her version of "The Address to the Sun," in Carthon, p. 31 (see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 229). He may, too, have regarded with favour some stanzas in honour of the Bolero (p. 82), which begin, "When, my Love, supinely laying."]

[26] {27} [Byron left Malta for England June 13, 1811. (See Letter to H. Drury, July 17, 1811, Letters, 1898, i. 318.)]

[r] {28} And mine was the pride and the worth of a name—[MS. M.]

[s] It tells not of time——.—[MS. M.]

[27] Francis Hodgson.

[28] {30} [Hodgson stipulated that the last twelve lines should be omitted, but Moore disregarded his wishes, and included the poem as it stands in his Life. A marginal note ran thus: "N.B. The poor dear soul meant nothing of this. F.H."—Memoir of Rev. Francis Hodgson, 1878, i. 212.]

[t] On the death of——Thyrza.—[MS.]

[29] [The following note on the identity of Thyrza has been communicated to the Editor:—

"The identity of Thyrza and the question whether the person addressed under this name really existed, or was an imaginary being, have given rise to much speculation and discussion of a more or less futile kind.

"This difficulty is now incapable of definite and authoritative solution, and the allusions in the verses in some respects disagree with things said by Lord Byron later. According to the poems, Thyrza had met him

"' ... many a day
In these, to me, deserted towers.'

(Newstead, October 11, 1811.)

"'When stretched on fever's sleepless bed.'

(At Patras, about September, 1810.)

"'Death for thee
Prepared a light and pangless dart.'
"'And oft I thought at Cynthia's noon,
When sailing o'er the Ægean wave,
"Now Thyrza gazes on that moon"—
Alas, it gleam'd upon her grave!'

(One struggle more, and I am free.)

"Finally, in the verses of October 11, 1811—

"'The pledge we wore—I wear it still,
But where is thine?—Ah! where art thou?'

"There can be no doubt that Lord Byron referred to Thyrza in conversation with Lady Byron, and probably also with Mrs. Leigh, as a young girl who had existed, and the date of whose death almost coincided with Lord Byron's landing in England in 1811. On one occasion he showed Lady Byron a beautiful tress of hair, which she understood to be Thyrza's. He said he had never mentioned her name, and that now she was gone his breast was the sole depository of that secret. 'I took the name of Thyrza from Gesner. She was Abel's wife.'

"Thyrza is mentioned in a letter from Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire, to Augustus Foster (London, May 4, 1812): 'Your little friend, Caro William (Lady Caroline Lamb), as usual, is doing all sorts of imprudent things for him (Lord Byron) and with him; he admires her very much, but is supposed by some to admire our Caroline (the Hon. Mrs. George Lamb) more; he says she is like Thyrsa, and her singing is enchantment to him.' From this extract it is obvious that Thyrza is alluded to in the following lines, which, with the above quotation, may be reproduced, by kind permission of Mr. Vere Foster, from his most interesting book, The Two Duchesses (1898, pp. 362-374).

"'Verses Addressed by Lord Byron in the year 1812
to the Hon. Mrs. George Lamb

The sacred song that on my ear
Yet vibrates from that voice of thine
I heard before from one so dear,
'Tis strange it still appears divine.
But oh! so sweet that look and tone
To her and thee alike is given;
It seemed as if for me alone
That both had been recalled from Heaven.
And though I never can redeem
The vision thus endeared to me,
I scarcely can regret my dream
When realized again by thee.'"

(It may be noted that the name Thirza, or Thyrza, a variant of Theresa, had been familiar to Byron in his childhood. In the Preface to Cain he writes, "Gesner's Death of Abel! I have never read since I was eight years of age at Aberdeen. The general impression of my recollection is delight; but of the contents I remember only that Cain's wife was called Mahala, and Abel's Thirza." Another and more immediate suggestion of the name may be traced to the following translation of Meleager's Epitaphium In Heliodoram, which one of the "associate bards," Bland, or Merivale, or Hodgson, contributed to their Translations chiefly from the Greek Anthology, 1806, p. 4, a work which Byron singles out for commendation in English Bards, etc, (lines 881-890):—

"Tears o'er my parted Thyrza's grave I shed,
Affection's fondest tribute to the dead.

Break, break my heart, o'ercharged with bursting woe
An empty offering to the shades below!
Ah, plant regretted! Death's remorseless power,
With dust unfruitful checked thy full-blown flower.
Take, earth, the gentle inmate to thy breast,
And soft-embosomed let my Thyrza rest."

The MSS. of "To Thyrza," "Away, away, ye notes of Woe!" "One struggle more, and I am free," and, "And thou art dead, as young and fair," which belonged originally to Mrs. Leigh, are now in the possession of Sir Theodore Martin, K.C.B.—Editor.)]

[30] [For the substitution in the present issue of continuous lines for stanzas, Byron's own authority and mandate may be quoted. "In reading the 4th vol.... I perceive that piece 12 ('Without a Stone') is made nonsense of (that is, greater nonsense than usual) by dividing it into stanzas 1, 2, etc."—Letter to John Murray, August 26, 1815, Letters, 1899, iii. 215.]

[u] And soothe if such could soothe thy shade.—[MS. erased.]

[v] {31} By many a land——.—[MS.]

[w] {33} And shall they not——.—[MS.]

[x] ——the walk aside.—[MS.]


(a) The kiss that left no sting behind
So guiltless Passion thus forbore;
Those eyes bespoke so pure a mind,
That Love forgot to { plead ask } for more.
(b) The kiss that left no sting behind,
So guiltless Love each wish forebore;
Those eyes proclaimed so pure a mind,
That Passion blushed to smile for more.—
[Pencilled alternative stanzas.]

[z] {34} Well hast thou fled——.—[MS. erased.]


If judging from my present pain
That rest alone——.—[MS. erased.]
If rest alone is in the tomb.—[MS.]

[ab] So let it be my hope in Heaven.—[MS. erased]

[ac] {35} Stanzas.—[MS. Editions 1812-1832.]

[31] ["I wrote it a day or two ago, on hearing a song of former days."—Letter to Hodgson, December 8, 1811, Letters, 1898, ii. 82.]

[ad] I dare not hear——.—[MS. erased.]

[ae] But hush the chords——.—[MS. erased.]

[af] ——I dare not gaze.—[MS. erased.]

[ag] The voice that made that song more sweet.—[MS.]

[ah] 'Tis silent now——.—[MS.]

[ai] {36} To Thyrza.—[Editions 1812-1831.]


From pangs that tear——.—[MS.]
Such pangs that tear——.—[MS. erased.]

[ak] With things that moved me not before.—[MS. erased.]

[al] What sorrow cannot——.—[MS.]


It would not be, so hadst not thou
Withdrawn so soon——.—[MS. erased.]

[an] {38} —how oft I said.—[MS. erased.]


Like freedom to the worn-out slave.—[MS.]
But Health and life returned and gave,
A boon 'twas idle then to give,
Relenting Health in mocking gave.—[MS. B. M. erased.]

[32] [Compare My Epitaph: "Youth, Nature and relenting Jove."—Letter to Hodgson, October 3, 1810, Letters, 1898, i. 298.]

[ap] Dear simple gift——.—[MS. erased.]

[33] {39} Compare A Wish, by Matthew Arnold, stanza 3, etc.—

"Spare me the whispering, crowded room,
The friends who come and gape and go," etc.

[aq] {41} Stanzas.—[Editions 1812-1831.]

[34] ["The Lovers' Walk is terminated with an ornamental urn, inscribed to Miss Dolman, a beautiful and amiable relation of Mr. Shenstone's, who died of the small-pox, about twenty-one years of age, in the following words on one side:—

'Peramabili consobrinæ

On the other side—

'Ah! Maria!
pvellarvm elegantissima!
ah Flore venvstatis abrepta,
hev qvanto minvs est
cvm reliqvis versari
qvam tui

(From a Description of the Leasowes, by A. Dodsley; Poetical Works of William Shenstone [1798], p. xxix.)]


Are mingled with the Earth.—[MS.]
Were never meant for Earth.—[MS. erased.]

[as] Unhonoured with the vulgar dread.—[MS. erased.]

[at] {42}

I will not ask where thou art laid,
Nor look upon the name.—[MS. erased.]

[au] So I shall know it not.—[MS. erased.]

[av] Like common dust can rot.—[MS.]

[aw] I would not wish to see nor touch.—[MS. erased.]

[ax] As well as warm as thou.—[MS. erased.]

[ay] MS. transposes lines 5 and 6 of stanza 3.

[az] Nor frailty disavow.—[MS.]

[ba] Nor canst thou fair and faultless see.—[MS. erased.]

[bb] Nor wrong, nor change, nor fault in me.—[MS.]

[bc] {43} The cloud that cheers——.—[MS.]

[bd] The sweetness of that silent deep.—[MS.]


The flower in beauty's bloom unmatched
Is still the earliest prey.—[MS.]
The rose by some rude fingers snatched,
Is earliest doomed to fade.—[MS. erased.]

[bf] I do not deem I could have borne.—[MS.]


But night and day of thine are passed,
And thou wert lovely to the last;
Destroyed——.—[MS. erased.]

[bh] {44} As stars that seem to quit the sky.—[MS.]


O how much less it were to gain,
All beauteous though they be.—[MS.]

[bj] Through dark and dull Eternity.—[MS.]

[bk] {45} Sympathetic Address to a Young Lady.— [Morning Chronicle, March 7, 1812.]

[35] [The scene which begat these memorable stanzas was enacted at a banquet at Carlton House, February 22, 1812. On March 6 the following quatrain, entitled, "Impromptu on a Recent Incident," appeared in the Morning Chronicle:—

"Blest omens of a happy reign,
In swift succession hourly rise,
Forsaken friends, vows made in vain—
A daughter's tears, a nation's sighs."

Byron's lines, headed, "Sympathetic Address to a Young Lady," were published anonymously in the Morning Chronicle of March 7, but it was not till March 10 that the Courier ventured to insert a report of "The Fracas at Carlton House on the 22nd ult.," which had already been communicated to the Caledonian Mercury.

"The party consisted of the Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of York, the Dukes of York and Cambridge, Lords Moira, Erskine, Lauderdale, Messrs. Adams and Sheridan.

"The Prince Regent expressed 'his surprise and mortification' at the conduct of Lords Grey and Grenville [who had replied unfavourably to a letter addressed by the P.R. to the Duke of York, suggesting an united administration]. Lord Lauderdale thereupon, with a freedom unusual in courts, asserted that the reply did not express the opinions of Lords Grey and Grenville only, but of every political friend of that way of thinking, and that he had been present at and assisted in the drawing-up, and that every sentence had his cordial assent. The Prince was suddenly and deeply affected by Lord Lauderdale's reply, so much so, that the Princess, observing his agitation, dropt her head and burst into tears—upon which the Prince turned round and begged the female part of the company to withdraw."

In the following June, at a ball at Miss Johnson's, Byron was "presented by order to our gracious Regent, who honoured me with some conversation," and for a time he ignored and perhaps regretted his anonymous jeu d'esprit. But early in 1814, either out of mere bravado or in an access of political rancour, he determined to republish the stanzas under his own name. The first edition of the Corsair was printed, if not published, but in accordance with a peremptory direction (January 22, 1814), "eight lines on the little Royalty weeping in 1812," were included among the poems printed at the end of the second edition.

The "newspapers were in hysterics and town in an uproar on the avowal and republication" of the stanzas (Diary, February 18), and during Byron's absence from town "Murray omitted the Tears in several of the copies"—that is, in the Third Edition—but yielding to force majeure, replaced them in a Fourth Edition, which was issued early in February. (See Letters of July 6, 1812, January 22, February 2, and February 10, 1814 (Letters, 1898, ii. 134, etc.); and for "Newspaper Attacks upon Byron," see Letters, 1898, ii. Appendix VII. pp. 463-492.)]

[bl] Stanzas.—[1812.]

[36] {48} [For allusion to the "Cornelian" see "The Cornelian," ["Pignus Amoris"], and "The Adieu," stanza 7, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 66, 231, 240. See, too, Letters, 1898, i. 130, note 3.]

[bm] {50} To Samuel Rogers, Esq.—[Poems, 1816.]

[37] ["Rogers is silent,—and, it is said, severe. When he does talk, he talks well; and, on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. If you enter his house—his drawing-room—his library—you of yourself say, this is not the dwelling of a common mind. There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece, his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance in the possessor."—Diary, 1813; Letters, 1898, ii. 331.]

[38] [Compare Collins' Ode on the Death of Mr. Thomson—"In yonder grave a Druid lies."]

[39] {51} ["Mr. Elliston then came forward and delivered the following Prize address. We cannot boast of the eloquence of the delivery. It was neither gracefully nor correctly recited. The merits of the production itself we submit to the criticism of our readers. We cannot suppose that it was selected as the most poetical composition of all the scores that were submitted to the committee. But perhaps by its tenor, by its allusions to Garrick, to Siddons, and to Sheridan, it was thought most applicable to the occasion, notwithstanding its being in part unmusical, and in general tame."—Morning Chronicle, October 12, 1812.]

[40] ["By the by, the best view of the said fire [February 24, 1809] (which I myself saw from a house-top in Covent-garden) was at Westminster Bridge, from the reflection on the Thames."—Letter to Lord Holland, September 25, 1812, Letters, 1898, ii. 148.]


As flashing far the new Volcano shone
And swept the skies with { meteors lightnings } not their own.
or,  As flashed the volumed blaze, and { sadly ghastly } shone
The skies with lightnings awful as their own.
[Letter to Lord Holland, Sept. 25, 1812.]
or,  As glared each rising flash, and ghastly shone
The skies with lightnings awful as their own.—
[Letter to Lord Holland, Sept. 27, 1812.]

[bo] {52}

Till slowly ebbed the { lava of the spent volcanic } wave.
or,  Till ebb'd the lava of { the burning that molten } wave,
And blackening ashes mark'd the Muse's grave.—
[Letter to Lord Holland, Sept. 28, 1812]

[bp] That scorns the scythe of Time, the torch of Flame.—[Letter to Lord Holland, Sept, 28, 1812.]

[bq] {53}

Far be from him that hour which asks in vain
Tears such as flow for Garrick in his strain;
or,  Far be that hour that vainly asks in turn
Sad verse for him as { crowned his wept o'er } Garrick's urn.—
[Letter to Lord Holland, Sept. 30, 1812.]

[41] [Originally, "Ere Garrick died," etc. "By the by, one of my corrections in the fair copy sent yesterday has dived into the bathos some sixty fathom—

'When Garrick died, and Brinsley ceased to write.'

Ceasing to live is a much more serious concern, and ought not to be first; therefore I will let the old couplet stand, with its half rhymes 'sought' and 'wrote' [vide supra, variant ii.] Second thoughts in every thing are best, but, in rhyme, third and fourth don't come amiss.... I always scrawl in this way, and smooth as much as I can, but never sufficiently."—Letter to Lord Holland, September 26, 1812, Letters, 1898, ii. 150.]


Such are the names that here your plaudits sought,
When Garrick acted, and when Brinsley wrote.—[MS.]

[42] {54} [The following lines were omitted by the Committee:—

"Nay, lower still, the Drama yet deplores
That late she deigned to crawl upon all-fours.
When Richard roars in Bosworth for a horse,
If you command, the steed must come in course.
If you decree, the Stage must condescend
To soothe the sickly taste we dare not mend.
Blame not our judgment should we acquiesce,
And gratify you more by showing less.
Oh, since your Fiat stamps the Drama's laws,
Forbear to mock us with misplaced applause;
That public praise be ne'er again disgraced,
From { brutes to man recall babes and brutes redeem } a nation's taste;
Then pride shall doubly nerve the actor's powers,
When Reason's voice is echoed back with ours."

The last couplet but one was altered in a later copy, thus—

"The past reproach let present scenes refute,
Nor shift from man to babe, from babe to brute."

"Is Whitbread," wrote Lord Byron, "determined to castrate all my cavalry lines?... I do implore, for my own gratification, one lash on those accursed quadrupeds—'a long shot, Sir Lucius, if you love me.'"—Letter to Lord Holland, September 28, 1812, Letters, 1898, ii. 156. For "animal performers," vide ibid., note 1.]

[43] [Lines 66-69 were added on September 24, in a letter to Lord Holland.]

[44] {55} [The original of Dr. Busby's address, entitled "Monologue submitted to the Committee of Drury Lane Theatre," which was published in the Morning Chronicle, October 17, 1812, "will be found in the Genuine Rejected Addresses, as well as parodied in Rejected Addresses ('Architectural Atoms'). On October 14 young Busby forced his way on to the stage of Drury Lane, attempted to recite his father's address, and was taken into custody. On the next night, Dr. Busby, speaking from one of the boxes, obtained a hearing for his son, who could not, however, make his voice heard in the theatre.... To the failure of the younger Busby (himself a competitor and the author of an 'Unalogue'...) to make himself heard, Byron alludes in the stage direction, 'to be spoken in an inarticulate voice.'" (See Letters, 1898, ii. 176; and for Dr. Busby, see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 481, 485.) Busby's "Address" ran as follows:—

"When energising objects men pursue,
What are the prodigies they cannot do?
A magic edifice you here survey,
Shot from the ruins of the other day!
As Harlequin had smote the slumberous heap,
And bade the rubbish to a fabric leap.
Yet at that speed you'd never be amazed,
Knew you the zeal with which the pile was raised;
Nor even here your smiles would be represt,
Knew you the rival flame that fires our breast, 10
Flame! fire and flame! sad heart-appalling sounds,
Dread metaphors that ope our healing wounds—
A sleeping pang awakes—and——But away
With all reflections that would cloud the day
That this triumphant, brilliant prospect brings,
Where Hope reviving re-expands her wings;
Where generous joy exults, where duteous ardour springs.

If mighty things with small we may compare,
This spirit drives Britannia's conquering car,
Burns in her ranks and kindles every tar.
Nelson displayed its power upon the main,
And Wellington exhibits it in Spain;
Another Marlborough points to Blenheim's story,
And with its lustre, blends his kindred glory. 40
In Arms and Science long our Isle hath shone,
And Shakespeare—wondrous Shakespeare—reared a throne
For British Poesy—whose powers inspire
The British pencil, and the British lyre—
Her we invoke—her Sister Arts implore:
Their smiles beseech whose charms yourselves adore,
These if we win, the Graces too we gain—
Their dear, beloved, inseparable train;
Three who their witching arts from Cupid stole
And three acknowledged sovereigns of the soul: 50
Harmonious throng! with nature blending art!
Divine Sestetto! warbling to the heart
For Poesy shall here sustain the upper part.
Thus lifted gloriously we'll sweep along,
Shine in our music, scenery and song;
Shine in our farce, masque, opera and play,
And prove old Drury has not had her day,
Nay more—so stretch the wing the world shall cry,
Old Drury never, never soared so high.
'But hold,' you'll say, 'this self-complacent boast; 60
Easy to reckon thus without your host.'
True, true—that lowers at once our mounting pride;
'Tis yours alone our merit to decide;
'Tis ours to look to you, you hold the prize
That bids our great, our best ambitions rise.
A double blessing your rewards impart,
Each good provide and elevate the heart.
Our twofold feeling owns its twofold cause,
Your bounty's comfortrapture your applause;
When in your fostering beam you bid us live, 70
You give the means of life, and gild the means you give."

Morning Chronicle, October 17, 1812.]

[45] {57} [Busby's translation of Lucretius (The Nature of Things, a Didascalie Poem) was published in 1813. Byron was a subscriber, and is mentioned in the preface as "one of the most distinguished poets of the age." The passage in question is, perhaps, taken from the Second Book, lines 880, 881, which Busby renders—

"Just as she quickens fuel into fire,
And bids it, flaming, to the skies aspire."]

[46] {59} [The Leasowes, the residence of the poet Shenstone, is near the village of Halesowen, in Shropshire.]

[47] [See Dryden's Cymon and Iphigenia, lines 84, 85.]

[48] [The sequel of a temporary liaison formed by Lord Byron during his career in London, occasioned this impromptu. On the cessation of the connection, the fair one [Lady C. Lamb: see Letters, 1898, ii. 451] called one morning at her quondam lover's apartments. His Lordship was from home; but finding Vathek on the table, the lady wrote in the first page of the volume the words, "Remember me!" Byron immediately wrote under the ominous warning these two stanzas.—Conversations of Lord Byron, by Thomas Medwin, 1824, pp. 329, 330.

In Medwin's work the euphemisms false and fiend are represented by asterisks.]

[49] {60} ["To Bd., Feb. 22, 1813.

"'Remember thee,' nay—doubt it not—
Thy Husband too may 'think' of thee!
By neither canst thou be forgot,
Thou false to him—thou fiend to me!
"'Remember thee'? Yes—yes—till Fate
In Lethe quench the guilty dream.
Yet then—e'en then—Remorse and Hate
Shall vainly quaff the vanquished stream."

From a MS. (in the possession of Mr. Hallam Murray) not in Byron's handwriting.]

[bs] {61} ——not confessed thy power.—[MS. M. erased.]

[bt] ——still forgets the hour.—[MS. M. erased.]

[bu] {64} Song.—[Childe Harold, 1814.]

[50] ["I send you some lines which may as well be called 'A Song' as anything else, and will do for your new edition."—B.—(MS. M.)]

[bv] But her who not——.—[MS. M.]

[bw] {65} To Ianthe.—[MS. M. Compare "The Dedication" to Childe Harold.]

[51] {67} [It is possible that these lines, as well as the Sonnets "To Genevra," were addressed to Lady Frances Wedderburn Webster.—See Letters, 1898, ii. 2, note 1; and Letters, 1899, iii. 8, note 1.]

[bx] To him who loves and her who loved.—[MS. M.]

[by] That trembling form——.—[MS. M.]


Resigning thee, alas! I lost
Joys bought too dear, if bright with tears,
Yet ne'er regret the pangs it cost.—[MS. M. erased.]

[ca] And crush——.—[MS. M.]

[cb] And I been not unworthy thee.—[MS. M.]

[cc] Long may thy days——.—[MS. M.]

[cd] Might make my hope of guilty joy.—[MS.]

[52] [Byron forwarded these lines to Moore in a postscript to a letter dated September 27, 1813. "Here's," he writes, "an impromptu for you by a 'person of quality,' written last week, on being reproached for low spirits."—Letters, 1898, ii. 268. They were written at Aston Hall, Rotherham, where he "stayed a week ... and behaved very well—though the lady of the house [Lady F. Wedderburn Webster] is young, and religious, and pretty, and the master is my particular friend."—Letters, 1898, ii. 267.]

[ce] {70} And bleed——.—[MS. M.]

[53] ["Redde some Italian, and wrote two Sonnets.... I never wrote but one sonnet before, and that was not in earnest, and many years ago, as an exercise—and I will never write another. They are the most puling, petrifying, stupidly platonic compositions."—Diary, December 18, 1813; Letters, 1898, ii. 379.]

[cf] {71} ——Hope whispers not from woe.—[MS. M.]


["In moments to delight devoted
'My Life!' is still the name you give,
Dear words! on which my heart had doted
Had Man an endless term to live.
But, ah! so swift the seasons roll
That name must be repeated never,
For 'Life' in future say, 'My Soul,'
Which like my love exists for ever."

Byron wrote these lines in 1815, in Lady Lansdowne's album, at Bowood.—Note by Mr. Richard Edgecombe, Notes and Queries, Sixth Series, vii. 46.]


“One fatal remembrance—one sorrow that throws
Its bleak shade alike o'er our joys and our woes—
To which Life nothing darker nor brighter can bring,
For which joy hath no balm—and affliction no sting.”


["As a beam o'er the face," etc.—Irish Melodies.]



In a letter to Murray, dated Pisa, December 12, 1821 (Life, p. 545), Byron avows that the "Giaour Story" had actually "some foundation on facts." Soon after the poem appeared (June 5, 1813), "a story was circulated by some gentlewomen ... a little too close to the text" (Letters to Moore, September 1, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 258), and in order to put himself right with his friends or posterity, Byron wrote to his friend Lord Sligo, who in July, 1810, was anchored off Athens in "a twelve-gun brig, with a crew of fifty men" (see Letters, 1898, i. 289, note 1), requesting him to put on paper not so much the narrative of an actual event, but "what he had heard at Athens about the affair of that girl who was so near being put an end to while you were there." According to the letter which Moore published (Life, p. 178), and which is reprinted in the present issue (Letters, 1898, ii. 257), Byron interposed on behalf of a girl, who "in compliance with the strict letter of the Mohammedan law," had been sewn in a sack and was about to be thrown into the sea. "I was told," adds Lord Sligo, "that you then conveyed her in safety to the convent, and despatched her off at night to Thebes." The letter, which Byron characterizes as "curious," is by no means conclusive, and to judge from the designedly mysterious references in the Journal, dated November 16 and December 5, and in the second postscript to a letter to Professor Clarke, dated December 15, 1813 (Letters, 1898, ii. 321, 361, 311), "the circumstances which were the groundwork" are not before us. "An event," says John Wright (ed. 1832, ix. 145), "in which Lord Byron was personally concerned, undoubtedly supplied the groundwork of this tale; but for the [76] story so circumstantially set forth (see Medwin's Conversations, 1824, pp. 121, 124) of his having been the lover of this female slave, there is no foundation. The girl whose life the poet saved at Athens was not, we are assured by Sir John Hobhouse (Westminster Review, January, 1825, iii. 27), an object of his Lordship's attachment, but of that of his Turkish servant." Nevertheless, whatever Byron may have told Hobhouse (who had returned to England), and he distinctly says (Letters, 1898, ii. 393) that he did not tell him everything, he avowed to Clarke that he had been led "to the water's edge," and confided to his diary that to "describe the feelings of that situation was impossible—it is icy even to recollect them."

For the allusive and fragmentary style of the Giaour, The Voyage of Columbus, which Rogers published in 1812, is in part responsible. "It is sudden in its transitions," wrote the author, in the Preface to the first edition, "... leaving much to be imagined by the reader." The story or a part of it is told by a fellow-seaman of Columbus, who had turned "eremite" in his old age, and though the narrative itself is in heroic verse, the prologue and epilogue, as they may be termed, are in "the romance or ballad-measure of the Spanish." The resemblance between the two poems is certainly more than accidental. On the other hand, a vivid and impassioned description of Oriental scenery and customs was, as Gifford observed, new and original, and though, by his own admission, Byron was indebted to Vathek (or rather S. Henley's notes to Vathek) and to D'Herbelot's Bibliothèque Orientale for allusions and details, the "atmosphere" could only have been reproduced by the creative fancy of an observant and enthusiastic traveller who had lived under Eastern skies, and had come within ken of Eastern life and sentiment.

In spite, however, of his love for the subject-matter of his poem, and the facility, surprising even to himself, with which he spun his rhymes, Byron could not persuade himself that a succession of fragments would sort themselves and grow into a complete and connected whole. If his thrice-repeated depreciation of the Giaour is not entirely genuine, it is plain that he misdoubted himself. Writing to Murray (August 26, [77] 1813) he says, "I have, but with some difficulty, not added any more to this snake of a poem, which has been lengthening its rattles every month;" to Moore (September 1), "The Giaour I have added to a good deal, but still in foolish fragments;" and, again, to Moore (September 8), "By the coach I send you a copy of that awful pamphlet the Giaour."

But while the author doubted and apologized, or deprecated "his love's excess In words of wrong and bitterness," the public read, and edition followed edition with bewildering speed.

The Giaour was reviewed by George Agar Ellis in the Quarterly (No. xxxi., January, 1813 [published February 11, 1813]) and in the Edinburgh Review by Jeffrey (No. 54, January, 1813 [published February 24, 1813]). [78]


The bibliography of the Giaour is beset with difficulties, and it is doubtful if more than approximate accuracy can be secured. The composition of the entire poem in its present shape was accomplished within six months, May-November, 1813, but during that period it was expanded by successive accretions from a first draft of 407 lines (extant in MS.) to a seventh edition of 1334 lines. A proof is extant of an edition of 28 pages containing 460 lines, itself an enlargement on the MS.; but whether (as a note in the handwriting of the late Mr. Murray affirms) this was or was not published is uncertain. A portion of a second proof of 38 pages has been preserved, but of the publication of the poem in this state there is no record. On June 5 a first edition of 41 pages, containing 685 lines, was issued, and of this numerous copies are extant. At the end of June, or the beginning of July, 1813, a second edition, entitled, a "New Edition with some Additions," appeared. This consisted of 47 pages, and numbered 816 lines. Among the accretions is to be found the famous passage beginning, "He that hath bent him o'er the dead." Two MS. copies of this pannus vere purpureus are in Mr. Murray's possession. At the end of July, and during the first half of August, two or more issues of a third edition were set up in type. The first issue amounted to 53 pages, containing 950 lines, was certainly published in this form, and possibly a second issue of 56 pages, containing 1004 lines, may have followed at a brief interval. A revise of this second issue, dated August 13, is extant. In the last fortnight of August a fourth edition of 58 pages, containing 1048 lines, undoubtedly saw the light. Scarcely more than a few days can have elapsed before a fifth edition of 66 pages, [79] containing 1215 lines, was ready to supplant the fourth edition. A sixth edition, a reproduction of the fifth, may have appeared in October. A seventh edition of 75 pages, containing 1334 lines, which presented the poem in its final shape, was issued subsequently to November 27, 1813 (a seventh edition was advertised in the Morning Chronicle, December 22, 1813), the date of the last revise, or of an advance copy of the issue. The ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth editions belong to 1814, while a fourteenth edition is known to have been issued in 1815. In that year and henceforward the Giaour was included in the various collected editions of Byron's works. The subjoined table assigns to their several editions the successive accretions in their order as now published:—

Lines. Giaour. Edition of——
1—6. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  
7—20. Second edition. [47 pages, 816 lines.] Approximate date, June 24, 1813.
21—45. Third edition. [53 pages, 950 lines.] July 30, 1813.
46—102. Second edition.  
103—167. Fifth edition. [66 pages, 1215 lines.] August 25, 1813.
168—199. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  
200—250. Third edition.  
251—252. Seventh edition. [75 pages, 1334 lines.] November 27, 1813.
253—276. Third edition.  
277—287. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  
288—351. Third edition. (Second issue?) [56 pages, 1004,? 1014 lines.] August 11, 1813.
352—503. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  
504—518. Third edition.  
519—619. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  
620—654. Second edition.  
655—688. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  
689—722. Fourth edition. [58 pages, 1048 lines.] August 19.
723—737. MS. First edition of 28 pages. 733-4 not in the MS., but in First edition of 28 pages.  
738—745. First edition of 41 pages. June 5, 1813.
746—786. First edition of 28 pages. Not in the MS  
787—831. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  
832—915. Seventh edition.  
916—998. First edition of 41 pages. 937-970 no MS.  
999—1023. Second edition.  
1024—1028. Seventh edition.  
1029—1079. First edition of 41 pages.  
1080—1098. Third edition.  
1099—1125. First edition of 41 pages.  
1126—1130. Seventh edition.  
1131—1191. Fifth edition.  
1192—1217. Seventh edition.  
1218—1256. Fifth edition.  
1257—1318. First edition of 41 pages.  
1319—1334. MS. First edition of 28 pages.  



The first edition is advertised in the Morning Chronicle, June 5; a third edition on August 11, 13, 16, 31; a fifth edition, with considerable additions, on September 11; on November 29 a "new edition;" and on December 27, 1813, a seventh edition, together with a repeated notice of the Bride of Abydos. These dates do not exactly correspond with Murray's contemporary memoranda of the dates of the successive issues.[81]





London, May, 1813.



The tale which these disjointed fragments present, is founded upon circumstances now less common in the East than formerly; either because the ladies are more circumspect than in the "olden time," or because the Christians have better fortune, or less enterprise. The story, when entire, contained the adventures of a female slave, who was thrown, in the Mussulman manner, into the sea for infidelity, and avenged by a young Venetian, her lover, at the time the Seven Islands were possessed by the Republic of Venice, and soon after the Arnauts were beaten back from the Morea, which they had ravaged for some time subsequent to the Russian invasion. The desertion of the Mainotes, on being refused the plunder of Misitra, led to the abandonment of that enterprise, and to the desolation of the Morea, during which the cruelty exercised on all sides was unparalleled even in the annals of the faithful.[85]


No breath of air to break the wave
That rolls below the Athenian's grave,
That tomb[55] which, gleaming o'er the cliff,
First greets the homeward-veering skiff
High o'er the land he saved in vain;
When shall such Hero live again?

Fair clime! where every season smiles[cg]
[86] Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
Which, seen from far Colonna's height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,10
And lend to loneliness delight.
There mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek
Reflects the tints of many a peak
Caught by the laughing tides that lave
These Edens of the eastern wave:
And if at times a transient breeze
Break the blue crystal of the seas,
Or sweep one blossom from the trees,
How welcome is each gentle air
That wakes and wafts the odours there!20
For there the Rose, o'er crag or vale,
Sultana of the Nightingale,[56]
[87]The maid for whom his melody,
His thousand songs are heard on high,
Blooms blushing to her lover's tale:
His queen, the garden queen, his Rose,
Unbent by winds, unchilled by snows,
Far from the winters of the west,
By every breeze and season blest,
Returns the sweets by Nature given30
In softest incense back to Heaven;
And grateful yields that smiling sky
Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh.
And many a summer flower is there,
And many a shade that Love might share,
And many a grotto, meant for rest,
That holds the pirate for a guest;
Whose bark in sheltering cove below
Lurks for the passing peaceful prow,
Till the gay mariner's guitar[57]40
Is heard, and seen the Evening Star;
[88]Then stealing with the muffled oar,
Far shaded by the rocky shore,
Rush the night-prowlers on the prey,
And turn to groans his roundelay.
Strange—that where Nature loved to trace,
As if for Gods, a dwelling place,
And every charm and grace hath mixed
Within the Paradise she fixed,
There man, enamoured of distress,50
Should mar it into wilderness,[ch]
And trample, brute-like, o'er each flower
That tasks not one laborious hour;
Nor claims the culture of his hand
To bloom along the fairy land,
But springs as to preclude his care,
And sweetly woos him—but to spare!
Strange—that where all is Peace beside,
There Passion riots in her pride,
And Lust and Rapine wildly reign60
To darken o'er the fair domain.
It is as though the Fiends prevailed
Against the Seraphs they assailed,
And, fixed on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The freed inheritors of Hell;
So soft the scene, so formed for joy,
So curst the tyrants that destroy!
He who hath bent him o'er the dead[ci][58]
Ere the first day of Death is fled,
[89]The first dark day of Nothingness,70
The last of Danger and Distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where Beauty lingers,)
And marked the mild angelic air,
The rapture of Repose that's there,[cj]
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek,
And—but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,
[90]And but for that chill, changeless brow,80
Where cold Obstruction's apathy[59]
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,[ck]
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon;
Yes, but for these and these alone,
Some moments, aye, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the Tyrant's power;
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,
The first, last look by Death revealed![60]
Such is the aspect of this shore;90
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more![61]
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for Soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath;
[91] But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb,
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded Halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of Feeling past away!100
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherished earth!
Clime of the unforgotten brave![62]
Whose land from plain to mountain-cave
Was Freedom's home or Glory's grave!
Shrine of the mighty! can it be,[cl]
That this is all remains of thee?
Approach, thou craven crouching slave:[63]
Say, is not this Thermopylæ?[cm]
These waters blue that round you lave,—110
Oh servile offspring of the free—
Pronounce what sea, what shore is this?
The gulf, the rock of Salamis!
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Arise, and make again your own;
Snatch from the ashes of your Sires
The embers of their former fires;
[92] And he who in the strife expires[cn]
Will add to theirs a name of fear
That Tyranny shall quake to hear,120
And leave his sons a hope, a fame,
They too will rather die than shame:
For Freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeathed by bleeding Sire to Son,[co]
Though baffled oft is ever won.
Bear witness, Greece, thy living page!
Attest it many a deathless age![cp]
While Kings, in dusty darkness hid,
Have left a nameless pyramid,
Thy Heroes, though the general doom130
Hath swept the column from their tomb,
A mightier monument command,
The mountains of their native land!
There points thy Muse to stranger's eye[cq]
The graves of those that cannot die!
'Twere long to tell, and sad to trace,
Each step from Splendour to Disgrace;
Enough—no foreign foe could quell
Thy soul, till from itself it fell;
Yet! Self-abasement paved the way140
To villain-bonds and despot sway.
What can he tell who treads thy shore?
No legend of thine olden time,
No theme on which the Muse might soar
High as thine own in days of yore,
[93] When man was worthy of thy clime.
The hearts within thy valleys bred,[cr]
The fiery souls that might have led
Thy sons to deeds sublime,
Now crawl from cradle to the Grave,150
Slaves—nay, the bondsmen of a Slave,[64]
And callous, save to crime;
Stained with each evil that pollutes
Mankind, where least above the brutes;
Without even savage virtue blest,
Without one free or valiant breast,
Still to the neighbouring ports they waft[cs]
Proverbial wiles, and ancient craft;
In this the subtle Greek is found,
For this, and this alone, renowned.160
In vain might Liberty invoke
The spirit to its bondage broke
Or raise the neck that courts the yoke:
No more her sorrows I bewail,
Yet this will be a mournful tale,
And they who listen may believe,
Who heard it first had cause to grieve.

Far, dark, along the blue sea glancing,
The shadows of the rocks advancing
[94] Start on the fisher's eye like boat170
Of island-pirate or Mainote;
And fearful for his light caïque,
He shuns the near but doubtful creek:[ct]
Though worn and weary with his toil,
And cumbered with his scaly spoil,
Slowly, yet strongly, plies the oar,
Till Port Leone's safer shore
Receives him by the lovely light
That best becomes an Eastern night.

Who thundering comes on blackest steed,[65]180
With slackened bit and hoof of speed?
Beneath the clattering iron's sound
The caverned Echoes wake around
In lash for lash, and bound for bound:
The foam that streaks the courser's side
Seems gathered from the Ocean-tide:
Though weary waves are sunk to rest,
There's none within his rider's breast;
And though to-morrow's tempest lower,
'Tis calmer than thy heart, young Giaour![66]190
[95]I know thee not, I loathe thy race,
But in thy lineaments I trace
What Time shall strengthen, not efface:
Though young and pale, that sallow front
Is scathed by fiery Passion's brunt;
Though bent on earth thine evil eye,[cu]
As meteor-like thou glidest by,
Right well I view and deem thee one
Whom Othman's sons should slay or shun.
On—on he hastened, and he drew200
My gaze of wonder as he flew:[cv]
Though like a Demon of the night
He passed, and vanished from my sight,
His aspect and his air impressed
A troubled memory on my breast,
And long upon my startled ear
Rung his dark courser's hoofs of fear.
He spurs his steed; he nears the steep,
That, jutting, shadows o'er the deep;
He winds around; he hurries by;210
The rock relieves him from mine eye;
For, well I ween, unwelcome he
Whose glance is fixed on those that flee;
And not a star but shines too bright
[96] On him who takes such timeless flight.[cw]
He wound along; but ere he passed
One glance he snatched, as if his last,
A moment checked his wheeling steed,[67]
A moment breathed him from his speed,
A moment on his stirrup stood—220
Why looks he o'er the olive wood?[cx]
The Crescent glimmers on the hill,
The Mosque's high lamps are quivering still
Though too remote for sound to wake
In echoes of the far tophaike,[68]
The flashes of each joyous peal
Are seen to prove the Moslem's zeal.
To-night, set Rhamazani's sun;
To-night, the Bairam feast's begun;
To-night—but who and what art thou230
Of foreign garb and fearful brow?
And what are these to thine or thee,
That thou shouldst either pause or flee?
He stood—some dread was on his face,
Soon Hatred settled in its place:
It rose not with the reddening flush
[97] Of transient Anger's hasty blush,[cy][69]
But pale as marble o'er the tomb,
Whose ghastly whiteness aids its gloom.
His brow was bent, his eye was glazed;240
He raised his arm, and fiercely raised,
And sternly shook his hand on high,
As doubting to return or fly;[cz]
Impatient of his flight delayed,
Here loud his raven charger neighed—
Down glanced that hand, and grasped his blade;
That sound had burst his waking dream,
As Slumber starts at owlet's scream.
The spur hath lanced his courser's sides;
Away—away—for life he rides:250
Swift as the hurled on high jerreed[70]
Springs to the touch his startled steed;
The rock is doubled, and the shore
Shakes with the clattering tramp no more;
The crag is won, no more is seen
[98] His Christian crest and haughty mien.
'Twas but an instant he restrained
That fiery barb so sternly reined;[da]
'Twas but a moment that he stood,
Then sped as if by Death pursued;260
But in that instant o'er his soul
Winters of Memory seemed to roll,
And gather in that drop of time
A life of pain, an age of crime.
O'er him who loves, or hates, or fears,
Such moment pours the grief of years:[db]
What felt he then, at once opprest
By all that most distracts the breast?
That pause, which pondered o'er his fate,
Oh, who its dreary length shall date!270
Though in Time's record nearly nought,
It was Eternity to Thought![71]
For infinite as boundless space
The thought that Conscience must embrace,
Which in itself can comprehend
Woe without name, or hope, or end.[72]
The hour is past, the Giaour is gone:
And did he fly or fall alone?[dc]
Woe to that hour he came or went!
The curse for Hassan's sin was sent280
To turn a palace to a tomb;
He came, he went, like the Simoom,[73]
That harbinger of Fate and gloom,
Beneath whose widely-wasting breath
The very cypress droops to death—
Dark tree, still sad when others' grief is fled,
The only constant mourner o'er the dead!
The steed is vanished from the stall;
No serf is seen in Hassan's hall;
The lonely Spider's thin gray pall[dd]290
Waves slowly widening o'er the wall;
[100] The Bat builds in his Haram bower,[74]
And in the fortress of his power
The Owl usurps the beacon-tower;
The wild-dog howls o'er the fountain's brim,
With baffled thirst, and famine, grim;
For the stream has shrunk from its marble bed,
Where the weeds and the desolate dust are spread.
'Twas sweet of yore to see it play
And chase the sultriness of day,300
As springing high the silver dew[de]
In whirls fantastically flew,
[101] And flung luxurious coolness round
The air, and verdure o'er the ground.
'Twas sweet, when cloudless stars were bright,
To view the wave of watery light,
And hear its melody by night.
And oft had Hassan's Childhood played
Around the verge of that cascade;
And oft upon his mother's breast310
That sound had harmonized his rest;
And oft had Hassan's Youth along
Its bank been soothed by Beauty's song;
And softer seemed each melting tone
Of Music mingled with its own.
But ne'er shall Hassan's Age repose
Along the brink at Twilight's close:
The stream that filled that font is fled—
The blood that warmed his heart is shed![df]
And here no more shall human voice320
Be heard to rage, regret, rejoice.
The last sad note that swelled the gale
Was woman's wildest funeral wail:
That quenched in silence, all is still,
But the lattice that flaps when the wind is shrill:
Though raves the gust, and floods the rain,
No hand shall close its clasp again.
On desert sands 'twere joy to scan
The rudest steps of fellow man,
So here the very voice of Grief330
Might wake an Echo like relief—[dg]
At least 'twould say, "All are not gone;
[102] There lingers Life, though but in one"—[dh]
For many a gilded chamber's there,
Which Solitude might well forbear;[75]
Within that dome as yet Decay
Hath slowly worked her cankering way—
But gloom is gathered o'er the gate,
Nor there the Fakir's self will wait;
Nor there will wandering Dervise stay,340
For Bounty cheers not his delay;
Nor there will weary stranger halt
To bless the sacred "bread and salt."[di][76]
Alike must Wealth and Poverty
[103] Pass heedless and unheeded by,
For Courtesy and Pity died
With Hassan on the mountain side.
His roof, that refuge unto men,
Is Desolation's hungry den.
The guest flies the hall, and the vassal from labour,350
Since his turban was cleft by the infidel's sabre![dj][77]

I hear the sound of coming feet,
But not a voice mine ear to greet;
More near—each turban I can scan,
And silver-sheathèd ataghan;[78]
The foremost of the band is seen
An Emir by his garb of green:[79]
"Ho! who art thou?"—"This low salam[80]
[104] Replies of Moslem faith I am.[dk]
The burthen ye so gently bear,360
Seems one that claims your utmost care,
And, doubtless, holds some precious freight—
My humble bark would gladly wait."[dl]
"Thou speakest sooth: thy skiff unmoor,
And waft us from the silent shore;
Nay, leave the sail still furled, and ply
The nearest oar that's scattered by,
And midway to those rocks where sleep
The channelled waters dark and deep.
Rest from your task—so—bravely done,370
Our course has been right swiftly run;
Yet 'tis the longest voyage, I trow,
That one of—[81] * * * "

Sullen it plunged, and slowly sank,
The calm wave rippled to the bank;
I watched it as it sank, methought
[105] Some motion from the current caught
Bestirred it more,—'twas but the beam
That checkered o'er the living stream:
I gazed, till vanishing from view,380
Like lessening pebble it withdrew;
Still less and less, a speck of white
That gemmed the tide, then mocked the sight;
And all its hidden secrets sleep,
Known but to Genii of the deep,
Which, trembling in their coral caves,
They dare not whisper to the waves.

As rising on its purple wing
The insect-queen[82] of Eastern spring,
O'er emerald meadows of Kashmeer390
Invites the young pursuer near,
And leads him on from flower to flower
A weary chase and wasted hour,
Then leaves him, as it soars on high,
With panting heart and tearful eye:
So Beauty lures the full-grown child,
With hue as bright, and wing as wild:
A chase of idle hopes and fears,
Begun in folly, closed in tears.
If won, to equal ills betrayed,[dm]400
Woe waits the insect and the maid;
[106] A life of pain, the loss of peace;
From infant's play, and man's caprice:
The lovely toy so fiercely sought
Hath lost its charm by being caught,
For every touch that wooed its stay
Hath brushed its brightest hues away,
Till charm, and hue, and beauty gone,
'Tis left to fly or fall alone.
With wounded wing, or bleeding breast,410
Ah! where shall either victim rest?
Can this with faded pinion soar
From rose to tulip as before?
Or Beauty, blighted in an hour,
Find joy within her broken bower?
No: gayer insects fluttering by
Ne'er droop the wing o'er those that die,
And lovelier things have mercy shown
To every failing but their own,
And every woe a tear can claim420
Except an erring Sister's shame.

The Mind, that broods o'er guilty woes,
Is like the Scorpion girt by fire;
In circle narrowing as it glows,[dn]
The flames around their captive close,
Till inly searched by thousand throes,
And maddening in her ire,
One sad and sole relief she knows—
The sting she nourished for her foes,
Whose venom never yet was vain,430
Gives but one pang, and cures all pain,
And darts into her desperate brain:
[107] So do the dark in soul expire,
Or live like Scorpion girt by fire;[83]
So writhes the mind Remorse hath riven,[do]
Unfit for earth, undoomed for heaven,
Darkness above, despair beneath,
Around it flame, within it death!

Black Hassan from the Haram flies,
Nor bends on woman's form his eyes;440
The unwonted chase each hour employs,
Yet shares he not the hunter's joys.
Not thus was Hassan wont to fly
When Leila dwelt in his Serai.
Doth Leila there no longer dwell?
That tale can only Hassan tell:
Strange rumours in our city say
Upon that eve she fled away
When Rhamazan's[84] last sun was set,
[108]And flashing from each Minaret450
Millions of lamps proclaimed the feast
Of Bairam through the boundless East.
'Twas then she went as to the bath,
Which Hassan vainly searched in wrath;
For she was flown her master's rage
In likeness of a Georgian page,
And far beyond the Moslem's power
Had wronged him with the faithless Giaour.
Somewhat of this had Hassan deemed;
But still so fond, so fair she seemed,460
Too well he trusted to the slave
Whose treachery deserved a grave:
And on that eve had gone to Mosque,
And thence to feast in his Kiosk.
Such is the tale his Nubians tell,
Who did not watch their charge too well;
But others say, that on that night,
By pale Phingari's[85] trembling light,
The Giaour upon his jet-black steed
Was seen, but seen alone to speed470
With bloody spur along the shore,
Nor maid nor page behind him bore.

Her eye's dark charm 'twere vain to tell,
But gaze on that of the Gazelle,
It will assist thy fancy well;
As large, as languishingly dark,
But Soul beamed forth in every spark
That darted from beneath the lid,
Bright as the jewel of Giamschid.[86]
[109]Yea, Soul, and should our prophet say480
That form was nought but breathing clay,
By Alla! I would answer nay;
Though on Al-Sirat's[87] arch I stood,
Which totters o'er the fiery flood,
[110] With Paradise within my view,
And all his Houris beckoning through.
Oh! who young Leila's glance could read
And keep that portion of his creed
Which saith that woman is but dust,
A soulless toy for tyrant's lust?[88]490
On her might Muftis gaze, and own
That through her eye the Immortal shone;
On her fair cheek's unfading hue
The young pomegranate's[89] blossoms strew
Their bloom in blushes ever new;
Her hair in hyacinthine flow,[90]
[111]When left to roll its folds below,
As midst her handmaids in the hall
She stood superior to them all,
Hath swept the marble where her feet500
Gleamed whiter than the mountain sleet
Ere from the cloud that gave it birth
It fell, and caught one stain of earth.
The cygnet nobly walks the water;
So moved on earth Circassia's daughter,
The loveliest bird of Franguestan![91]
As rears her crest the ruffled Swan,
And spurns the wave with wings of pride,
When pass the steps of stranger man
Along the banks that bound her tide;510
Thus rose fair Leila's whiter neck:—
Thus armed with beauty would she check
Intrusion's glance, till Folly's gaze
Shrunk from the charms it meant to praise.
Thus high and graceful was her gait;
Her heart as tender to her mate;
Her mate—stern Hassan, who was he?
Alas! that name was not for thee![92]

Stern Hassan hath a journey ta'en
With twenty vassals in his train,520
Each armed, as best becomes a man,
With arquebuss and ataghan;
[112] The chief before, as decked for war,
Bears in his belt the scimitar
Stained with the best of Arnaut blood,
When in the pass the rebels stood,
And few returned to tell the tale
Of what befell in Parne's vale.
The pistols which his girdle bore
Were those that once a Pasha wore,530
Which still, though gemmed and bossed with gold,
Even robbers tremble to behold.
'Tis said he goes to woo a bride
More true than her who left his side;
The faithless slave that broke her bower,
And—worse than faithless—for a Giaour!

The sun's last rays are on the hill,
And sparkle in the fountain rill,
Whose welcome waters, cool and clear,
Draw blessings from the mountaineer:540
Here may the loitering merchant Greek
Find that repose 'twere vain to seek
In cities lodged too near his lord,
And trembling for his secret hoard—
Here may he rest where none can see,
In crowds a slave, in deserts free;
And with forbidden wine may stain
The bowl a Moslem must not drain

The foremost Tartar's in the gap
Conspicuous by his yellow cap;550
The rest in lengthening line the while
Wind slowly through the long defile:
[113] Above, the mountain rears a peak,
Where vultures whet the thirsty beak,
And theirs may be a feast to-night,
Shall tempt them down ere morrow's light;
Beneath, a river's wintry stream
Has shrunk before the summer beam,
And left a channel bleak and bare,
Save shrubs that spring to perish there:560
Each side the midway path there lay
Small broken crags of granite gray,
By time, or mountain lightning, riven
From summits clad in mists of heaven;
For where is he that hath beheld
The peak of Liakura[93] unveiled?

They reach the grove of pine at last;
"Bismillah![94] now the peril's past;
For yonder view the opening plain,
And there we'll prick our steeds amain:"570
The Chiaus[95] spake, and as he said,
A bullet whistled o'er his head;
The foremost Tartar bites the ground!
Scarce had they time to check the rein,
[114] Swift from their steeds the riders bound;
But three shall never mount again:
Unseen the foes that gave the wound,
The dying ask revenge in vain.
With steel unsheathed, and carbine bent,
Some o'er their courser's harness leant,580
Half sheltered by the steed;
Some fly beneath the nearest rock,
And there await the coming shock,
Nor tamely stand to bleed
Beneath the shaft of foes unseen,
Who dare not quit their craggy screen.
Stern Hassan only from his horse
Disdains to light, and keeps his course,
Till fiery flashes in the van
Proclaim too sure the robber-clan590
Have well secured the only way
Could now avail the promised prey;
Then curled his very beard[96] with ire,
And glared his eye with fiercer fire;
"Though far and near the bullets hiss,
I've scaped a bloodier hour than this."
And now the foe their covert quit,
And call his vassals to submit;
But Hassan's frown and furious word
Are dreaded more than hostile sword,600
Nor of his little band a man
Resigned carbine or ataghan,
[115] Nor raised the craven cry, Amaun![97]
In fuller sight, more near and near,
The lately ambushed foes appear,
And, issuing from the grove, advance
Some who on battle-charger prance.
Who leads them on with foreign brand
Far flashing in his red right hand?
"'Tis he!'tis he! I know him now;610
I know him by his pallid brow;
I know him by the evil eye[98]
That aids his envious treachery;
I know him by his jet-black barb;
Though now arrayed in Arnaut garb,
Apostate from his own vile faith,
It shall not save him from the death:
'Tis he! well met in any hour,
Lost Leila's love—accursed Giaour!"
As rolls the river into Ocean,[99]620
In sable torrent wildly streaming;
As the sea-tide's opposing motion,
In azure column proudly gleaming,
Beats back the current many a rood,
In curling foam and mingling flood,
While eddying whirl, and breaking wave,
Roused by the blast of winter, rave;
Through sparkling spray, in thundering clash,
The lightnings of the waters flash
[116] In awful whiteness o'er the shore,630
That shines and shakes beneath the roar;
Thus—as the stream and Ocean greet,
With waves that madden as they meet—
Thus join the bands, whom mutual wrong,
And fate, and fury, drive along.
The bickering sabres' shivering jar;
And pealing wide or ringing near
Its echoes on the throbbing ear,
The deathshot hissing from afar;
The shock, the shout, the groan of war,640
Reverberate along that vale,
More suited to the shepherd's tale:
Though few the numbers—theirs the strife,
That neither spares nor speaks for life![dp]
Ah! fondly youthful hearts can press,
To seize and share the dear caress;
But Love itself could never pant
For all that Beauty sighs to grant
With half the fervour Hate bestows
Upon the last embrace of foes,650
When grappling in the fight they fold
Those arms that ne'er shall lose their hold:
Friends meet to part; Love laughs at faith;
True foes, once met, are joined till death!

With sabre shivered to the hilt,
Yet dripping with the blood he spilt;
Yet strained within the severed hand
Which quivers round that faithless brand;
His turban far behind him rolled,
[117]And cleft in twain its firmest fold;660
His flowing robe by falchion torn,
And crimson as those clouds of morn
That, streaked with dusky red, portend
The day shall have a stormy end;
A stain on every bush that bore
A fragment of his palampore;[100]
His breast with wounds unnumbered riven,
His back to earth, his face to Heaven,
Fall'n Hassan lies—his unclosed eye
Yet lowering on his enemy,670
As if the hour that sealed his fate[101]
Surviving left his quenchless hate;
And o'er him bends that foe with brow
As dark as his that bled below.

"Yes, Leila sleeps beneath the wave,
But his shall be a redder grave;
Her spirit pointed well the steel
Which taught that felon heart to feel.
He called the Prophet, but his power
Was vain against the vengeful Giaour:680
He called on Alla—but the word
Arose unheeded or unheard.
Thou Paynim fool! could Leila's prayer
Be passed, and thine accorded there?
I watched my time, I leagued with these,
The traitor in his turn to seize;
My wrath is wreaked, the deed is done,
And now I go—but go alone."

The browsing camels' bells are tinkling:[dq]
His mother looked from her lattice high—[102]690
She saw the dews of eve besprinkling
The pasture green beneath her eye,
She saw the planets faintly twinkling:
"'Tis twilight—sure his train is nigh."
She could not rest in the garden-bower,
But gazed through the grate of his steepest tower.
"Why comes he not? his steeds are fleet,
Nor shrink they from the summer heat;
Why sends not the Bridegroom his promised gift?
Is his heart more cold, or his barb less swift?700
Oh, false reproach! yon Tartar now
Has gained our nearest mountain's brow,
And warily the steep descends,
[119] And now within the valley bends;[dr]
And he bears the gift at his saddle bow—
How could I deem his courser slow?[ds]
Right well my largess shall repay
His welcome speed, and weary way."
The Tartar lighted at the gate,
But scarce upheld his fainting weight![dt]710
His swarthy visage spake distress,
But this might be from weariness;
His garb with sanguine spots was dyed,
But these might be from his courser's side;
He drew the token from his vest—
Angel of Death! 'tis Hassan's cloven crest!
His calpac[103] rent—his caftan red—
"Lady, a fearful bride thy Son hath wed:
Me, not from mercy, did they spare,
But this empurpled pledge to bear.720
Peace to the brave! whose blood is spilt:
Woe to the Giaour! for his the guilt."

A Turban[104] carved in coarsest stone,
A Pillar with rank weeds o'ergrown,
[120] Whereon can now be scarcely read
The Koran verse that mourns the dead,
Point out the spot where Hassan fell
A victim in that lonely dell.
There sleeps as true an Osmanlie
As e'er at Mecca bent the knee;730
As ever scorned forbidden wine,
Or prayed with face towards the shrine,
In orisons resumed anew
At solemn sound of "Alla Hu!"[105]
Yet died he by a stranger's hand,
And stranger in his native land;
Yet died he as in arms he stood,
And unavenged, at least in blood.
But him the maids of Paradise
Impatient to their halls invite,740
And the dark heaven of Houris' eyes
On him shall glance for ever bright;
They come—their kerchiefs green they wave,[106]
And welcome with a kiss the brave!
Who falls in battle 'gainst a Giaour
Is worthiest an immortal bower.
But thou, false Infidel! shall writhe
Beneath avenging Monkir's[107] scythe;
And from its torments 'scape alone
To wander round lost Eblis'[108] throne;750
And fire unquenched, unquenchable,
Around, within, thy heart shall dwell;
Nor ear can hear nor tongue can tell
The tortures of that inward hell!
But first, on earth as Vampire[109] sent,
[122]Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;760
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall,
The youngest, most beloved of all,
Shall bless thee with a father's name—
That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!770
Yet must thou end thy task, and mark
Her cheek's last tinge, her eye's last spark,
[123] And the last glassy glance must view
Which freezes o'er its lifeless blue;
Then with unhallowed hand shalt tear
The tresses of her yellow hair,
Of which in life a lock when shorn
Affection's fondest pledge was worn,
But now is borne away by thee,
Memorial of thine agony!780
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;[110]
Then stalking to thy sullen grave,
Go—and with Gouls and Afrits rave;
Till these in horror shrink away
From Spectre more accursed than they!

"How name ye yon lone Caloyer?[111]
His features I have scanned before
[124]In mine own land: 'tis many a year,
Since, dashing by the lonely shore,790
I saw him urge as fleet a steed
As ever served a horseman's need.
But once I saw that face, yet then
It was so marked with inward pain,
I could not pass it by again;
It breathes the same dark spirit now,
As death were stamped upon his brow.[du]
"'Tis twice three years at summer tide
Since first among our freres he came;
And here it soothes him to abide800
For some dark deed he will not name.
But never at our Vesper prayer,
Nor e'er before Confession chair
Kneels he, nor recks he when arise
Incense or anthem to the skies,
But broods within his cell alone,
His faith and race alike unknown.
The sea from Paynim land he crost,
And here ascended from the coast;
Yet seems he not of Othman race,810
But only Christian in his face:
I'd judge him some stray renegade,
Repentant of the change he made,
Save that he shuns our holy shrine,
Nor tastes the sacred bread and wine.
Great largess to these walls he brought,
And thus our Abbot's favour bought;
[125] But were I Prior, not a day
Should brook such stranger's further stay,
Or pent within our penance cell820
Should doom him there for aye to dwell.
Much in his visions mutters he
Of maiden whelmed beneath the sea;[dv]
Of sabres clashing, foemen flying,
Wrongs avenged, and Moslem dying.
On cliff he hath been known to stand,
And rave as to some bloody hand
Fresh severed from its parent limb,
Invisible to all but him,
Which beckons onward to his grave,830
And lures to leap into the wave."

Dark and unearthly is the scowl
That glares beneath his dusky cowl:
The flash of that dilating eye
Reveals too much of times gone by;
Though varying, indistinct its hue,
Oft with his glance the gazer rue,
For in it lurks that nameless spell,
Which speaks, itself unspeakable,
A spirit yet unquelled and high,840
That claims and keeps ascendancy;
And like the bird whose pinions quake,
But cannot fly the gazing snake,
Will others quail beneath his look,
Nor 'scape the glance they scarce can brook.
From him the half-affrighted Friar
When met alone would fain retire,
[126] As if that eye and bitter smile
Transferred to others fear and guile:
Not oft to smile descendeth he,850
And when he doth 'tis sad to see
That he but mocks at Misery.
How that pale lip will curl and quiver!
Then fix once more as if for ever;
As if his sorrow or disdain
Forbade him e'er to smile again.
Well were it so—such ghastly mirth
From joyaunce ne'er derived its birth.
But sadder still it were to trace
What once were feelings in that face:860
Time hath not yet the features fixed,
But brighter traits with evil mixed;
And there are hues not always faded,
Which speak a mind not all degraded
Even by the crimes through which it waded:
The common crowd but see the gloom
Of wayward deeds, and fitting doom;
The close observer can espy
A noble soul, and lineage high:
Alas! though both bestowed in vain,870
Which Grief could change, and Guilt could stain,
It was no vulgar tenement
To which such lofty gifts were lent,
And still with little less than dread
On such the sight is riveted.
The roofless cot, decayed and rent,
Will scarce delay the passer-by;
The tower by war or tempest bent,
While yet may frown one battlement,
Demands and daunts the stranger's eye;880
Each ivied arch, and pillar lone,
Pleads haughtily for glories gone!
[127] "His floating robe around him folding,
Slow sweeps he through the columned aisle;
With dread beheld, with gloom beholding
The rites that sanctify the pile.
But when the anthem shakes the choir,
And kneel the monks, his steps retire;
By yonder lone and wavering torch
His aspect glares within the porch;890
There will he pause till all is done—
And hear the prayer, but utter none.
See—by the half-illumined wall[dw]
His hood fly back, his dark hair fall,
That pale brow wildly wreathing round,
As if the Gorgon there had bound
The sablest of the serpent-braid
That o'er her fearful forehead strayed:
For he declines the convent oath,
And leaves those locks unhallowed growth,900
But wears our garb in all beside;
And, not from piety but pride,
Gives wealth to walls that never heard
Of his one holy vow nor word.
Lo!—mark ye, as the harmony[dx]
Peals louder praises to the sky,
That livid cheek, that stony air
Of mixed defiance and despair!
Saint Francis, keep him from the shrine![dy]
[128]Else may we dread the wrath divine910
Made manifest by awful sign.
If ever evil angel bore
The form of mortal, such he wore;
By all my hope of sins forgiven,
Such looks are not of earth nor heaven!"
To Love the softest hearts are prone,
But such can ne'er be all his own;
Too timid in his woes to share,
Too meek to meet, or brave despair;
And sterner hearts alone may feel920
The wound that Time can never heal.
The rugged metal of the mine
Must burn before its surface shine,[dz][112]
But plunged within the furnace-flame,
It bends and melts—though still the same;
Then tempered to thy want, or will,
'Twill serve thee to defend or kill—
A breast-plate for thine hour of need,
Or blade to bid thy foeman bleed;
But if a dagger's form it bear,930
Let those who shape its edge, beware!
Thus Passion's fire, and Woman's art,
[129] Can turn and tame the sterner heart;
From these its form and tone are ta'en,
And what they make it, must remain,
But break—before it bend again.

If solitude succeed to grief,
Release from pain is slight relief;
The vacant bosom's wilderness
Might thank the pang that made it less.[113]940
We loathe what none are left to share:
Even bliss—'twere woe alone to bear;
The heart once left thus desolate
Must fly at last for ease—to hate.
It is as if the dead could feel[114]
The icy worm around them steal,
And shudder, as the reptiles creep
To revel o'er their rotting sleep,
Without the power to scare away
[130]The cold consumers of their clay!950
It is as if the desert bird,[115]
Whose beak unlocks her bosom's stream
To still her famished nestlings' scream,
Nor mourns a life to them transferred,
Should rend her rash devoted breast,
And find them flown her empty nest.
The keenest pangs the wretched find
Are rapture to the dreary void,
The leafless desert of the mind,
The waste of feelings unemployed.960
Who would be doomed to gaze upon
A sky without a cloud or sun?
Less hideous far the tempest's roar,
Than ne'er to brave the billows more—[ea]
Thrown, when the war of winds is o'er,
A lonely wreck on Fortune's shore,
'Mid sullen calm, and silent bay,
Unseen to drop by dull decay;—
Better to sink beneath the shock
Than moulder piecemeal on the rock!970

"Father! thy, days have passed in peace,
'Mid counted beads, and countless prayer;
To bid the sins of others cease,
Thyself without a crime or care,
Save transient ills that all must bear,
Has been thy lot from youth to age;
[131] And thou wilt bless thee from the rage
Of passions fierce and uncontrolled,
Such as thy penitents unfold,
Whose secret sins and sorrows rest980
Within thy pure and pitying breast.
My days, though few, have passed below
In much of Joy, but more of Woe;
Yet still in hours of love or strife,
I've 'scaped the weariness of Life:
Now leagued with friends, now girt by foes,
I loathed the languor of repose.
Now nothing left to love or hate,
No more with hope or pride elate,
I'd rather be the thing that crawls990
Most noxious o'er a dungeon's walls,[116]
Than pass my dull, unvarying days,
Condemned to meditate and gaze.
Yet, lurks a wish within my breast
For rest—but not to feel 'tis rest.
Soon shall my Fate that wish fulfil;
And I shall sleep without the dream
Of what I was, and would be still
Dark as to thee my deeds may seem:[eb]
My memory now is but the tomb1000
Of joys long dead; my hope, their doom:
'Though better to have died with those
Than bear a life of lingering woes.
My spirit shrunk not to sustain
The searching throes of ceaseless pain;
[132] Nor sought the self-accorded grave
Of ancient fool and modern knave:
Yet death I have not feared to meet;
And in the field it had been sweet,
Had Danger wooed me on to move1010
The slave of Glory, not of Love.
I've braved it—not for Honour's boast;
I smile at laurels won or lost;
To such let others carve their way,
For high renown, or hireling pay:
But place again before my eyes
Aught that I deem a worthy prize—
The maid I love, the man I hate—
And I will hunt the steps of fate,
To save or slay, as these require,1020
Through rending steel, and rolling fire:[ec]
Nor needst thou doubt this speech from one
Who would but do—what he hath done.
Death is but what the haughty brave,
The weak must bear, the wretch must crave;
Then let life go to Him who gave:
I have not quailed to Danger's brow
When high and happy—need I now?

"I loved her, Friar! nay, adored—
But these are words that all can use—1030
I proved it more in deed than word;
There's blood upon that dinted sword,
A stain its steel can never lose:
'Twas shed for her, who died for me,
[133] It warmed the heart of one abhorred:
Nay, start not—no—nor bend thy knee,
Nor midst my sin such act record;
Thou wilt absolve me from the deed,
For he was hostile to thy creed!
The very name of Nazarene1040
Was wormwood to his Paynim spleen.
Ungrateful fool! since but for brands
Well wielded in some hardy hands,
And wounds by Galileans given—
The surest pass to Turkish heaven—
For him his Houris still might wait
Impatient at the Prophet's gate.
I loved her—Love will find its way
Through paths where wolves would fear to prey;
And if it dares enough,'twere hard1050
If Passion met not some reward—
No matter how, or where, or why,
I did not vainly seek, nor sigh:
Yet sometimes, with remorse, in vain
I wish she had not loved again.
She died—I dare not tell thee how;
But look—'tis written on my brow!
There read of Cain the curse and crime,
In characters unworn by Time:
Still, ere thou dost condemn me, pause;1060
Not mine the act, though I the cause.
Yet did he but what I had done
Had she been false to more than one.
Faithless to him—he gave the blow;
But true to me—I laid him low:
Howe'er deserved her doom might be,
Her treachery was truth to me;
To me she gave her heart, that all
[134] Which Tyranny can ne'er enthrall;
And I, alas! too late to save!1070
Yet all I then could give, I gave—
'Twas some relief—our foe a grave.[ed]
His death sits lightly; but her fate
Has made me—what thou well mayst hate.
His doom was sealed—he knew it well,
Warned by the voice of stern Taheer,
Deep in whose darkly boding ear[117]
[135]The deathshot pealed of murder near,
As filed the troop to where they fell!
He died too in the battle broil,1080
A time that heeds nor pain nor toil;
One cry to Mahomet for aid,
One prayer to Alla all he made:
He knew and crossed me in the fray—
I gazed upon him where he lay,
And watched his spirit ebb away:
Though pierced like pard by hunter's steel,
He felt not half that now I feel.
I searched, but vainly searched, to find
The workings of a wounded mind;1090
Each feature of that sullen corse
Betrayed his rage, but no remorse.[118]
Oh, what had Vengeance given to trace
Despair upon his dying face!
The late repentance of that hour
When Penitence hath lost her power
To tear one terror from the grave,[ee]
And will not soothe, and cannot save.
"The cold in clime are cold in blood,
Their love can scarce deserve the name;1100
But mine was like the lava flood
That boils in Ætna's breast of flame.
I cannot prate in puling strain
Of Ladye-love, and Beauty's chain:
If changing cheek, and scorching vein,[ef]
Lips taught to writhe, but not complain,
If bursting heart, and maddening brain,
And daring deed, and vengeful steel,
And all that I have felt, and feel,
Betoken love—that love was mine,1110
And shown by many a bitter sign.
'Tis true, I could not whine nor sigh,
I knew but to obtain or die.
I die—but first I have possessed,
And come what may, I have been blessed.
Shall I the doom I sought upbraid?
No—reft of all, yet undismayed[eg]
But for the thought of Leila slain,
Give me the pleasure with the pain,
So would I live and love again.1120
I grieve, but not, my holy Guide!
For him who dies, but her who died:
She sleeps beneath the wandering wave—
Ah! had she but an earthly grave,
This breaking heart and throbbing head
Should seek and share her narrow bed.
She was a form of Life and Light,[119]
[137]That, seen, became a part of sight;
And rose, where'er I turned mine eye,
The Morning-star of Memory!1130
"Yes, Love indeed is light from heaven;[eh][120]
A spark of that immortal fire
With angels shared, by Alia given,
To lift from earth our low desire.
Devotion wafts the mind above,
But Heaven itself descends in Love;
A feeling from the Godhead caught,
To wean from self each sordid thought;
A ray of Him who formed the whole;
[138]A Glory circling round the soul!1140
I grant my love imperfect, all
That mortals by the name miscall;
Then deem it evil, what thou wilt;
But say, oh say, hers was not Guilt!
She was my Life's unerring Light:
That quenched—what beam shall break my night?[ei]
Oh! would it shone to lead me still,
Although to death or deadliest ill!
Why marvel ye, if they who lose
This present joy, this future hope,1150
No more with Sorrow meekly cope;
In phrensy then their fate accuse;
In madness do those fearful deeds
That seem to add but Guilt to Woe?
Alas! the breast that inly bleeds
Hath nought to dread from outward blow:
Who falls from all he knows of bliss,
Cares little into what abyss.[ej]
Fierce as the gloomy vulture's now
To thee, old man, my deeds appear:1160
I read abhorrence on thy brow,
And this too was I born to bear!
'Tis true, that, like that bird of prey,
With havock have I marked my way:
But this was taught me by the dove,
To die—and know no second love.
This lesson yet hath man to learn,
Taught by the thing he dares to spurn:
The bird that sings within the brake,
The swan that swims upon the lake,1170
One mate, and one alone, will take.
[139] And let the fool still prone to range,[ek]
And sneer on all who cannot change,
Partake his jest with boasting boys;
I envy not his varied joys,
But deem such feeble, heartless man,
Less than yon solitary swan;
Far, far beneath the shallow maid[el]
He left believing and betrayed.
Such shame at least was never mine—1180
Leila! each thought was only thine!
My good, my guilt, my weal, my woe,
My hope on high—my all below.
Each holds no other like to thee,
Or, if it doth, in vain for me:
For worlds I dare not view the dame
Resembling thee, yet not the same.
The very crimes that mar my youth,
This bed of death—attest my truth!
'Tis all too late—thou wert, thou art1190
The cherished madness of my heart![em]
"And she was lost—and yet I breathed,
But not the breath of human life:
A serpent round my heart was wreathed,
And stung my every thought to strife.
Alike all time, abhorred all place,[en]
Shuddering I shrank from Nature's face,
[140] Where every hue that charmed before
The blackness of my bosom wore.
The rest thou dost already know,1200
And all my sins, and half my woe.
But talk no more of penitence;
Thou seest I soon shall part from hence:
And if thy holy tale were true,
The deed that's done canst thou undo?
Think me not thankless—but this grief
Looks not to priesthood for relief.[eo][121]
My soul's estate in secret guess:
But wouldst thou pity more, say less.
When thou canst bid my Leila live,1210
Then will I sue thee to forgive;
Then plead my cause in that high place
Where purchased masses proffer grace.[ep]
Go, when the hunter's hand hath wrung
From forest-cave her shrieking young,
And calm the lonely lioness:
But soothe not—mock not my distress!
"In earlier days, and calmer hours,
When heart with heart delights to blend,
Where bloom my native valley's bowers,[eq]1220
I had—Ah! have I now?—a friend![er]
[141]To him this pledge I charge thee send,[es]
Memorial of a youthful vow;
I would remind him of my end:
Though souls absorbed like mine allow
Brief thought to distant Friendship's claim,
Yet dear to him my blighted name.
'Tis strange—he prophesied my doom,
And I have smiled—I then could smile—
When Prudence would his voice assume,1230
And warn—I recked not what—the while:
But now Remembrance whispers o'er[et]
Those accents scarcely marked before.
Say—that his bodings came to pass,
And he will start to hear their truth,
And wish his words had not been sooth:
Tell him—unheeding as I was,
Through many a busy bitter scene
Of all our golden youth had been,
In pain, my faltering tongue had tried1240
To bless his memory—ere I died;
[142] But Heaven in wrath would turn away,
If Guilt should for the guiltless pray.
I do not ask him not to blame,
Too gentle he to wound my name;
And what have I to do with Fame?
I do not ask him not to mourn,
Such cold request might sound like scorn;
And what than Friendship's manly tear
May better grace a brother's bier?1250
But bear this ring, his own of old,
And tell him—what thou dost behold!
The withered frame, the ruined mind,
The wrack by passion left behind,
A shrivelled scroll, a scattered leaf,
Seared by the autumn blast of Grief!

"Tell me no more of Fancy's gleam,
No, father, no,'twas not a dream;
Alas! the dreamer first must sleep,
I only watched, and wished to weep;1260
But could not, for my burning brow
Throbbed to the very brain as now:
I wished but for a single tear,
As something welcome, new, and dear:
I wished it then, I wish it still;
Despair is stronger than my will.
Waste not thine orison, despair[eu]
Is mightier than thy pious prayer:
I would not, if I might, be blest;
I want no Paradise, but rest.1270
'Twas then—I tell thee—father! then
I saw her; yes, she lived again;
[143] And shining in her white symar[122]
As through yon pale gray cloud the star
Which now I gaze on, as on her,
Who looked and looks far lovelier;
Dimly I view its trembling spark;[ev]
To-morrow's night shall be more dark;
And I, before its rays appear,
That lifeless thing the living fear.1280
I wander—father! for my soul
Is fleeting towards the final goal.
I saw her—friar! and I rose
Forgetful of our former woes;
And rushing from my couch, I dart,
And clasp her to my desperate heart;
I clasp—what is it that I clasp?
No breathing form within my grasp,
No heart that beats reply to mine—
Yet, Leila! yet the form is thine!1290
And art thou, dearest, changed so much
As meet my eye, yet mock my touch?
Ah! were thy beauties e'er so cold,
I care not—so my arms enfold
The all they ever wished to hold.
Alas! around a shadow prest
They shrink upon my lonely breast;
Yet still 'tis there! In silence stands,
And beckons with beseeching hands!
With braided hair, and bright-black eye—1300
I knew 'twas false—she could not die!
[144] But he is dead! within the dell
I saw him buried where he fell;
He comes not—for he cannot break
From earth;—why then art thou awake?
They told me wild waves rolled above
The face I view—the form I love;
They told me—'twas a hideous tale!—
I'd tell it, but my tongue would fail:
If true, and from thine ocean-cave1310
Thou com'st to claim a calmer grave,
Oh! pass thy dewy fingers o'er
This brow that then will burn no more;
Or place them on my hopeless heart:
But, Shape or Shade! whate'er thou art,
In mercy ne'er again depart!
Or farther with thee bear my soul
Than winds can waft or waters roll!

"Such is my name, and such my tale.
Confessor! to thy secret ear1320
I breathe the sorrows I bewail,
And thank thee for the generous tear
This glazing eye could never shed.
Then lay me with the humblest dead,[ew]
And, save the cross above my head,
Be neither name nor emblem spread,
By prying stranger to be read,
Or stay the passing pilgrim's tread."[123]
He passed—nor of his name and race
[146]He left a token or a trace,1330
Save what the Father must not say
Who shrived him on his dying day:
This broken tale was all we knew[ex]
Of her he loved, or him he slew.



[55] {85} A tomb above the rocks on the promontory, by some supposed the sepulchre of Themistocles.

["There are," says Cumberland, in his Observer, "a few lines by Plato upon the tomb of Themistocles, which have a turn of elegant and pathetic simplicity in them, that deserves a better translation than I can give—

"'By the sea's margin, on the watery strand,
Thy monument, Themistocles, shall stand:
By this directed to thy native shore,
The merchant shall convey his freighted store;
And when our fleets are summoned to the fight
Athens shall conquer with thy tomb in sight.'"

Note to Edition 1832.

The traditional site of the tomb of Themistocles, "a rock-hewn grave on the very margin of the sea generally covered with water," adjoins the lighthouse, which stands on the westernmost promontory of the Piræus, some three quarters of a mile from the entrance to the harbour. Plutarch, in his Themistocles (cap. xxxii.), is at pains to describe the exact site of the "altar-like tomb," and quotes the passage from Plato (the comic poet, B.C. 428-389) which Cumberland paraphrases. Byron and Hobhouse "made the complete circuit of the peninsula of Munychia," January 18, 1810.—Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 317, 318.]

[cg] {86}

Fair clime! where ceaseless summer smiles
Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
Which seen from far Colonna's height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
And lend to loneliness delight.
There shine the bright abodes ye seek,
Like dimples upon Occan's cheek,
So smiling round the waters lave
These Edens of the Eastern wave.
Or if, at times, the transient breeze
Break the smooth crystal of the seas,
Or brush one blossom from the trees,
How grateful is each gentle air
That wakes and wafts the fragrance there.—[MS.]
——the fragrance there.—[Second Edition.]

[56] The attachment of the nightingale to the rose is a well-known Persian fable. If I mistake not, the "Bulbul of a thousand tales" is one of his appellations.

[Thus Mesihi, as translated by Sir William Jones—

"Come, charming maid! and hear thy poet sing,
Thyself the rose and he the bird of spring:
Love bids him sing, and Love will be obey'd.
Be gay: too soon the flowers of spring will fade."

"The full style and title of the Persian nightingale (Pycnonotus hæmorrhous) is 'Bulbul-i-hazár-dástán,' usually shortened to 'Hazar' (bird of a thousand tales = the thousand), generally called 'Andalib.'" (See Arabian Nights, by Richard F. Burton, 1887; Supplemental Nights, iii. 506.) For the nightingale's attachment to the rose, compare Moore's Lalla Rookh

"Oh! sooner shall the rose of May
Mistake her own sweet nightingale," etc.

(Ed. "Chandos Classics," p. 423)

and Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (stanza vi.)—

"And David's lips are lockt; but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with 'Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!'—the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That sallow cheek of hers to incarnadine."

Rubáiyát, etc., 1899, p. 29, and note, p. 62.

Byron was indebted for his information to a note on a passage in Vathek, by S. Henley (Vathek, 1893, p. 217).]

[57] {87} The guitar is the constant amusement of the Greek sailor by night; with a steady fair wind, and during a calm, it is accompanied always by the voice, and often by dancing.

[ch] {88} Should wanton in a wilderness.—[MS.]

[ci] The first draft of this celebrated passage differs in many particulars from the Fair Copy, which, with the exception of the passages marked as vars. i. (p. 89) and i. (p. 90), is the same as the text. It ran as follows:—

He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled
The first dark day of Nothingness
The last of doom and of distress
Before Corruption's cankering fingers
Hath tinged the hue where Beauty lingers
And marked the soft and settled air
That dwells with all but Spirit there
The fixed yet tender lines that speak
Of Peace along the placid cheek
And—but for that sad shrouded eye
That fires not—pleads not—weeps not—now—
And but for that pale chilling brow
Whose touch tells of Mortality
And curdles to the Gazer's heart
As if to him it could impart
The doom he only looks upon
Yes but for these and these alone,
A moment—yet—a little hour
We still might doubt the Tyrant's power.

The eleven lines following (88-98) were not emended in the Fair Copy, and are included in the text. The Fair Copy is the sole MS. authority for the four concluding lines of the paragraph.

[58] [Compare "Beyond Milan the country wore the aspect of a wider devastation; and though everything seemed more quiet, the repose was like that of death spread over features which retain the impression of the last convulsions."—Mysteries of Udolpho, by Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, 1794, ii. 29.]

[cj] {89}

And marked the almost dreaming air,
Which speaks the sweet repose that's there.—

[MS. of Fair Copy.]

[59] {90}

"Aye, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction?"

Measure for Measure, act iii. sc. I, lines 115, 116.

[Compare, too, Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza iv. line 5.]


Whose touch thrills with mortality,
And curdles to the gazer's heart.—[MS. of Fair Copy.]

[60] I trust that few of my readers have ever had an opportunity of witnessing what is here attempted in description; but those who have will probably retain a painful remembrance of that singular beauty which pervades, with few exceptions, the features of the dead, a few hours, and but for a few hours, after "the spirit is not there." It is to be remarked in cases of violent death by gun-shot wounds, the expression is always that of languor, whatever the natural energy of the sufferer's character; but in death from a stab the countenance preserves its traits of feeling or ferocity, and the mind its bias, to the last. [According to Medwin (1824, 4to, p. 223), an absurd charge, based on the details of this note, was brought against Byron, that he had been guilty of murder, and spoke from experience.]

[61] [In Dallaway's Constantinople (p. 2) [Rev. James Dallaway (1763-1834) published Constantinople Ancient and Modern, etc., in 1797], a book which Lord Byron is not unlikely to have consulted, I find a passage quoted from Gillies' History of Greece(vol. i. p. 335), which contains, perhaps, the first seed of the thought thus expanded into full perfection by genius: "The present state of Greece, compared to the ancient, is the silent obscurity of the grave contrasted with the vivid lustre of active life."—Moore, Note to Edition 1832.]

[62] {91} [From hence to the conclusion of the paragraph, the MS. is written in a hurried and almost illegible hand, as if these splendid lines had been poured forth in one continuous burst of poetic feeling, which would hardly allow time for the pen to follow the imagination.—(Note to Edition 1837. The lines were added to the Second Edition.)]

[cl] Fountain of Wisdom! can it be.—[MS. erased.]

[63] [Compare—"Son of the Morning, rise! approach you here!" Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza iii. line 1.]


Why is not this Thermopylæ;
These waters blue that round you lave
Degenerate offspring of the free
How name ye them what shore is this?
The wave, the rock of Salamis?—[MS.]

[cn] {92}

And he who in the cause expires,
Will add a name and fate to them
Well worthy of his noble stem.—[MS.]

[co] Commenced by Sire—renewed by Son.—[MS.]


Attest it many a former age
While kings in dark oblivion hid.—[MS.]

[cq] There let the Muse direct thine eye.—[MS.]

[cr] {93} The hearts amid thy mountains bred.—[MS.]

[64] Athens is the property of the Kislar Aga [kizlar-aghasî] (the slave of the Seraglio and guardian of the women), who appoints the Waywode. A pander and eunuch—these are not polite, yet true appellations—now governs the governor of Athens!

[Hobhouse maintains that this subordination of the waiwodes (or vaivodes = the Sclavic βοεβόδα (Turkish governors of Athens) to a higher Turkish official, was on the whole favourable to the liberties and well-being of the Athenians.—Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 246.]


Now to the neighbouring shores they waft
Their ancient and proverbial craft.—[MS. erased.]

[ct] {94} he silent slants the doubtful creek.—[MS]

[65] [The reciter of the tale is a Turkish fisherman, who has been employed during the day in the gulf of Ægina, and in the evening, apprehensive of the Mainote pirates who infest the coast of Attica, lands with his boat on the harbour of Port Leone, the ancient Piræus. He becomes the eye-witness of nearly all the incidents in the story, and in one of them is a principal agent. It is to his feelings, and particularly to his religious prejudices, that we are indebted for some of the most forcible and splendid parts of the poem.—Note by George Agar Ellis, 1797-1833.]

[66] [In Dr. Clarke's Travels (Edward Daniel Clarke, 1769-1822, published Travels in Europe, Asia, Africa, 1810-24), this word, which means infidel, is always written according to its English pronunciation, Djour. Byron adopted the Italian spelling usual among the Franks of the Levant.—Note to Edition 1832.

The pronunciation of the word depends on its origin. If it is associated with the Arabic jawr, a "deviating" or "erring," the initial consonant would be soft, but if with the Persian gawr, or guebre, "a fire-worshipper," the word should be pronounced Gow-er—as Gower Street has come to be pronounced. It is to be remarked that to the present day the Nestorians of Urumiah are contemned as Gy-ours (the G hard), by their Mohammedan countrymen.—(From information kindly supplied by Mr. A. G. Ellis, of the Oriental Printed Books and MSS. Department, British Museum.)]

[cu] {95} Though scarcely marked——.—[MS.]


With him my wonder as he flew.—[MS.]
With him my roused and wondering view.—[MS. erased.]

[cw] {96} For him who takes so fast a flight.—[MS. erased.]

[67] [Compare—

"A moment now he slacked his speed,
A moment breathed his panting steed."

Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto I. stanza xxvii. lines 1, 2.]

[cx] And looked along the olive wood.—[MS.]

[68] "Tophaike," musket. The Bairam is announced by the cannon at sunset: the illumination of the mosques, and the firing of all kinds of small arms, loaded with ball, proclaim it during the night. [The Bairâm, the Moslem Easter, a festival of three days, succeeded the Ramazân.]

For the illumination of the mosques during the fast of the Ramazân, see Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza lv. line 5, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 134, note 2.

[cy] {97} Of transient Anger's Darkening blush.—[MS.]

[69] [For "hasty," all the editions till the twelfth read "darkening blush." On the back of a copy of the eleventh, Lord Byron has written, "Why did not the printer attend to the solitary correction so repeatedly made? I have no copy of this, and desire to have none till my request is complied with." Notes to Editions 1832, 1837.]


As doubting if to stay or fly
Then turned it swiftly to his blade;
As loud his raven charger neighed
That sound dispelled his waking dream,
As sleepers start at owlet's scream.—[MS.]

[70] Jerreed, or Djerrid [Jarid], a blunted Turkish javelin, which is darted from horseback with great force and precision. It is a favourite exercise of the Mussulmans; but I know not if it can be called a manly one, since the most expert in the art are the Black Eunuchs of Constantinople. I think, next to these, a Mamlouk at Smyrna was the most skilful that came within my observation. [Lines 250, 251, together with the note, were inserted in the Third Edition.]

[da] {98}

'Twas but an instant, though so long
When thus dilated in my song.
'Twas but an instant——.—[MS.]


Such moment holds a thousand years.
or, Such moment proves the grief of years.—[MS.]

[71] ["Lord Byron told Mr. Murray that he took this idea from one of the Arabian tales—that in which the Sultan puts his head into a butt of water, and, though it remains there for only two or three minutes, he imagines that he lives many years during that time. The story had been quoted by Addison in the Spectator" [No. 94, June 18, 1711].—Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 219, note.]

[72] [Lines 271-276 were added in the Third Edition. The MS. proceeds with a direction (dated July 31, 1813) to the printer—"And alter

'A life of woe—an age of crime—'


'A life of pain—an age of crime.'

Alter also the lines

'On him who loves or hates or fears
Such moment holds a thousand years,'


'O'er him who loves or hates or fears
Such moment pours the grief of years.'"]

[dc] {99} But neither fled nor fell alone.—[MS.]

[73] The blast of the desert, fatal to everything living, and often alluded to in Eastern poetry.

[James Bruce, 1730-1794 (nicknamed "Abyssinian Bruce"), gives a remarkable description of the simoom: "I saw from the south-east a haze come, in colour like the purple part of the rainbow, but not so compressed or thick. It did not occupy twenty yards in breadth, and was about twelve feet high from the ground. It was a kind of blush upon the air, and it moved very rapidly.... We all lay flat on the ground ... till it was blown over. The meteor, or purple haze, which I saw was, indeed, passed, but the light air which still blew was of a heat to threaten suffocation." He goes on to say that he did not recover the effect of the sandblast on his chest for nearly two years (Brace's Life and Travels, ed. 1830, p. 470).—Note to Edition 1832.]

[dd] There are two MS. versions of lines 290-298: (A) a rough copy, and (B) a fair copy—

(A) And wide the Spider's thin grey pall
Is curtained on the splendid wall
The Bat hath built in his mother's bower,
And in the fortress of his power
The Owl hath fixed her beacon tower,
The wild dogs howl on the fountain's brim
With baffled thirst and famine grim,
For the stream is shrunk from its marble bed
Where Desolation's dust is spread.—[MS.]
B. ["August 5, 1813, in last of 3rd or first of 4th ed."]
The lonely Spider's thin grey pall
Is curtained o'er the splendid wall
The Bat builds in his mother's bower;
And in the fortress of his power
The Owl hath fixed her beacon-tower,
The wild dog howls o'er the fountain's brink,
But vainly lolls his tongue to drink.—[MS.]

[74] {100} [Compare "The walls of Balclutha were desolated.... The stream of Clutha was removed from its place by the fall of the walls. The fox looked out from the windows" (Ossian's Balclutha). "The dreary night-owl screams in the solitary retreat of his mouldering ivy-covered tower" (Larnul, or the Song of Despair: Poems of Ossian, discovered by the Baron de Harold, 1787, p. 172). Compare, too, the well-known lines, "The spider holds the veil in the palace of Cæsar; the owl stands sentinel on the watch-tower of Afrasyab" (A Grammar of the Persian Language, by Sir W. Jones, 1809, p. 106).]


The silver dew of coldness sprinkling
In drops fantastically twinkling
As from the spring the silver dew
In whirls fantastically flew
And dashed luxurions coolness round
The air—and verdure on the ground.—[MS.]

[df] {101}

For thirsty Fox and Jackal gaunt
May vainly for its waters pant.—[MS.]
or, The famished fox the wild dog gaunt
May vainly for its waters pant.—[MS.]

[dg] Might strike an echo——.—[MS.]

[dh] {102}

And welcome Life though but in one
For many a gilded chamber's there
Unmeet for Solitude to share.—- [MS.]

[75] ["I have just recollected an alteration you may make in the proof.... Among the lines on Hassan's Serai, is this—'Unmeet for Solitude to share.' Now, to share implies more than one, and Solitude is a single gentlewoman: it must be thus—

'For many a gilded chamber's there,
Which Solitude might well forbear;'

and so on. Will you adopt this correction? and pray accept a cheese from me for your trouble."—Letter to John Murray, Stilton, October 3, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 274.]

[di] To share the Master's "bread and salt."—[MS.]

[76] [To partake of food—to break bread and taste salt with your host, ensures the safety of the guest: even though an enemy, his person from that moment becomes sacred.—(Note appended to Letter of October 3, 1813.)

"I leave this (vide supra, note 1) to your discretion; if anybody thinks the old line a good one or the cheese a bad one, don't accept either. But in that case the word share is repeated soon after in the line—

'To share the master's bread and salt;'

and must be altered to—

'To break the master's bread and salt.'

This is not so well, though—confound it!

If the old line ['Unmeet for Solitude to share'] stands, let the other run thus—

'Nor there will weary traveller halt,
To bless the sacred bread and salt.'"

(P.S. to Murray, October 3, 1813.)

The emendation of line 335 made that of line 343 unnecessary, but both emendations were accepted.

(Moore says (Life; p. 191, note) that the directions are written on a separate slip of paper from the letter to Murray of October 3, 1813).]

[dj] {103}

And cold Hospitality shrinks from the labour,
The slave fled his halter and the serf left his labour.—[MS.]
or, Ah! there Hospitality light is thy labour,
or, Ah! who for the traveller's solace will labour?—[MS.]

[77] I need hardly observe, that Charity and Hospitality are the first duties enjoined by Mahomet; and to say truth, very generally practised by his disciples. The first praise that can be bestowed on a chief is a panegyric on his bounty; the next, on his valour. ["Serve God ... and show kindness unto parents, and relations, and orphans, and the poor, and your neighbour who is of kin to you ... and the traveller, and the captives," etc.—Korân, cap. iv. Lines 350, 351 were inserted in the Fifth Edition.]

[78] The ataghan, a long dagger worn with pistols in the belt, in a metal scabbard, generally of silver; and, among the wealthier, gilt, or of gold.

[79] Green is the privileged colour of the prophet's numerous pretended descendants; with them, as here, faith (the family inheritance) is supposed to supersede the necessity of good works: they are the worst of a very indifferent brood.

[80] {104} "Salam aleikoum! aleikoum salam!" peace be with you; be with you peace—the salutation reserved for the faithful:—to a Christian, "Urlarula!" a good journey; or "saban hiresem, saban serula," good morn, good even; and sometimes, "may your end be happy!" are the usual salutes.

["After both sets of prayers, Farz and Sunnah, the Moslem looks over his right shoulder, and says, 'The Peace (of Allah) be upon you and the ruth of Allah,' and repeats the words over the left shoulder. The salutation is addressed to the Guardian Angels, or to the bystanders (Moslem), who, however, do not return it."—Arabian Nights, by Richard F. Burton, 1887: Supplemental Nights, i. 14, note.]


Take ye and give ye that salam,
That says of Moslem faith I am.—[MS.]

[dl] Which one of yonder barks may wait.—[MS.]

[81] [In the MS. and the first five editions the broken line (373) consisted of two words only, "That one."]

[82] The blue-winged butterfly of Kashmeer, the most rare and beautiful of the species.

[The same insects (butterflies of Cachemir) are celebrated in an unpublished poem of Mesihi.... Sir Anthony Shirley relates that it was customary in Persia "to hawk after butterflies with sparrows, made to that use."—Note by S. Henley to Vathek, ed. 1893, p. 222. Byron, in his Journal, December 1, 1813, speaks of Lady Charlemont as "that blue-winged Kashmirian butterfly of book-learning."]

[dm] If caught, to fate alike betrayed.-[MS.]

[dn] {106} The gathering flames around her close.-[MS. erased.]

[83] {107} Alluding to the dubious suicide of the scorpion, so placed for experiment by gentle philosophers. Some maintain that the position of the sting, when turned towards the head, is merely a convulsive movement; but others have actually brought in the verdict "Felo de se." The scorpions are surely interested in a speedy decision of the question; as, if once fairly established as insect Catos, they will probably be allowed to live as long as they think proper, without being martyred for the sake of an hypothesis.

[Byron assured Dallas that the simile of the scorpion was imagined in his sleep.—Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron, by R. C. Dallas, p. 264.

"Probably in some instances the poor scorpion has been burnt to death; and the well-known habit of these creatures to raise the tail over the back and recurve it so that the extremity touches the fore part of the cephalo-thorax, has led to the idea that it was stinging itself."—Encycl. Brit., art. "Arachnida," by Rev. O. P. Cambridge, ii. 281.]

[do] So writhes the mind by Conscience riven.—[MS.]

[84] The cannon at sunset close the Rhamazan. [Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza Iv. line 5, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 134. note 2.]

[85] {108} Phingari, the moon. φεγγάρι is derived from φεγγάριον, dim. of φέγγος.

[86] The celebrated fabulous ruby of Sultan Giamschid, the embellisher of Istakhar; from its splendour, named Schebgerag [Schabchirāgh], "the torch of night;" also "the cup of the sun," etc. In the First Edition, "Giamschid" was written as a word of three syllables; so D'Herbelot has it; but I am told Richardson reduces it to a dissyllable, and writes "Jamshid." I have left in the text the orthography of the one with the pronunciation of the other.

[The MS. and First Edition read, "Bright as the gem of Giamschid." Byron's first intention was to change the line into "Bright as the ruby of Giamschid;" but to this Moore objected, "that as the comparison of his heroine's eye to a ruby might unluckily call up the idea of its being bloodshot, he had better change the line to 'Bright as the jewel,' etc."

For the original of Byron's note, see S. Henley's note, Vathek, 1893, p. 230. See, too, D'Herbelot's Bibliothèque Orientale, 1781, iii. 27.

Sir Richard Burton (Arabian Nights, S.N., iii. 440) gives the following résumé of the conflicting legends: "Jám-i-jámshid is a well-known commonplace in Moslem folk-lore; but commentators cannot agree whether 'Jám' be a mirror or a cup. In the latter sense it would represent the Cyathomantic cup of the Patriarch Joseph, and the symbolic bowl of Nestor. Jamshid may be translated either 'Jam the bright,' or 'the Cup of the Sun;' this ancient king is the Solomon of the grand old Guebres."

Fitzgerald, "in a very composite quatrain (stanza v.) which cannot be claimed as a translation at all" (see the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyaām, by Edward Heron Allen, 1898), embodies a late version of the myth—

"Iram is gone and all his Rose,
And Jamshyd's sev'n-ringed Cup where no one knows."]

[87] {109} Al-Sirat, the bridge of breadth narrower than the thread of a famished spider, and sharper than the edge of a sword, over which the Mussulmans must skate into Paradise, to which it is the only entrance; but this is not the worst, the river beneath being hell itself, into which, as may be expected, the unskilful and tender of foot contrive to tumble with a "facilis descensus Averni," not very pleasing in prospect to the next passenger. There is a shorter cut downwards for the Jews and Christians.

[Byron is again indebted to Vathek, and S. Henley on Vathek, p. 237, for his information. The authority for the legend of the Bridge of Paradise is not the Koran, but the Book of Mawakef, quoted by Edward Pococke, in his Commentary (Notæ Miscellaneæ) on the Porta Mosis of Moses Maimonides (Oxford, 1654, p. 288)—

"Stretched across the back of Hell, it is narrower than a javelin, sharper than the edge of a sword. But all must essay the passage, believers as well as infidels, and it baffles the understanding to imagine in what manner they keep their foothold."

The legend, or rather allegory, to which there would seem to be some allusion in the words of Scripture, "Strait is the gate," etc., is of Zoroastrian origin. Compare the Zend-Avesta, Yasna xix. 6 (Sacred Books of the East, edited by F. Max Muller, 1887, xxxi. 261), "With even threefold (safety and with speed) I will bring his soul over the Bridge of Kinvat," etc.]

[88] {110} A vulgar error: the Koran allots at least a third of Paradise to well-behaved women; but by far the greater number of Mussulmans interpret the text their own way, and exclude their moieties from heaven. Being enemies to Platonics, they cannot discern "any fitness of things" in the souls of the other sex, conceiving them to be superseded by the Houris.

[Sale, in his Preliminary Discourse ("Chandos Classics," p. 80), in dealing with this question, notes "that there are several passages in the Koran which affirm that women, in the next life, will not only be punished for their evil actions, but will also receive the rewards of their good deeds, as well as the men, and that in this case God will make no distinction of sexes." A single quotation will suffice: "God has promised to believers, men and women, gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for aye; and goodly places in the garden of Eden."—The Qur'ân, translated by E. H. Palmer, 1880, vi. 183.]

[89] An Oriental simile, which may, perhaps, though fairly stolen, be deemed "plus Arabe qu'en Arabie."

[Gulnár (the heroine of the Corsair is named Gulnare) is Persian for a pomegranate flower.]

[90] Hyacinthine, in Arabic "Sunbul;" as common a thought in the Eastern poets as it was among the Greeks.

[S. Henley (Vathek, 1893, p. 208) quotes two lines from the Solima (lines 5, 6) of Sir W. Jones—

"The fragrant hyacinths of Azza's hair
That wanton with the laughing summer-air;"

and refers Milton's "Hyacinthine locks" (Paradise Lost, iv. 301) to Lucian's Pro Imaginibus, cap. v.]

[91] {111} "Franguestan," Circassia. [Or Europe generally—the land of the Frank.]

[92] [Lines 504-518 were inserted in the second revise of the Third Edition, July 31, 1813.]

[93] {113} [Parnassus.]

[94] "In the name of God;" the commencement of all the chapters of the Koran but one [the ninth], and of prayer and thanksgiving. ["Bismillah" (in full, Bismillahi 'rrahmani 'rrahiem, i.e. "In the name of Allah the God of Mercy, the Merciful") is often used as a deprecatory formula. Sir R. Burton (Arabian Nights, i. 40) cites as an equivalent the "remembering Iddio e' Santí," of Boccaccio's Decameron, viii. 9.

The MS. reads, "Thank Alla! now the peril's past."]

[95] [A Turkish messenger, sergeant or lictor. The proper sixteen-seventeenth century pronunciation would have been chaush, but apparently the nearest approach to this was chaus, whence chouse and chiaush, and the vulgar form chiaus (N. Eng. Dict., art. "Chiaus"). The peculations of a certain "chiaus" in the year A.D. 1000 are said to have been the origin of the word "to chouse."]

[96] {114} A phenomenon not uncommon with an angry Mussulman. In 1809 the Capitan Pacha's whiskers at a diplomatic audience were no less lively with indignation than a tiger cat's, to the horror of all the dragomans; the portentous mustachios twisted, they stood erect of their own accord, and were expected every moment to change their colour, but at last condescended to subside, which, probably, saved more heads than they contained hairs.

[97] {115} "Amaun," quarter, pardon.

[Line 603 was inserted in a proof of the Second Edition, dated July 24, 1813: "Nor raised the coward cry, Amaun!"]

[98] The "evil eye," a common superstition in the Levant, and of which the imaginary effects are yet very singular on those who conceive themselves affected.

[99] [Compare "As with a thousand waves to the rocks, so Swaran's host came on."—Fingal, bk. i., Ossian's Works, 1807, i. 19.]

[dp] {116} That neither gives nor asks for life.—[MS.]

[100] {117} The flowered shawls generally worn by persons of rank.

[101] [Compare "Catilina vero longè a suis, inter hostium cadavera repertus est, paululum etiam spirans ferociamque animi, quam habuerat vivus, in vultu retinens."—Catilina, cap. 61, Opera, 1820, i. 124.]

[dq] {118}

His mother looked from the lattice high,
With throbbing heart and eager eye;
The browsing camel bells are tinkling,
And the last beam of twilight twinkling:
'Tis eve; his train should now be nigh.
She could not rest in her garden bower,
And gazed through the loop of her steepest tower.
"Why comes he not? his steeds are fleet,
And well are they train'd to the summer's heat."—[MS.]

Another copy began—

The browsing camel bells are tinkling,
And the first beam of evening twinkling;
His mother looked from her lattice high,
With throbbing breast and eager eye
"'Tis twilight—sure his train is nigh."—[MS. Aug. 11, 1813.]
The browsing camel's bells are tinkling
The dews of eve the pasture sprinkling
And rising planets feebly twinkling:
His mother looked from the lattice high
With throbbing heart and eager eye.—[Fourth Edition.]

[These lines were erased, and lines 689-692 were substituted. They appeared first in the Fifth Edition.]

[102] ["The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariot?"—Judges v. 28.]

[dr] {119} And now his courser's pace amends.—[MS. erased.]

[ds] I could not deem my son was slow.—[MS. erased.]


The Tartar sped beneath the gate
And flung to earth his fainting weight.—[MS.]

[103] The calpac is the solid cap or centre part of the head-dress; the shawl is wound round it, and forms the turban.

[104] The turban, pillar, and inscriptive verse, decorate the tombs of the Osmanlies, whether in the cemetery or the wilderness. In the mountains you frequently pass similar mementos; and on inquiry you are informed that they record some victim of rebellion, plunder, or revenge.

[The following is a "Koran verse:" "Every one that is upon it (the earth) perisheth; but the person of thy Lord abideth, the possessor of glory and honour" (Sur. lv. 26, 27). (See "Kufic Tombstones in the British Museum," by Professor Wright, Proceedings of the Biblical Archæological Society, 1887, ix. 337, sq.)]

[105] {120} "Alla Hu!" the concluding words of the Muezzin's call to prayer from the highest gallery on the exterior of the Minaret. On a still evening, when the Muezzin has a fine voice, which is frequently the case, the effect is solemn and beautiful beyond all the bells in Christendom. [Valid, the son of Abdalmalek, was the first who erected a minaret or turret; and this he placed on the grand mosque at Damascus, for the muezzin or crier to announce from it the hour of prayer. (See D'Herbelot, Bibliothèque Orientale, 1783, vi. 473, art. "Valid." See, too, Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza lix. line 9, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 136, note 1.)]

[106] The following is part of a battle-song of the Turks:—"I see—I see a dark-eyed girl of Paradise, and she waves a handkerchief, a kerchief of green; and cries aloud, 'Come, kiss me, for I love thee,'" etc.

[107] {121} Monkir and Nekir are the inquisitors of the dead, before whom the corpse undergoes a slight noviciate and preparatory training for damnation. If the answers are none of the clearest, he is hauled up with a scythe and thumped down with a red-hot mace till properly seasoned, with a variety of subsidiary probations. The office of these angels is no sinecure; there are but two, and the number of orthodox deceased being in a small proportion to the remainder, their hands are always full.—See Relig. Ceremon., v. 290; vii. 59,68, 118, and Sale's Preliminary Discourse to the Koran, p. 101.

[Byron is again indebted to S. Henley (see Vathek, 1893, p. 236). According to Pococke (Porta Mosis, 1654, Notæ Miscellaneæ, p. 241), the angels Moncar and Nacir are black, ghastly, and of fearsome aspect. Their function is to hold inquisition on the corpse. If his replies are orthodox (de Mohammede), he is bidden to sleep sweetly and soundly in his tomb, but if his views are lax and unsound, he is cudgelled between the ears with iron rods. Loud are his groans, and audible to the whole wide world, save to those deaf animals, men and genii. Finally, the earth is enjoined to press him tight and keep him close till the crack of doom.]

[108] Eblis, the Oriental Prince of Darkness.

[109] The Vampire superstition is still general in the Levant. Honest Tournefort [Relation d'un Voyage du Levant, par Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, 1717, i. 131] tells a long story, which Mr. Southey, in the notes on Thalaba [book viii., notes, ed. 1838, iv. 297-300], quotes about these "Vroucolochas" ["Vroucolocasses"], as he calls them. The Romaic term is "Vardoulacha." I recollect a whole family being terrified by the scream of a child, which they imagined must proceed from such a visitation. The Greeks never mention the word without horror. I find that "Broucolokas" is an old legitimate Hellenic appellation—at least is so applied to Arsenius, who, according to the Greeks, was after his death animated by the Devil. The moderns, however, use the word I mention.

Βουρκόλακας or Βρυκόλακας (= the Bohemian and Slovak Vrholak) is modern Greek for a ghost or vampire. George Bentotes, in his Λεξικον Τρίγλωσσον, published in Vienna in 1790 (see Childe Harold, Canto II. Notes, Papers, etc., No. III., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 197), renders Βρουκόλακας "lutin," and Βρουκολιασμένος, "devenu un spectre."

Arsenius, Archbishop of Monembasia (circ. 1530), was famous for his scholarship. He prefaced his Scholia in Septem Euripidis Tragædias (Basileæ, 1544) by a dedicatory epistle in Greek to his friend Pope Paul III. "He submitted to the Church of Rome, which made him so odious to the Greek schismatics that the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated him; and the Greeks reported that Arsenius, after his death, was Broukolakas, that is, that the Devil hovered about his corps and re-animated him" (Bayle, Dictionary, 1724, i. 508, art. "Arsenius"). Martinus Crusius, in his Turco-Græcia, lib. ii. (Basileæ, 1584, p. 151) records the death of Arsenius while under sentence of excommunication, and adds that "his miserable corpse turned black, and swelled to the size of a drum, so that all who beheld it were horror-stricken, and trembled exceedingly." Hence, no doubt, the legend which Bayle takes verbatim from Guillet, "Les Grecs disent qu' Arsenius, apres la mort fust Broukolakas," etc. (Lacédémone, Ancienne et Nouvelle, par Le Sieur de la Guilletiére, 1676, ii. 586. See, too, for "Arsenius," Fabricii Script. Gr. Var., 1808, xi. 581, and Gesneri Bibliotheca Univ., ed. 1545, fol. 96.) Byron, no doubt, got his information from Bayle. By "old legitimate Hellenic" he must mean literary as opposed to klephtic Greek.]

[110] {123} The freshness of the face [? "The paleness of the face," MS.] and the wetness of the lip with blood, are the never-failing signs of a Vampire. The stories told in Hungary and Greece of these foul feeders are singular, and some of them most incredibly attested.

[Vampires were the reanimated corpses of persons newly buried, which were supposed to suck the blood and suck out the life of their selected victims. The marks by which a vampire corpse was recognized were the apparent non-putrefaction of the body and effusion of blood from the lips. A suspected vampire was exhumed, and if the marks were perceived or imagined to be present, a stake was driven through the heart, and the body was burned. This, if Southey's authorities (J. B. Boyer, Marquis d'Argens, in Lettres Juives) may be believed, "laid" the vampire, and the community might sleep in peace. (See, too, Dissertations sur les Apparitions, par Augustine Calmet, 1746, p. 395, sq., and Russian Folk-Tales, by W. R. S. Ralston, 1873, pp. 318-324.)]

[111] [For "Caloyer," see Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza xlix. line 6, and note 21, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 130, 181. It is a hard matter to piece together the "fragments" which make up the rest of the poem. Apparently the question, "How name ye?" is put by the fisherman, the narrator of the first part of the Fragment, and answered by a monk of the fraternity, with whom the Giaour has been pleased to "abide" during the past six years, under conditions and after a fashion of which the monk disapproves. Hereupon the fisherman disappears, and a kind of dialogue between the author and the protesting monk ensues. The poem concludes with the Giaour's confession, which is addressed to the monk, or perhaps to the interested and more tolerant Prior of the community.]

[du] {124} As Time were wasted on his brow.—[MS.]

[dv] {125} Of foreign maiden lost at sea.—[MS.]

[dw] {127}

Behold—as turns he from the—wall
His cowl fly back, his dark hair fall.—[ms]

[A variant of the copy sent for insertion in the Seventh Edition differs alike from the MS. and the text—]

Behold as turns him from the wall
His Cowl flies back—his tresses fall
That pallid aspect wreathing round.

[dx] Lo! mark him as the harmony.—[MS.]

[dy] Thank heaven—he stands without the shrine.—[MS. erased.]

[dz] {128}

Must burn before it smite or shine.—[MS.]
Appears unfit to smite or shine.—[MS. erased]

[112] [In defence of lines 922-927, which had been attacked by a critic in the British Review, October, 1813, vol. v. p. 139, who compared them with some lines in Crabbe's Resentment (lines 11—16, Tales, 1812, p. 309), Byron wrote to Murray, October 12, 1813, "I have ... read the British Review. I really think the writer in most points very right. The only mortifying thing is the accusation of imitation. Crabbe's passage I never saw; and Scott I no further meant to follow than in his lyric measure, which is Gray's, Milton's, and any one's who like it." The lines, which Moore quotes (Life, p. 191), have only a formal and accidental resemblance to the passage in question.]

[113] {129} [Compare—

"To surfeit on the same [our pleasures]
And yawn our joys. Or thank a misery
For change, though sad?"

Night Thoughts, iii., by Edward Young; Anderson's British Poets, x. 72. Compare, too, Childe Harold, Canto I. stanza vi, line 8—"With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe."]

[114] [Byron was wont to let his imagination dwell on these details of the charnel-house. In a letter to Dallas, August 12, 1811, he writes, "I am already too familiar with the dead. It is strange that I look on the skulls which stand beside me (I have always had four in my study) without emotion, but I cannot strip the features of those I have known of their fleshy covering, even in idea, without a hideous sensation; but the worms are less ceremonious." See, too, his "Lines inscribed upon a Cup formed from a Skull," Poetical Works, 1898, i. 276.]

[115] {130} The pelican is, I believe, the bird so libelled, by the imputation of feeding her chickens with her blood. [It has been suggested that the curious bloody secretion ejected from the mouth of the flamingo may have given rise to the belief, through that bird having been mistaken for the "pelican of the wilderness."—Encycl. Brit., art. "Pelican" (by Professor A. Newton), xviii. 474.]

[ea] Than feeling we must feel no more.—[MS.]

[116] {131} [Compare—

"I'd rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapours of a dungeon."

Othello, act iii. sc. 3, lines 274, 275.]

[eb] Though hope hath long withdrawn her beam.—[MS.] [This line was omitted in the Third and following Editions.]

[ec] {132}

Through ranks of steel and tracks of fire,
And all she threatens in her ire;
And these are but the words of one
Who thus would do—who thus hath done.—[MS. erased.]

[ed] {134} My hope a tomb, our foe a grave.—[MS.]

[117] This superstition of a second-hearing (for I never met with downright second-sight in the East) fell once under my own observation. On my third journey to Cape Colonna, early in 1811, as we passed through the defile that leads from the hamlet between Keratia and Colonna, I observed Dervish Tahiri riding rather out of the path and leaning his head upon his hand, as if in pain. I rode up and inquired. "We are in peril," he answered. "What peril? We are not now in Albania, nor in the passes to Ephesus, Messalunghi, or Lepanto; there are plenty of us, well armed, and the Choriates have not courage to be thieves."—"True, Affendi, but nevertheless the shot is ringing in my ears."—"The shot. Not a tophaike has been fired this morning."—"I hear it notwithstanding—Bom—Bom—as plainly as I hear your voice."—"Psha!"—"As you please, Affendi; if it is written, so will it be."—I left this quick-eared predestinarian, and rode up to Basili, his Christian compatriot, whose ears, though not at all prophetic, by no means relished the intelligence. We all arrived at Colonna, remained some hours, and returned leisurely, saying a variety of brilliant things, in more languages than spoiled the building of Babel, upon the mistaken seer. Romaic, Arnaout, Turkish, Italian, and English were all exercised, in various conceits, upon the unfortunate Mussulman. While we were contemplating the beautiful prospect, Dervish was occupied about the columns. I thought he was deranged into an antiquarian, and asked him if he had become a "Palaocastro" man? "No," said he; "but these pillars will be useful in making a stand;" and added other remarks, which at least evinced his own belief in his troublesome faculty of forehearing. On our return to Athens we heard from Leoné (a prisoner set ashore some days after) of the intended attack of the Mainotes, mentioned, with the cause of its not taking place, in the notes to Childe Harold, Canto 2nd [Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 169]. I was at some pains to question the man, and he described the dresses, arms, and marks of the horses of our party so accurately, that, with other circumstances, we could not doubt of his having been in "villanous company" [I Henry IV., act iii. sc. 3, line 11] and ourselves in a bad neighbourhood. Dervish became a soothsayer for life, and I dare say is now hearing more musketry than ever will be fired, to the great refreshment of the Arnaouts of Berat, and his native mountains.—I shall mention one trait more of this singular race. In March, 1811, a remarkably stout and active Arnaout came (I believe the fiftieth on the same errand) to offer himself as an attendant, which was declined. "Well, Affendi," quoth he, "may you live!—you would have found me useful. I shall leave the town for the hills to-morrow; in the winter I return, perhaps you will then receive me."—Dervish, who was present, remarked as a thing of course, and of no consequence, "in the mean time he will join the Klephtes" (robbers), which was true to the letter. If not cut off, they come down in the winter, and pass it unmolested in some town, where they are often as well known as their exploits.

[118] {135} [Vide ante, p. 90, line 89, note 2, "In death from a stab the countenance preserves its traits of feeling or ferocity."]


Her power to soothe—her skill to save—
And doubly darken o'er the grave,—[MS.]

[ef] {136}

Of Ladye-love—and dart—and chain—
And fire that raged in every vein.—[MS.]


Even now alone, yet undismayed,—
I know no friend, and ask no aid.—[MS.]

[119] [Lines 1127-1130 were inserted in the Seventh Edition. They recall the first line of Plato's epitaph, Ἀστὴρ πριν μὲν ἔλαμπες ἐνι ζωοῖσιν ἑῷος, which Byron prefixed to his "Epitaph on a Beloved Friend" (Poetical Works, 1898, i. 18), and which, long afterwards, Shelley chose as the motto to his Adonais.]

[eh] {137}

Yes If } Love indeed { doth spring descend be born } from heaven:
A spark of that { immortal eternal celestial } fire
To human hearts in mercy given,
To lift from earth our low desire,
A feeling from the Godhead caught,
To wean from self { each our } sordid thought:
Devotion sends the soul above,
But Heaven itself descends to love,
Yet marvel not, if they who love
This present joy, this future hope
Which taught them with all ill to cope,
No more with anguish bravely cope.—[MS.]

[120] [The hundred and twenty-six lines which follow, down to "Tell me no more of Fancy's gleam," first appeared in the Fifth Edition. In returning the proof to Murray, Byron writes, August 26, 1813, "The last lines Hodgson likes—it is not often he does—and when he don't, he tells me with great energy, and I fret and alter. I have thrown them in to soften the ferocity of our Infidel, and, for a dying man, have given him a good deal to say for himself."—Letters, 1898, ii. 252.]

[ei] {138}

That quenched, I wandered far in night,
or, 'Tis quenched, and I am lost in night.—[MS.]

[ej] Must plunge into a dark abyss.—[MS.]

[ek] {139}

And let the light, inconstant fool
That sneers his coxcomb ridicule.—[MS.]

[el] Less than the soft and shallow maid.—[MS. erased.]

[em] The joy—the madness of my heart.—[MS.]


To me alike all time and place
Scarce could I gaze on Nature's face
For every hue——.—[MS.]
or, All, all was changed on Nature's face
To me alike all time and place.—[MS. erased.]

[eo] {140}

——but this grief
In truth is not for thy relief.
My state thy thought can never guess.—[MS.]

[121] The monk's sermon is omitted. It seems to have had so little effect upon the patient, that it could have no hopes from the reader. It may be sufficient to say that it was of a customary length (as may be perceived from the interruptions and uneasiness of the patient), and was delivered in the usual tone of all orthodox preachers.

[ep] Where thou, it seems, canst offer grace.—[MS. erased.]

[eq] Where rise my native city's towers.—[MS.]

[er] I had, and though but one—a friend!—[MS.]

[es] {141}

I have no heart to love him now
And 'tis but to declare my end.—[ms]


But now Remembrance murmurs o'er
Of all our early youth had been
In pain, I now had turned aside
To bless his memory ere I died,
But Heaven would mark the vain essay,
If Guilt should for the guiltless fray
I do not ask him not to blame
Too gentle he to wound my name
I do not ask him not to mourn,
For such request might sound like scorn
And what like Friendship's manly tear
So well can grace a brother's bier?
But bear this ring he gave of old,
And tell him—what thou didst behold
The withered frame—the ruined mind,
The wreck that Passion leaves behind
The shrivelled and discoloured leaf
Seared by the Autumn blast of Grief.—[MS., First Copy.]

[eu] {142} Nay—kneel not, father, rise—despair.—[MS.]

[122] {143} "Symar," a shroud. [Cymar, or simar, is a long loose robe worn by women. It is, perhaps, the same word as the Spanish camarra (Arabic camârra), a sheep-skin cloak. It is equivalent to "shroud" only in the primary sense of a "covering."]

[ev] Which now I view with trembling spark.—[MS.]

[ew] {144} Then lay me with the nameless dead.—[MS.]

[123] The circumstance to which the above story relates was not very uncommon in Turkey. A few years ago the wife of Muchtar Pacha complained to his father of his son's supposed infidelity; he asked with whom, and she had the barbarity to give in a list of the twelve handsomest women in Yanina. They were seized, fastened up in sacks, and drowned in the lake the same night! One of the guards who was present informed me that not one of the victims uttered a cry, or showed a symptom of terror at so sudden a "wrench from all we know, from all we love." The fate of Phrosine, the fairest of this sacrifice, is the subject of many a Romaic and Arnaout ditty. The story in the text is one told of a young Venetian many years ago, and now nearly forgotten. I heard it by accident recited by one of the coffee-house story-tellers who abound in the Levant, and sing or recite their narratives. The additions and interpolations by the translator will be easily distinguished from the rest, by the want of Eastern imagery; and I regret that my memory has retained so few fragments of the original. For the contents of some of the notes I am indebted partly to D'Herbelot, and partly to that most Eastern, and, as Mr. Weber justly entitles it, "sublime tale," the "Caliph Vathek." I do not know from what source the author of that singular volume may have drawn his materials; some of his incidents are to be found in the Bibliothèque Orientale; but for correctness of costume, beauty of description, and power of imagination, it far surpasses all European imitations, and bears such marks of originality that those who have visited the East will find some difficulty in believing it to be more than a translation. As an Eastern tale, even Rasselas must bow before it; his "Happy Valley" will not bear a comparison with the "Hall of Eblis." [See Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza xxii. line 6, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 37, note 1.

"Mansour Effendi tells the story (vide supra, line 6) thus: Frosini was niece of the Archbishop of Joannina. Mouctar Pasha ordered her to come to his harem, and her father advised her to go; she did so. Mouctar, among other presents, gave her a ring of great value, which she wished to sell, and gave it for that purpose to a merchant, who offered it to the wife of Mouctar. That lady recognized the jewel as her own, and, discovering the intrigue, complained to Ali Pasha, who, the next night, seized her himself in his own house, and ordered her to be drowned. Mansour Effendi says he had the story from the brother and son of Frosini. This son was a child of six years old, and was in bed in his mother's chamber when Ali came to carry away his mother to death. He had a confused recollection of the horrid scene."—Travels in Albania, 1858, i. Ill, note 6.

The concluding note, like the poem, was built up sentence by sentence. Lines 1-12, "forgotten," are in the MS. Line 12, "I heard," to line 17, "original," were added in the Second Edition. The next sentence, "For the contents" to "Vathek," was inserted in the Third; and the concluding paragraph, "I do not know" to the end, in the Fourth Editions.]

[ex] {146}

Nor whether most he mourned none knew.
For her he loved—or him he slew.—[MS.]


"Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted."—

Burns [Farewell to Nancy].



Many poets—Wordsworth, for instance—have been conscious in their old age that an interest attaches to the circumstances of the composition of their poems, and have furnished their friends and admirers with explanatory notes. Byron recorded the motif and occasion of the Bride of Abydos while the poem was still in the press. It was written, he says, to divert his mind, "to wring his thoughts from reality to imagination—from selfish regrets to vivid recollections" (Diary, December 5, 1813, Letters, ii. 361), "to distract his dreams from ..." (Diary, November 16) "for the sake of employment" (Letter to Moore, November 30, 1813). He had been staying during part of October and November at Aston Hall, Rotherham, with his friend James Wedderburn Webster, and had fallen in love with his friend's wife, Lady Frances. From a brief note to his sister, dated November 5, we learn that he was in a scrape, but in "no immediate peril," and from the lines, "Remember him, whom Passion's power" (vide ante, p. 67), we may infer that he had sought safety in flight. The Bride of Abydos, or Zuleika, as it was first entitled, was written early in November, "in four nights" (Diary, November 16), or in a week (Letter to Gifford, November 12)—the reckoning goes for little—as a counter-irritant to the pain and distress of amour interrompu.

The confession or apology is eminently characteristic. Whilst the Giaour was still in process of evolution, still "lengthening its rattles," another Turkish poem is offered to the public, and the natural explanation, that the author is in vein, and can score another trick, is felt to be inadequate[150] and dishonouring—"To withdraw myself from myself," he confides to his Diary(November 27), "has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive for scribbling at all."

It is more than probable that in his twenty-sixth year Byron had not attained to perfect self-knowledge, but there is no reason to question his sincerity. That Byron loved to surround himself with mystery, and to dissociate himself from "the general," is true enough; but it does not follow that at all times and under all circumstances he was insincere. "Once a poseur always a poseur" is a rough-and-ready formula not invariably applicable even to a poet.

But the Bride of Abydos was a tonic as well as a styptic. Like the Giaour, it embodied a personal experience, and recalled "a country replete with the darkest and brightest, but always the most lively colours of my memory" (Diary, December 5, 1813).

In a letter to Galt (December 11, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 304, reprinted from Life of Byron, pp. 181, 182) Byron maintains that the first part of the Bride was drawn from "observations" of his own, "from existence." He had, it would appear, intended to make the story turn on the guilty love of a brother for a sister, a tragic incident of life in a Harem, which had come under his notice during his travels in the East, but "on second thoughts" had reflected that he lived "two centuries at least too late for the subject," and that not even the authority of the "finest works of the Greeks," or of Schiller (in the Bride of Messina), or of Alfieri (in Mirra), "in modern times," would sanction the intrusion of the μισητὸν into English literature. The early drafts and variants of the MS. do not afford any evidence of this alteration of the plot which, as Byron thought, was detrimental to the poem as a work of art, but the undoubted fact that the Bride of Abydos, as well as the Giaour, embody recollections of actual scenes and incidents which had burnt themselves into the memory of an eye-witness, accounts not only for the fervent heat at which these Turkish tales were written, but for the extraordinary glamour which they threw over contemporary readers, to whom the local colouring was new and attractive, and who were not out of conceit with "good Monsieur Melancholy."[151]

Byron was less dissatisfied with his second Turkish tale than he had been with the Giaour. He apologizes for the rapidity with which it had been composed—stans pede in uno—but he announced to Murray (November 20) that "he was doing his best to beat the Giaour," and (November 29) he appraises the Bride as "my first entire composition of any length."

Moreover, he records (November 15), with evident gratification, the approval of his friend Hodgson, "a very sincere and by no means (at times) a flattering critic of mine," and modestly accepts the praise of such masters of letters as "Mr. Canning," Hookham Frere, Heber, Lord Holland, and of the traveller Edward Daniel Clarke.

The Bride of Abydos was advertised in the Morning Chronicle, among "Books published this day," on November 29, 1813. It was reviewed by George Agar Ellis in the Quarterly Review of January, 1814 (vol. x. p. 331), and, together with the Corsair, by Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review of April, 1814 (vol. xxiii. p. 198).


The MSS. of the Bride of Abydos are contained in a bound volume, and in two packets of loose sheets, numbering thirty-two in all, of which eighteen represent additions, etc., to the First Canto; and fourteen additions, etc., to the Second Canto.

The bound volume consists of a rough copy and a fair copy of the first draft of the Bride; the fair copy beginning with the sixth stanza of Canto I.

The "additions" in the bound volume consist of—

1. Stanza xxviii. of Canto II.—here called "Conclusion" (fifty-eight lines). And note on "Sir Orford's Letters."

2. Eight lines beginning, "Eve saw it placed," at the end of stanza xxviii.

3. An emendation of six lines to stanza v. of Canto II., with reference to the comboloio, the Turkish rosary.[152]

4. Forty additional lines to stanza xx. of Canto II., beginning, "For thee in those bright isles," and being the first draft of the addition as printed in the Revises of November 13, etc.

5. Stanza xxvii. of Canto II., twenty-eight lines.

6. Ten additional lines to stanza xxvii., "Ah! happy!"—"depart."

7. Affixed to the rough Copy in stanza xxviii., fifty-eight lines, here called "Continuation." This is the rough Copy of No. 1.

The eighteen loose sheets of additions to Canto I. consist of—

1. The Dedication.

2. Two revisions of "Know ye the land."

3. Seven sheets, Canto I. stanzas i.-v., being the commencement of the Fair Copy in the bound volume.

4. Two sheets of the additional twelve lines to Canto I. stanza vi., "Who hath not proved,"—"Soul."

5. Four sheets of notes to Canto I. stanza vi., dated November 20, November 22, 1813.

6. Two sheets of notes to stanza xvi.

7. Sixteen additional lines to stanza xiii.

The fourteen additional sheets to Canto II. consist of—

1. Ten lines of stanza iv., and four lines of stanza xvii.

2. Two lines and note of stanza v.

3. Sheets of additions, etc., to stanza xx. (eight sheets).

(α) Eight lines, "Or, since that hope,"—"thy command."

(β) "For thee in those bright isles" (twenty-four lines).

(γ) "For thee," etc. (thirty-six lines).

(δ) "Blest as the call" (three variants).

(ε) "For thee in those bright isles" (seven lines).

(ζ) Fourteen lines, "There ev'n thy soul,"—"Zuleika's name," "Aye—let the loud winds,"—"bars escape," additional to stanza xx.

4. Two sheets of five variants of "Ah! wherefore did he turn to look?" being six additional lines to stanza xxv.

5. Thirty-five lines of stanza xxvi.

6. Ten lines, "Ah! happy! but,"—"depart." And eleven[153] lines, "Woe to thee, rash,"—"hast shed," being a continuous addition to stanza xxvii.



i. November 13, 1813.
ii. November 15, 1813.
iii. November 16, 1813.
iv. November 18, 1813.
v. November 19, 1813.
vi. November 21, 1813.
vii. November 23, 1813.
viii. November 24, 1813. A wrong date,
ix. November 25, 1813.
x. An imperfect revise = Nos. i.-v.








Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle[125]
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime?
Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime?
Know ye the land of the cedar and vine,
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine;
Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppressed with perfume,
Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gúl[126] in her bloom;
[158] Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute;[127] 10
Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky,
In colour though varied, in beauty may vie,
And the purple of Ocean is deepest in dye;
Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,
And all, save the spirit of man, is divine—
Tis the clime of the East—'tis the land of the Sun—
Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done?[128]
Oh! wild as the accents of lovers' farewell[ez]
Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell.


Begirt with many a gallant slave,20
Apparelled as becomes the brave,
Awaiting each his Lord's behest
To guide his steps, or guard his rest,
Old Giaffir sate in his Divan:
Deep thought was in his agéd eye;
And though the face of Mussulman
Not oft betrays to standers by
[159] The mind within, well skilled to hide
All but unconquerable pride,
His pensive cheek and pondering brow[fb]30
Did more than he was wont avow.


"Let the chamber be cleared."—The train disappeared—
"Now call me the chief of the Haram guard"—
With Giaffir is none but his only son,
And the Nubian awaiting the sire's award.
"Haroun—when all the crowd that wait
Are passed beyond the outer gate,
(Woe to the head whose eye beheld
My child Zuleika's face unveiled!)
Hence, lead my daughter from her tower—[fc]40
Her fate is fixed this very hour;
Yet not to her repeat my thought—
By me alone be duty taught!"
"Pacha! to hear is to obey."—
No more must slave to despot say—
Then to the tower had ta'en his way:
But here young Selim silence brake,
First lowly rendering reverence meet;
And downcast looked, and gently spake,
Still standing at the Pacha's feet:50
For son of Moslem must expire,
Ere dare to sit before his sire!
[160] "Father! for fear that thou shouldst chide
My sister, or her sable guide—
Know—for the fault, if fault there be,
Was mine—then fall thy frowns on me!
So lovelily the morning shone,
That—let the old and weary sleep—
I could not; and to view alone
The fairest scenes of land and deep,60
With none to listen and reply
To thoughts with which my heart beat high
Were irksome—for whate'er my mood,
In sooth I love not solitude;
I on Zuleika's slumber broke,
And, as thou knowest that for me
Soon turns the Haram's grating key,
Before the guardian slaves awoke
We to the cypress groves had flown,
And made earth, main, and heaven our own!70
There lingered we, beguiled too long
With Mejnoun's tale, or Sadi's song;[fd][129]
Till I, who heard the deep tambour[130]
Beat thy Divan's approaching hour,
To thee, and to my duty true,
Warned by the sound, to greet thee flew:
But there Zuleika wanders yet—
Nay, Father, rage not—nor forget
[161] That none can pierce that secret bower
But those who watch the women's tower."80


"Son of a slave"—the Pacha said—
"From unbelieving mother bred,
Vain were a father's hope to see
Aught that beseems a man in thee.
Thou, when thine arm should bend the bow,
And hurl the dart, and curb the steed,
Thou, Greek in soul if not in creed,
Must pore where babbling waters flow,[fe]
And watch unfolding roses blow.
Would that yon Orb, whose matin glow90
Thy listless eyes so much admire,
Would lend thee something of his fire!
Thou, who woulds't see this battlement
By Christian cannon piecemeal rent;
Nay, tamely view old Stambol's wall
Before the dogs of Moscow fall,
Nor strike one stroke for life and death
Against the curs of Nazareth!
Go—let thy less than woman's hand
Assume the distaff—not the brand.100
But, Haroun!—to my daughter speed:
And hark—of thine own head take heed—
If thus Zuleika oft takes wing—
Thou see'st yon bow—it hath a string!"


No sound from Selim's lip was heard,
At least that met old Giaffir's ear,
But every frown and every word
[162] Pierced keener than a Christian's sword.
"Son of a slave!—reproached with fear!
Those gibes had cost another dear.110
Son of a slave!—and who my Sire?"
Thus held his thoughts their dark career;
And glances ev'n of more than ire[ff]
Flash forth, then faintly disappear.
Old Giaffir gazed upon his son
And started; for within his eye
He read how much his wrath had done;
He saw rebellion there begun:
"Come hither, boy—what, no reply?
I mark thee—and I know thee too;120
But there be deeds thou dar'st not do:
But if thy beard had manlier length,
And if thy hand had skill and strength,
I'd joy to see thee break a lance,
Albeit against my own perchance."
As sneeringly these accents fell,
On Selim's eye he fiercely gazed:
That eye returned him glance for glance,
And proudly to his Sire's was raised[fg],
Till Giaffir's quailed and shrunk askance—130
And why—he felt, but durst not tell.
"Much I misdoubt this wayward boy
Will one day work me more annoy:
I never loved him from his birth,
And—but his arm is little worth,
And scarcely in the chase could cope
With timid fawn or antelope,
Far less would venture into strife
Where man contends for fame and life[163]
I would not trust that look or tone:140
No—nor the blood so near my own.[fh]
That blood—he hath not heard—no more—
I'll watch him closer than before.
He is an Arab[131] to my sight,
Or Christian crouching in the fight—[fi]
But hark!—I hear Zuleika's voice;
Like Houris' hymn it meets mine ear:
She is the offspring of my choice;
Oh! more than ev'n her mother dear,
With all to hope, and nought to fear—150
My Peri! ever welcome here![fj]
Sweet, as the desert fountain's wave
To lips just cooled in time to save—
Such to my longing sight art thou;
Nor can they waft to Mecca's shrine
More thanks for life, than I for thine,
Who blest thy birth and bless thee now."[fk]


Fair, as the first that fell of womankind,
When on that dread yet lovely serpent smiling,
Whose Image then was stamped upon her mind—160
But once beguiled—and ever more beguiling;
Dazzling, as that, oh! too transcendent vision
To Sorrow's phantom-peopled slumber given,
When heart meets heart again in dreams Elysian,
And paints the lost on Earth revived in Heaven;
Soft, as the memory of buried love;
[164] Pure, as the prayer which Childhood wafts above;
Was she—the daughter of that rude old Chief,
Who met the maid with tears—but not of grief.
Who hath not proved how feebly words essay[132]170
To fix one spark of Beauty's heavenly ray?
Who doth not feel, until his failing sight[fl]
Faints into dimness with its own delight,
His changing cheek, his sinking heart confess
The might—the majesty of Loveliness?
Such was Zuleika—such around her shone
The nameless charms unmarked by her alone—
The light of Love, the purity of Grace,[fm]
The mind, the Music[133] breathing from her face,
[165]The heart whose softness harmonized the whole,180
And oh! that eye was in itself a Soul!
Her graceful arms in meekness bending
Across her gently-budding breast;
At one kind word those arms extending
To clasp the neck of him who blest
His child caressing and carest,
Zuleika came—and Giaffir felt
His purpose half within him melt:
Not that against her fancied weal
His heart though stern could ever feel;190
Affection chained her to that heart;
Ambition tore the links apart.


"Zuleika! child of Gentleness!
How dear this very day must tell,
When I forget my own distress,
In losing what I love so well,
[166] To bid thee with another dwell:
Another! and a braver man
Was never seen in battle's van.
We Moslem reck not much of blood:200
But yet the line of Carasman[134]
Unchanged, unchangeable hath stood
First of the bold Timariot bands
That won and well can keep their lands.[fn]
Enough that he who comes to woo[fo]
Is kinsman of the Bey Oglou:[135]
His years need scarce a thought employ;
I would not have thee wed a boy.
And thou shalt have a noble dower:
And his and my united power210
Will laugh to scorn the death-firman,
Which others tremble but to scan,
[167] And teach the messenger[136] what fate
The bearer of such boon may wait.
And now thou know'st thy father's will;
All that thy sex hath need to know:
'Twas mine to teach obedience still—
The way to love, thy Lord may show."


In silence bowed the virgin's head;
And if her eye was filled with tears220
That stifled feeling dare not shed,
And changed her cheek from pale to red,
And red to pale, as through her ears
Those wingéd words like arrows sped,
What could such be but maiden fears?
So bright the tear in Beauty's eye,
Love half regrets to kiss it dry;
So sweet the blush of Bashfulness,
Even Pity scarce can wish it less!
Whate'er it was the sire forgot:230
Or if remembered, marked it not;
Thrice clapped his hands, and called his steed,[137]
Resigned his gem-adorned chibouque,[138]
[168]And mounting featly for the mead,
With Maugrabeel[139] and Mamaluke,
His way amid his Delis took,[140]
To witness many an active deed
With sabre keen, or blunt jerreed.
The Kislar only and his Moors[141]
Watch well the Haram's massy doors.240


His head was leant upon his hand,
His eye looked o'er the dark blue water
That swiftly glides and gently swells
Between the winding Dardanelles;
But yet he saw nor sea nor strand,
Nor even his Pacha's turbaned band
Mix in the game of mimic slaughter,
Careering cleave the folded felt[142]
With sabre stroke right sharply dealt;
Nor marked the javelin-darting crowd,250
Nor heard their Ollahs[143] wild and loud—
He thought but of old Giaffir's daughter!


[169]No word from Selim's bosom broke;
One sigh Zuleika's thought bespoke:
Still gazed he through the lattice grate,
Pale, mute, and mournfully sedate.
To him Zuleika's eye was turned,
But little from his aspect learned:
Equal her grief, yet not the same;
Her heart confessed a gentler flame:[fp] 260
But yet that heart, alarmed or weak,
She knew not why, forbade to speak.
Yet speak she must—but when essay?
"How strange he thus should turn away!
Not thus we e'er before have met;
Not thus shall be our parting yet."
Thrice paced she slowly through the room,
And watched his eye—it still was fixed:
She snatched the urn wherein was mixed
The Persian Atar-gul's perfume,[144] 270
And sprinkled all its odours o'er
The pictured roof[145] and marble floor:
The drops, that through his glittering vest[fq]
The playful girl's appeal addressed,
Unheeded o'er his bosom flew,
As if that breast were marble too.
"What, sullen yet? it must not be—
Oh! gentle Selim, this from thee!"
She saw in curious order set
[170] The fairest flowers of Eastern land— 280
"He loved them once; may touch them yet,
If offered by Zuleika's hand."
The childish thought was hardly breathed
Before the rose was plucked and wreathed;
The next fond moment saw her seat
Her fairy form at Selim's feet:
"This rose to calm my brother's cares
A message from the Bulbul[146] bears;
It says to-night he will prolong
For Selim's ear his sweetest song; 290
And though his note is somewhat sad,
He'll try for once a strain more glad,
With some faint hope his altered lay
May sing these gloomy thoughts away.


"What! not receive my foolish flower?
Nay then I am indeed unblest:
On me can thus thy forehead lower?
And know'st thou not who loves thee best?[fr]
[171]Oh, Selim dear! oh, more than dearest!
Say, is it me thou hat'st or fearest?300
Come, lay thy head upon my breast,
And I will kiss thee into rest,
Since words of mine, and songs must fail,
Ev'n from my fabled nightingale.
I knew our sire at times was stern,
But this from thee had yet to learn:
Too well I know he loves thee not;
But is Zuleika's love forgot?
Ah! deem I right? the Pacha's plan—
This kinsman Bey of Carasman310
Perhaps may prove some foe of thine.
If so, I swear by Mecca's shrine,—[fs]
If shrines that ne'er approach allow
To woman's step admit her vow,—
Without thy free consent—command—
The Sultan should not have my hand!
Think'st thou that I could bear to part
With thee, and learn to halve my heart?
Ah! were I severed from thy side,
Where were thy friend—and who my guide?320
Years have not seen, Time shall not see,
The hour that tears my soul from thee:[ft]
Ev'n Azrael,[147] from his deadly quiver
When flies that shaft, and fly it must,[fu]
That parts all else, shall doom for ever
Our hearts to undivided dust!"


He lived—he breathed—he moved—he felt;
[172] He raised the maid from where she knelt;
His trance was gone, his keen eye shone
With thoughts that long in darkness dwelt;330
With thoughts that burn—in rays that melt.
As the stream late concealed
By the fringe of its willows,
When it rushes reveal'd
In the light of its billows;
As the bolt bursts on high
From the black cloud that bound it,
Flashed the soul of that eye
Through the long lashes round it.
A war-horse at the trumpet's sound,340
A lion roused by heedless hound,
A tyrant waked to sudden strife
By graze of ill-directed knife,[fv]
Starts not to more convulsive life
Than he, who heard that vow, displayed,
And all, before repressed, betrayed:
"Now thou art mine, for ever mine,
With life to keep, and scarce with life resign;[fw]
Now thou art mine, that sacred oath,
Though sworn by one, hath bound us both.350
Yes, fondly, wisely hast thou done;
That vow hath saved more heads than one:
But blench not thou—thy simplest tress
Claims more from me than tenderness;
I would not wrong the slenderest hair
[173] That clusters round thy forehead fair,[fx]
For all the treasures buried far
Within the caves of Istakar.[148]
This morning clouds upon me lowered,
Reproaches on my head were showered,360
And Giaffir almost called me coward!
Now I have motive to be brave;
The son of his neglected slave,
Nay, start not,'twas the term he gave,
May show, though little apt to vaunt,
A heart his words nor deeds can daunt.
His son, indeed!—yet, thanks to thee,
Perchance I am, at least shall be;
But let our plighted secret vow
Be only known to us as now.370
I know the wretch who dares demand
From Giaffir thy reluctant hand;
More ill-got wealth, a meaner soul
Holds not a Musselim's[149] control;
Was he not bred in Egripo?[150]
A viler race let Israel show!
But let that pass—to none be told
[174] Our oath; the rest shall time unfold.
To me and mine leave Osman Bey!
I've partisans for Peril's day:380
Think not I am what I appear;
I've arms—and friends—and vengeance near."


"Think not thou art what thou appearest!
My Selim, thou art sadly changed:
This morn I saw thee gentlest—dearest—
But now thou'rt from thyself estranged.
My love thou surely knew'st before,
It ne'er was less—nor can be more.
To see thee—hear thee—near thee stay—
And hate the night—I know not why,390
Save that we meet not but by day;
With thee to live, with thee to die,
I dare not to my hope deny:
Thy cheek—thine eyes—thy lips to kiss—
Like this—and this—no more than this;[fy]
For, Allah! sure thy lips are flame:
What fever in thy veins is flushing?
My own have nearly caught the same,
At least I feel my cheek, too, blushing.
To soothe thy sickness, watch thy health,400
Partake, but never waste thy wealth,
Or stand with smiles unmurmuring by,
And lighten half thy poverty;
Do all but close thy dying eye,
For that I could not live to try;
To these alone my thoughts aspire:
More can I do? or thou require?
[175] But, Selim, thou must answer why[fz]
We need so much of mystery?
The cause I cannot dream nor tell,410
But be it, since thou say'st 'tis well;
Yet what thou mean'st by 'arms' and 'friends,'
Beyond my weaker sense extends.
I meant that Giaffir should have heard
The very vow I plighted thee;
His wrath would not revoke my word:
But surely he would leave me free.
Can this fond wish seem strange in me,
To be what I have ever been?
What other hath Zuleika seen420
From simple childhood's earliest hour?
What other can she seek to see
Than thee, companion of her bower,
The partner of her infancy?
These cherished thoughts with life begun,
Say, why must I no more avow?
What change is wrought to make me shun
The truth—my pride, and thine till now?
To meet the gaze of stranger's eyes
Our law—our creed—our God denies;430
Nor shall one wandering thought of mine
At such, our Prophet's will, repine:
No! happier made by that decree,
He left me all in leaving thee.
Deep were my anguish, thus compelled[ga]
To wed with one I ne'er beheld:
[176] This wherefore should I not reveal?
Why wilt thou urge me to conceal?[gb]
I know the Pacha's haughty mood
To thee hath never boded good;440
And he so often storms at nought,
Allah! forbid that e'er he ought!
And why I know not, but within
My heart concealment weighs like sin.[gc]
If then such secrecy be crime,
And such it feels while lurking here;
Oh, Selim! tell me yet in time,
Nor leave me thus to thoughts of fear.
Ah! yonder see the Tchocadar,[151]
My father leaves the mimic war;450
I tremble now to meet his eye—
Say, Selim, canst thou tell me why?"


"Zuleika—to thy tower's retreat
Betake thee—Giaffir I can greet:
And now with him I fain must prate
Of firmans, imposts, levies, state.
There's fearful news from Danube's banks,
Our Vizier nobly thins his ranks
[177] For which the Giaour may give him thanks!
Our Sultan hath a shorter way460
Such costly triumph to repay.
But, mark me, when the twilight drum
Hath warned the troops to food and sleep,
Unto thy cell with Selim come;
Then softly from the Haram creep
Where we may wander by the deep:
Our garden battlements are steep;
Nor these will rash intruder climb
To list our words, or stint our time;
And if he doth, I want not steel470
Which some have felt, and more may feel.
Then shalt thou learn of Selim more
Than thou hast heard or thought before:
Trust me, Zuleika—fear not me!
Thou know'st I hold a Haram key."
"Fear thee, my Selim! ne'er till now
Did words like this——"
"Delay not thou;[gd]
I keep the key—and Haroun's guard
Have some, and hope of more reward.
To-night, Zuleika, thou shalt hear480
My tale, my purpose, and my fear:
I am not, love! what I appear."




The winds are high on Helle's wave,
As on that night of stormy water
When Love, who sent, forgot to save
The young—the beautiful—the brave—
The lonely hope of Sestos' daughter.
Oh! when alone along the sky
Her turret-torch was blazing high,
Though rising gale, and breaking foam, 490
And shrieking sea-birds warned him home;
And clouds aloft and tides below,
With signs and sounds, forbade to go,
He could not see, he would not hear,
Or sound or sign foreboding fear;
His eye but saw that light of Love,
The only star it hailed above;
His ear but rang with Hero's song,
"Ye waves, divide not lovers long!"—
That tale is old, but Love anew[152] 500
May nerve young hearts to prove as true.


The winds are high and Helle's tide
Rolls darkly heaving to the main;
And Night's descending shadows hide
That field with blood bedewed in vain,
The desert of old Priam's pride;
The tombs, sole relics of his reign,
All—save immortal dreams that could beguile
The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle!


Oh! yet—for there my steps have been; 510
These feet have pressed the sacred shore,
These limbs that buoyant wave hath borne—
Minstrel! with thee to muse, to mourn,
To trace again those fields of yore,
Believing every hillock green
Contains no fabled hero's ashes,
And that around the undoubted scene
Thine own "broad Hellespont"[153] still dashes,
Be long my lot! and cold were he
Who there could gaze denying thee! 520


The Night hath closed on Helle's stream,
Nor yet hath risen on Ida's hill
That Moon, which shone on his high theme:
No warrior chides her peaceful beam,
But conscious shepherds bless it still.
Their flocks are grazing on the Mound
Of him who felt the Dardan's arrow:
That mighty heap of gathered ground
Which Ammon's son ran proudly round,[154]
By nations raised, by monarchs crowned, 530
Is now a lone and nameless barrow!
Within—thy dwelling-place how narrow![155]
Without—can only strangers breathe
The name of him that was beneath:
Dust long outlasts the storied stone;
But Thou—thy very dust is gone!


Late, late to-night will Dian cheer
The swain, and chase the boatman's fear;
Till then—no beacon on the cliff
[181]May shape the course of struggling skiff; 540
The scattered lights that skirt the bay,
All, one by one, have died away;
The only lamp of this lone hour
Is glimmering in Zuleika's tower.
Yes! there is light in that lone chamber,
And o'er her silken ottoman
Are thrown the fragrant beads of amber,
O'er which her fairy fingers ran;[156]
Near these, with emerald rays beset,[157]
(How could she thus that gem forget?) 550
Her mother's sainted amulet,[158]
Whereon engraved the Koorsee text,
Could smooth this life, and win the next;
And by her Comboloio[159] lies
[182]A Koran of illumined dyes;
And many a bright emblazoned rhyme
By Persian scribes redeemed from Time;
And o'er those scrolls, not oft so mute,
Reclines her now neglected lute;
And round her lamp of fretted gold 560
Bloom flowers in urns of China's mould;
The richest work of Iran's loom,
And Sheeraz[160] tribute of perfume;
All that can eye or sense delight
Are gathered in that gorgeous room:
But yet it hath an air of gloom.
She, of this Peri cell the sprite,
What doth she hence, and on so rude a night?


Wrapt in the darkest sable vest,
Which none save noblest Moslem wear,570
To guard from winds of Heaven the breast
As Heaven itself to Selim dear,
With cautious steps the thicket threading,
And starting oft, as through the glade
The gust its hollow moanings made,
Till on the smoother pathway treading,
More free her timid bosom beat,
The maid pursued her silent guide;
And though her terror urged retreat,
How could she quit her Selim's side?580
How teach her tender lips to chide?


They reached at length a grotto, hewn
By nature, but enlarged by art,
Where oft her lute she wont to tune,
And oft her Koran conned apart;
And oft in youthful reverie
She dreamed what Paradise might be:
Where Woman's parted soul shall go
Her Prophet had disdained to show;[gf][161]
But Selim's mansion was secure, 590
Nor deemed she, could he long endure
His bower in other worlds of bliss
Without her, most beloved in this!
Oh! who so dear with him could dwell?
What Houri soothe him half so well?


Since last she visited the spot
Some change seemed wrought within the grot:
It might be only that the night
Disguised things seen by better light:
That brazen lamp but dimly threw 600
A ray of no celestial hue;
But in a nook within the cell
Her eye on stranger objects fell.
There arms were piled, not such as wield
The turbaned Delis in the field;
But brands of foreign blade and hilt,
And one was red—perchance with guilt![gg]
Ah! how without can blood be spilt?
[184] A cup too on the board was set
That did not seem to hold sherbet. 610
What may this mean? she turned to see
Her Selim—"Oh! can this be he?"[gh]


His robe of pride was thrown aside,
His brow no high-crowned turban bore,
But in its stead a shawl of red,
Wreathed lightly round, his temples wore:
That dagger, on whose hilt the gem
Were worthy of a diadem,
No longer glittered at his waist,
Where pistols unadorned were braced; 620
And from his belt a sabre swung,
And from his shoulder loosely hung
The cloak of white, the thin capote
That decks the wandering Candiote;
Beneath—his golden plated vest
Clung like a cuirass to his breast;
The greaves below his knee that wound
With silvery scales were sheathed and bound.
But were it not that high command
Spake in his eye, and tone, and hand, 630
All that a careless eye could see
In him was some young Galiongée.[162]



"I said I was not what I seemed;
And now thou see'st my words were true:
I have a tale thou hast not dreamed,
If sooth—its truth must others rue.
My story now 'twere vain to hide,
I must not see thee Osman's bride:
But had not thine own lips declared
How much of that young heart I shared, 640
I could not, must not, yet have shown
The darker secret of my own.
In this I speak not now of love;
That—let Time—Truth—and Peril prove:
But first—Oh! never wed another—
Zuleika! I am not thy brother!"


"Oh! not my brother!—yet unsay—
God! am I left alone on earth
To mourn—I dare not curse—the day[gi]
That saw my solitary birth?650
Oh! thou wilt love me now no more!
My sinking heart foreboded ill;
But know me all I was before,
Thy sister—friend—Zuleika still.
Thou led'st me here perchance to kill;
If thou hast cause for vengeance, see!
My breast is offered—take thy fill!
Far better with the dead to be
Than live thus nothing now to thee:
[186] Perhaps far worse, for now I know660
Why Giaffir always seemed thy foe;
And I, alas! am Giaffir's child,
For whom thou wert contemned, reviled.
If not thy sister—would'st thou save
My life—Oh! bid me be thy slave!"


"My slave, Zuleika!—nay, I'm thine:
But, gentle love, this transport calm,
Thy lot shall yet be linked with mine;
I swear it by our Prophet's shrine,[gj]
And be that thought thy sorrow's balm.670
So may the Koran[163] verse displayed
Upon its steel direct my blade,
In danger's hour to guard us both,
As I preserve that awful oath!
The name in which thy heart hath prided
Must change; but, my Zuleika, know,
That tie is widened, not divided,
Although thy Sire's my deadliest foe.
My father was to Giaffir all
[187]That Selim late was deemed to thee;680
That brother wrought a brother's fall,
But spared, at least, my infancy!
And lulled me with a vain deceit
That yet a like return may meet.
He reared me, not with tender help,
But like the nephew of a Cain;[164]
He watched me like a lion's whelp,
That gnaws and yet may break his chain.
My father's blood in every vein
Is boiling! but for thy dear sake690
No present vengeance will I take;
Though here I must no more remain.
But first, beloved Zuleika! hear
How Giaffir wrought this deed of fear.


"How first their strife to rancour grew,
If Love or Envy made them foes,
It matters little if I knew;
[188] In fiery spirits, slights, though few
And thoughtless, will disturb repose.
In war Abdallah's arm was strong, 700
Remembered yet in Bosniac song,[165]
And Paswan's[166] rebel hordes attest
How little love they bore such guest:
His death is all I need relate,
The stern effect of Giaffir's hate;
And how my birth disclosed to me,[gk]
Whate'er beside it makes, hath made me free.



"When Paswan, after years of strife,
At last for power, but first for life,
In Widdin's walls too proudly sate, 710
Our Pachas rallied round the state;
Not last nor least in high command,
Each brother led a separate band;
They gave their Horse-tails[167] to the wind,
And mustering in Sophia's plain
Their tents were pitched, their post assigned;
To one, alas! assigned in vain!
What need of words? the deadly bowl,
By Giaffir's order drugged and given,
With venom subtle as his soul,[gl]
Dismissed Abdallah's hence to heaven. 720
Reclined and feverish in the bath,
He, when the hunter's sport was up,
But little deemed a brother's wrath
To quench his thirst had such a cup:
The bowl a bribed attendant bore;
He drank one draught,[168] nor needed more!
If thou my tale, Zuleika, doubt,
Call Haroun—he can tell it out.


"The deed once done, and Paswan's feud 730
In part suppressed, though ne'er subdued,
[190] Abdallah's Pachalick was gained:—
Thou know'st not what in our Divan
Can wealth procure for worse than man—
Abdallah's honours were obtained
By him a brother's murder stained;
'Tis true, the purchase nearly drained
His ill-got treasure, soon replaced.
Would'st question whence? Survey the waste,
And ask the squalid peasant how 740
His gains repay his broiling brow!—
Why me the stern Usurper spared,
Why thus with me his palace spared,
I know not. Shame—regret—remorse—
And little fear from infant's force—
Besides, adoption as a son
By him whom Heaven accorded none,
Or some unknown cabal, caprice,
Preserved me thus:—but not in peace:
He cannot curb his haughty mood,[gm] 750
Nor I forgive a father's blood.


"Within thy Father's house are foes;
Not all who break his bread are true:
To these should I my birth disclose,
His days-his very hours were few:
They only want a heart to lead,
A hand to point them to the deed.
But Haroun only knows, or knew
This tale, whose close is almost nigh:
[191] He in Abdallah's palace grew, 760
And held that post in his Serai
Which holds he here—he saw him die;
But what could single slavery do?
Avenge his lord? alas! too late;
Or save his son from such a fate?
He chose the last, and when elate
With foes subdued, or friends betrayed,
Proud Giaffir in high triumph sate,
He led me helpless to his gate,
And not in vain it seems essayed 770
To save the life for which he prayed.
The knowledge of my birth secured
From all and each, but most from me;
Thus Giaffir's safety was ensured.
Removed he too from Roumelie
To this our Asiatic side,
Far from our seats by Danube's tide,
With none but Haroun, who retains
Such knowledge—and that Nubian feels
A Tyrant's secrets are but chains, 780
From which the captive gladly steals,
And this and more to me reveals:
Such still to guilt just Allah sends—
Slaves, tools, accomplices—no friends!


"All this, Zuleika, harshly sounds;
But harsher still my tale must be:
Howe'er my tongue thy softness wounds,
Yet I must prove all truth to thee."[gn]
I saw thee start this garb to see,
[192] Yet is it one I oft have worn,790
And long must wear: this Galiongée,
To whom thy plighted vow is sworn,
Is leader of those pirate hordes,
Whose laws and lives are on their swords;
To hear whose desolating tale
Would make thy waning cheek more pale:
Those arms thou see'st my band have brought,
The hands that wield are not remote;
This cup too for the rugged knaves
Is filled—once quaffed, they ne'er repine:800
Our Prophet might forgive the slaves;
They're only infidels in wine.


"What could I be? Proscribed at home,
And taunted to a wish to roam;
And listless left—for Giaffir's fear
Denied the courser and the spear—
Though oft—Oh, Mahomet! how oft!—
In full Divan the despot scoffed,
As if my weak unwilling hand
Refused the bridle or the brand: 810
He ever went to war alone,
And pent me here untried—unknown;
To Haroun's care with women left,[go]
By hope unblest, of fame bereft,
While thou—whose softness long endeared,
Though it unmanned me, still had cheered—
To Brusa's walls for safety sent,
Awaited'st there the field's event.
[193] Haroun who saw my spirit pining[gp]
Beneath inaction's sluggish yoke, 820
His captive, though with dread resigning,
My thraldom for a season broke,
On promise to return before
The day when Giaffir's charge was o'er.
'Tis vain—my tongue can not impart[gq]
My almost drunkenness of heart,[169]
When first this liberated eye
Surveyed Earth—Ocean—Sun—and Sky—
As if my Spirit pierced them through,
And all their inmost wonders knew! 830
One word alone can paint to thee
That more than feeling—I was Free!
E'en for thy presence ceased to pine;
The World—nay, Heaven itself was mine!


"The shallop of a trusty Moor
Conveyed me from this idle shore;
I longed to see the isles that gem
Old Ocean's purple diadem:
I sought by turns, and saw them all;[170]
But when and where I joined the crew,840
With whom I'm pledged to rise or fall,
[194] When all that we design to do
Is done,'twill then be time more meet
To tell thee, when the tale's complete.


"'Tis true, they are a lawless brood,
But rough in form, nor mild in mood;
And every creed, and every race,
With them hath found—may find a place:
But open speech, and ready hand,
Obedience to their Chief's command; 850
A soul for every enterprise,
That never sees with Terror's eyes;
Friendship for each, and faith to all,
And vengeance vowed for those who fall,
Have made them fitting instruments
For more than e'en my own intents.
And some—and I have studied all
Distinguished from the vulgar rank,
But chiefly to my council call
The wisdom of the cautious Frank:— 860
And some to higher thoughts aspire.
The last of Lambro's[171] patriots there
Anticipated freedom share;
And oft around the cavern fire
On visionary schemes debate,
[195] To snatch the Rayahs[172] from their fate.
So let them ease their hearts with prate
Of equal rights, which man ne'er knew;
I have a love for freedom too.
Aye! let me like the ocean-Patriarch[173] roam, 870
Or only know on land the Tartar's home![174]
My tent on shore, my galley on the sea,
Are more than cities and Serais to me:[175]
Borne by my steed, or wafted by my sail,
Across the desert, or before the gale,
Bound where thou wilt, my barb! or glide, my prow!
But be the Star that guides the wanderer, Thou!
Thou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark;
The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark![176]
Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife, 880
Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray![177]
[196]Blest—as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's wall
To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call;
Soft—as the melody of youthful days,
That steals the trembling tear of speechless praise;
Dear—as his native song to Exile's ears,[gr]
[197]Shall sound each tone thy long-loved voice endears.
For thee in those bright isles is built a bower 890
Blooming as Aden[178] in its earliest hour.
A thousand swords, with Selim's heart and hand,
Wait—wave—defend—destroy—at thy command![gs]
Girt by my band, Zuleika at my side,
The spoil of nations shall bedeck my bride.
The Haram's languid years of listless ease
Are well resigned for cares—for joys like these:
Not blind to Fate, I see, where'er I rove,
Unnumbered perils,—but one only love!
Yet well my toils shall that fond breast repay, 900
Though Fortune frown, or falser friends betray.
How dear the dream in darkest hours of ill,
Should all be changed, to find thee faithful still!
Be but thy soul, like Selim's firmly shown;
To thee be Selim's tender as thine own;
To soothe each sorrow, share in each delight,[gt]
Blend every thought, do all—but disunite!
Once free, 'tis mine our horde again to guide;
Friends to each other, foes to aught beside:[179]
Yet there we follow but the bent assigned 910
By fatal Nature to man's warring kind:[gu]
[198]Mark! where his carnage and his conquests cease!
He makes a solitude, and calls it—peace![gv][180]
I like the rest must use my skill or strength,
But ask no land beyond my sabre's length:
Power sways but by division—her resource[gw]
The blest alternative of fraud or force!
Ours be the last; in time Deceit may come
When cities cage us in a social home:
There ev'n thy soul might err—how oft the heart 920
Corruption shakes which Peril could not part!
And Woman, more than Man, when Death or Woe,
Or even Disgrace, would lay her lover low,
Sunk in the lap of Luxury will shame—
Away suspicion!—not Zuleika's name!
But life is hazard at the best; and here
No more remains to win, and much to fear:
Yes, fear!—the doubt, the dread of losing thee,
By Osman's power, and Giaffir's stern decree.
That dread shall vanish with the favouring gale, 930
Which Love to-night hath promised to my sail:[gx]
No danger daunts the pair his smile hath blest,
Their steps still roving, but their hearts at rest.
With thee all toils are sweet, each clime hath charms;
Earth—sea alike—our world within our arms!
[199] Aye—let the loud winds whistle o'er the deck,[181]
So that those arms cling closer round my neck:
The deepest murmur of this lip shall be,[gy][182]
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!
The war of elements no fears impart 940
To Love, whose deadliest bane is human Art:
There lie the only rocks our course can check;
Here moments menace—there are years of wreck!
But hence ye thoughts that rise in Horror's shape!
This hour bestows, or ever bars escape.[gz]
Few words remain of mine my tale to close;
Of thine but one to waft us from our foes;
Yea—foes—to me will Giaffir's hate decline?
And is not Osman, who would part us, thine?


"His head and faith from doubt and death950
Returned in time my guard to save;
Few heard, none told, that o'er the wave
From isle to isle I roved the while:
And since, though parted from my band
Too seldom now I leave the land,
[200] No deed they've done, nor deed shall do,
Ere I have heard and doomed it too:
I form the plan—decree the spoil—
Tis fit I oftener share the toil.
But now too long I've held thine ear;960
Time presses—floats my bark—and here
We leave behind but hate and fear.
To-morrow Osman with his train
Arrives—to-night must break thy chain:
And would'st thou save that haughty Bey,—
Perchance his life who gave thee thine,—
With me this hour away—away!
But yet, though thou art plighted mine,
Would'st thou recall thy willing vow,
Appalled by truths imparted now,970
Here rest I—not to see thee wed:
But be that peril on my head!"


Zuleika, mute and motionless,
Stood like that Statue of Distress,
When, her last hope for ever gone,
The Mother hardened into stone;
All in the maid that eye could see
Was but a younger Niobé.
But ere her lip, or even her eye,
Essayed to speak, or look reply, 980
Beneath the garden's wicket porch
Far flashed on high a blazing torch!
Another—and another—and another—[183]
[201]"Oh! fly—no more—yet now my more than brother!"
Far, wide, through every thicket spread
The fearful lights are gleaming red;
Nor these alone—for each right hand
Is ready with a sheathless brand.
They part—pursue—return, and wheel
With searching flambeau, shining steel; 990
And last of all, his sabre waving,
Stern Giaffir in his fury raving:
And now almost they touch the cave—
Oh! must that grot be Selim's grave?


Dauntless he stood—"'Tis come—soon past—
One kiss, Zuleika—'tis my last:
But yet my band not far from shore
May hear this signal, see the flash;
Yet now too few—the attempt were rash:
No matter—yet one effort more."1000
Forth to the cavern mouth he stept;
His pistol's echo rang on high,
Zuleika started not, nor wept,
Despair benumbed her breast and eye!—
"They hear me not, or if they ply
Their oars,'tis but to see me die;
That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh.
Then forth my father's scimitar,
Thou ne'er hast seen less equal war!
Farewell, Zuleika!—Sweet! retire:1010
Yet stay within—here linger safe,
At thee his rage will only chafe.
Stir not—lest even to thee perchance
Some erring blade or ball should glance.
[202] Fear'st them for him?—may I expire
If in this strife I seek thy sire!
No—though by him that poison poured;
No—though again he call me coward!
But tamely shall I meet their steel?
No—as each crest save his may feel!"1020


One bound he made, and gained the sand:
Already at his feet hath sunk
The foremost of the prying band,
A gasping head, a quivering trunk:
Another falls—but round him close
A swarming circle of his foes;
From right to left his path he cleft,
And almost met the meeting wave:
His boat appears—not five oars' length—
His comrades strain with desperate strength—1030
Oh! are they yet in time to save?
His feet the foremost breakers lave;
His band are plunging in the bay,
Their sabres glitter through the spray;
Wet—wild—unwearied to the strand
They struggle—now they touch the land!
They come—'tis but to add to slaughter—
His heart's best blood is on the water.


Escaped from shot, unharmed by steel,
Or scarcely grazed its force to feel,[ha] 1040
Had Selim won, betrayed, beset,
To where the strand and billows met;
[203] There as his last step left the land,
And the last death-blow dealt his hand—
Ah! wherefore did he turn to look[hb]
For her his eye but sought in vain?
That pause, that fatal gaze he took,
Hath doomed his death, or fixed his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain,
How late will Lover's hope remain! 1050
His back was to the dashing spray;
Behind, but close, his comrades lay,
When, at the instant, hissed the ball—
"So may the foes of Giaffir fall!"
Whose voice is heard? whose carbine rang?
Whose bullet through the night-air sang,
Too nearly, deadly aimed to err?
'Tis thine—Abdallah's Murderer!
[204] The father slowly rued thy hate,
The son hath found a quicker fate: 1060
Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling,
The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling—
If aught his lips essayed to groan,
The rushing billows choked the tone!


Morn slowly rolls the clouds away;
Few trophies of the fight are there:
The shouts that shook the midnight-bay
Are silent; but some signs of fray
That strand of strife may bear,
And fragments of each shivered brand;1070
Steps stamped; and dashed into the sand
The print of many a struggling hand
May there be marked; nor far remote
A broken torch, an oarless boat;
And tangled on the weeds that heap
The beach where shelving to the deep
There lies a white capote!
'Tis rent in twain—one dark-red stain
The wave yet ripples o'er in vain:
But where is he who wore?1080
Ye! who would o'er his relics weep,
Go, seek them where the surges sweep
Their burthen round Sigæum's steep
And cast on Lemnos' shore:
The sea-birds shriek above the prey,
O'er which their hungry beaks delay,[hc]
As shaken on his restless pillow,
His head heaves with the heaving billow;
[205] That hand, whose motion is not life,[hd]
Yet feebly seems to menace strife,1090
Flung by the tossing tide on high,
Then levelled with the wave—[184]
What recks it, though that corse shall lie
Within a living grave?
The bird that tears that prostrate form
Hath only robbed the meaner worm;
The only heart, the only eye
Had bled or wept to see him die,
Had seen those scattered limbs composed,
And mourned above his turban-stone,[185]1100
That heart hath burst—that eye was closed—
Yea—closed before his own!


By Helle's stream there is a voice of wail!
And Woman's eye is wet—Man's cheek is pale:
Zuleika! last of Giaffir's race,
Thy destined lord is come too late:
He sees not—ne'er shall see thy face!
Can he not hear
The loud Wul-wulleh[186] warn his distant ear?
[206]Thy handmaids weeping at the gate,1110
The Koran-chanters of the Hymn of Fate,[he][187]
The silent slaves with folded arms that wait,
Sighs in the hall, and shrieks upon the gale,
Tell him thy tale!
Thou didst not view thy Selim fall!
That fearful moment when he left the cave
Thy heart grew chill:
He was thy hope—thy joy—thy love—thine all,
And that last thought on him thou could'st not save
Sufficed to kill;1120
Burst forth in one wild cry—and all was still.
Peace to thy broken heart—and virgin grave!
Ah! happy! but of life to lose the worst!
That grief—though deep—though fatal—was thy first!
Thrice happy! ne'er to feel nor fear the force
Of absence—shame—pride—hate—revenge—remorse!
And, oh! that pang where more than Madness lies
The Worm that will not sleep—and never dies;
Thought of the gloomy day and ghastly night,
That dreads the darkness, and yet loathes the light,1130
That winds around, and tears the quivering heart!
Ah! wherefore not consume it—and depart!
[207] Woe to thee, rash and unrelenting Chief!
Vainly thou heap'st the dust upon thy head,
Vainly the sackcloth o'er thy limbs dost spread:[188]
By that same hand Abdallah—Selim bled.
Now let it tear thy beard in idle grief:
Thy pride of heart, thy bride for Osman's bed,
She, whom thy Sultan had but seen to wed,[hf]
Thy Daughter's dead!1140
Hope of thine age, thy twilight's lonely beam,
The Star hath set that shone on Helle's stream.
What quenched its ray?—the blood that thou hast shed!
Hark! to the hurried question of Despair:[189]
"Where is my child?"—an Echo answers—"Where?"[190]


Within the place of thousand tombs
That shine beneath, while dark above
The sad but living cypress glooms[hg]
And withers not, though branch and leaf
Are stamped with an eternal grief, 1150
Like early unrequited Love,
[208] One spot exists, which ever blooms,
Ev'n in that deadly grove—
A single rose is shedding there
Its lonely lustre, meek and pale:
It looks as planted by Despair—
So white—so faint—the slightest gale
Might whirl the leaves on high;
And yet, though storms and blight assail,
And hands more rude than wintry sky 1160
May wring it from the stem—in vain—
To-morrow sees it bloom again!
The stalk some Spirit gently rears,
And waters with celestial tears;
For well may maids of Helle deem
That this can be no earthly flower,
Which mocks the tempest's withering hour,
And buds unsheltered by a bower;
Nor droops, though Spring refuse her shower,
Nor woos the Summer beam: 1170
To it the livelong night there sings
A Bird unseen—but not remote:
Invisible his airy wings,
But soft as harp that Houri strings
His long entrancing note!
It were the Bulbul; but his throat,
Though mournful, pours not such a strain:
For they who listen cannot leave
The spot, but linger there and grieve,
As if they loved in vain! 1180
And yet so sweet the tears they shed,
'Tis sorrow so unmixed with dread,
They scarce can bear the morn to break
That melancholy spell,
And longer yet would weep and wake,
[209] He sings so wild and well!
But when the day-blush bursts from high[hh]
Expires that magic melody.
And some have been who could believe,[hi]
(So fondly youthful dreams deceive, 1190
Yet harsh be they that blame,)
That note so piercing and profound
Will shape and syllable[191] its sound
Into Zuleika's name.
'Tis from her cypress summit heard,
That melts in air the liquid word:
'Tis from her lowly virgin earth
That white rose takes its tender birth.
[210] There late was laid a marble stone;
Eve saw it placed—the Morrow gone! 1200
It was no mortal arm that bore
That deep fixed pillar to the shore;
For there, as Helle's legends tell,
Next morn 'twas found where Selim fell;
Lashed by the tumbling tide, whose wave
Denied his bones a holier grave:
And there by night, reclined, 'tis said.
Is seen a ghastly turbaned head:[192]
And hence extended by the billow,
'Tis named the "Pirate-phantom's pillow!" 1210
Where first it lay that mourning flower
Hath flourished; flourisheth this hour,
Alone and dewy—coldly pure and pale;
As weeping Beauty's cheek at Sorrow's tale![hj][193]




After the completion of the fair copy of the MS. of the Bride of Abydos, seventy lines were added to stanza xx. of Canto II. In both MSS. the rough and fair copies, the stanza ends with the line, "The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark!"

Seven MS. sheets are extant, which make up the greater portion of these additional lines.

The First Addition amounts to eight lines, and takes the narrative from line 880 to line 893, "Wait—wave—defend— destroy—at thy command!"

Lines 884-889 do not appear in the first MS. Fragment, but are given in three variants on separate sheets. Two of these are dated December 2 and December 3, 1813.

The Second Fragment begins with line 890, "For thee in those bright isles is built a bower," and, numbering twenty-two lines, ends with a variant of line 907, "Blend every thought, do all—but disunite!" Two lines of this addition, "With thee all toils are sweet," find a place in the text as lines 934, 935.

The Third Fragment amounts to thirty-six lines, and may be taken as the first draft of the whole additions—lines 880-949.

Lines 908-925 and 936-945 of the text are still later additions, but a fourth MS. fragment supplies lines 920-925 and lines 936-945. (A fair copy of this fragment gives text for Revise of November 13.) Between November 13 and November 25 no less than ten revises of the Bride were[212] submitted to Lord Byron. In the earliest of these, dated November 13, the thirty-six lines of the Third Fragment have been expanded into forty lines—four lines of the MS. being omitted, and twelve lines, 908-919, "Once free,"—"social home," being inserted. The text passed through five revises and remained unaltered till November 21, when eighteen lines were added to the forty, viz.: (4) "Mark! where his carnage,"—"sabre's length;" (6) "There ev'n thy soul,"—"Zuleika's name;" and (8) "Aye—let the loud winds,"—"bars escape." Of these the two latter additions belong to the Fourth Fragment. The text in this state passed through three more revises, but before the first edition was issued two more lines were added—lines 938, 939,

"The deepest murmur of this lip shall be,
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!"

Even then the six lines, "Blest—as the Muezzin's,"—"endears," are wanting in the text; but the four lines, "Soft—as the melody,"—"endears," are inserted in MS. in the margin. The text as it stands first appears in the Seventh Edition.

[First Draft of 880, sq., of Canto II. Stanz xx. of the Bride of Abydos.]

For thee in those bright isles is built a bower
Aden, in its earliest hour
Blooming as Eden—guarded like a tower
A thousand swords—thy Selim's soul and hand
Wait on thy voice, and bow to thy command
No Danger daunts—the souls that Love hath blest
steps still roving
With feet long-wandering—but with hearts at rest.
For thee my blade shall shine—my hand shall toil
With thee all toils were sweet—each clime hath charms {line 934}
Earth—sea—alike—one World within our arms {line 935}
Girt by my hand—Zuleika at my side—
The Spoil of nations shall bedeck my bride
[213] slumbring
The Haram's sluggish life of listless ease
Is well exchanged for cares and joys like these
Mine be the lot to know where'er I rove
A thousand perils wait where-er I rove,
Not blind to fate I view where-er I rove
A thousand perils—but one only love—
Yet well my labor shall fond breast repay
When Fortune frowns or falser friends betray
How dear the thought in darkest hours of ill
Should all be changed to find thee faithful still
Be but thy soul like Selim's firmly shown
mine in firmness
Firm as my own I deem thy tender heart
To thee be Selim's tender as thine own
Exchange, or mingle every thought with his
And all our future days unite in this.

Man I may lead—but trust not—I may fall
By those now friends to me—yet foes to all—
In this they follow but the bent assigned
fatal Nature
By savage Nature to our warning kind
But there—oh, far be every thought of fear
Life is but peril at the best—and here
No more remains to win and much to fear
Yes fear—the doubt the dread of losing thee—
That dread must vanish.



To the Right Honble
Henry Richard Vassal
Lord Holland
This Tale
Is inscribed with
Every sentiment of the
Most affectionate respect
by his gratefully obliged servt.
And sincere Friend

[Proof and Revise.—See Letters to Murray, November 13, 17, 1813.]

[124] {157} ["Murray tells me that Croker asked him why the thing was called the Bride of Abydos? It is a cursed awkward question, being unanswerable. She is not a bride, only about to become one. I don't wonder at his finding out the Bull; but the detection ... is too late to do any good. I was a great fool to make it, and am ashamed of not being an Irishman."—Journal, December 6, 1813; Letters, 1898, ii. 365.

Byron need not have been dismayed. "The term is particularly applied on the day of marriage and during the 'honeymoon,' but is frequently used from the proclamation of the banns.... In the debate on Prince Leopold's allowance, Mr. Gladstone, being criticized for speaking of the Princess Helena as the 'bride,' said he believed that colloquially a lady when engaged was often called a 'bride.' This was met with 'Hear! Hear!' from some, and 'No! No!' from others."—N. Engl. Dict., art. "Bride."]

[125] [The opening lines were probably suggested by Goethe's—"Kennst du das Land wo die citronen blühn?"]

[126] "Gúl," the rose.

[127] {158} ["'Where the Citron,' etc. These lines are in the MS., and omitted by the Printer, whom I again request to look over it, and see that no others are omitted.—B." (Revise No. 1, November 13, 1813.)

"I ought and do apologise to Mr.—— the Printer for charging him with an omission of the lines which I find was my own—but I also wish he would not print such a stupid word as finest for fairest." (Revise, November 15, 1813.)

The lines, "Where the Citron," etc., are absent from a fair copy dated November 11, but are inserted as an addition in an earlier draft.]


"Souls made of fire, and children of the Sun,
With whom revenge is virtue."

Young's Revenge, act v. sc. 2 (British Theatre, 1792, p. 84).

[ez] For wild as the moment of lovers' farewell.—[MS.]

[fa] Canto 1st The Bride of Abydos. Nov. 1st 1813.—[MS.]

[fb] {159} The changing cheek and knitting brow.—[MS. i.]


Hence—bid my daughter hither come
This hour decides her future doom—
Yet not to her these words express
But lead her from the tower's recess.—[MSS. i., ii.]

[These lines must have been altered in proof, for all the revises accord with the text.]

[fd] {160} With many a tale and mutual song.—[ms]

[129] Mejnoun and Leila, the Romeo and Juliet of the East. Sadi, the moral poet of Persia. [For the "story of Leila and Mujnoon," see The Gulistan, or Rose Garden of ... Saadi, translated by Francis Gladwin, Boston, 1865, Tale xix. pp. 288, 289; and Gulistan ... du Cheikh Sa'di ... Traduit par W. Semelet, Paris, 1834, Notes on Chapitre V. p. 304. Sa'di "moralizes" the tale, to the effect that love dwells in the eye of the beholder. See, too, Jāmī's Medjnoun et Leila, translated by A. L. Chezy, Paris, 1807.]

[130] Tambour. Turkish drum, which sounds at sunrise, noon, and twilight. [The "tambour" is a kind of mandoline. It is the large kettle-drum (nagaré) which sounds the hours.]

[fe] {161}

Must walk forsooth where waters flow
And pore on every flower below.—[MS. erased.]

[ff] {162} For looks of peace and hearts of ire.—[MS.]

[fg] And calmly to his Sire's was raised.—[MS.]

[fh] {163} No—nor the blood I call my own.—[MS.]

[131] The Turks abhor the Arabs (who return the compliment a hundredfold) even more than they hate the Christians.

[fi] Or Christian flying from the fight.—[MS.]

[fj] Zuleika! ever welcome here.—[MS.]

[fk] Who never was more blest than now.—[MS.]

[132] {164} [Lines 170-181 were added in the course of printing. They were received by the publisher on November 22, 1813.]


Who hath not felt his very power of sight
Faint with the languid dimness of delight?—[MS.]


The light of life—the purity of grace
The mind of Music breathing in her face
or,  Mind on her lip and music in her face.
A heart where softness harmonized the whole
And oh! her eye was in itself a Soul!—[MS.]

[133] This expression has met with objections. I will not refer to "Him who hath not Music in his soul," but merely request the reader to recollect, for ten seconds, the features of the woman whom he believes to be the most beautiful; and, if he then does not comprehend fully what is feebly expressed in the above line, I shall be sorry for us both. For an eloquent passage in the latest work of the first female writer of this, perhaps of any, age, on the analogy (and the immediate comparison excited by that analogy) between "painting and music," see vol. iii. cap. 10, De l'Allemagne. And is not this connection still stronger with the original than the copy? with the colouring of Nature than of Art? After all, this is rather to be felt than described; still I think there are some who will understand it, at least they would have done had they beheld the countenance whose speaking harmony suggested the idea; for this passage is not drawn from imagination but memory,[A] that mirror which Affliction dashes to the earth, and looking down upon the fragments, only beholds the reflection multiplied!

[A] In this line I have not drawn from fiction but memory—that mirror of regret memory—the too faithful mirror of affliction the long vista through which we gaze. Someone has said that the perfection of Architecture is frozen music—the perfection of Beauty to my mind always presented the idea of living Music.—[MS. erased.]

[For the simile of the broken mirror, compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza xxxiii. line 1 (Poetical Works, ii. 236, note 2); and for "the expression," "music breathing from her face," compare Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici, Part II. sect, ix., Works, 1835, ii. 106, "And sure there is musick, even in the beauty and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of any instrument;" and Lovelace's "Song," Orpheus to Beasts

"Oh could you view the melody
Of ev'ry grace,
And music of her face!"

The effect of the appeal to Madame de Staël is thus recorded in Byron's Journal of December 7, 1813 (Letters, 1898, ii. 369): "This morning, a very pretty billet from the Staël," (for passage in De L'Allemagne, Part III. chap, x., and the "billet," see Letters, ii. 354, note 1) ... "She has been pleased to be pleased with my slight eulogy in the note annexed to The Bride."]

[134] {166} Carasman Oglou, or Kara Osman Oglou, is the principal landholder in Turkey; he governs Magnesia: those who, by a kind of feudal tenure, possess land on condition of service, are called Timariots: they serve as Spahis, according to the extent of territory, and bring a certain number into the field, generally cavalry.

[The "line of Carasman" dates back to Kara Youlouk, the founder of the dynasty of the "White Sheep," at the close of the fourteenth century. Hammer-Purgstall (Hist. de l'Emp. Ottoman, iii. 151) gives sang-sue, "blood-sucker," as the equivalent of Youlouk, which should, however, be interpreted "smooth-face." Of the Magnesian Kara Osman Oglou ("Black Osman-son"), Dallaway (Constantinople Ancient and Modern, 1797, p. 190) writes, "He is the most powerful and opulent derè bey ('lord of the valley'), or feudal tenant, in the empire, and, though inferior to the pashas in rank, possesses more wealth and influence, and offers them an example of administration and patriotic government which they have rarely the virtue to follow." For the Timariots, who formed the third class of the feudal cavalry of the Ottoman Empire, see Finlay's Greece under Othoman ... Domination, 1856, pp. 50, 51.]

[fn] Who won of yore paternal lands.—[MS.]

[fo] Enough if that thy bridesman true.—[MS. erased.]

[135] [The Bey Oglou (Begzāde) is "the nobleman," "the high-born chief."]

[136] {167} When a Pacha is sufficiently strong to resist, the single messenger, who is always the first bearer of the order for his death, is strangled instead, and sometimes five or six, one after the other, on the same errand, by command of the refractory patient; if, on the contrary, he is weak or loyal, he bows, kisses the Sultan's respectable signature, and is bowstrung with great complacency. In 1810, several of these presents were exhibited in the niche of the Seraglio gate; among others, the head of the Pacha of Bagdat, a brave young man, cut off by treachery, after a desperate resistance.

[137] Clapping of the hands calls the servants. The Turks hate a superfluous expenditure of voice, and they have no bells.

[138] "Chibouque," the Turkish pipe, of which the amber mouthpiece, and sometimes the ball which contains the leaf, is adorned with precious stones, if in possession of the wealthier orders.

[139] {168} "Maugrabee" [Maghrabī, Moors], Moorish mercenaries.

[140] "Delis," bravos who form the forlorn hope of the cavalry, and always begin the action. [See Childe Harold, Canto II., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 149, note 1.]

[141] [The Kizlar aghasi was the head of the black eunuchs; kislar, by itself, is Turkish for "girls," "virgins."]

[142] A twisted fold of felt is used for scimitar practice by the Turks, and few but Mussulman arms can cut through it at a single stroke: sometimes a tough turban is used for the same purpose. The jerreed [jarīd] is a game of blunt javelins, animated and graceful.

[143] "Ollahs," Alla il Allah [La ilāh ill 'llāh], the "Leilies," as the Spanish poets call them, the sound is Ollah: a cry of which the Turks, for a silent people, are somewhat profuse, particularly during the jerreed [jarīd], or in the chase, but mostly in battle. Their animation in the field, and gravity in the chamber, with their pipes and comboloios [vide post, p. 181, note 4], form an amusing contrast.

[fp] {169} Her heart confessed no cause of shame.—[MS.]

[144] "Atar-gul," ottar of roses. The Persian is the finest.

[145] The ceiling and wainscots, or rather walls, of the Mussulman apartments are generally painted, in great houses, with one eternal and highly-coloured view of Constantinople, wherein the principal feature is a noble contempt of perspective; below, arms, scimitars, etc., are, in general, fancifully and not inelegantly disposed.


The drops that flow upon his vest
Unheeded fell upon his breast.—[MS.]

[146] {170} It has been much doubted whether the notes of this "Lover of the rose" are sad or merry; and Mr. Fox's remarks on the subject have provoked some learned controversy as to the opinions of the ancients on the subject. I dare not venture a conjecture on the point, though a little inclined to the "errare mallem," etc., if Mr. Fox was mistaken.

[Fox, writing to Grey (see Lord Holland's Preface (p. xii.) to the History ... of James the Second, by ... C. J. Fox, London, 1808), remarks, "In defence of my opinion about the nightingale, I find Chaucer, who of all poets seems to have been the fondest of the singing of birds, calls it a 'merry note,'" etc. Fox's contention was attacked and disproved by Martin Davy (1763-1839, physician and Master of Caius College, Cambridge), in an interesting and scholarly pamphlet entitled, Observations upon Mr. Fox's Letter to Mr. Grey, 1809.]


Would I had never seen this hour
What knowest thou not who loves thee best.—[MS.]

[fs] {171} If so by Mecca's hidden shrine.—[MS.]

[ft] The day that teareth thee from me.—[MS.]

[147] "Azrael," the angel of death.

[fu] When comes that hour and come it must.—[MS. erased.]

[fv] {172}

Which thanks to terror and the dark
Hath missed a trifle of its mark.—[MS.]

[The couplet was expunged in a revise dated November 19.]

[fw] With life to keep but not with life resign.—[MS.]

[fx] {173}

That strays along that head so fair.—[MS.]
or, That strays along that neck so fair.—[MS.]

[148] The treasures of the Pre-Adamite Sultans. See D'Herbelot [1781, ii. 405], article Istakar [Estekhar ou Istekhar].

[149] "Musselim," a governor, the next in rank after a Pacha; a Waywode is the third; and then come the Agas.

[This table of precedence applies to Ottoman officials in Greece and other dependencies. The Musselim [Mutaselline] is the governor or commander of a city (e.g. Hobhouse, Travels in Albania, ii. 41, speaks of the "Musselim of Smyrna"); Aghas, i.e. heads of departments in the army or civil service, or the Sultan's household, here denote mayors of small towns, or local magnates.]

[150] "Egripo," the Negropont. According to the proverb, the Turks of Egripo, the Jews of Salonica, and the Greeks of Athens, are the worst of their respective races.

[See Gibbon's Decline and Fall, 1855, viii. 386.]

[fy] Like this—and more than this.—[MS.]

[fz] {175}

But—Selim why my heart's reply
Should need so much of mystery
Is more than I can guess or tell,
But since thou say'st 'tis so—'tis well.—[MS.]
[The fourth line erased.]


He blest me more in leaving thee.
Much should I suffer thus compelled.—[MS.]

[gb] {176}

This vow I should no more conceal
And wherefore should I not reveal?—[MS.]


My breast is consciousness of sin
But when and where and what the crime
I almost feel is lurking here.—[MS.]

[151] "Tchocadar"—one of the attendants who precedes a man of authority.

[See D'Ohsson's Tableau Générale, etc., 1787, ii. 159, and Plates 87, 88. The Turks seem to have used the Persian word chawki-dār, an officer of the guard-house, a policeman (whence our slang word "chokey"), for a "valet de pied," or, in the case of the Sultan, for an apparitor. The French spelling points to D'Ohsson as Byron's authority.]

[gd] {177} Be silent thou.—[MS.]

[ge] {178} Nov. 9th 1813.—[MS.]

[152] [Vide Ovid, Heroïdes, Ep. xix.; and the De Herone atque Leandro of Musæus.]

[153] {179} The wrangling about this epithet, "the broad Hellespont" or the "boundless Hellespont," whether it means one or the other, or what it means at all, has been beyond all possibility of detail. I have even heard it disputed on the spot; and not foreseeing a speedy conclusion to the controversy, amused myself with swimming across it in the mean time; and probably may again, before the point is settled. Indeed, the question as to the truth of "the tale of Troy divine" still continues, much of it resting upon the talismanic word "ἄπειρος:" probably Homer had the same notion of distance that a coquette has of time; and when he talks of boundless, means half a mile; as the latter, by a like figure, when she says eternal attachment, simply specifies three weeks.

[For a defence of the Homeric ἀπείρων, and for a résumé of the "wrangling" of the topographers, Jean Baptiste Le Chevalier (1752-1836) and Jacob Bryant (1715-1804), etc., see Travels in Albania, 1858, ii. 179-185.]

[154] {180} Before his Persian invasion, and crowned the altar with laurel, etc. He was afterwards imitated by Caracalla in his race. It is believed that the last also poisoned a friend, named Festus, for the sake of new Patroclan games. I have seen the sheep feeding on the tombs of Æyietes and Antilochus: the first is in the centre of the plain.

[Alexander placed a garland on the tomb of Achilles, and "went through the ceremony of anointing himself with oil, and running naked up to it."—Plut. Vitæ, "Alexander M.," cap. xv. line 25, Lipsiæ, 1814, vi. 187. For the tombs of Æsyetes, etc., see Travels in Albania, ii. 149-151.]

[155] [Compare—

"Or narrow if needs must be,
Outside are the storms and the strangers."

Never the Time, etc., lines 19, 20, by Robert Browning.]

[156] {181} When rubbed, the amber is susceptible of a perfume, which is slight, but not disagreeable. [Letter to Murray, December 6, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 300.]

[157] ["Coeterum castitatis hieroglyphicum gemma est."—Hoffmann, Lexic. Univ., art. "Smaragdus." Compare, too, Lalla Rookh ("Chandos Classics," p. 406), "The emerald's virgin blaze."]

[158] The belief in amulets engraved on gems, or enclosed in gold boxes, containing scraps from the Koran, worn round the neck, wrist, or arm, is still universal in the East. The Koorsee (throne) verse in the second cap. of the Koran describes the attributes of the Most High, and is engraved in this manner, and worn by the pious, as the most esteemed and sublime of all sentences.

[The âyatu 'l kursîy, or verse of the throne (Sura II. "Chapter of the Heifer," v. 257), runs thus: "God, there is no God but He, the living and self-subsistent. Slumber takes Him not, nor sleep. His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. Who is it that intercedes with Him, save by His permission? He knows what is before them, and what behind them, and they comprehend not aught of His knowledge but of what He pleases. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and it tires Him not to guard them both, for He is high and grand."—The Qur'ân, translated by E. H. Palmer, 1880, Part I., Sacred Books of the East, vi. 40.]

[159] "Comboloio"—a Turkish rosary. The MSS., particularly those of the Persians, are richly adorned and illuminated. The Greek females are kept in utter ignorance; but many of the Turkish girls are highly accomplished, though not actually qualified for a Christian coterie. Perhaps some of our own "blues" might not be the worse for bleaching.

[The comboloio consists of ninety-nine beads. Compare Lalla Rookh ("Chandos Classics," p. 420), "Her ruby rosary," etc., and note on "Le Tespih." Lord Byron's Comboloio is the title of a metrical jeu d'esprit, a rhymed catalogue of the Poetical Works, beginning with Hours of Idleness, and ending with Cain, a Mystery.—Blackwood's Magazine, 1822, xi. 162-165.]

[160] {182} [Shiraz, capital of the Persian province of Fars, is celebrated for the attar-gûl, or attar of roses.]

[gf] {183}

Her Prophet did not clearly show
But Selim's place was quite secure.—[MS.]

[161] [Compare The Giaour, line 490, note 1, vide ante, p. 110.]

[gg] And one seemed red with recent guilt.—[MS.]

[gh] {184} Her Selim—"Alla—is it he?"—[MS.]

[162] "Galiongée" or Galiongi [i.e. a Galleon-er], a sailor, that is, a Turkish sailor; the Greeks navigate, the Turks work the guns. Their dress is picturesque; and I have seen the Capitan Pacha, more than once, wearing it as a kind of incog. Their legs, however, are generally naked. The buskins described in the text as sheathed behind with silver are those of an Arnaut robber, who was my host (he had quitted the profession) at his Pyrgo, near Gastouni in the Morea; they were plated in scales one over the other, like the back of an armadillo.

[Gastuni lies some eight miles S.W. of Palæopolis, the site of the ancient Elis. The "Pyrgo" must be the Castle of Chlemutzi (Castel Tornese), built by Geoffrey II. of Villehouardin, circ. A.D. 1218.]

[gi] {185}

What—have I lived to curse the day?—[MS. M.]
To curse—if I could curse—the day.—[MS., ed. 1892.]

[gj] {186} I swear it by Medina's shrine.—[MS. erased.]

[163] The characters on all Turkish scimitars contain sometimes the name of the place of their manufacture, but more generally a text from the Koran, in letters of gold. Amongst those in my possession is one with a blade of singular construction: it is very broad, and the edge notched into serpentine curves like the ripple of water, or the wavering of flame. I asked the Armenian who sold it, what possible use such a figure could add: he said, in Italian, that he did not know; but the Mussulmans had an idea that those of this form gave a severer wound; and liked it because it was "piu feroce." I did not much admire the reason, but bought it for its peculiarity.

[Compare Lalla Rookh ("Chandos Classics," p. 373)—"The flashing of their swords' rich marquetry."]

[164] {187} It is to be observed, that every allusion to any thing or personage in the Old Testament, such as the Ark, or Cain, is equally the privilege of Mussulman and Jew: indeed, the former profess to be much better acquainted with the lives, true and fabulous, of the patriarchs, than is warranted by our own sacred writ; and not content with Adam, they have a biography of Pre-Adamites. Solomon is the monarch of all necromancy, and Moses a prophet inferior only to Christ and Mahomet. Zuleika is the Persian name of Potiphar's wife; and her amour with Joseph constitutes one of the finest poems in their language. It is, therefore, no violation of costume to put the names of Cain, or Noah, into the mouth of a Moslem.

[À propos of this note "for the ignorant," Byron writes to Murray (November 13, 1813), "Do you suppose that no one but the Galileans are acquainted with Adam, and Eve, and Cain, and Noah?—Zuleika is the Persian poetical name for Potiphar's wife;" and, again, November 14, "I don't care one lump of sugar for my poetry; but for my costume, and my correctness on these points ... I will combat lustily."—Letters, 1898, ii. 282, 283.]

[165] {188} [Karajić (Vuk Stefanović, born 1787), secretary to Kara George, published Narodne Srpske Pjesme, at Vienna, 1814, 1815. See, too, Languages and Literature of the Slavic Nations, by Talvi, New York, 1850, pp. 366-382; Volkslieder der Serben, von Talvi, Leipzig, 1835, ii. 245, etc., and Chants Populaires des Servics, Recueillis par Wuk Stephanowitsch, et Traduits d'après Talvy, par Madame Élise Voïart, Paris, 1834, ii. 183, etc.]

[166] Paswan Oglou, the rebel of Widdin; who, for the last years of his life, set the whole power of the Porte at defiance.

[Passwan Oglou (1758-1807) [Passewend's, or the Watchman's son, according to Hobhouse] was born and died at Widdin. He first came into notice in 1788, in alliance with certain disbanded Turkish levies, named Krdschalies. "It was their pride to ride along on stately horses, with trappings of gold and silver, and bearing costly arms. In their train were female slaves, Giuvendi, in male attire, who not only served to amuse them in their hours of ease with singing and dancing, but also followed them to battle (as Kaled followed Lara, see Lara, Canto II. stanza xv., etc.), for the purpose of holding their horses when they fought." On one occasion he is reported to have addressed these "rebel hordes" much in the spirit of the "Corsair," "The booty be yours, and mine the glory." "After having for some time suffered a Pacha to be associated with him, he at length expelled his superior, and demanded 'the three horse-tails' for himself." In 1798 the Porte despatched another army, but Passwan was completely victorious, and "at length the Porte resolved to make peace, and actually sent him the 'three horse-tails'" (i.e. made him commander-in-chief of the Janissaries at Widdin). (See History of Servia, by Leopold von Ranke, Bohn, 1853, pp. 68-71. See, too, Voyage dans l'Empire Othoman, par G. A. Olivier, an. 9 (1801), i. 108-125; and Madame Voïart's "Abrégé de l'histoire du royaume de Servie," prefixed to Chants Populaires, etc., Paris, 1834.)]


And how that death made known to me
Hath made me what thou now shalt see.—[MS.]

[167] {189} "Horse-tail,"—the standard of a Pacha.

[gl] With venom blacker than his soul.—[MS.]

[168] Giaffir, Pacha of Argyro Castro, or Scutari, I am not sure which, was actually taken off by the Albanian Ali, in the manner described in the text. Ali Pacha, while I was in the country, married the daughter of his victim, some years after the event had taken place at a bath in Sophia or Adrianople. The poison was mixed in the cup of coffee, which is presented before the sherbet by the bath keeper, after dressing.

[gm] {190}

Nor, if his sullen spirit could,
Can I forgive a parent's blood.—[MS.]

[gn] {191} Yet I must be all truth to thee.—[MS.]

[go] {192}

To Haroun's care in idlesse left,
In spirit bound, of fame bereft.—[MS. erased.]

[gp] {193}

That slave who saw my spirit pining
Beneath Inaction's heavy yoke,
Compassionate his charge resigning.—[MS.]


Oh could my tongue to thee impart
That liberation of my heart.—[MS. erased.]

[169] I must here shelter myself with the Psalmist—is it not David that makes the "Earth reel to and fro like a Drunkard"? If the Globe can be thus lively on seeing its Creator, a liberated captive can hardly feel less on a first view of his work.—[Note, MS. erased.]

[170] The Turkish notions of almost all islands are confined to the Archipelago, the sea alluded to.

[171] {194} Lambro Canzani, a Greek, famous for his efforts, in 1789-90, for the independence of his country. Abandoned by the Russians, he became a pirate, and the Archipelago was the scene of his enterprises. He is said to be still alive at Petersburgh. He and Riga are the two most celebrated of the Greek revolutionists.

[For Lambros Katzones (Hobhouse, Travels in Albania, ii. 5, calls him Canziani), see Finlay's Greece under Othoman ... Domination, 1856, pp. 330-334. Finlay dwells on his piracies rather than his patriotism.]

[172] {195} "Rayahs,"—all who pay the capitation tax, called the "Haratch."

["This tax was levied on the whole male unbelieving population," except children under ten, old men, Christian and Jewish priests.—Finlay, Greece under Ottoman ... Domination, 1856, p. 26. See, too, the Qur'ân, cap. ix., "The Declaration of Immunity."]

[173] This first of voyages is one of the few with which the Mussulmans profess much acquaintance.

[174] The wandering life of the Arabs, Tartars, and Turkomans, will be found well detailed in any book of Eastern travels. That it possesses a charm peculiar to itself, cannot be denied. A young French renegado confessed to Châteaubriand, that he never found himself alone, galloping in the desert, without a sensation approaching to rapture which was indescribable.

[175] [Inns, caravanserais. From sarāy, a palace or inn.]

[176] [The remaining seventy lines of stanza xx. were not included in the original MS., but were sent to the publisher in successive instalments while the poem was passing through the press.]

[177] [In the first draft of a supplementary fragment, line 883 ran thus—

"and tints tomorrow with { a fancied an airy } ray."

A note was appended—

"Mr. My. Choose which of the 2 epithets 'fancied' or 'airy' may be best—or if neither will do—tell me and I will dream another—

The epithet ("prophetic") which stands in the text was inserted in a revise dated December 3, 1813. Two other versions were also sent, that Gifford might select that which was "best, or rather not worst"—

"and { gilds tints } the hope of morning with its ray."
"And gilds to-morrow's hope with heavenly ray."

(Letters, 1898, ii. 282.)

On the same date, December 3rd, two additional lines were affixed to the quatrain (lines 886-889)—

"Soft as the Mecca Muezzin's strains invite
Him who hath journeyed far to join the rite."

And in a later revise, as "a last alteration"—

"Blest as the call which from Medina's dome
Invites devotion to her Prophet's tomb."

An erased version of this "last alteration" ran thus—

"Blest as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's dome
Which welcomes Faith to view her Prophet's tomb."[A]

[A] [It is probable that Byron, who did not trouble himself to distinguish between "lie" and "lay," and who, as the MS. of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers (see line 732, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 355) reveals, pronounced "petit maître" anglicé in four syllables, regarded "dome" (vide supra) as a true and exact rhyme to "tomb," but, with his wonted compliance, was persuaded to make yet another alteration.] ]

[gr] {196} Of lines 886-889, two, if not three, variants were sent to the publisher—

(1) Dear as the Melody of better days
That steals the trembling tear of speechless praise
Sweet as his native song to Exile's ears
Shall sound each tone thy long-loved voice endears.—
[December 2, 1813.]
(2) { Dear Soft } as the melody of { better youthful } days
That steals { a silent the trembling } tear of speechless praise

[178] {197} "Jannat-al-Aden," the perpetual abode, the Mussulman paradise. [See Sale's Koran, "Preliminary Discourse," sect. i.; and Journal, November 17, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 326.]

[gs] Wait on thy voice and bow at thy command.—[MS.]


Oh turn and mingle every thought with his,
And all our future days unite in this.—[MS.]

[179] ["You wanted some reflections, and I send you per Selim, eighteen lines in decent couplets, of a pensive, if not an ethical tendency.... Mr. Canning's approbation (if he did approve) I need not say makes me proud."—Letter to Murray, November 23, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 286.]


Man I may lead but trust not—I may fall
By those now friends to me, yet foes to all
In this they follow but the bent assigned,
By fatal Nature to our warring kind.—[MS.]

[gv] {198}

Behold a wilderness and call it peace,—[MS. erased.]
Look round our earth and lo! where battles cease,
"Behold a Solitude and call it" peace.—[MS.]
or, Mark even where Conquest's deeds of carnage cease
She leaves a solitude and calls it peace.—[November 21, 1813].

[For the final alteration to the present text, see letter to Murray of November 24, 1813.]

[180] [Compare Tacitus, Agricola, cap. 30—"Solitudinem faciun—pacem appellant." See letter to Murray, November 24, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 287.]

[gw] Power sways but by distrust—her sole source.—[MS. erased.]

[gx] Which Love to-night hath lent by swelling sail.—[MS.]

[181] {199} [Compare—

"Quam juvat immites ventos audire cubantem,
Et dominam tenero detinuisse sinu."

Tibullus, Eleg., Lib. I. i. 45, 46.]

[gy] Then if my lip once murmurs, it must be.—[MS.]

[182] [The omission of lines 938, 939 drew from Byron an admission (Letter to Murray, November 29, 1813) that "the passage is an imitation altogether from Medea in Ovid" (Metamorph., vii. 66-69)—

"My love possest, in Jason's bosom laid,
Let seas swell high;—I cannot be dismay'd
While I infold my husband in my arms:
Or should I fear, I should but fear his harms."

Englished by Sandys, 1632.]

[gz] This hour decides my doom or thy escape.—[MS.]

[183] {200} [Compare—

"That thought has more of hell than had the former.
Another, and another, and another!"

The Revenge, by Edward Young, act iv.
(Modern British Drama, 1811, ii. 17).]

[ha] {202} Or grazed by wounds he scorned to feel.—[MS.]

[hb] {203} Three MS. variants of these lines were rejected in turn before the text was finally adopted—

(1) { Ah! wherefore did he turn to look I know not why he turned to look
Since fatal was the gaze he took?
So far escaped from death or chain,
To search for her and search in vain:
Sad proof in peril and in pain
How late will Lover's hope remain.
(2)    Thus far escaped from death or chain
Ah! wherefore did he turn to look?
For her his eye must seek in vain,
Since fatal was the gaze he took.
Sad proof, etc.—
(3)    Ah! wherefore did he turn to look
So far escaped from death or chain?
Since fatal was the gaze he took
For her his eye but sought in vain,
Sad proof, etc.—

A fourth variant of lines 1046, 1047 was inserted in a revise dated November 16—

That glance he paused to send again
To her for whom he dies in vain.

[hc] {204} O'er which their talons yet delay.—[MS. erased.]

[hd] {205}

And that changed hand whose only life
Is motion-seems to menace strife.—[MS.]

[184] ["While the Salsette lay off the Dardanelles, Lord Byron saw the body of a man who had been executed by being cast into the sea, floating on the stream, moving to and fro with the tumbling of the water, which gave to his arms the effect of scaring away several sea-fowl that were hovering to devour. This incident he has strikingly depicted in the Bride of Abydos."—Life of Lord Byron, by John Galt, 1830, p. 144.]

[185] A turban is carved in stone above the graves of men only.

[186] The death-song of the Turkish women. The "silent slaves" are the men, whose notions of decorum forbid complaint in public.

[he] {206} The Koran-chapter chaunts thy fate.—[MS.]

[187] [At a Turkish funeral, after the interment has taken place, the Imâm "assis sur les genoux à côté de la tombe," offers the prayer Telkin, and at the conclusion of the prayer recites the Fathah, or "opening chapter" of the Korân. ("In the name of the merciful and compassionate God. Praise belongs to God, the Lord of the worlds, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Ruler of the day of judgment. Thee we serve, and Thee we ask for aid. Guide us in the right path, the path of those Thou art gracious to; not of those Thou art wroth with; nor of those who err."—The Qur'ân, p. 1, translated by E. H. Palmer, Oxford, 1880): Tableau Générale de l'Empire Ottoman, par Mouradja D'Ohsson, Paris, 1787, i. 235-248. Writing to Murray, November 14, 1813, Byron instances the funeral (in the Bride of Abydos) as proof of his correctness with regard to local colouring.—Letters, 1898, ii. 283.]

[188] {207} ["I one evening witnessed a funeral in the vast cemetery of Scutari. An old man, with a venerable beard, threw himself by the side of the narrow grave, and strewing the earth on his head, cried aloud, 'He was my son! my only son!'"—Constantinople in 1828, by Charles Macfarlane, 1829, p. 233, note.]

[hf] She whom thy Sultan had been fain to wed.—[MS.]

[189] ["The body of a Moslemin is ordered to be carried to the grave in haste, with hurried steps."—Ibid., p. 233, note.]

[190] "I came to the place of my birth, and cried, 'The friends of my Youth, where are they?' and an Echo answered, 'Where are they?'"—From an Arabic MS. The above quotation (from which the idea in the text is taken) must be already familiar to every reader: it is given in the second annotation, p. 67, of The Pleasures of Memory [note to Part I. line 103]; a poem so well known as to render a reference almost superfluous: but to whose pages all will be delighted to recur [Poems, by Samuel Rogers, 1852, i. 48].

[hg] There the sad cypress ever glooms.—[MS.]

[hh] {209} But with the day blush of the sky.—[MS.]

[hi] And some there be who could believe.—[MS.]


"And airy tongues that syllable men's names."

Milton, Comus, line 208.

For a belief that the souls of the dead inhabit the form of birds, we need not travel to the East. Lord Lyttleton's ghost story, the belief of the Duchess of Kendal, that George I. flew into her window in the shape of a raven (see Orford's Reminiscences, Lord Orford's Works, 1798, iv. 283), and many other instances, bring this superstition nearer home. The most singular was the whim of a Worcester lady, who, believing her daughter to exist in the shape of a singing bird, literally furnished her pew in the cathedral with cages full of the kind; and as she was rich, and a benefactress in beautifying the church, no objection was made to her harmless folly. For this anecdote, see Orford's Letters.

["But here (at Gloucester) is a modernity, which beats all antiquities for curiosity. Just by the high altar is a small pew hung with green damask, with curtains of the same; a small corner-cupboard, painted, carved, and gilt, for books, in one corner, and two troughs of a bird-cage, with seeds and water. If any mayoress on earth was small enough to inclose herself in this tabernacle, or abstemious enough to feed on rape and canary, I should have sworn that it was the shrine of the queen of the aldermen. It belongs to a Mrs. Cotton, who, having lost a favourite daughter, is convinced her soul is transmigrated into a robin redbreast, for which reason she passes her life in making an aviary of the cathedral of Gloucester."—Letter to Richard Bentley, September, 1753 (Lord Orford's Works, 1798, v. 279).]

[192] {210} [According to J. B. Le Chevalier (Voyage de La Propontide, etc., an. viii. (1800), p. 17), the Turkish name for a small bay which formed the ancient port of Sestos, is Ak-Bachi-Liman (Port de la Tête blanche).]


And in its stead that mourning flower
Hath flourished—flourisheth this hour,
Alone and coldly pure and pale
As the young cheek that saddens to the tale.
And withers not, though branch and leaf
Are stamped with an eternal grief.—[MS.]
An earlier version of the final text reads—
As weeping Childhood's cheek at Sorrow's tale!

[193] ["The Bride, such as it is is my first entire composition of any length (except the Satire, and be damned to it), for The Giaour is but a string of passages, and Childe Harold is, and I rather think always will be, unconcluded" (Letter to Murray, November 29, 1813). It (the Bride) "was published on Thursday the second of December; but how it is liked or disliked, I know not. Whether it succeeds or not is no fault of the public, against whom I can have no complaint. But I am much more indebted to the tale than I can ever be to the most partial reader; as it wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination—from selfish regrets to vivid recollections—and recalled me to a country replete with the brightest and darkest, but always most lively colours of my memory" (Journal, December 5, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 291, 361).]


——"I suoi pensieri in lui dormir non ponno."

Tasso, Gerusalemme Liberata, Canto X. [stanza lxxviii. line 8].



A seventh edition of the Giaour, including the final additions, and the first edition of the Bride of Abydos, were published on the twenty-ninth of November, 1813. In less than three weeks (December 18) Byron began the Corsair, and completed the fair copy of the first draft by the last day of the year. The Corsair in all but its final shape, together with the sixth edition of the Bride of Abydos, the seventh of Childe Harold, and the ninth of the Giaour, was issued on the first of February, 1814.

A letter from John Murray to Lord Byron, dated February 3, 1814 (Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 223), presents a vivid picture of a great literary triumph—

"My Lord,—I have been unwilling to write until I had something to say.... I am most happy to tell you that your last poem is—what Mr. Southey's is called—a Carmen Triumphale. Never in my recollection has any work ... excited such a ferment ... I sold on the day of publication—a thing perfectly unprecedented—10,000 copies.... Mr. Moore says it is masterly—a wonderful performance. Mr. Hammond, Mr. Heber, D'Israeli, every one who comes ... declare their unlimited approbation. Mr. Ward was here with Mr. Gifford yesterday, and mingled his admiration with the rest ... and Gifford did, what I never knew him do before—he repeated several stanzas from memory, particularly the closing stanza—

"'His death yet dubious, deeds too widely known.'

"I have the highest encomiums in letters from Croker and Mr. Hay; but I rest most upon the warm feeling it has created in Gifford's critic heart.... You have no notion of[218] the sensation which the publication has occasioned; and my only regret is that you were not present to witness it."

For some time before and after the poem appeared, Byron was, as he told Leigh Hunt (February 9, 1814; Letters, 1899, iii. 27), "snow-bound and thaw-swamped in 'the valley of the shadow' of Newstead Abbey," and it was not till he had returned to town that he resumed his journal, and bethought him of placing on record some dark sayings with regard to the story of the Corsair and the personality of Conrad. Under date February 18, 1814, he writes—

"The Corsair has been conceived, written, published, etc., since I last took up this journal [?last day but one]. They tell me it has great success; it was written con amore [i.e. during the reign of Lady Frances Wedderburn Webster], and much from existence."

And again, Journal, March 10 (Letters, 1898, ii. 399),

"He [Hobhouse] told me an odd report,—that I am the actual Conrad, the veritable Corsair, and that part of my travels are supposed to have passed in privacy [sic;?piracy]. Um! people sometimes hit near the truth; but never the whole truth. H. don't know what I was about the year after he left the Levant; nor does any one—nor—nor—nor—however, it is a lie—but, 'I doubt the equivocation of the fiend that lies like truth.'"

Very little weight can be attached to these "I could an I would" pronouncements, deliberately framed to provoke curiosity, and destined, no doubt, sooner or later to see the light; but the fact remains that Conrad is not a mere presentation of Byron in a fresh disguise, or "The Pirate's Tale" altogether a "painting of the imagination."

That the Corsair is founded upon fact is argued at some length by the author (an "English Gentleman in the Greek Military Service") of the Life, Writings, Opinions, and Times of the R. H. George Gordon Noel Byron, which was published in 1825. The point of the story (i. 197-201), which need not be repeated at length, is that Byron, on leaving Constantinople and reaching the island of Zea (July, 1810), visited ["strolled about"] the islands of the Archipelago, in company with a Venetian gentleman who had turned buccaneer malgré lui, and whose history and adventures,[219] amatory and piratical, prefigured and inspired the "gestes" of Conrad. The tale must be taken for what it is worth; but it is to be remarked that it affords a clue to Byron's mysterious entries in a journal which did not see the light till 1830, five years after the "English Gentleman" published his volumes of gossiping anecdote. It may, too, be noted that, although, in his correspondence of 1810, 1811, there is no mention of any tour among the "Isles of Greece," in a letter to Moore dated February 2, 1815 (Letters, 1899, iii. 176), Byron recalls "the interesting white squalls and short seas of Archipelago memory."

How far Byron may have drawn on personal experience for his picture of a pirate chez lui, it is impossible to say; but during the year 1809-11, when he was travelling in Greece, the exploits of Lambros Katzones and other Greek pirates sailing under the Russian flag must have been within the remembrance and on the lips of the islanders and the "patriots" of the mainland. The "Pirate's Island," from which "Ariadne's isle" (line 444) was visible, may be intended for Paros or Anti-Paros.

For the inception of Conrad (see Canto I. stanza ii.), the paradoxical hero, an assortment rather than an amalgam of incongruous characteristics, Byron may, perhaps, have been in some measure indebted to the description of Malefort, junior, in Massinger's Unnatural Combat, act i. sc. 2, line 20, sq.—

"I have sat with him in his cabin a day together,

Sigh he did often, as if inward grief
And melancholy at that instant would
Choke up his vital spirits....
When from the maintop
A sail's descried, all thoughts that do concern
Himself laid by, no lion pinched with hunger
Rouses himself more fiercely from his den,
Then he comes on the deck; and then how wisely
He gives directions," etc.

The Corsair, together with the Bride of Abydos, was reviewed by Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review of April, 1814, vol. xxiii. p. 198; and together with Lara, by George Agar Ellis in the Quarterly Review of July, 1814, vol. ii. p. 428.[220]


In comparison with the Giaour, the additions made to the Corsair whilst it was passing through the press were inconsiderable. The original MS., which numbers 1737 lines, is probably the fair copy of a number of loose sheets which have not been preserved. The erasures are few and far between, and the variations between the copy and the text are neither numerous nor important.

In one of the latest revises stanza x. was added to the First Canto. The last four lines of stanza xi. first appeared in the Seventh Edition.

The Second Canto suffered no alteration except the substitution of lines 1131-1133 for two lines which were expunged.

Larger additions were made to the Third Canto. Lines 1299-1375, or stanza v. (included in a revise dated January 6, 1814), stanzas xvii. and xxiii., numbering respectively 77, 32, and 16 lines, and the two last lines of stanza x., 127 lines in all, represent the difference between the text as it now stands and the original MS.

In a note to Byron's Poetical Works, 1832, ix. 257, it is stated that the Corsair was begun on the 18th and finished on the 31st of December, 1813. In the Introduction to the Corsair prefixed to the Library Edition, the poem is said to have been composed in ten days, "at the rate of 200 lines a day." The first page of the MS. is dated "27th of December, 1813," and the last page "December 31, 1813, January 1, 1814." It is probable that the composition of the first draft was begun on the 18th and finished on the 27th of December, and that the work of transcription occupied the last five days[221] of the month. Stanza v. of Canto III. reached the publisher on the 6th, and stanzas xvii. and xxiii. on the 11th and 12th of January, 1814.

The First Edition amounted to 1859 lines (the numeration, owing to the inclusion of broken lines, is given as 1863), and falls short of the existing text by the last four lines of stanza xi. It contains the first dedication to Moore, and numbers 100 pages. To the Second Edition, which numbers 108 pages, the following poems were appended:—

To a Lady Weeping.

From the Turkish.

Sonnet to Genevra ("Thine eyes' blue tenderness," etc.).

Sonnet to Genevra ("Thy cheek is pale with thought," etc.).

Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog.


These occasional poems were not appended to the Third Edition, which only numbered 100 pages; but they reappeared in the Fourth and subsequent editions.

The Seventh Edition contained four additional lines (the last four of stanza xi.), and a note (unnumbered) to line 226, in defence of the vraisemblance of the Corsair's misanthropy. The Ninth Edition numbered 112 pages. The additional matter consists of a long note to the last line of the poem ("Linked with one virtue, and a thousand crimes") on the pirates of Barataria.

Twenty-five thousand copies of the Corsair were sold between January and March, 1814. An Eighth Edition of fifteen hundred copies was printed in March, and sold before the end of the year. A Ninth Edition of three thousand copies was printed in the beginning of 1815.[223]


My dear Moore,

I dedicate to you the last production with which I shall trespass on public patience, and your indulgence, for some years; and I own that I feel anxious to avail myself of this latest and only opportunity of adorning my pages with a name, consecrated by unshaken public principle, and the most undoubted and various talents. While Ireland ranks you among the firmest of her patriots; while you stand alone the first of her bards in her estimation, and Britain repeats and ratifies the decree, permit one, whose only regret, since our first acquaintance, has been the years he had lost before it commenced, to add the humble but sincere suffrage of friendship, to the voice of more than one nation. It will at least prove to you, that I have neither forgotten the gratification derived from your society, nor abandoned the prospect of its renewal, whenever your leisure or inclination allows you to atone to your friends for too long an absence. It is said among those friends, I trust truly, that you are engaged in the composition of a poem whose scene will be laid in the East; none can do those scenes so much justice. The wrongs of your own country,[194] the magnificent and fiery spirit[224] of her sons, the beauty and feeling of her daughters, may there be found; and Collins, when he denominated his Oriental his Irish Eclogues, was not aware how true, at least, was a part of his parallel. Your imagination will create a warmer sun, and less clouded sky; but wildness, tenderness, and originality, are part of your national claim of oriental descent, to which you have already thus far proved your title more clearly than the most zealous of your country's antiquarians.

May I add a few words on a subject on which all men are supposed to be fluent, and none agreeable?—Self. I have written much, and published more than enough to demand a longer silence than I now meditate; but, for some years to come, it is my intention to tempt no further the award of "Gods, men, nor columns." In the present composition I have attempted not the most difficult, but, perhaps, the best adapted measure to our language, the good old and now neglected heroic couplet. The stanza of Spenser is perhaps too slow and dignified for narrative; though, I confess, it is the measure most after my own heart; Scott alone,[195] of the present generation, has hitherto completely triumphed over the fatal facility of the octosyllabic verse; and this is not the least victory of his fertile and mighty genius: in blank verse, Milton, Thomson, and our dramatists, are the beacons that shine along the deep, but warn us from the rough and barren rock on which they are kindled. The heroic couplet is not[225] the most popular measure certainly; but as I did not deviate into the other from a wish to flatter what is called public opinion, I shall quit it without further apology, and take my chance once more with that versification, in which I have hitherto published nothing but compositions whose former circulation is part of my present, and will be of my future regret.

With regard to my story, and stories in general, I should have been glad to have rendered my personages more perfect and amiable, if possible, inasmuch as I have been sometimes criticised, and considered no less responsible for their deeds and qualities than if all had been personal. Be it so—if I have deviated into the gloomy vanity of "drawing from self," the pictures are probably like, since they are unfavourable: and if not, those who know me are undeceived, and those who do not, I have little interest in undeceiving. I have no particular desire that any but my acquaintance should think the author better than the beings of his imagining; but I cannot help a little surprise, and perhaps amusement, at some odd critical exceptions in the present instance, when I see several bards (far more deserving, I allow) in very reputable plight, and quite exempted from all participation in the faults of those heroes, who, nevertheless, might be found with little more morality than The Giaour, and perhaps—but no—I must admit Childe Harold to be a very repulsive personage; and as to his identity, those who like it must give him whatever "alias" they please.[196]


If, however, it were worth while to remove the impression, it might be of some service to me, that the man who is alike the delight of his readers and his friends, the poet of all circles, and the idol of his own, permits me here and elsewhere to subscribe myself,

Most truly,
And affectionately,
His obedient servant,

January 2, 1814.[227]



"——nessun maggior dolore,
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella miseria,——"

Dante, Inferno, v. 121.


"O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,
Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,
Survey our empire, and behold our home![198]
These are our realms, no limits to their sway—
Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey.
Ours the wild life in tumult still to range
From toil to rest, and joy in every change.
Oh, who can tell? not thou, luxurious slave!
[228]Whose soul would sicken o'er the heaving wave; 10
Not thou, vain lord of Wantonness and Ease!
Whom Slumber soothes not—Pleasure cannot please—
Oh, who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried,
And danced in triumph o'er the waters wide,
The exulting sense—the pulse's maddening play,
That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way?
That for itself can woo the approaching fight,
And turn what some deem danger to delight;
That seeks what cravens shun with more than zeal,
And where the feebler faint can only feel— 20
Feel—to the rising bosom's inmost core,
Its hope awaken and its spirit soar?
No dread of Death—if with us die our foes—
Save that it seems even duller than repose;
Come when it will—we snatch the life of Life—
When lost—what recks it by disease or strife?
Let him who crawls, enamoured of decay,
Cling to his couch, and sicken years away;[hk]
Heave his thick breath, and shake his palsied head;
Ours the fresh turf, and not the feverish bed,— 30
While gasp by gasp he falters forth his soul,
Ours with one pang—one bound—escapes control.
His corse may boast its urn and narrow cave,
And they who loathed his life may gild his grave:
Ours are the tears, though few, sincerely shed,
When Ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead.
For us, even banquets fond regret supply
In the red cup that crowns our memory;
And the brief epitaph in Danger's day,
When those who win at length divide the prey, 40
And cry, Remembrance saddening o'er each brow,
How had the brave who fell exulted now!"


Such were the notes that from the Pirate's isle
Around the kindling watch-fire rang the while:
Such were the sounds that thrilled the rocks along,
And unto ears as rugged seemed a song!
In scattered groups upon the golden sand,
They game—carouse—converse—or whet the brand;
Select the arms—to each his blade assign,
And careless eye the blood that dims its shine; 50
Repair the boat, replace the helm or oar,
While others straggling muse along the shore;
For the wild bird the busy springes set,
Or spread beneath the sun the dripping net:
Gaze where some distant sail a speck supplies,
With all the thirsting eye of Enterprise;
Tell o'er the tales of many a night of toil,
And marvel where they next shall seize a spoil:
No matter where—their chief's allotment this;
Theirs to believe no prey nor plan amiss. 60
But who that Chief? his name on every shore
Is famed and feared—they ask and know no more
With these he mingles not but to command;
Few are his words, but keen his eye and hand.
Ne'er seasons he with mirth their jovial mess,
But they forgive his silence for success.
Ne'er for his lip the purpling cup they fill,
That goblet passes him untasted still—
And for his fare—the rudest of his crew
Would that, in turn, have passed untasted too; 70
Earth's coarsest bread, the garden's homeliest roots,
And scarce the summer luxury of fruits,
His short repast in humbleness supply
With all a hermit's board would scarce deny.
[230] But while he shuns the grosser joys of sense,
His mind seems nourished by that abstinence.
"Steer to that shore!"—they sail. "Do this!"—'tis done:
"Now form and follow me!"—the spoil is won.
Thus prompt his accents and his actions still,
And all obey and few inquire his will; 80
To such, brief answer and contemptuous eye
Convey reproof, nor further deign reply.


"A sail!—a sail!"—a promised prize to Hope!
Her nation—flag—how speaks the telescope?[hl]
No prize, alas! but yet a welcome sail:
The blood-red signal glitters in the gale.
Yes—she is ours—a home-returning bark—
Blow fair, thou breeze!—she anchors ere the dark.
Already doubled is the cape—our bay
Receives that prow which proudly spurns the spray. 90
How gloriously her gallant course she goes!
Her white wings flying—never from her foes—
She walks the waters like a thing of Life![199]
And seems to dare the elements to strife.
Who would not brave the battle-fire, the wreck,
To move the monarch of her peopled deck!


Hoarse o'er her side the rustling cable rings:
The sails are furled; and anchoring round she swings;
[231] And gathering loiterers on the land discern
Her boat descending from the latticed stern. 100
'Tis manned—the oars keep concert to the strand,
Till grates her keel upon the shallow sand.[hm]
Hail to the welcome shout!—the friendly speech!
When hand grasps hand uniting on the beach;
The smile, the question, and the quick reply,
And the Heart's promise of festivity!


The tidings spread, and gathering grows the crowd:
The hum of voices, and the laughter loud,
And Woman's gentler anxious tone is heard—
Friends'—husbands'—lovers' names in each dear word: 110
"Oh! are they safe? we ask not of success—
But shall we see them? will their accents bless?
From where the battle roars, the billows chafe,
They doubtless boldly did—but who are safe?
Here let them haste to gladden and surprise,
And kiss the doubt from these delighted eyes!"


"Where is our Chief? for him we bear report—
And doubt that joy—which hails our coming—short;
Yet thus sincere—'tis cheering, though so brief;
But, Juan! instant guide us to our Chief: 120
Our greeting paid, we'll feast on our return,
And all shall hear what each may wish to learn."
Ascending slowly by the rock-hewn way,
To where his watch-tower beetles o'er the bay,
By bushy brake, the wild flowers blossoming,
And freshness breathing from each silver spring,
Whose scattered streams from granite basins burst,
[232] Leap into life, and sparkling woo your thirst;
From crag to cliff they mount—Near yonder cave,
What lonely straggler looks along the wave? 130
In pensive posture leaning on the brand,
Not oft a resting-staff to that red hand?
"'Tis he—'tis Conrad—here—as wont—alone;
On—Juan!—on—and make our purpose known.
The bark he views—and tell him we would greet
His ear with tidings he must quickly meet:
We dare not yet approach—thou know'st his mood,
When strange or uninvited steps intrude."


Him Juan sought, and told of their intent;—
He spake not, but a sign expressed assent, 140
These Juan calls—they come—to their salute
He bends him slightly, but his lips are mute.
"These letters, Chief, are from the Greek—the spy,
Who still proclaims our spoil or peril nigh:
Whate'er his tidings, we can well report,
Much that"—"Peace, peace!"—he cuts their prating short.
Wondering they turn, abashed, while each to each
Conjecture whispers in his muttering speech:
They watch his glance with many a stealing look,
To gather how that eye the tidings took; 150
But, this as if he guessed, with head aside,
Perchance from some emotion, doubt, or pride,
He read the scroll—"My tablets, Juan, hark—
Where is Gonsalvo?"
"In the anchored bark."
"There let him stay—to him this order bear—
Back to your duty—for my course prepare:
Myself this enterprise to-night will share."
[233] "To-night, Lord Conrad?"
"Aye! at set of sun:
The breeze will freshen when the day is done.
My corslet—cloak—one hour and we are gone. 160
Sling on thy bugle—see that free from rust
My carbine-lock springs worthy of my trust;
Be the edge sharpened of my boarding-brand,
And give its guard more room to fit my hand.
This let the Armourer with speed dispose;
Last time, it more fatigued my arm than foes;
Mark that the signal-gun be duly fired,
To tell us when the hour of stay's expired."


They make obeisance, and retire in haste,
Too soon to seek again the watery waste: 170
Yet they repine not—so that Conrad guides;
And who dare question aught that he decides?
That man of loneliness and mystery,
Scarce seen to smile, and seldom heard to sigh;
Whose name appals the fiercest of his crew,
And tints each swarthy cheek with sallower hue;
Still sways their souls with that commanding art
That dazzles, leads, yet chills the vulgar heart.
What is that spell, that thus his lawless train
Confess and envy—yet oppose in vain? 180
What should it be, that thus their faith can bind?
The power of Thought—the magic of the Mind!
Linked with success, assumed and kept with skill,
That moulds another's weakness to its will;
Wields with their hands, but, still to these unknown,
Makes even their mightiest deeds appear his own.
Such hath it been—shall be—beneath the Sun
The many still must labour for the one!
[234] 'Tis Nature's doom—but let the wretch who toils,
Accuse not—hate not—him who wears the spoils. 190
Oh! if he knew the weight of splendid chains,
How light the balance of his humbler pains!


Unlike the heroes of each ancient race,
Demons in act, but Gods at least in face,
In Conrad's form seems little to admire,
Though his dark eyebrow shades a glance of fire:
Robust but not Herculean—to the sight
No giant frame sets forth his common height;
Yet, in the whole, who paused to look again,
Saw more than marks the crowd of vulgar men; 200
They gaze and marvel how—and still confess
That thus it is, but why they cannot guess.
Sun-burnt his cheek, his forehead high and pale
The sable curls in wild profusion veil;
And oft perforce his rising lip reveals
The haughtier thought it curbs, but scarce conceals.[hn]
Though smooth his voice, and calm his general mien,
Still seems there something he would not have seen:
His features' deepening lines and varying hue
At times attracted, yet perplexed the view, 210
As if within that murkiness of mind
Worked feelings fearful, and yet undefined;
Such might it be—that none could truly tell—
Too close inquiry his stern glance would quell.
There breathe but few whose aspect might defy
The full encounter of his searching eye;
He had the skill, when Cunning's gaze would seek[ho]
[235]To probe his heart and watch his changing cheek,
At once the observer's purpose to espy,
And on himself roll back his scrutiny, 220
Lest he to Conrad rather should betray
Some secret thought, than drag that Chief's to day.
There was a laughing Devil in his sneer,
That raised emotions both of rage and fear;
And where his frown of hatred darkly fell,
Hope withering fled—and Mercy sighed farewell![200]


Slight are the outward signs of evil thought,
Within—within—'twas there the spirit wrought!
Love shows all changes—Hate, Ambition, Guile,
Betray no further than the bitter smile; 230
The lip's least curl, the lightest paleness thrown
Along the governed aspect, speak alone
[236] Of deeper passions; and to judge their mien,
He, who would see, must be himself unseen.
Then—with the hurried tread, the upward eye,
The clenchéd hand, the pause of agony,
That listens, starting, lest the step too near
Approach intrusive on that mood of fear:
Then—with each feature working from the heart,
With feelings, loosed to strengthen—not depart, 240
That rise—convulse—contend—that freeze or glow,[hp]
Flush in the cheek, or damp upon the brow;
Then—Stranger! if thou canst, and tremblest not,
Behold his soul—the rest that soothes his lot![hq]
Mark how that lone and blighted bosom sears
The scathing thought of execrated years!
Behold—but who hath seen, or e'er shall see,
Man as himself—the secret spirit free?


Yet was not Conrad thus by Nature sent
To lead the guilty—Guilt's worse instrument— 250
His soul was changed, before his deeds had driven
Him forth to war with Man and forfeit Heaven.
Warped by the world in Disappointment's school,
In words too wise—in conduct there a fool;
Too firm to yield, and far too proud to stoop,
Doomed by his very virtues for a dupe,
He cursed those virtues as the cause of ill,
And not the traitors who betrayed him still;
Nor deemed that gifts bestowed on better men
[237]Had left him joy, and means to give again. 260
Feared—shunned—belied—ere Youth had lost her force,
He hated Man too much to feel remorse,
And thought the voice of Wrath a sacred call,
To pay the injuries of some on all.
He knew himself a villain—but he deemed
The rest no better than the thing he seemed;
And scorned the best as hypocrites who hid
Those deeds the bolder spirit plainly did.
He knew himself detested, but he knew
The hearts that loathed him, crouched and dreaded too. 270
Lone, wild, and strange, he stood alike exempt
From all affection and from all contempt:
His name could sadden, and his acts surprise;
But they that feared him dared not to despise:
Man spurns the worm, but pauses ere he wake
The slumbering venom of the folded snake:
The first may turn, but not avenge the blow;
The last expires, but leaves no living foe;
Fast to the doomed offender's form it clings,
And he may crush—not conquer—still it stings![202] 280


None are all evil—quickening round his heart,
One softer feeling would not yet depart;
Oft could he sneer at others as beguiled
By passions worthy of a fool or child;
Yet 'gainst that passion vainly still he strove,
And even in him it asks the name of Love!
Yes, it was love—unchangeable—unchanged,
Felt but for one from whom he never ranged;
[238] Though fairest captives daily met his eye,
He shunned, nor sought, but coldly passed them by; 290
Though many a beauty drooped in prisoned bower,
None ever soothed his most unguarded hour,
Yes—it was Love—if thoughts of tenderness,
Tried in temptation, strengthened by distress,
Unmoved by absence, firm in every clime,
And yet—Oh more than all!—untired by Time;
Which nor defeated hope, nor baffled wile,
Could render sullen were She near to smile,
Nor rage could fire, nor sickness fret to vent
On her one murmur of his discontent; 300
Which still would meet with joy, with calmness part,
Lest that his look of grief should reach her heart;
Which nought removed, nor menaced to remove—
If there be Love in mortals—this was Love!
He was a villain—aye, reproaches shower
On him—but not the Passion, nor its power,
Which only proved—all other virtues gone—
Not Guilt itself could quench this loveliest one![hr]


He paused a moment—till his hastening men
Passed the first winding downward to the glen. 310
"Strange tidings!—many a peril have I passed,
Nor know I why this next appears the last!
Yet so my heart forebodes, but must not fear,
Nor shall my followers find me falter here.
'Tis rash to meet—but surer death to wait
Till here they hunt us to undoubted fate;
And, if my plan but hold, and Fortune smile,
We'll furnish mourners for our funeral pile.
[239] Aye, let them slumber—peaceful be their dreams!
Morn ne'er awoke them with such brilliant beams 320
As kindle high to-night (but blow, thou breeze!)
To warm these slow avengers of the seas.
Now to Medora—Oh! my sinking heart,[hs]
Long may her own be lighter than thou art!
Yet was I brave—mean boast where all are brave!
Ev'n insects sting for aught they seek to save.
This common courage which with brutes we share,
That owes its deadliest efforts to Despair,
Small merit claims—but 'twas my nobler hope
To teach my few with numbers still to cope; 330
Long have I led them—not to vainly bleed:
No medium now—we perish or succeed!
So let it be—it irks not me to die;
But thus to urge them whence they cannot fly.
My lot hath long had little of my care,
But chafes my pride thus baffled in the snare:
Is this my skill? my craft? to set at last
Hope, Power and Life upon a single cast?
Oh, Fate!—accuse thy folly—not thy fate;
She may redeem thee still—nor yet too late." 340


Thus with himself communion held he, till
He reached the summit of his tower-crowned hill:
There at the portal paused—for wild and soft
He heard those accents never heard too oft!
Through the high lattice far yet sweet they rung,
And these the notes his Bird of Beauty sung:


"Deep in my soul that tender secret dwells,
Lonely and lost to light for evermore,
Save when to thine my heart responsive swells,
Then trembles into silence as before. 350


"There, in its centre, a sepulchral lamp
Burns the slow flame, eternal—but unseen;
Which not the darkness of Despair can damp,
Though vain its ray as it had never been.


"Remember me—Oh! pass not thou my grave
Without one thought whose relics there recline:
The only pang my bosom dare not brave
Must be to find forgetfulness in thine.


"My fondest—faintest—latest accents hear—[ht]
Grief for the dead not Virtue can reprove; 360
Then give me all I ever asked—a tear,[203]
The first—last—sole reward of so much love!"
He passed the portal, crossed the corridor,
And reached the chamber as the strain gave o'er:
"My own Medora! sure thy song is sad—"
"In Conrad's absence would'st thou have it glad?
Without thine ear to listen to my lay,
Still must my song my thoughts, my soul betray:
[241] Still must each accent to my bosom suit,
My heart unhushed—although my lips were mute! 370
Oh! many a night on this lone couch reclined,
My dreaming fear with storms hath winged the wind,
And deemed the breath that faintly fanned thy sail
The murmuring prelude of the ruder gale;
Though soft—it seemed the low prophetic dirge,
That mourned thee floating on the savage surge:
Still would I rise to rouse the beacon fire,
Lest spies less true should let the blaze expire;
And many a restless hour outwatched each star,
And morning came—and still thou wert afar. 380
Oh! how the chill blast on my bosom blew,
And day broke dreary on my troubled view,
And still I gazed and gazed—and not a prow
Was granted to my tears—my truth—my vow!
At length—'twas noon—I hailed and blest the mast
That met my sight—it neared—Alas! it passed!
Another came—Oh God! 'twas thine at last!
Would that those days were over! wilt thou ne'er,
My Conrad! learn the joys of peace to share?
Sure thou hast more than wealth, and many a home 390
As bright as this invites us not to roam:
Thou know'st it is not peril that I fear,
I only tremble when thou art not here;
Then not for mine, but that far dearer life,
Which flies from love and languishes for strife—
How strange that heart, to me so tender still,
Should war with Nature and its better will!"
"Yea, strange indeed—that heart hath long been changed;
Worm-like 'twas trampled—adder-like avenged—
Without one hope on earth beyond thy love, 400
And scarce a glimpse of mercy from above.
[242] Yet the same feeling which thou dost condemn,
My very love to thee is hate to them,
So closely mingling here, that disentwined,
I cease to love thee when I love Mankind:
Yet dread not this—the proof of all the past
Assures the future that my love will last;
But—Oh, Medora! nerve thy gentler heart;
This hour again—but not for long—we part."
"This hour we part!—my heart foreboded this: 410
Thus ever fade my fairy dreams of bliss.
This hour—it cannot be—this hour away!
Yon bark hath hardly anchored in the bay:
Her consort still is absent, and her crew
Have need of rest before they toil anew;
My Love! thou mock'st my weakness; and wouldst steel
My breast before the time when it must feel;
But trifle now no more with my distress,
Such mirth hath less of play than bitterness.
Be silent, Conrad!—dearest! come and share 420
The feast these hands delighted to prepare;
Light toil! to cull and dress thy frugal fare!
See, I have plucked the fruit that promised best,
And where not sure, perplexed, but pleased, I guessed
At such as seemed the fairest; thrice the hill
My steps have wound to try the coolest rill;
Yes! thy Sherbet to-night will sweetly flow,
See how it sparkles in its vase of snow!
The grapes' gay juice thy bosom never cheers;
Thou more than Moslem when the cup appears: 430
Think not I mean to chide—for I rejoice
What others deem a penance is thy choice.
But come, the board is spread; our silver lamp
Is trimmed, and heeds not the Sirocco's damp:
[243] Then shall my handmaids while the time along,
And join with me the dance, or wake the song;
Or my guitar, which still thou lov'st to hear,
Shall soothe or lull—or, should it vex thine ear,
We'll turn the tale, by Ariosto told,
Of fair Olympia loved and left of old.[204] 440
Why, thou wert worse than he who broke his vow
To that lost damsel, should thou leave me now
Or even that traitor chief—I've seen thee smile,
When the clear sky showed Ariadne's Isle,
Which I have pointed from these cliffs the while:
And thus half sportive—half in fear—I said,
Lest Time should raise that doubt to more than dread,
Thus Conrad, too, will quit me for the main:
And he deceived me—for—he came again!"
"Again, again—and oft again—my Love! 450
If there be life below, and hope above,
He will return—but now, the moments bring
The time of parting with redoubled wing:
The why, the where—what boots it now to tell?
Since all must end in that wild word—Farewell!
Yet would I fain—did time allow—disclose—
Fear not—these are no formidable foes!
And here shall watch a more than wonted guard,
For sudden siege and long defence prepared:
Nor be thou lonely, though thy Lord's away, 460
Our matrons and thy handmaids with thee stay;
And this thy comfort—that, when next we meet,
Security shall make repose more sweet.
List!—'tis the bugle!"—Juan shrilly blew—
"One kiss—one more—another—Oh! Adieu!"
[244] She rose—she sprung—she clung to his embrace,
Till his heart heaved beneath her hidden face:
He dared not raise to his that deep-blue eye,
Which downcast drooped in tearless agony.
Her long fair hair lay floating o'er his arms, 470
In all the wildness of dishevelled charms;
Scarce beat that bosom where his image dwelt
So full—that feeling seem'd almost unfelt!
Hark—peals the thunder of the signal-gun!
It told 'twas sunset, and he cursed that sun.
Again—again—that form he madly pressed,
Which mutely clasped, imploringly caressed![hu]
And tottering to the couch his bride he bore,
One moment gazed—as if to gaze no more;
Felt that for him Earth held but her alone, 480
Kissed her cold forehead—turned—is Conrad gone?


"And is he gone?"—on sudden solitude
How oft that fearful question will intrude!
"'Twas but an instant past, and here he stood!
And now"—without the portal's porch she rushed,
And then at length her tears in freedom gushed;
Big, bright, and fast, unknown to her they fell;
But still her lips refused to send—"Farewell!"
For in that word—that fatal word—howe'er
We promise—hope—believe—there breathes Despair. 490
O'er every feature of that still, pale face,
Had Sorrow fixed what Time can ne'er erase:
The tender blue of that large loving eye
Grew frozen with its gaze on vacancy,
[245] Till—Oh, how far!—it caught a glimpse of him,
And then it flowed, and phrensied seemed to swim
Through those long, dark, and glistening lashes dewed
With drops of sadness oft to be renewed.
"He's gone!"—against her heart that hand is driven,
Convulsed and quick—then gently raised to Heaven: 500
She looked and saw the heaving of the main:
The white sail set—she dared not look again;
But turned with sickening soul within the gate—
"It is no dream—and I am desolate!"


From crag to crag descending, swiftly sped
Stern Conrad down, nor once he turned his head;
But shrunk whene'er the windings of his way
Forced on his eye what he would not survey,
His lone, but lovely dwelling on the steep,
That hailed him first when homeward from the deep: 510
And she—the dim and melancholy Star,
Whose ray of Beauty reached him from afar,
On her he must not gaze, he must not think—
There he might rest—but on Destruction's brink:
Yet once almost he stopped—and nearly gave
His fate to chance, his projects to the wave:
But no—it must not be—a worthy chief
May melt, but not betray to Woman's grief.
He sees his bark, he notes how fair the wind,
And sternly gathers all his might of mind: 520
Again he hurries on—and as he hears
The clang of tumult vibrate on his ears,
The busy sounds, the bustle of the shore,
The shout, the signal, and the dashing oar;
As marks his eye the seaboy on the mast,
[246] The anchors rise, the sails unfurling fast,
The waving kerchiefs of the crowd that urge
That mute Adieu to those who stem the surge;
And more than all, his blood-red flag aloft,
He marvelled how his heart could seem so soft. 530
Fire in his glance, and wildness in his breast,
He feels of all his former self possest;
He bounds—he flies—until his footsteps reach
The verge where ends the cliff, begins the beach,
There checks his speed; but pauses less to breathe
The breezy freshness of the deep beneath,
Than there his wonted statelier step renew;
Nor rush, disturbed by haste, to vulgar view:
For well had Conrad learned to curb the crowd,
By arts that veil, and oft preserve the proud; 540
His was the lofty port, the distant mien,
That seems to shun the sight—and awes if seen:
The solemn aspect, and the high-born eye,
That checks low mirth, but lacks not courtesy;
All these he wielded to command assent:
But where he wished to win, so well unbent,
That Kindness cancelled fear in those who heard,
And others' gifts showed mean beside his word,
When echoed to the heart as from his own
His deep yet tender melody of tone: 550
But such was foreign to his wonted mood,
He cared not what he softened, but subdued;
The evil passions of his youth had made
Him value less who loved—than what obeyed.


Around him mustering ranged his ready guard.
Before him Juan stands—"Are all prepared?"
[247] "They are—nay more—embarked: the latest boat
Waits but my chief——"
"My sword, and my capote."
Soon firmly girded on, and lightly slung,
His belt and cloak were o'er his shoulders flung: 560
"Call Pedro here!" He comes—and Conrad bends,
With all the courtesy he deigned his friends;
"Receive these tablets, and peruse with care,
Words of high trust and truth are graven there;
Double the guard, and when Anselmo's bark
Arrives, let him alike these orders mark:
In three days (serve the breeze) the sun shall shine
On our return—till then all peace be thine!"
This said, his brother Pirate's hand he wrung,
Then to his boat with haughty gesture sprung. 570
Flashed the dipt oars, and sparkling with the stroke,
Around the waves' phosphoric[205] brightness broke;
They gain the vessel—on the deck he stands,—
Shrieks the shrill whistle, ply the busy hands—
He marks how well the ship her helm obeys,
How gallant all her crew, and deigns to praise.
His eyes of pride to young Gonsalvo turn—
Why doth he start, and inly seem to mourn?
Alas! those eyes beheld his rocky tower,
And live a moment o'er the parting hour; 580
She—his Medora—did she mark the prow?
Ah! never loved he half so much as now!
But much must yet be done ere dawn of day—
Again he mans himself and turns away;
Down to the cabin with Gonsalvo bends,
And there unfolds his plan—his means, and ends;
[248] Before them burns the lamp, and spreads the chart,
And all that speaks and aids the naval art;
They to the midnight watch protract debate;
To anxious eyes what hour is ever late? 590
Meantime, the steady breeze serenely blew,
And fast and falcon-like the vessel flew;
Passed the high headlands of each clustering isle,
To gain their port—long—long ere morning smile:
And soon the night-glass through the narrow bay
Discovers where the Pacha's galleys lay.
Count they each sail, and mark how there supine
The lights in vain o'er heedless Moslem shine.
Secure, unnoted, Conrad's prow passed by,
And anchored where his ambush meant to lie; 600
Screened from espial by the jutting cape,
That rears on high its rude fantastic shape.[206]
Then rose his band to duty—not from sleep—
Equipped for deeds alike on land or deep;
While leaned their Leader o'er the fretting flood,
And calmly talked—and yet he talked of blood!


"Conosceste i dubbiosi desiri?"

Dante, Inferno, v, 120.


In Coron's bay floats many a galley light,
Through Coron's lattices the lamps are bright,[207]
For Seyd, the Pacha, makes a feast to-night:
A feast for promised triumph yet to come, 610
When he shall drag the fettered Rovers home;
[250] This hath he sworn by Allah and his sword,
And faithful to his firman and his word,
His summoned prows collect along the coast,
And great the gathering crews, and loud the boast;
Already shared the captives and the prize,
Though far the distant foe they thus despise;
'Tis but to sail—no doubt to-morrow's Sun
Will see the Pirates bound—their haven won!
Meantime the watch may slumber, if they will, 620
Nor only wake to war, but dreaming kill.
Though all, who can, disperse on shore and seek
To flesh their glowing valour on the Greek;
How well such deed becomes the turbaned brave—
To bare the sabre's edge before a slave!
Infest his dwelling—but forbear to slay,
Their arms are strong, yet merciful to-day,
And do not deign to smite because they may!
Unless some gay caprice suggests the blow,
To keep in practice for the coming foe. 630
Revel and rout the evening hours beguile,
And they who wish to wear a head must smile;
For Moslem mouths produce their choicest cheer,
And hoard their curses, till the coast is clear.


High in his hall reclines the turbaned Seyd;
Around—the bearded chiefs he came to lead.
Removed the banquet, and the last pilaff—
Forbidden draughts, 'tis said, he dared to quaff,
Though to the rest the sober berry's juice[208]
The slaves bear round for rigid Moslems' use; 640
The long chibouque's[209] dissolving cloud supply,
[251]While dance the Almas[210] to wild minstrelsy.
The rising morn will view the chiefs embark;
But waves are somewhat treacherous in the dark:
And revellers may more securely sleep
On silken couch than o'er the rugged deep:
Feast there who can—nor combat till they must,
And less to conquest than to Korans trust;
And yet the numbers crowded in his host
Might warrant more than even the Pacha's boast. 650


With cautious reverence from the outer gate
Slow stalks the slave, whose office there to wait,
Bows his bent head—his hand salutes the floor,
Ere yet his tongue the trusted tidings bore:
"A captive Dervise, from the Pirate's nest
Escaped, is here—himself would tell the rest."[211]
He took the sign from Seyd's assenting eye,
And led the holy man in silence nigh.
His arms were folded on his dark-green vest,
His step was feeble, and his look deprest; 660
Yet worn he seemed of hardship more than years,
And pale his cheek with penance, not from fears.
Vowed to his God—his sable locks he wore,
And these his lofty cap rose proudly o'er:
[252] Around his form his loose long robe was thrown,
And wrapt a breast bestowed on heaven alone;
Submissive, yet with self-possession manned,
He calmly met the curious eyes that scanned;
And question of his coming fain would seek,
Before the Pacha's will allowed to speak. 670


"Whence com'st thou, Dervise?"
"From the Outlaw's den
A fugitive—"
"Thy capture where and when?"
"From Scalanova's port[212] to Scio's isle,
The Saick[213] was bound; but Allah did not smile
Upon our course—the Moslem merchant's gains
The Rovers won; our limbs have worn their chains.
I had no death to fear, nor wealth to boast,
Beyond the wandering freedom which I lost;
At length a fisher's humble boat by night
Afforded hope, and offered chance of flight; 680
I seized the hour, and find my safety here—
With thee—most mighty Pacha! who can fear?"
"How speed the outlaws? stand they well prepared,
Their plundered wealth, and robber's rock, to guard?
Dream they of this our preparation, doomed
To view with fire their scorpion nest consumed?"
"Pacha! the fettered captive's mourning eye,
That weeps for flight, but ill can play the spy;
I only heard the reckless waters roar,
[253]Those waves that would not bear me from the shore; 690
I only marked the glorious Sun and sky,
Too bright—too blue—for my captivity;
And felt that all which Freedom's bosom cheers
Must break my chain before it dried my tears.
This mayst thou judge, at least, from my escape,
They little deem of aught in Peril's shape;
Else vainly had I prayed or sought the Chance
That leads me here—if eyed with vigilance:
The careless guard that did not see me fly,
May watch as idly when thy power is nigh. 700
Pacha! my limbs are faint—and nature craves
Food for my hunger, rest from tossing waves:
Permit my absence—peace be with thee! Peace
With all around!—now grant repose—release."
"Stay, Dervise! I have more to question—stay,
I do command thee—sit—dost hear?—obey!
More I must ask, and food the slaves shall bring;
Thou shall not pine where all are banqueting:
The supper done—prepare thee to reply,
Clearly and full—I love not mystery." 710
'Twere vain to guess what shook the pious man,
Who looked not lovingly on that Divan;
Nor showed high relish for the banquet prest,
And less respect for every fellow guest.
Twas but a moment's peevish hectic passed
Along his cheek, and tranquillised as fast:
He sate him down in silence, and his look
Resumed the calmness which before forsook:
The feast was ushered in—but sumptuous fare
He shunned as if some poison mingled there. 720
For one so long condemned to toil and fast,
Methinks he strangely spares the rich repast.
"What ails thee, Dervise? eat—dost thou suppose
[254] This feast a Christian's? or my friends thy foes?
Why dost thou shun the salt? that sacred pledge,[214]
Which, once partaken, blunts the sabre's edge,
Makes even contending tribes in peace unite,
And hated hosts seem brethren to the sight!"
"Salt seasons dainties—and my food is still
The humblest root, my drink the simplest rill; 730
And my stern vow and Order's[215] laws oppose
To break or mingle bread with friends or foes;
It may seem strange—if there be aught to dread
That peril rests upon my single head;
But for thy sway—nay more—thy Sultan's throne,
I taste nor bread nor banquet—save alone;
Infringed our Order's rule, the Prophet's rage
To Mecca's dome might bar my pilgrimage."
"Well—as thou wilt—ascetic as thou art—
One question answer; then in peace depart. 740
How many?—Ha! it cannot sure be day?
What Star—what Sun is bursting on the bay?
It shines a lake of fire!—away—away!
Ho! treachery! my guards! my scimitar!
The galleys feed the flames—and I afar!
Accurséd Dervise!—these thy tidings—thou
Some villain spy—seize—cleave him—slay him now!"
Up rose the Dervise with that burst of light,
Nor less his change of form appalled the sight:
Up rose that Dervise—not in saintly garb, 750
But like a warrior bounding on his barb,
[255] Dashed his high cap, and tore his robe away—
Shone his mailed breast, and flashed his sabre's ray!
His close but glittering casque, and sable plume,
More glittering eye, and black brow's sabler gloom,
Glared on the Moslems' eyes some Afrit Sprite,
Whose demon death-blow left no hope for fight.
The wild confusion, and the swarthy glow
Of flames on high, and torches from below;
The shriek of terror, and the mingling yell— 760
For swords began to clash, and shouts to swell—
Flung o'er that spot of earth the air of Hell!
Distracted, to and fro, the flying slaves
Behold but bloody shore and fiery waves;
Nought heeded they the Pacha's angry cry,
They seize that Dervise!—seize on Zatanai![216]
He saw their terror—checked the first despair
That urged him but to stand and perish there,
Since far too early and too well obeyed,
The flame was kindled ere the signal made; 770
He saw their terror—from his baldric drew
His bugle—brief the blast—but shrilly blew;
'Tis answered—"Well ye speed, my gallant crew!
Why did I doubt their quickness of career?
And deem design had left me single here?"
Sweeps his long arm—that sabre's whirling sway
Sheds fast atonement for its first delay;
Completes his fury, what their fear begun,
And makes the many basely quail to one.
The cloven turbans o'er the chamber spread, 780
And scarce an arm dare rise to guard its head:
Even Seyd, convulsed, o'erwhelmed, with rage, surprise,
Retreats before him, though he still defies.
[256] No craven he—and yet he dreads the blow,
So much Confusion magnifies his foe!
His blazing galleys still distract his sight,
He tore his beard, and foaming fled the fight;[217]
For now the pirates passed the Haram gate,
And burst within—and it were death to wait;
Where wild Amazement shrieking—kneeling—throws 790
The sword aside—in vain—the blood o'erflows!
The Corsairs pouring, haste to where within
Invited Conrad's bugle, and the din
Of groaning victims, and wild cries for life,
Proclaimed how well he did the work of strife.
They shout to find him grim and lonely there,
A glutted tiger mangling in his lair!
But short their greeting, shorter his reply—
"'Tis well—but Seyd escapes—and he must die—
Much hath been done—but more remains to do— 800
Their galleys blaze—why not their city too?"


Quick at the word they seized him each a torch,
And fire the dome from minaret to porch.
A stern delight was fixed in Conrad's eye,
But sudden sunk—for on his ear the cry
Of women struck, and like a deadly knell
Knocked at that heart unmoved by Battle's yell.
"Oh! burst the Haram—wrong not on your lives
One female form—remember—we have wives.
[257]On them such outrage Vengeance will repay; 810
Man is our foe, and such 'tis ours to slay:
But still we spared—must spare the weaker prey.
Oh! I forgot—but Heaven will not forgive
If at my word the helpless cease to live;
Follow who will—I go—we yet have time
Our souls to lighten of at least a crime."
He climbs the crackling stair—he bursts the door,
Nor feels his feet glow scorching with the floor;
His breath choked gasping with the volumed smoke,
But still from room to room his way he broke. 820
They search—they find—they save: with lusty arms
Each bears a prize of unregarded charms;
Calm their loud fears; sustain their sinking frames
With all the care defenceless Beauty claims:
So well could Conrad tame their fiercest mood,
And check the very hands with gore imbrued.
But who is she? whom Conrad's arms convey,
From reeking pile and combat's wreck, away—
Who but the love of him he dooms to bleed?
The Haram queen—but still the slave of Seyd! 830


Brief time had Conrad now to greet Gulnare,[218]
Few words to reassure the trembling Fair;
For in that pause Compassion snatched from War,
The foe before retiring, fast and far,
With wonder saw their footsteps unpursued,
First slowlier fled—then rallied—then withstood.
This Seyd perceives, then first perceives how few,
Compared with his, the Corsair's roving crew,
And blushes o'er his error, as he eyes
[258]The ruin wrought by Panic and Surprise. 840
Alla il Alla! Vengeance swells the cry—
Shame mounts to rage that must atone or die!
And flame for flame and blood for blood must tell.
The tide of triumph ebbs that flowed too well—
When Wrath returns to renovated strife,
And those who fought for conquest strike for life.
Conrad beheld the danger—he beheld
His followers faint by freshening foes repelled:
"One effort—one—to break the circling host!"
They form—unite—charge—waver—all is lost! 850
Within a narrower ring compressed, beset,
Hopeless, not heartless, strive and struggle yet—
Ah! now they fight in firmest file no more,
Hemmed in—cut off—cleft down and trampled o'er;
But each strikes singly—silently—and home,
And sinks outwearied rather than o'ercome—
His last faint quittance rendering with his breath,
Till the blade glimmers in the grasp of Death!


But first, ere came the rallying host to blows,
And rank to rank, and hand to hand oppose, 860
Gulnare and all her Haram handmaids freed,
Safe in the dome of one who held their creed,
By Conrad's mandate safely were bestowed,
And dried those tears for life and fame that flowed:
And when that dark-eyed lady, young Gulnare,
Recalled those thoughts late wandering in despair,
Much did she marvel o'er the courtesy
That smoothed his accents, softened in his eye—
'Twas strange—that robber thus with gore bedewed,
Seemed gentler then than Seyd in fondest mood. 870
The Pacha wooed as if he deemed the slave
Must seem delighted with the heart he gave;
[259] The Corsair vowed protection, soothed affright,
As if his homage were a Woman's right.
"The wish is wrong—nay, worse for female—vain:
Yet much I long to view that Chief again;
If but to thank for, what my fear forgot,
The life—my loving Lord remembered not!"


And him she saw, where thickest carnage spread,
But gathered breathing from the happier dead; 880
Far from his band, and battling with a host
That deem right dearly won the field he lost,
Felled—bleeding—baffled of the death he sought,
And snatched to expiate all the ills he wrought;
Preserved to linger and to live in vain,
While Vengeance pondered o'er new plans of pain,
And stanched the blood she saves to shed again—
But drop by drop, for Seyd's unglutted eye
Would doom him ever dying—ne'er to die!
Can this be he? triumphant late she saw, 890
When his red hand's wild gesture waved, a law!
'Tis he indeed—disarmed but undeprest,
His sole regret the life he still possest;
His wounds too slight, though taken with that will,
Which would have kissed the hand that then could kill.
Oh were there none, of all the many given,
To send his soul—he scarcely asked to Heaven?[219]
[260]Must he alone of all retain his breath,
Who more than all had striven and struck for death?
He deeply felt—what mortal hearts must feel, 900
When thus reversed on faithless Fortune's wheel,
For crimes committed, and the victor's threat
Of lingering tortures to repay the debt—
He deeply, darkly felt; but evil Pride
That led to perpetrate—now serves to hide.
Still in his stern and self-collected mien
A conqueror's more than captive's air is seen,
Though faint with wasting toil and stiffening wound,
But few that saw—so calmly gazed around:
Though the far shouting of the distant crowd, 910
Their tremors o'er, rose insolently loud,
The better warriors who beheld him near,
Insulted not the foe who taught them fear;
And the grim guards that to his durance led,
In silence eyed him with a secret dread.


The Leech was sent—but not in mercy—there,
To note how much the life yet left could bear;
He found enough to load with heaviest chain,
And promise feeling for the wrench of Pain;
To-morrow—yea—to-morrow's evening Sun 920
Will, sinking, see Impalement's pangs begun,
And rising with the wonted blush of morn
Behold how well or ill those pangs are borne.
Of torments this the longest and the worst,
Which adds all other agony to thirst,
That day by day Death still forbears to slake,
While famished vultures flit around the stake.
"Oh! water—water!"—smiling Hate denies
The victim's prayer, for if he drinks he dies.
[261] This was his doom;—the Leech, the guard, were gone, 930
And left proud Conrad fettered and alone.


'Twere vain to paint to what his feelings grew—
It even were doubtful if their victim knew.
There is a war, a chaos of the mind,[220]
When all its elements convulsed, combined
Lie dark and jarring with perturbéd force,
And gnashing with impenitent Remorse—
That juggling fiend, who never spake before,
But cries "I warned thee!" when the deed is o'er.
Vain voice! the spirit burning but unbent, 940
May writhe—rebel—the weak alone repent!
Even in that lonely hour when most it feels,
And, to itself, all—all that self reveals,—
No single passion, and no ruling thought
That leaves the rest, as once, unseen, unsought,
But the wild prospect when the Soul reviews,
All rushing through their thousand avenues—
Ambition's dreams expiring, Love's regret,
Endangered Glory, Life itself beset;
The joy untasted, the contempt or hate 950
'Gainst those who fain would triumph in our fate;
The hopeless past, the hasting future driven
Too quickly on to guess if Hell or Heaven;
Deeds—thoughts—and words, perhaps remembered not
So keenly till that hour, but ne'er forgot;
Things light or lovely in their acted time,
But now to stern Reflection each a crime;
[262] The withering sense of Evil unrevealed,
Not cankering less because the more concealed;
All, in a word, from which all eyes must start, 960
That opening sepulchre, the naked heart[221]
Bares with its buried woes—till Pride awake,
To snatch the mirror from the soul, and break.
Aye, Pride can veil, and Courage brave it all—
All—all—before—beyond—the deadliest fall.
Each hath some fear, and he who least betrays,
The only hypocrite deserving praise:
Not the loud recreant wretch who boasts and flies;
But he who looks on Death—and silent dies:
So, steeled by pondering o'er his far career, 970
He half-way meets Him should He menace near!


In the high chamber of his highest tower
Sate Conrad, fettered in the Pacha's power.
His palace perished in the flame—this fort
Contained at once his captive and his court.
Not much could Conrad of his sentence blame,
His foe, if vanquished, had but shared the same:—
Alone he sate—in solitude had scanned
His guilty bosom, but that breast he manned:
One thought alone he could not—dared not meet— 980
"Oh, how these tidings will Medora greet?"
Then—only then—his clanking hands he raised,
And strained with rage the chain on which he gazed;
But soon he found, or feigned, or dreamed relief,
And smiled in self-derision of his grief,
[263] "And now come Torture when it will, or may—
More need of rest to nerve me for the day!"
This said, with langour to his mat he crept,
And, whatso'er his visions, quickly slept.
'Twas hardly midnight when that fray begun, 990
For Conrad's plans matured, at once were done,
And Havoc loathes so much the waste of time,
She scarce had left an uncommitted crime.
One hour beheld him since the tide he stemmed—
A Chief on land—an outlaw on the deep—
Destroying—saving—prisoned—and asleep!


He slept in calmest seeming, for his breath[222]
Was hushed so deep—Ah! happy if in death!
He slept—Who o'er his placid slumber bends? 1000
His foes are gone—and here he hath no friends;
Is it some Seraph sent to grant him grace?
No,'tis an earthly form with heavenly face!
Its white arm raised a lamp—yet gently hid,
Lest the ray flash abruptly on the lid
Of that closed eye, which opens but to pain,
And once unclosed—but once may close again.
That form, with eye so dark, and cheek so fair,
And auburn waves of gemmed and braided hair;
[264] With shape of fairy lightness—naked foot, 1010
That shines like snow, and falls on earth as mute—
Through guards and dunnest night how came it there?
Ah! rather ask what will not Woman dare?
Whom Youth and Pity lead like thee, Gulnare!
She could not sleep—and while the Pacha's rest
In muttering dreams yet saw his pirate-guest,
She left his side—his signet-ring she bore,
Which oft in sport adorned her hand before—
And with it, scarcely questioned, won her way
Through drowsy guards that must that sign obey. 1020
Worn out with toil, and tired with changing blows,
Their eyes had envied Conrad his repose;
And chill and nodding at the turret door,
They stretch their listless limbs, and watch no more;
Just raised their heads to hail the signet-ring,
Nor ask or what or who the sign may bring.


She gazed in wonder, "Can he calmly sleep,
While other eyes his fall or ravage weep?
And mine in restlessness are wandering here—
What sudden spell hath made this man so dear? 1030
True—'tis to him my life, and more, I owe,
And me and mine he spared from worse than woe:
'Tis late to think—but soft—his slumber breaks—
How heavily he sighs!—he starts—awakes!"
He raised his head, and dazzled with the light,
His eye seemed dubious if it saw aright:
He moved his hand—the grating of his chain
Too harshly told him that he lived again.
"What is that form? if not a shape of air,
[265]Methinks, my jailor's face shows wondrous fair!" 1040
"Pirate! thou know'st me not, but I am one,
Grateful for deeds thou hast too rarely done;
Look on me—and remember her, thy hand
Snatched from the flames, and thy more fearful band.
I come through darkness—and I scarce know why—
Yet not to hurt—I would not see thee die."
"If so, kind lady! thine the only eye
That would not here in that gay hope delight:
Theirs is the chance—and let them use their right.
But still I thank their courtesy or thine, 1050
That would confess me at so fair a shrine!"
Strange though it seem—yet with extremest grief
Is linked a mirth—it doth not bring relief—
That playfulness of Sorrow ne'er beguiles,
And smiles in bitterness—but still it smiles;
And sometimes with the wisest and the best,
Till even the scaffold[223] echoes with their jest!
Yet not the joy to which it seems akin—
It may deceive all hearts, save that within.
Whate'er it was that flashed on Conrad, now 1060
A laughing wildness half unbent his brow:
And these his accents had a sound of mirth,
As if the last he could enjoy on earth;
Yet 'gainst his nature—for through that short life,
Few thoughts had he to spare from gloom and strife.


"Corsair! thy doom is named—but I have power
To soothe the Pacha in his weaker hour.
Thee would I spare—nay more—would save thee now,
But this—Time—Hope—nor even thy strength allow;
But all I can,—I will—at least delay 1070
The sentence that remits thee scarce a day.
More now were ruin—even thyself were loth
The vain attempt should bring but doom to both."
"Yes!—loth indeed:—my soul is nerved to all,
Or fall'n too low to fear a further fall:
Tempt not thyself with peril—me with hope
Of flight from foes with whom I could not cope:
Unfit to vanquish—shall I meanly fly,
The one of all my band that would not die?
Yet there is one—to whom my Memory clings, 1080
Till to these eyes her own wild softness springs.
My sole resources in the path I trod
Were these—my bark—my sword—my love—my God!
The last I left in youth!—He leaves me now—
And Man but works his will to lay me low.
I have no thought to mock his throne with prayer
Wrung from the coward crouching of Despair;
It is enough—I breathe—and I can bear.
My sword is shaken from the worthless hand
That might have better kept so true a brand; 1090
My bark is sunk or captive—but my Love—
For her in sooth my voice would mount above:
Oh! she is all that still to earth can bind—
And this will break a heart so more than kind,
And blight a form—till thine appeared, Gulnare!
Mine eye ne'er asked if others were as fair."
"Thou lov'st another then?—but what to me
Is this—'tis nothing—nothing e'er can be:
But yet—thou lov'st—and—Oh! I envy those
Whose hearts on hearts as faithful can repose, 1100
Who never feel the void—the wandering thought
That sighs o'er visions—such as mine hath wrought."
"Lady—methought thy love was his, for whom
This arm redeemed thee from a fiery tomb."
"My love stern Seyd's! Oh—No—No—not my love—
Yet much this heart, that strives no more, once strove
To meet his passion—but it would not be.
I felt—I feel—Love dwells with—with the free.
I am a slave, a favoured slave at best,
To share his splendour, and seem very blest! 1110
Oft must my soul the question undergo,
Of—'Dost thou love?' and burn to answer, 'No!'
Oh! hard it is that fondness to sustain,
And struggle not to feel averse in vain;
But harder still the heart's recoil to bear,
And hide from one—perhaps another there.
He takes the hand I give not—nor withhold—
Its pulse nor checked—nor quickened—calmly cold:
And when resigned, it drops a lifeless weight
From one I never loved enough to hate. 1120
No warmth these lips return by his imprest,
And chilled Remembrance shudders o'er the rest.
Yes—had I ever proved that Passion's zeal,
The change to hatred were at least to feel:
But still—he goes unmourned—returns unsought—
And oft when present—absent from my thought.
Or when Reflection comes—and come it must—
I fear that henceforth 'twill but bring disgust;
[268] I am his slave—but, in despite of pride,
'Twere worse than bondage to become his bride. 1130
Oh! that this dotage of his breast would cease!
Or seek another and give mine release,
But yesterday—I could have said, to peace!
Yes, if unwonted fondness now I feign,[hv]
Remember—Captive! 'tis to break thy chain;
Repay the life that to thy hand I owe;
To give thee back to all endeared below,
Who share such love as I can never know.
Farewell—Morn breaks—and I must now away:
'Twill cost me dear—but dread no death to-day!" 1140


She pressed his fettered fingers to her heart,
And bowed her head, and turned her to depart,
And noiseless as a lovely dream is gone.
And was she here? and is he now alone?
What gem hath dropped and sparkles o'er his chain?
The tear most sacred, shed for others' pain,
That starts at once—bright—pure—from Pity's mine,
Already polished by the hand divine!
Oh! too convincing—dangerously dear—
In Woman's eye the unanswerable tear! 1150
That weapon of her weakness she can wield,
To save, subdue—at once her spear and shield:
Avoid it—Virtue ebbs and Wisdom errs,
Too fondly gazing on that grief of hers!
[269] What lost a world, and bade a hero fly?
The timid tear in Cleopatra's eye.
Yet be the soft Triumvir's fault forgiven;
By this—how many lose not earth—but Heaven!
Consign their souls to Man's eternal foe,
And seal their own to spare some Wanton's woe! 1160


'Tis Morn—and o'er his altered features play
The beams—without the Hope of yesterday.
What shall he be ere night? perchance a thing
O'er which the raven flaps her funeral wing,
By his closed eye unheeded and unfelt;
While sets that Sun, and dews of Evening melt,
Chill, wet, and misty round each stiffened limb,
Refreshing earth—reviving all but him!


"Come vedi—ancor non m'abbandona."

Dante, Inferno, v. 105.


Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,[224]
Along Morea's hills the setting Sun; 1170
Not, as in Northern climes, obscurely bright,
But one unclouded blaze of living light!
O'er the hushed deep the yellow beam he throws,
Gilds the green wave, that trembles as it glows.
On old Ægina's rock, and Idra's isle,[225]
The God of gladness sheds his parting smile;
O'er his own regions lingering, loves to shine,
Though there his altars are no more divine.
Descending fast the mountain shadows kiss
Thy glorious gulf, unconquered Salamis! 1180
Their azure arches through the long expanse
More deeply purpled met his mellowing glance,
[271] And tenderest tints, along their summits driven,
Mark his gay course, and own the hues of Heaven;
Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep,
Behind his Delphian cliff he sinks to sleep.
On such an eve, his palest beam he cast,
When—Athens! here thy Wisest looked his last.
How watched thy better sons his farewell ray,
That closed their murdered Sage's[226] latest day! 1190
Not yet—not yet—Sol pauses on the hill—
The precious hour of parting lingers still;
But sad his light to agonising eyes,
And dark the mountain's once delightful dyes:
Gloom o'er the lovely land he seemed to pour,
The land, where Phoebus never frowned before:
But ere he sunk below Cithæron's head,
The cup of woe was quaffed—the Spirit fled;
The Soul of him who scorned to fear or fly—
Who lived and died, as none can live or die! 1200
But lo! from high Hymettus to the plain,
The Queen of night asserts her silent reign.[227]
No murky vapour, herald of the storm,
Hides her fair face, nor girds her glowing form;
With cornice glimmering as the moon-beams play,
There the white column greets her grateful ray,
And bright around with quivering beams beset,
Her emblem sparkles o'er the Minaret:
The groves of olive scattered dark and wide
[272] Where meek Cephisus pours his scanty tide; 1210
The cypress saddening by the sacred Mosque,
The gleaming turret of the gay Kiosk;[228]
And, dun and sombre 'mid the holy calm,
Near Theseus' fane yon solitary palm,
All tinged with varied hues arrest the eye—
And dull were his that passed him heedless by.
Again the Ægean, heard no more afar,
Lulls his chafed breast from elemental war;
Again his waves in milder tints unfold
Their long array of sapphire and of gold, 1220
Mixed with the shades of many a distant isle,
That frown—where gentler Ocean seems to smile.


Not now my theme—why turn my thoughts to thee?
Oh! who can look along thy native sea,
Nor dwell upon thy name, whate'er the tale,
So much its magic must o'er all prevail?
Who that beheld that Sun upon thee set,
Fair Athens! could thine evening face forget?
Not he—whose heart nor time nor distance frees,
[273]Spell-bound within the clustering Cyclades! 1230
Nor seems this homage foreign to its strain,
His Corsair's isle was once thine own domain—[229]
Would that with freedom it were thine again!


The Sun hath sunk—and, darker than the night,
Sinks with its beam upon the beacon height
Medora's heart—the third day's come and gone—
With it he comes not—sends not—faithless one!
The wind was fair though light! and storms were none.
Last eve Anselmo's bark returned, and yet
His only tidings that they had not met! 1240
Though wild, as now, far different were the tale
Had Conrad waited for that single sail.
The night-breeze freshens—she that day had passed
In watching all that Hope proclaimed a mast;
Sadly she sate on high—Impatience bore
At last her footsteps to the midnight shore,
And there she wandered, heedless of the spray
That dashed her garments oft, and warned away:
She saw not, felt not this—nor dared depart,
Nor deemed it cold—her chill was at her heart; 1250
Till grew such certainty from that suspense—
His very Sight had shocked from life or sense!
It came at last—a sad and shattered boat,
Whose inmates first beheld whom first they sought;
Some bleeding—all most wretched—these the few—
Scarce knew they how escaped—this all they knew.
In silence, darkling, each appeared to wait
His fellow's mournful guess at Conrad's fate:
[274] Something they would have said; but seemed to fear
To trust their accents to Medora's ear. 1260
She saw at once, yet sunk not—trembled not—
Beneath that grief, that loneliness of lot,
Within that meek fair form, were feelings high,
That deemed not till they found their energy.
While yet was Hope they softened, fluttered, wept—
All lost—that Softness died not—but it slept;
And o'er its slumber rose that Strength which said,
"With nothing left to love, there's nought to dread."
'Tis more than Nature's—like the burning might
Delirium gathers from the fever's height. 1270
"Silent you stand—nor would I hear you tell
What—speak not—breathe not—for I know it well—
Yet would I ask—almost my lip denies
The—quick your answer—tell me where he lies."
"Lady! we know not—scarce with life we fled;
But here is one denies that he is dead:
He saw him bound; and bleeding—but alive."
She heard no further—'twas in vain to strive—
So throbbed each vein—each thought—till then withstood;
Her own dark soul—these words at once subdued: 1280
She totters—falls—and senseless had the wave
Perchance but snatched her from another grave;
But that with hands though rude, yet weeping eyes,
They yield such aid as Pity's haste supplies:[hw]
Dash o'er her deathlike cheek the ocean dew,
Raise, fan, sustain—till life returns anew;
Awake her handmaids, with the matrons leave
That fainting form o'er which they gaze and grieve;
[275] Then seek Anselmo's cavern, to report
The tale too tedious—when the triumph short. 1290


In that wild council words waxed warm and strange,[hx]
With thoughts of ransom, rescue, and revenge;
All, save repose or flight: still lingering there
Breathed Conrad's spirit, and forbade despair;
Whate'er his fate—the breasts he formed and led
Will save him living, or appease him dead.
Woe to his foes! there yet survive a few,
Whose deeds are daring, as their hearts are true.


Within the Haram's secret chamber sate[230]
Stern Seyd, still pondering o'er his Captive's fate; 1300
His thoughts on love and hate alternate dwell,
Now with Gulnare, and now in Conrad's cell;
Here at his feet the lovely slave reclined
Surveys his brow—would soothe his gloom of mind;
While many an anxious glance her large dark eye
Sends in its idle search for sympathy,
His only bends in seeming o'er his beads,[231]
But inly views his victim as he bleeds.
"Pacha! the day is thine; and on thy crest
Sits Triumph—Conrad taken—fall'n the rest! 1310
His doom is fixed—he dies; and well his fate
Was earned—yet much too worthless for thy hate:
Methinks, a short release, for ransom told[hy]
With all his treasure, not unwisely sold;
Report speaks largely of his pirate-hoard—
Would that of this my Pacha were the lord!
While baffled, weakened by this fatal fray—
Watched—followed—he were then an easier prey;
But once cut off—the remnant of his band
Embark their wealth, and seek a safer strand." 1320
"Gulnare!—if for each drop of blood a gem
Where offered rich as Stamboul's diadem;
If for each hair of his a massy mine
Of virgin ore should supplicating shine;
If all our Arab tales divulge or dream
Of wealth were here—that gold should not redeem!
It had not now redeemed a single hour,
But that I know him fettered, in my power;
And, thirsting for revenge, I ponder still
On pangs that longest rack—and latest kill." 1330
"Nay, Seyd! I seek not to restrain thy rage,
Too justly moved for Mercy to assuage;
My thoughts were only to secure for thee
His riches—thus released, he were not free:
Disabled—shorn of half his might and band,
His capture could but wait thy first command."
"His capture could!—and shall I then resign
One day to him—the wretch already mine?
Release my foe!—at whose remonstrance?—thine!
Fair suitor!—to thy virtuous gratitude, 1340
That thus repays this Giaour's relenting mood,
Which thee and thine alone of all could spare—
No doubt, regardless—if the prize were fair—
My thanks and praise alike are due—now hear!
I have a counsel for thy gentler ear:
I do mistrust thee, Woman! and each word
Of thine stamps truth on all Suspicion heard.[hz]
Borne in his arms through fire from yon Serai—
Say, wert thou lingering there with him to fly?
Thou need'st not answer—thy confession speaks, 1350
Already reddening on thy guilty cheeks:
Then—lovely Dame—bethink thee! and beware:
'Tis not his life alone may claim such care!
Another word and—nay—I need no more.
Accursed was the moment when he bore
Thee from the flames, which better far—but no—
I then had mourned thee with a lover's woe—
Now 'tis thy lord that warns—deceitful thing!
Know'st thou that I can clip thy wanton wing?
In words alone I am not wont to chafe: 1360
Look to thyself—nor deem thy falsehood safe!"
He rose—and slowly, sternly thence withdrew,
Rage in his eye, and threats in his adieu:
Ah! little recked that Chief of womanhood—
Which frowns ne'er quelled, nor menaces subdued;
And little deemed he what thy heart, Gulnare!
When soft could feel—and when incensed could dare!
[278] His doubts appeared to wrong—nor yet she knew
How deep the root from whence Compassion grew—
She was a slave—from such may captives claim 1370
A fellow-feeling, differing but in name;
Still half unconscious—heedless of his wrath,
Again she ventured on the dangerous path,
Again his rage repelled—until arose
That strife of thought, the source of Woman's woes!


Meanwhile—long—anxious—weary—still the same
Rolled day and night: his soul could Terror tame—
This fearful interval of doubt and dread,
When every hour might doom him worse than dead;[ia]
When every step that echoed by the gate, 1380
Might entering lead where axe and stake await;
When every voice that grated on his ear
Might be the last that he could ever hear;
Could Terror tame—that Spirit stern and high
Had proved unwilling as unfit to die;
'Twas worn—perhaps decayed—yet silent bore
That conflict, deadlier far than all before:
The heat of fight, the hurry of the gale,
Leave scarce one thought inert enough to quail:
But bound and fixed in fettered solitude, 1390
To pine, the prey of every changing mood;
To gaze on thine own heart—and meditate
Irrevocable faults, and coming fate—
Too late the last to shun—the first to mend—
To count the hours that struggle to thine end,
With not a friend to animate and tell
To other ears that Death became thee well;
[279] Around thee foes to forge the ready lie,
And blot Life's latest scene with calumny;
Before thee tortures, which the Soul can dare, 1400
Yet doubts how well the shrinking flesh may bear;
But deeply feels a single cry would shame,
To Valour's praise thy last and dearest claim;
The life thou leav'st below, denied above
By kind monopolists of heavenly love;
And more than doubtful Paradise—thy Heaven
Of earthly hope—thy loved one from thee riven.
Such were the thoughts that outlaw must sustain,
And govern pangs surpassing mortal pain:
And those sustained he—boots it well or ill? 1410
Since not to sink beneath, is something still!


The first day passed—he saw not her—Gulnare—
The second, third—and still she came not there;
But what her words avouched, her charms had done,
Or else he had not seen another Sun.
The fourth day rolled along, and with the night
Came storm and darkness in their mingling might.
Oh! how he listened to the rushing deep,
That ne'er till now so broke upon his sleep;
And his wild Spirit wilder wishes sent, 1420
Roused by the roar of his own element!
Oft had he ridden on that wingéd wave,
And loved its roughness for the speed it gave;
And now its dashing echoed on his ear,
A long known voice—alas! too vainly near!
Loud sung the wind above; and, doubly loud,
Shook o'er his turret cell the thunder-cloud;[232]
[280]And flashed the lightning by the latticed bar,
To him more genial than the Midnight Star:
Close to the glimmering grate he dragged his chain, 1430
And hoped that peril might not prove in vain.
He rais'd his iron hand to Heaven, and prayed
One pitying flash to mar the form it made:
His steel and impious prayer attract alike—
The storm rolled onward, and disdained to strike;
Its peal waxed fainter—ceased—he felt alone,
As if some faithless friend had spurned his groan!


The midnight passed, and to the massy door
A light step came—it paused—it moved once more;
Slow turns the grating bolt and sullen key: 1440
'Tis as his heart foreboded—that fair She!
Whate'er her sins, to him a Guardian Saint,
And beauteous still as hermit's hope can paint;
Yet changed since last within that cell she came,
More pale her cheek, more tremulous her frame:
On him she cast her dark and hurried eye,
Which spoke before her accents—"Thou must die!
Yes, thou must die—there is but one resource,
The last—the worst—if torture were not worse."
"Lady! I look to none; my lips proclaim 1450
What last proclaimed they—Conrad still the same:
Why should'st thou seek an outlaw's life to spare,
And change the sentence I deserve to bear?
Well have I earned—nor here alone—the meed
Of Seyd's revenge, by many a lawless deed."
"Why should I seek? because—Oh! did'st thou not
Redeem my life from worse than Slavery's lot?
Why should I seek?—hath Misery made thee blind
To the fond workings of a woman's mind?
And must I say?—albeit my heart rebel 1460
With all that Woman feels, but should not tell—
Because—despite thy crimes—that heart is moved:
It feared thee—thanked thee—pitied—maddened—loved.
Reply not, tell not now thy tale again,
Thou lov'st another—and I love in vain:
Though fond as mine her bosom, form more fair,
I rush through peril which she would not dare.
[282] If that thy heart to hers were truly dear,
Were I thine own—thou wert not lonely here:
An outlaw's spouse—and leave her Lord to roam! 1470
What hath such gentle dame to do with home?
But speak not now—o'er thine and o'er my head
Hangs the keen sabre by a single thread;[ib]
If thou hast courage still, and would'st be free,
Receive this poniard—rise and follow me!"
"Aye—in my chains! my steps will gently tread,
With these adornments, o'er such slumbering head!
Thou hast forgot—is this a garb for flight?
Or is that instrument more fit for fight?"
"Misdoubting Corsair! I have gained the guard, 1480
Ripe for revolt, and greedy for reward.
A single word of mine removes that chain:
Without some aid how here could I remain?
Well, since we met, hath sped my busy time,
If in aught evil, for thy sake the crime:
The crime—'tis none to punish those of Seyd.
That hatred tyrant, Conrad—he must bleed!
I see thee shudder, but my soul is changed—
Wronged—spurned—reviled—and it shall be avenged—
Accused of what till now my heart disdained— 1490
Too faithful, though to bitter bondage chained.
Yes, smile!—but he had little cause to sneer,
I was not treacherous then, nor thou too dear:
But he has said it—and the jealous well,—
Those tyrants—teasing—tempting to rebel,—
Deserve the fate their fretting lips foretell.
I never loved—he bought me—somewhat high—
Since with me came a heart he could not buy.
[283] I was a slave unmurmuring; he hath said,
But for his rescue I with thee had fled. 1500
'Twas false thou know'st—but let such Augurs rue,
Their words are omens Insult renders true.
Nor was thy respite granted to my prayer;
This fleeting grace was only to prepare
New torments for thy life, and my despair.
Mine too he threatens; but his dotage still
Would fain reserve me for his lordly will:
When wearier of these fleeting charms and me,
There yawns the sack—and yonder rolls the sea!
What, am I then a toy for dotard's play, 1510
To wear but till the gilding frets away?
I saw thee—loved thee—owe thee all—would save,
If but to show how grateful is a slave.
But had he not thus menaced fame and life,—
And well he keeps his oaths pronounced in strife—
I still had saved thee—but the Pacha spared:
Now I am all thine own—for all prepared:
Thou lov'st me not—nor know'st—or but the worst.
Alas! this love—that hatred—are the first—
Oh! could'st thou prove my truth, thou would'st not start, 1520
Nor fear the fire that lights an Eastern heart;
'Tis now the beacon of thy safety—now
It points within the port a Mainote prow:
But in one chamber, where our path must lead,
There sleeps—he must not wake—the oppressor Seyd!"
"Gulnare—Gulnare—I never felt till now
My abject fortune, withered fame so low:
Seyd is mine enemy; had swept my band
From earth with ruthless but with open hand,
[284]And therefore came I, in my bark of war,1530
To smite the smiter with the scimitar;
Such is my weapon—not the secret knife;
Who spares a Woman's seeks not Slumber's life.
Thine saved I gladly, Lady—not for this;
Let me not deem that mercy shown amiss.
Now fare thee well—more peace be with thy breast!
Night wears apace, my last of earthly rest!"[ic]
"Rest! rest! by sunrise must thy sinews shake,
And thy limbs writhe around the ready stake,
I heard the order—saw—I will not see— 1540
If thou wilt perish, I will fall with thee.
My life—my love—my hatred—all below
Are on this cast—Corsair! 'tis but a blow!
Without it flight were idle—how evade
His sure pursuit?—my wrongs too unrepaid,
My youth disgraced—the long, long wasted years,
One blow shall cancel with our future fears;
But since the dagger suits thee less than brand,
I'll try the firmness of a female hand.
The guards are gained—one moment all were o'er— 1550
Corsair! we meet in safety or no more;
If errs my feeble hand, the morning cloud
Will hover o'er thy scaffold, and my shroud."


She turned, and vanished ere he could reply,
But his glance followed far with eager eye;
And gathering, as he could, the links that bound
His form, to curl their length, and curb their sound,
Since bar and bolt no more his steps preclude,
He, fast as fettered limbs allow, pursued.
[285] 'Twas dark and winding, and he knew not where 1560
That passage led; nor lamp nor guard was there:
He sees a dusky glimmering—shall he seek
Or shun that ray so indistinct and weak?
Chance guides his steps—a freshness seems to bear
Full on his brow as if from morning air;
He reached an open gallery—on his eye
Gleamed the last star of night, the clearing sky:
Yet scarcely heeded these—another light
From a lone chamber struck upon his sight.
Towards it he moved; a scarcely closing door 1570
Revealed the ray within, but nothing more.
With hasty step a figure outward passed,
Then paused, and turned—and paused—'tis She at last!
No poniard in that hand, nor sign of ill—
"Thanks to that softening heart—she could not kill!"
Again he looked, the wildness of her eye
Starts from the day abrupt and fearfully.
She stopped—threw back her dark far-floating hair,
That nearly veiled her face and bosom fair,
As if she late had bent her leaning head 1580
Above some object of her doubt or dread.
They meet—upon her brow—unknown—forgot—
Her hurrying hand had left—'twas but a spot—
Its hue was all he saw, and scarce withstood—
Oh! slight but certain pledge of crime—'tis Blood!


He had seen battle—he had brooded lone
O'er promised pangs to sentenced Guilt foreshown;
He had been tempted—chastened—and the chain
Yet on his arms might ever there remain:
But ne'er from strife—captivity—remorse— 1590
From all his feelings in their inmost force[286]
So thrilled, so shuddered every creeping vein,
As now they froze before that purple stain.
That spot of blood, that light but guilty streak,
Had banished all the beauty from her cheek!
Blood he had viewed—could view unmoved—but then
It flowed in combat, or was shed by men![id]


"'Tis done—he nearly waked—but it is done.
Corsair! he perished—thou art dearly won.
All words would now be vain—away—away! 1600
Our bark is tossing—'tis already day.
The few gained over, now are wholly mine,
And these thy yet surviving band shall join:
Anon my voice shall vindicate my hand,
When once our sail forsakes this hated strand."


She clapped her hands, and through the gallery pour,
Equipped for flight, her vassals—Greek and Moor;
Silent but quick they stoop, his chains unbind;
Once more his limbs are free as mountain wind!
But on his heavy heart such sadness sate, 1610
As if they there transferred that iron weight.
No words are uttered—at her sign, a door
Reveals the secret passage to the shore;
The city lies behind—they speed, they reach
The glad waves dancing on the yellow beach;
[287] And Conrad following, at her beck, obeyed,
Nor cared he now if rescued or betrayed;
Resistance were as useless as if Seyd
Yet lived to view the doom his ire decreed.


Embarked—the sail unfurled—the light breeze blew— 1620
How much had Conrad's memory to review![ie]
Sunk he in contemplation, till the Cape
Where last he anchored reared its giant shape.
Ah!—since that fatal night, though brief the time,
Had swept an age of terror, grief, and crime.
As its far shadow frowned above the mast,
He veiled his face, and sorrowed as he passed;
He thought of all—Gonsalvo and his band,
His fleeting triumph and his failing hand;
He thought on her afar, his lonely bride: 1630
He turned and saw—Gulnare, the Homicide!


She watched his features till she could not bear
Their freezing aspect and averted air;
And that strange fierceness foreign to her eye
Fell quenched in tears, too late to shed or dry.[if]
She knelt beside him and his hand she pressed,
"Thou may'st forgive though Allah's self detest;
But for that deed of darkness what wert thou?
Reproach me—but not yet—Oh! spare me now!
I am not what I seem—this fearful night 1640
My brain bewildered—do not madden quite!
If I had never loved—though less my guilt—
Thou hadst not lived to—hate me—if thou wilt."


She wrongs his thoughts—they more himself upbraid
Than her—though undesigned—the wretch he made;
But speechless all, deep, dark, and unexprest,
They bleed within that silent cell—his breast.
Still onward, fair the breeze, nor rough the surge,
The blue waves sport around the stern they urge;
Far on the Horizon's verge appears a speck, 1650
A spot—a mast—a sail—an arméd deck!
Their little bark her men of watch descry,
And ampler canvass woos the wind from high;
She bears her down majestically near,
Speed on her prow, and terror in her tier;[ig][233]
A flash is seen—the ball beyond her bow
Booms harmless, hissing to the deep below.
Up rose keen Conrad from his silent trance,
A long, long absent gladness in his glance;
"'Tis mine—my blood-rag flag! again—again— 1660
I am not all deserted on the main!"
They own the signal, answer to the hail,
Hoist out the boat at once, and slacken sail.
"'Tis Conrad! Conrad!" shouting from the deck,
Command nor Duty could their transport check!
With light alacrity and gaze of Pride,
They view him mount once more his vessel's side;
A smile relaxing in each rugged face,
Their arms can scarce forbear a rough embrace.
He, half forgetting danger and defeat, 1670
Returns their greeting as a Chief may greet,
Wrings with a cordial grasp Anselmo's hand,
And feels he yet can conquer and command!


These greetings o'er, the feelings that o'erflow,
Yet grieve to win him back without a blow;
They sailed prepared for vengeance—had they known
A woman's hand secured that deed her own,
She were their Queen—less scrupulous are they
Than haughty Conrad how they win their way.
With many an asking smile, and wondering stare, 1680
They whisper round, and gaze upon Gulnare;
And her, at once above—beneath her sex,
Whom blood appalled not, their regards perplex.[ih]
To Conrad turns her faint imploring eye,
She drops her veil, and stands in silence by;
Her arms are meekly folded on that breast,
Which—Conrad safe—to Fate resigned the rest.
Though worse than frenzy could that bosom fill,
Extreme in love or hate, in good or ill,
The worst of crimes had left her Woman still! 1690


This Conrad marked, and felt—ah! could he less?—
Hate of that deed—but grief for her distress;
What she has done no tears can wash away,
And Heaven must punish on its angry day:
But—it was done: he knew, whate'er her guilt,
For him that poniard smote, that blood was spilt;
And he was free!—and she for him had given
Her all on earth, and more than all in heaven![234]
[290]And now he turned him to that dark-eyed slave
Whose brow was bowed beneath the glance he gave, 1700
Who now seemed changed and humbled, faint and meek,
But varying oft the colour of her cheek
To deeper shades of paleness—all its red
That fearful spot which stained it from the dead!
He took that hand—it trembled—now too late—
So soft in love—so wildly nerved in hate;
He clasped that hand—it trembled—and his own
Had lost its firmness, and his voice its tone.
"Gulnare!"—but she replied not—"dear Gulnare!"[ii]
She raised her eye—her only answer there— 1710
At once she sought and sunk in his embrace:
If he had driven her from that resting-place,
His had been more or less than mortal heart,
But—good or ill—it bade her not depart.
Perchance, but for the bodings of his breast,
His latest virtue then had joined the rest.
Yet even Medora might forgive the kiss[ij]
That asked from form so fair no more than this,
The first, the last that Frailty stole from Faith—
To lips where Love had lavished all his breath, 1720
To lips—whose broken sighs such fragrance fling,
As he had fanned them freshly with his wing![ik]


They gain by twilight's hour their lonely isle.
To them the very rocks appear to smile;
[291] The haven hums with many a cheering sound,
The beacons blaze their wonted stations round,
The boats are darting o'er the curly bay,
And sportive Dolphins bend them through the spray;
Even the hoarse sea-bird's shrill, discordant shriek,
Greets like the welcome of his tuneless beak! 1730
Beneath each lamp that through its lattice gleams,
Their fancy paints the friends that trim the beams.
Oh! what can sanctify the joys of home,
Like Hope's gay glance from Ocean's troubled foam?[il]


The lights are high on beacon and from bower,
And 'midst them Conrad seeks Medora's tower:
He looks in vain—'tis strange—and all remark,
Amid so many, hers alone is dark.
'Tis strange—of yore its welcome never failed,
Nor now, perchance, extinguished—only veiled. 1740
With the first boat descends he for the shore,
And looks impatient on the lingering oar.
Oh! for a wing beyond the falcon's flight,
To bear him like an arrow to that height!
With the first pause the resting rowers gave,
He waits not—looks not—leaps into the wave,
Strives through the surge, bestrides the beach, and high
Ascends the path familiar to his eye.
He reached his turret door—he paused—no sound
Broke from within; and all was night around. 1750
He knocked, and loudly—footstep nor reply
Announced that any heard or deemed him nigh:
[292] He knocked, but faintly—for his trembling hand
Refused to aid his heavy heart's demand.
The portal opens—'tis a well known face—
But not the form he panted to embrace.
Its lips are silent—twice his own essayed,
And failed to frame the question they delayed;
He snatched the lamp—its light will answer all—
It quits his grasp, expiring in the fall. 1760
He would not wait for that reviving ray—
As soon could he have lingered there for day;
But, glimmering through the dusky corridor,
Another chequers o'er the shadowed floor;
His steps the chamber gain—his eyes behold
All that his heart believed not—yet foretold!


He turned not—spoke not—sunk not—fixed his look,
And set the anxious frame that lately shook:
He gazed—how long we gaze despite of pain,
And know, but dare not own, we gaze in vain! 1770
In life itself she was so still and fair,
That Death with gentler aspect withered there;
And the cold flowers[235] her colder hand contained,
In that last grasp as tenderly were strained
As if she scarcely felt, but feigned a sleep—
And made it almost mockery yet to weep:
The long dark lashes fringed her lids of snow,
And veiled—Thought shrinks from all that lurked below[293]—Oh!
o'er the eye Death most exerts his might,[236]
And hurls the Spirit from her throne of light; 1780
Sinks those blue orbs in that long last eclipse,
But spares, as yet, the charm around her lips—
Yet, yet they seem as they forebore to smile,
And wished repose,—but only for a while;
But the white shroud, and each extended tress,
Long, fair—but spread in utter lifelessness,
Which, late the sport of every summer wind,
Escaped the baffled wreath that strove to bind;[im]
These—and the pale pure cheek, became the bier—
But She is nothing—wherefore is he here? 1790


He asked no question—all were answered now
By the first glance on that still, marble brow.[in]
It was enough—she died—what recked it how?
The love of youth, the hope of better years,
The source of softest wishes, tenderest fears,
The only living thing he could not hate,
Was reft at once—and he deserved his fate,
But did not feel it less;—the Good explore,
For peace, those realms where Guilt can never soar:
The proud, the wayward—who have fixed below 1800
Their joy, and find this earth enough for woe,
Lose in that one their all—perchance a mite—
But who in patience parts with all delight?
Full many a stoic eye and aspect stern
[294] Mask hearts where Grief hath little left to learn;
And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost,
In smiles that least befit who wear them most.


By those, that deepest feel, is ill exprest
The indistinctness of the suffering breast;
Where thousand thoughts begin to end in one, 1810
Which seeks from all the refuge found in none;
No words suffice the secret soul to show,
For Truth denies all eloquence to Woe.
On Conrad's stricken soul Exhaustion prest,
And Stupor almost lulled it into rest;
So feeble now—his mother's softness crept
To those wild eyes, which like an infant's wept:
It was the very weakness of his brain,
Which thus confessed without relieving pain.
None saw his trickling tears—perchance, if seen, 1820
That useless flood of grief had never been:
Nor long they flowed—he dried them to depart,
In helpless—hopeless—brokenness of heart:
The Sun goes forth, but Conrad's day is dim:
And the night cometh—ne'er to pass from him.[io]
There is no darkness like the cloud of mind,
On Grief's vain eye—the blindest of the blind!
Which may not—dare not see—but turns aside
To blackest shade—nor will endure a guide!


His heart was formed for softness—warped to wrong, 1830
Betrayed too early, and beguiled too long;
[295] Each feeling pure—as falls the dropping dew
Within the grot—like that had hardened too;
Less clear, perchance, its earthly trials passed,
But sunk, and chilled, and petrified at last.[238]
Yet tempests wear, and lightning cleaves the rock;
If such his heart, so shattered it the shock.
There grew one flower beneath its rugged brow,
Though dark the shade—it sheltered—saved till now.
The thunder came—that bolt hath blasted both, 1840
The Granite's firmness, and the Lily's growth:
The gentle plant hath left no leaf to tell
Its tale, but shrunk and withered where it fell;
And of its cold protector, blacken round
But shivered fragments on the barren ground!


'Tis morn—to venture on his lonely hour
Few dare; though now Anselmo sought his tower.
He was not there, nor seen along the shore;
Ere night, alarmed, their isle is traversed o'er:
Another morn—another bids them seek, 1850
And shout his name till Echo waxeth weak;
Mount—grotto—cavern—valley searched in vain,
They find on shore a sea-boat's broken chain:
Their hope revives—they follow o'er the main.
'Tis idle all—moons roll on moons away,
And Conrad comes not, came not since that day:
Nor trace nor tidings of his doom declare
Where lives his grief, or perished his despair!
[296] Long mourned his band whom none could mourn beside;
And fair the monument they gave his Bride: 1860
For him they raise not the recording stone—
His death yet dubious, deeds too widely known;
He left a Corsair's name to other times,
Linked with one virtue, and a thousand crimes.[239]


[194] {223} [This political allusion having been objected to by a friend, Byron composed a second dedication, which he sent to Moore, with a request that he would "take his choice." Moore chose the original dedication, which was accordingly prefixed to the First Edition. The alternative ran as follows:—

"January 7th, 1814.

My dear Moore,

I had written to you a long letter of dedication, which I suppress, because, though it contained something relating to you, which every one had been glad to hear, yet there was too much about politics and poesy, and all things whatsoever, ending with that topic on which most men are fluent, and none very amusing,—one's self. It might have been re-written; but to what purpose? My praise could add nothing to your well-earned and firmly established fame; and with my most hearty admiration of your talents, and delight in your conversation, you are already acquainted. In availing myself of your friendly permission to inscribe this poem to you, I can only wish the offering were as worthy your acceptance, as your regard is dear to

Yours, most affectionately and faithfully,

[195] {224} [After the words, "Scott alone," Byron had inserted, in a parenthesis, "He will excuse the 'Mr.'—we do not say Mr. Cæsar."]

[196] {225} ["It is difficult to say whether we are to receive this passage as an admission or a denial of the opinion to which it refers; but Lord Byron certainly did the public injustice, if he supposed it imputed to him the criminal actions with which many of his heroes were stained. Men no more expected to meet in Lord Byron the Corsair, who 'knew himself a villain,' than they looked for the hypocrisy of Kehama on the shores of the Derwent Water; yet even in the features of Conrad, those who had looked on Lord Byron will recognize the likeness—

"'To the sight
No giant frame sets forth his common height;

Sun-burnt his cheek, his forehead high and pale
The sable curls in wild profusion veil....'"

Canto I. stanza ix.

—Sir Walter Scott, Quart. Rev., No. xxxi. October, 1816.]

[197] {227} The time in this poem may seem too short for the occurrences, but the whole of the Ægean isles are within a few hours' sail of the continent, and the reader must be kind enough to take the wind as I have often found it.

[198] [Compare—"Survey the region, and confess her home." Windsor Forest, by A. Pope, line 256.]

[hk] {228} Protract to age his painful doting day.—[MS. erased.]

[hl] {230} Her nation—flag—how tells the telescope.—[MS.]

[199] [Compare The Isle of Palms, by John Wilson, Canto I. (1812, p. 8)—

"She sailed amid the loveliness
Like a thing with heart and mind."]

[hm] {231} Till creaks her keel upon the shallow sand.—[MS.]

[hn] {234} The haughtier thought his bosom ill conceals.—[MS.]


He had the skill when prying souls would seek,
To watch his words and trace his pensive cheek.—[MS.]
His was the skill when prying, etc.—[Revise.]

[200] {235} That Conrad is a character not altogether out of nature, I shall attempt to prove by some historical coincidences which I have met with since writing The Corsair.

"Eccelin, prisonnier," dit Rolandini, "s'enfermoit dans un silence menaçant; il fixoit sur la terre son visage féroce, et ne donnoit point d'essor à sa profonde indignation. De toutes partes cependant les soldats et les peuples accouroient; ils vouloient voir cet homme, jadis si puissant ... et la joie universelle éclatoit de toutes partes.... Eccelino étoit d'une petite taille; mais tout l'aspect de sa personne, tous ses mouvemens, indiquoient un soldat. Son langage étoit amer, son déportement superbe, et par son seul regard, il faisoit trembler les plus hardis."—Simonde de Sismondi, Histoire des Républiques Italiennes du Moyen Age, 1809, iii. 219.

Again, "Gizericus [Genseric, king of the Vandals, the conqueror of both Carthage and Rome] ... staturâ mediocris, et equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone ratus, luxuriæ contemptor, irâ turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad sollicitandas gentes providentissimus," etc., etc.—Jornandes, De Getarum Origine ("De Rebus Geticis"), cap. 33, ed. 1597, p. 92.

I beg leave to quote those gloomy realities to keep in countenance my Giaour and Corsair.—[Added to the Ninth Edition.]

[201] [Stanza x. was an after-thought. It is included in a sixth revise, in which lines 244-246 have been erased, and the present reading superscribed. A seventh revise gives the text as above.]

[hp] {236}

Released but to convulse or freeze or glow!
Fire in the veins, or damps upon the brow.—[MS.]


Behold his soul once seen not soon forgot!
All that there burns its hour away—but sears
The scathed Remembrance of long coming years.—[MS.]

[202] {237} [Lines 277-280 are not in the MS. They were inserted on a detached printed sheet, with a view to publication in the Seventh Edition.]

[hr] {238} Not Guilt itself could quench this earliest one.—[MS. erased.]

[hs] {239}

Now to Francesca.—[MS.]
Now to Ginevra.—[Revise of January 6, 1814.]
Now to Medora.—[Revise of January 15, 1814.]

[ht] Yet heed my prayer—my latest accents hear.—[MS.]

[203] [Compare—

"He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend."

Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard.]

[204] {243} [For Bireno's desertion of Olympia, see] Orlando Funoso, Canto X. [stanzas 1-27].

[hu] {244}

Oh! he could bear no more—but madly grasped
Her form—and trembling there his own unclasped.—[MS.]

[205] {247} By night, particularly in a warm latitude, every stroke of the oar, every motion of the boat or ship, is followed by a slight flash like sheet lightning from the water.

[206] {248} [Cape Gallo is at least eight miles to the south of Corone; but Point Lividia, the promontory on which part of the town is built, can hardly be described as a "jutting cape," or as (see line 1623) a "giant shape."]

[207] {249} [Coron, or Corone, the ancient Colonides, is situated a little to the north of a promontory, Point Lividia, on the western shore of the Gulf of Kalamata, or Coron, or Messenia.

Antoine Louis Castellan (1772-1838), with whose larger work on Turkey Byron professed himself familiar (Letter to Moore, August 28, 1813), gives a vivid description of Coron and the bey's palace in his Lettres sur la Morée, etc. (first published, Paris, 1808), 3 vols., 1820. Whether Byron had or had not consulted the "Letters," the following passages may help to illustrate the scene:—

"La châine caverneuse du Taygete s'élève en face de Coron, à l'autre extrémité du golfe" (iii. 181).

"Nous avons aussi été faire une visite au bey, qui nous a permis de parcourir la citadelle" (p. 187).

"Le bey fait a exécuter en notre présence une danse singuliére, qu'on peut nommer danse pantomime" (p. 189; see line 642).

"La maison est assez bien distribuée et proprement meublée à la manière des Turcs. La principale pièce est grande, ornée d'une boisserie ciselée sur les dessins arabesques, et même marquetée. Les fenêtres donnent sur le jardin ... les volets sont ordinairement fermés, dans le milieu de la journée, et le jour ne pénètre alors qu'a travers des ouvertures pratiquées, au dessus des fenêtres et garnis de vitraux colorés" (p. 200).

Castellan saw the palace and bay illuminated (p. 203).]

[208] {250} Coffee.

[209] "Chibouque" [chibûk], pipe.

[210] {251} Dancing girls. [Compare The Waltz, line 127, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 492, note 1.]

[211] It has been observed, that Conrad's entering disguised as a spy is out of nature. Perhaps so. I find something not unlike it in history.—"Anxious to explore with his own eyes the state of the Vandals, Majorian ventured, after disguising the colour of his hair, to visit Carthage in the character of his own ambassador; and Genseric was afterwards mortified by the discovery, that he had entertained and dismissed the Emperor of the Romans. Such an anecdote may be rejected as an improbable fiction; but it is a fiction which would not have been imagined unless in the life of a hero."—See Gibbon's Decline and Fall [1854, iv. 272.]

[212] {252} [On the coast of Asia Minor, twenty-one miles south of Smyrna.]

[213] [A Levantine bark—"a kind of ketch without top-gallant sail, or mizzen-top sail."]

[214] {254} [Compare the Giaour, line 343, note 2; vide ante, p. 102.]

[215] The Dervises [Dervish, Persian darvesh, poor] are in colleges, and of different orders, as the monks.

[216] {255} "Zatanai," Satan. [Probably a phonetic rendering of σατανὰ(ς). The Turkish form would be sheytan. Compare letter to Moore, April 9, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 66, note 1.]

[217] {256} A common and not very novel effect of Mussulman anger. See Prince Eugene's Mémoires, 1811, p. 6, "The Seraskier received a wound in the thigh; he plucked up his beard by the roots, because he was obliged to quit the field." ["Le séraskier est blessé a la cuisse; il s'arrache la barbe, parce qu'il est obligé de fuir." A contemporary translation (Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1811), renders "il s'arrache la barbe" he tore out the arrow.]

[218] {257} Gulnare, a female name; it means, literally, the flower of the pomegranate.

[219] {259} [The word "to" had been left out by the printer, and in a late revise Byron supplies the omission, and writes—

"To Mr. Murray or Mr. Davison.
Do not omit words—it is quite enough to alter or mis-spell them.

In the MS. the line ran—

"To send his soul—he scarcely cared to Heaven."

"Asked" is written over in pencil, but "cared" has not been erased.]

[220] {261} [Compare—"One anarchy, one chaos of the mind." The Wanderer, by Richard Savage, Canto V. (1761, p. 86).]

[221] {262} [Compare—"That hideous sight, a naked human heart." Night Thoughts, by Edward Young (Night III.) (Anderson's British Poets, x. 71).]

[222] {263} [Compare—

"When half the world lay wrapt in sleepless night,
A jarring sound the startled hero wakes.

He hears a step draw near—in beauty's pride
A female comes—wide floats her glistening gown—
Her hand sustains a lamp...."

Wieland's Oberon, translated by W. Sotheby, Canto XII. stanza xxxi., et seq.]

[223] {265} In Sir Thomas More, for instance, on the scaffold, and Anne Boleyn, in the Tower, when, grasping her neck, she remarked, that it "was too slender to trouble the headsman much." During one part of the French Revolution, it became a fashion to leave some "mot" as a legacy; and the quantity of facetious last words spoken during that period would form a melancholy jest-book of a considerable size.

[hv] {268}

I breathe but in the hope—his altered breast
May seek another—and have mine at rest.
Or if unwonted fondness now I feign.[*]—[MS.]

[*] [The alteration was sent to the publishers on a separate quarto sheet, with a memorandum, "In Canto first—nearly the end," etc.—a rare instance of inaccuracy on the part of the author.]

[224] {270} The opening lines, as far as section ii., have, perhaps, little business here, and were annexed to an unpublished (though printed) poem [The Curse of Minerva]; but they were written on the spot, in the Spring of 1811, and—I scarce know why—the reader must excuse their appearance here—if he can. [See letter to Murray, October 23, 1812.]

[225] [See Curse of Minerva, line 7, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 457. For Hydra, see A. L. Castellan's Lettres sur la Morée, 1820, i. 155-176. He gives (p. 174) a striking description of a sunrise off the Cape of Sunium.]

[226] {271} Socrates drank the hemlock a short time before sunset (the hour of execution), notwithstanding the entreaties of his disciples to wait till the sun went down.

[227] The twilight in Greece is much shorter than in our own country: the days in winter are longer, but in summer of shorter duration.

[228] {272} The Kiosk is a Turkish summer house: the palm is without the present walls of Athens, not far from the temple of Theseus, between which and the tree, the wall intervenes.—Cephisus' stream is indeed scanty, and Ilissus has no stream at all.

[E. Dodwell (Classical Tour, 1819, i. 371) speaks of "a magnificent palm tree, which shoots among the ruins of the Ptolemaion," a short distance to the east of the Theseion. There is an illustration in its honour. The Theseion—which was "within five minutes' walk" of Byron's lodgings (Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 259)—contains the remains of the scholar, John Tweddell, died 1793, "over which a stone was placed, owing to the exertions of Lord Byron" (Clarke's Travels, Part II. sect. i. p. 534). When Byron died, Colonel Stanhope proposed, and the chief Odysseus decreed, that he should be buried in the same spot.—Life, p. 640.]

[229] {273} [After the battle of Salamis, B.C. 480, Paros fell under the dominion of Athens.]

[hw] {274}

They gather round and each his aid supplies.—[MS.]

[hx] {275}

Within that cave Debate waxed warm and strange.—[MS.]
Loud in the cave Debate waxed warm and strange.—
[January 6, 1814.]
In that dark Council words waxed warm and strange.—
[January 13, 1814.]

[230] [Lines 1299-1375 were written after the completion of the poem. They were forwarded to the publisher in time for insertion in a revise dated January 6, 1814.]

[231] The comboloio, or Mahometan rosary; the beads are in number ninety-nine. [Vide ante, p. 181, The Bride of Abydos, Canto II. line 554.]

[hy] {276}

Methinks a short release by ransom wrought
Of all his treasures not too cheaply bought.—[MS. erased.]
Methinks a short release for ransom—gold.—[MS.]

[hz] {277}

Of thine adds certainty to all I heard.—[MS.]

[ia] {278}

When every coming hour might view him dead.—[MS.]

[232] ["By the way—I have a charge against you. As the great Mr. Dennis roared out on a similar occasion—'By G-d, that is my thunder!' so do I exclaim, 'This is my lightning!' I allude to a speech of Ivan's, in the scene with Petrowna and the Empress, where the thought and almost expression are similar to Conrad's in the 3d canto of The Corsair. I, however, do not say this to accuse you, but to exempt myself from suspicion, as there is a priority of six months' publication, on my part, between the appearance of that composition and of your tragedies" (Letter to W. Sotheby, September 25, 1815, Letters, 1899, iii. 219). The following are the lines in question:—

"And I have leapt
In transport from my flinty couch, to welcome
The thunder as it burst upon my roof,
And beckon'd to the lightning, as it flash'd
And sparkled on these fetters."

Act iv. sc. 3 (Ivan, 1816, p. 64).

According to Moore, this passage in The Corsair, as Byron seemed to fear, was included by "some scribblers"—i.e. the "lumbering Goth" (see John Bull's Letter), A. A. Watts, in the Literary Gazette, February and March, 1821—among his supposed plagiarisms. Sotheby informed Moore that his lines had been written, though not published, before the appearance of the Corsair. The Confession, and Orestes, reappeared with three hitherto unpublished tragedies, Ivan, The Death of Darnley, and Zamorin and Zama, under the general title, Five Unpublished Tragedies, in 1814.

The story of the critic John Dennis (1657-1734) and the "thunder" is related in Cibber's Lives, iv. 234. Dennis was, or feigned to be, the inventor of a new method of producing stage-thunder, by troughs of wood and stops. Shortly after a play (Appius and Virginia) which he had put upon the stage had been withdrawn, he was present at a performance of Macbeth, at which the new "thunder" was inaugurated. "That is my thunder, by God!" exclaimed Dennis. "The villains will play my thunder, but not my plays."—Dict. Nat. Biog., art. "Dennis."]

[ib] {282}

But speak not now—on thine and on my head
O'erhangs the sabre——.—[MS.]

[ic] {284}

Night wears apace—and I have need of rest.—[MS.]

[id] {286} A variant of lines 1596, 1597 first appeared in MS. in a revise numbering 1780 lines—

Blood he had viewed, could view unmoved—but then
It reddened on the scarfs and swords of men.

In a later revise line 1597 was altered to—

It flowed a token of the deeds of men.

[ie] {287} His silent thoughts the present, past review.—[MS. erased.]

[if] Fell quenched in tears of more than misery.—[MS.]

[ig] {288} They count the Dragon-teeth around her tier.—[MS.]

[233] ["Tier" must stand for "hold." The "cable-tier" is the place in the hold where the cable is stowed.]

[ih] {289} Whom blood appalled not, their rude eyes perplex.—[MS. erased.]

[234] [Compare—

"And I the cause—for whom were given
Her peace on earth, her hopes in heaven."

Marmion, Canto III. stanza xvii. lines 9, 10.]

[ii] {290}

"Gulnare"—she answered not again—"Gulnare"
She raised her glance—her sole reply was there.—[M.S.]


That sought from form so fair no more than this
That kiss—the first that Frailty wrung from Faith
That last—on lips so warm with rosy breath.—[MS. erased.]

[ik] As he had fanned them with his rosy wing.—[MS.]

[il] {291}

Oh! none so prophesy the joys of home
As they who hail it from the Ocean-foam.—[MS.]
Oh—what can sanctify the joys of home
Like the first glance from Ocean's troubled foam.—[Revise.]

[235] {292} In the Levant it is the custom to strew flowers on the bodies of the dead, and in the hands of young persons to place a nosegay.

[Compare—"There shut it inside the sweet cold hand." Evelyn Hope, by Robert Browning.]

[236] {293} [Compare—"And—but for that sad shrouded eye," etc. and the whole of the famous passage in the Giaour (line 68, sq., vide ante, p. 88), beginning—"He who hath bent him o'er the dead."]

[im] Escaped the idle braid that could not bind.—[MS.]

[in] By the first glance on that cold soulless brow.—[MS.]

[io] {294} And the night cometh—'tis the same to him.—[M.S.]

[237] [Stanza xxiii. is not in the MS. It was forwarded on a separate sheet, with the following directions:— (1814, January 10, 11.) "Let the following lines be sent immediately, and form the last section (number it) but one of the 3rd (last) Canto."]

[238] {295} [Byron had, perhaps, explored the famous stalactite cavern in the island of Anti-Paros, which is described by Tournefort, Clarke, Choiseul-Gouffier, and other travellers.]

[239] {296} That the point of honour which is represented in one instance of Conrad's character has not been carried beyond the bounds of probability, may perhaps be in some degree confirmed by the following anecdote of a brother buccaneer in the year 1814:—"Our readers have all seen the account of the enterprise against the pirates of Barataria; but few, we believe, were informed of the situation, history, or nature of that establishment. For the information of such as were unacquainted with it, we have procured from a friend the following interesting narrative of the main facts, of which he has personal knowledge, and which cannot fail to interest some of our readers:—Barataria is a bayou, or a narrow arm of the Gulf of Mexico; it runs through a rich but very flat country, until it reaches within a mile of the Mississippi river, fifteen miles below the city of New Orleans. This bayou has branches almost innumerable, in which persons can lie concealed from the severest scrutiny. It communicates with three lakes which lie on the south-west side, and these, with the lake of the same name, and which lies contiguous to the sea, where there is an island formed by the two arms of this lake and the sea. The east and west points of this island were fortified, in the year 1811, by a band of pirates, under the command of one Monsieur La Fitte. A large majority of these outlaws are of that class of the population of the state of Louisiana who fled from the island of St. Domingo during the troubles there, and took refuge in the island of Cuba; and when the last war between France and Spain commenced, they were compelled to leave that island with the short notice of a few days. Without ceremony they entered the United States, the most of them the state of Louisiana, with all the negroes they had possessed in Cuba. They were notified by the Governor of that State of the clause in the constitution which forbade the importation of slaves; but, at the same time, received the assurance of the Governor that he would obtain, if possible, the approbation of the General Government for their retaining this property.—The island of Barataria is situated about lat. 29 deg. 15 min., lon. 92. 30.; and is as remarkable for its health as for the superior scale and shell fish with which its waters abound. The chief of this horde, like Charles de Moor, had, mixed with his many vices, some transcendant virtues. In the year 1813, this party had, from its turpitude and boldness, claimed the attention of the Governor of Louisiana; and to break up the establishment he thought proper to strike at the head. He therefore, offered a reward of 500 dollars for the head of Monsieur La Fitte, who was well known to the inhabitants of the city of New Orleans, from his immediate connection, and his once having been a fencing-master in that city of great reputation, which art he learnt in Buonaparte's army, where he was a captain. The reward which was offered by the Governor for the head of La Fitte was answered by the offer of a reward from the latter of 15,000 for the head of the Governor. The Governor ordered out a company to march from the city to La Fitte's island, and to burn and destroy all the property, and to bring to the city of New Orleans all his banditti. This company, under the command of a man who had been the intimate associate of this bold Captain, approached very near to the fortified island, before he saw a man, or heard a sound, until he heard a whistle, not unlike a boatswain's call. Then it was he found himself surrounded by armed men who had emerged from the secret avenues which led to this bayou. Here it was that this modern Charles de Moor developed his few noble traits; for to this man, who had come to destroy his life and all that was dear to him, he not only spared his life, but offered him that which would have made the honest soldier easy for the remainder of his days, which was indignantly refused. He then, with the approbation of his captor, returned to the city. This circumstance, and some concomitant events, proved that this band of pirates was not to be taken by land. Our naval force having always been small in that quarter, exertions for the destruction of this illicit establishment could not be expected from them until augmented; for an officer of the navy, with most of the gun-boats on that station, had to retreat from an overwhelming force of La Fitte's. So soon as the augmentation of the navy authorised an attack, one was made; the overthrow of this banditti has been the result: and now this almost invulnerable point and key to New Orleans is clear of an enemy, it is to be hoped the government will hold it by a strong military force."—American Newspaper.

[The story of the "Pirates of Barataria," which an American print, the National Intelligencer, was the first to make public, is quoted in extenso by the Weekly Messenger (published at Boston) of November 4, 1814. It is remarkable that a tale which was destined to pass into the domain of historical romance should have been instantly seized upon and turned to account by Byron, whilst it was as yet half-told, while the legend was still in the making. Jean Lafitte, the Franco-American Conrad, was born either at Bayonne or Bordeaux, circ. 1780, emigrated with his elder brother Pierre, and settled at New Orleans, in 1809, as a blacksmith. Legitimate trade was flat, but the delta of the Mississippi, with its labyrinth of creeks and islands and bayous, teemed with pirates or merchant-smugglers. Accordingly, under the nominal sanction of letters of marque from the Republic of Cartagena, and as belligerents of Spain, the brothers, who had taken up their quarters on Grande Terre, an island to the east of the "Grand Pass," or channel of the Bay of Barataria, swept the Gulph of Mexico with an organised flotilla of privateers, and acquired vast booty in the way of specie and living cargoes of claves. Hence the proclamation of the Governor of Louisiana, W. C. C. Claiborne, in which (November 24, 1813) he offered a sum of $500 for the capture of Jean Lafitte. For the sequel of this first act of the drama the "American newspaper" is the sole authority. The facts, however, if facts they be, which are pieced together by Charles Étienne Arthur Gayarré, in the History of Louisiana (1885, iv. 301, sq.), and in two articles contributed to the American Magazine of History, October and November, 1883, are as curious and romantic as the legend. It would appear that early in September, 1814, a British officer, Colonel E. Nicholls, made overtures to Jean Lafitte, offering him the rank of captain in the British army, a grant of lands, and a sum of $30,000 if he would join forces with the British squadron then engaged in an attack on the coast of Louisiana. Lafitte begged for time to consider Colonel Nicholls's proposal, but immediately put himself in communication with Claiborne, offering, on condition of immunity for past offences, to place his resources at the disposal of the United States. Claiborne's reply to this patriotic offer seems to have been to despatch a strong naval force, under Commander Daniel Patterson, with orders to exterminate the pirates, and seize their fort on Grande Terre; and, on this occasion, though the brothers escaped, the authorities were successful. A proclamation was issued by General Andrew Jackson, in which the pirates were denounced as "hellish banditti," and, to all appearances, their career was at an end. But circumstances were in their favour, and a few weeks later Jackson not only went back on his own mandate, but accepted the alliance and services of the brothers Lafitte and their captains at the siege of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. Finally, when peace with Great Britain was concluded, President Madison publicly acknowledged the "unequivocal traits of courage and fidelity" which had been displayed by the brothers Lafitte, and the once proscribed band of outlaws. Thenceforth Pierre Lafitte disappears from history; but Jean is believed to have settled first at Galveston, in Texas, and afterwards, in 1820, on the coast of Yucatan, whence "he continued his depredations on Spanish commerce." He died game, a pirate to the last, in 1826. See, for what purports to be documentary evidence of the correspondence between Colonel E. Nicholls and Jean Lafitte, Historical Memoirs of the War in West Florida and Louisiana, by Major A. La Carriére Latour, 1816, Appendix III. pp. vii.-xv. See, too, Fernando de Lemos (an historical novel), by Charles Gayarré, 1872, pp. 347-361.]

In [the Rev. Mark] Noble's continuation of "Granger's Biographical History" [of England, 1806, iii. 68], there is a singular passage in his account of Archbishop Blackbourne [1658-1743]; and as in some measure connected with the profession of the hero of the foregoing poem, I cannot resist the temptation of extracting it.—"There is something mysterious in the history and character of Dr. Blackbourne. The former is but imperfectly known; and report has even asserted he was a buccaneer; and that one of his brethren in that profession having asked, on his arrival in England, what had become of his old chum, Blackbourne, was answered, he is Archbishop of York. We are informed, that Blackbourne was installed sub-dean of Exeter in 1694, which office he resigned in 1702; but after his successor Lewis Barnet's death, in 1704, he regained it. In the following year he became dean; and in 1714 held with it the archdeanery [i.e. archdeaconry] of Cornwall. He was consecrated Bishop of Exeter, February 24, 1716; and translated to York, November 28, 1724, as a reward, according to court scandal, for uniting George I. to the Duchess of Munster. This, however, appears to have been an unfounded calumny. As archbishop he behaved with great prudence, and was equally respectable as the guardian of the revenues of the see. Rumour whispered he retained the vices of his youth, and that a passion for the fair sex formed an item in the list of his weaknesses; but so far from being convicted by seventy witnesses, he does not appear to have been directly criminated by one. In short, I look upon these aspersions as the effects of mere malice. How is it possible a buccaneer should have been so good a scholar as Blackbourne certainly was? He who had so perfect a knowledge of the classics (particularly of the Greek tragedians), as to be able to read them with the same ease as he could Shakespeare, must have taken great pains to acquire the learned languages; and have had both leisure and good masters. But he was undoubtedly educated at Christ-church College, Oxford. He is allowed to have been a pleasant man; this, however, was turned against him, by its being said, 'he gained more hearts than souls.'"

[Walpole, in his Memoirs of the Reign of King George II., 1847, i. 87, who makes himself the mouthpiece of these calumnies, says that Hayter, Bishop of Norwich, was "a natural son of Blackbourne, the jolly old Archbishop of York, who had all the manners of a man of quality, though he had been a Buccaneer, and was a clergyman; but he retained nothing of his first profession except his seraglio."]

"The only voice that could soothe the passions of the savage (Alphonso III.) was that of an amiable and virtuous wife, the sole object of his love; the voice of Donna Isabella, the daughter of the Duke of Savoy, and the grand-daughter of Philip II. King of Spain. Her dying words sunk deep into his memory [A.D. 1626, August 22]; his fierce spirit melted into tears; and, after the last embrace, Alphonso retired into his chamber to bewail his irreparable loss, and to meditate on the vanity of human life."—Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works [1837, p. 831].

[This final note was added to the Tenth Edition.]



"Expende Annibalem:—quot libras in duce summo Invenies?"

Juvenal, [Lib. iv.] Sat. x. line 147. [241]

"The Emperor Nepos was acknowledged by the Senate, by the Italians, and by the Provincials of Gaul; his moral virtues, and military talents, were loudly celebrated; and those who derived any private benefit from his government announced in prophetic strains the restoration of the public felicity. * * By this shameful abdication, he protracted his life about five years, in a very ambiguous state, between an Emperor and an Exile, till!!!"—Gibbon's Decline and Fall, two vols. notes by Milman, i. 979.[242]



The dedication of the Corsair, dated January 2, 1814, contains one of Byron's periodical announcements that he is about, for a time, to have done with authorship—some years are to elapse before he will again "trespass on public patience."

Three months later he was, or believed himself to be, in the same mind. In a letter to Moore, dated April 9, 1814 (Letters, 1899, iii. 64), he writes, "No more rhyme for—or rather, from—me. I have taken my leave of that stage, and henceforth will mountebank it no longer." He had already—Journal, April 8 (Letters, 1898, ii. 408)—heard a rumour "that his poor little pagod, Napoleon" was "pushed off his pedestal," and before or after he began his letter to Moore he must have read an announcement in the Gazette Extraordinary (April 9, 1814—the abdication was signed April 11) that Napoleon had abdicated the "throne of the world," and declined upon the kingdom of Elba. On the next day, April 10, he wrote two notes to Murray, to inform him that he had written an "ode on the fall of Napoleon," that Murray could print it or not as he pleased; but that if it appeared by itself, it was to be published anonymously. A first edition consisting of fifteen stanzas, and numbering fourteen pages, was issued on the 16th of April, 1814. A second edition followed immediately, but as publications of less than a sheet were liable to the stamp tax on newspapers, at Murray's request, another stanza, the fifth, was inserted in a later (between the second and the twelfth) edition, and, by this means, the pamphlet was extended to seventeen[304] pages. The concluding stanzas xvii., xviii., xix., which Moore gives in a note (Life, p. 249), were not printed in Byron's lifetime, but were first included, in a separate poem, in Murray's edition of 1831, and first appended to the Ode in the seventeen-volume edition of 1832.

Although he had stipulated that the Ode should be published anonymously, Byron had no objection to "its being said to be mine." There was, in short, no secret about it, and notices on the whole favourable appeared in the Morning Chronicle, April 21, in the Examiner, April 24 (in which Leigh Hunt combated Byron's condemnation of Buonaparte for not "dying as honour dies"), and in the Anti-Jacobin for May, 1814 (Letters, 1899, iii. 73, note 3).

Byron's repeated resolutions and promises to cease writing and publishing, which sound as if they were only made to be broken, are somewhat exasperating, and if, as he pleaded in his own behalf, the occasion (of Napoleon's abdication) was physically irresistible, it is to be regretted that he did not swerve from his self-denying ordinance to better purpose. The note of disillusionment and disappointment in the Ode is but an echo of the sentiments of the "general." Napoleon on his own "fall" is more original and more interesting: "Il céda," writes Léonard Gallois (Histoire de Napoléon d'après lui-même, 1825, pp. 546, 547), "non sans de grands combats intérieurs, et la dicta en ces termes.

'Les puissances alliées ayant proclamé que l'empereur Napoléon était le seul obstacle au rétablissement, de la paix en Europe, l'empereur Napoléon fidèle à son serment, déclare qu'il renonce, pour lui et ses héritiers, aux trônes de France et d'Italie, parce qu'il n'est aucun sacrifice personnel, même celui de la vie, qu'il ne soit prêt à faire à l'intérêt de la France.





'Tis done—but yesterday a King!
And armed with Kings to strive—
And now thou art a nameless thing:
So abject—yet alive!
Is this the man of thousand thrones,
Who strewed our earth with hostile bones,
And can he thus survive?[243]
Since he, miscalled the Morning Star,[244]
Nor man nor fiend hath fallen so far.



Ill-minded man! why scourge thy kind
Who bowed so low the knee?
By gazing on thyself grown blind,
Thou taught'st the rest to see.
With might unquestioned,—power to save,—
Thine only gift hath been the grave
To those that worshipped thee;
Nor till thy fall could mortals guess
Ambition's less than littleness!


Thanks for that lesson—it will teach
To after-warriors more
Than high Philosophy can preach,
And vainly preached before.
That spell upon the minds of men[246]
Breaks never to unite again,
That led them to adore
Those Pagod things of sabre-sway,
With fronts of brass, and feet of clay.


The triumph, and the vanity,
The rapture of the strife—[247]
The earthquake-voice of Victory,
To thee the breath of life;
[307] The sword, the sceptre, and that sway
Which man seemed made but to obey,
Wherewith renown was rife—
All quelled!—Dark Spirit! what must be
The madness of thy memory!


The Desolator desolate![249]
The Victor overthrown!
The Arbiter of others' fate
A Suppliant for his own!
Is it some yet imperial hope
That with such change can calmly cope?
Or dread of death alone?
To die a Prince—or live a slave—
Thy choice is most ignobly brave!


He who of old would rend the oak,
Dreamed not of the rebound;[250]
Chained by the trunk he vainly broke—
Alone—how looked he round?
[308] Thou, in the sternness of thy strength,
An equal deed hast done at length.
And darker fate hast found:
He fell, the forest prowlers' prey;
But thou must eat thy heart away!


The Roman,[251] when his burning heart
Was slaked with blood of Rome,
Threw down the dagger—dared depart,
In savage grandeur, home.—
He dared depart in utter scorn
Of men that such a yoke had borne,
Yet left him such a doom!
His only glory was that hour
Of self-upheld abandoned power.


The Spaniard, when the lust of sway
Had lost its quickening spell,[252]
Cast crowns for rosaries away,
An empire for a cell;
[309] A strict accountant of his beads,
A subtle disputant on creeds,
His dotage trifled well:[253]
Yet better had he neither known
A bigot's shrine, nor despot's throne.


But thou—from thy reluctant hand
The thunderbolt is wrung—
Too late thou leav'st the high command
To which thy weakness clung;
All Evil Spirit as thou art,
It is enough to grieve the heart
To see thine own unstrung;
To think that God's fair world hath been
The footstool of a thing so mean;


And Earth hath spilt her blood for him,
Who thus can hoard his own!
And Monarchs bowed the trembling limb,
And thanked him for a throne!
Fair Freedom! we may hold thee dear,
When thus thy mightiest foes their fear
In humblest guise have shown.
Oh! ne'er may tyrant leave behind
A brighter name to lure mankind!



Thine evil deeds are writ in gore,
Nor written thus in vain—
Thy triumphs tell of fame no more,
Or deepen every stain:
If thou hadst died as Honour dies,
Some new Napoleon might arise,
To shame the world again—
But who would soar the solar height,
To set in such a starless night?[ip]


Weigh'd in the balance, hero dust
Is vile as vulgar clay;[iq]
Thy scales, Mortality! are just
To all that pass away:
But yet methought the living great
Some higher sparks should animate,
To dazzle and dismay:
Nor deem'd Contempt could thus make mirth
Of these, the Conquerors of the earth.


And she, proud Austria's mournful flower,
Thy still imperial bride;
How bears her breast the torturing hour?
Still clings she to thy side?
Must she too bend, must she too share
[311] Thy late repentance, long despair,
Thou throneless Homicide?
If still she loves thee, hoard that gem,—
'Tis worth thy vanished diadem![255]


Then haste thee to thy sullen Isle,
And gaze upon the sea;[ir]
That element may meet thy smile—
It ne'er was ruled by thee!
Or trace with thine all idle hand[is]
In loitering mood upon the sand
That Earth is now as free!
That Corinth's pedagogue[256] hath now
Transferred his by-word to thy brow.



Thou Timour! in his captive's cage[257][it]
What thoughts will there be thine,
While brooding in thy prisoned rage?
But one—"The world was mine!"
Unless, like he of Babylon,[258]
All sense is with thy sceptre gone,[259]
Life will not long confine
That spirit poured so widely forth—
So long obeyed—so little worth!


Or, like the thief of fire from heaven,[260]
Wilt thou withstand the shock?
And share with him, the unforgiven,
His vulture and his rock!
Foredoomed by God—by man accurst,[313][iu]
And that last act, though not thy worst,
The very Fiend's arch mock;[261]
He in his fall preserved his pride,
And, if a mortal, had as proudly died![iv][262]


There was a day—there was an hour,
While earth was Gaul's—Gaul thine—[iw]
When that immeasurable power
Unsated to resign
Had been an act of purer fame
Than gathers round Marengo's name
And gilded thy decline,
Through the long twilight of all time,
Despite some passing clouds of crime.



But thou forsooth must be a King
And don the purple vest,
As if that foolish robe could wring
Remembrance from thy breast.
Where is that faded garment? where[ix]
The gewgaws thou wert fond to wear,
The star, the string, the crest?[iy][263]
Vain froward child of Empire! say,
Are all thy playthings snatched away?


Where may the wearied eye repose[iz]
When gazing on the Great;
Where neither guilty glory glows,
Nor despicable state?
Yes—One—the first—the last—the best—
The Cincinnatus of the West,
Whom Envy dared not hate,
Bequeathed the name of Washington,
To make man blush there was but one![ja][264]



[240] {301}



London: Printed for J. Murray, Albemarle Street, By W. Bulmer and Co. Cleveland-Row, St. James's, 1814.—First Proof, title-page.]

[241] [The quotation from Juvenal was added in Second Proof.

"Produce the urn that Hannibal contains,
And weigh the mighty dust which yet remains;
And is This All!"

"I know not that this was ever done in the old world; at least with regard to Hannibal: but in the statistical account of Scotland, I find that Sir John Paterson had the curiosity to collect and weigh the ashes of a person discovered a few years since in the parish of Eccles.... Wonderful to relate, he found the whole did not exceed in weight one ounce and a half! And is This All? Alas! the quot libras itself is a satirical exaggeration."—Gifford's Translation of Juvenal (ed. 1817), ii. 26, 27.

The motto, "Expende—Quot Libras In Duce Summo Invenies," was inscribed on one side of the silver urn presented by Byron to Walter Scott in April, 1815. (See Letters, 1899, iii. 414, Appendix IV.)]

[242] ["I send you ... an additional motto from Gibbon, which you will find singularly appropriate."—Letter to Murray, April 12, 1814, ibid., p. 68.]

[243] {305} ["I don't know—but I think I, even I (an insect compared with this creature), have set my life on casts not a millionth part of this man's. But, after all, a crown may not be worth dying for. Yet, to outlive Lodi for this!!! Oh that Juvenal or Johnson could rise from the dead! 'Expende—quot libras in duce summo invenies?' I knew they were light in the balance of mortality; but I thought their living dust weighed more carats. Alas! this imperial diamond hath a flaw in it, and is now hardly fit to stick in a glazier's pencil;—the pen of the historian won't rate it worth a ducat. Psha! 'something too much of this.' But I won't give him up even now; though all his admirers have, 'like the thanes, fallen from him.'"—Journal, April 9, 1814, Letters, 1898, ii. 409.]

[244] [Compare "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!"—Isaiah xiv. 12.]

[245] {306} [Stanzas ii. and iii. were added in Proof iv.]

[246] [A "spell" may be broken, but it is difficult to understand how, like the two halves of a seal or amulet, a broken spell can "unite again."]

[247] "Certaminis gaudia"—the expression of Attila in his harangue to his army, previous to the battle of Chalons, given in Cassiodorus. ["Nisi ad certaminis hujus gaudia præparasset."—Attilæ Oratio ad Hunnos, caput xxxix., Appendix ad Opera Cassiodori, Migne, lxix. 1279.]

[248] {307} [Added in Proof v.]

[249] [The first four lines of stanza v. were quoted by "Mr. Miller in the House of Representatives of the United States," in a debate on the Militia Draft Bill (Weekly Messenger, Boston, February 10, 1815). "Take warning," he went on to say, "by this example. Bonaparte split on this rock of conscription," etc. This would have pleased Byron, who confided to his Journal, December 3, 1813 (Letters, 1898, ii. 360), that the statement that "my rhymes are very popular in the United States," was "the first tidings that have ever sounded like Fame to my ears."]

[250] ["Like Milo, he would rend the oak; but it closed again, wedged his hands, and now the beasts—lion, bear, down to the dirtiest jackal—may all tear him."—Journal, April 8, 1814, Letters, 1898, ii. 408. For the story of Milo and the Oak, see Valerius Maximus, Factorum, Dictorumque Memorabilium, lib. ix. cap. xii. Part II. example 9.]

[251] {308} Sylla. [We find the germ of this stanza in the Diary of the evening before it was written: "I mark this day! Napoleon Buonaparte has abdicated the throne of the world. 'Excellent well.' Methinks Sylla did better; for he revenged, and resigned in the height of his sway, red with the slaughter of his foes—the finest instance of glorious contempt of the rascals upon record. Dioclesian did well too—Amurath not amiss, had he become aught except a dervise—Charles the Fifth but so so; but Napoleon worst of all."—Journal, April 9, 1814, Letters, 1898, ii. 409.]

[252] ["Alter 'potent spell' to 'quickening spell:' the first (as Polonius says) 'is a vile phrase,' and means nothing, besides being commonplace and Rosa-Matildaish."—Letter to Murray, April 11, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 68.]

[253] {309} [Charles V. resigned the kingdom to his son Philip, circ. October, 1555, and the imperial crown to his brother Ferdinand, August 27, 1556, and entered the Jeronymite Monastery of St. Justus at Placencia in Estremadura. Before his death (September 21, 1558) he dressed himself in his shroud, was laid in his coffin, "joined in the prayers which were offered up for the rest of his soul, mingling his tears with those which his attendants shed, as if they had been celebrating a real funeral."—Robertson's Charles V., 1798, iv. 180, 205, 254.]

[ip] {310}

But who would rise in brightest day
To set without one parting ray?—[MS.]

[iq] ——common clay.—[First Proof.]

[254] [Added in Proof v.]

[255] {311} [Count Albert Adam de Neipperg, born 1774, an officer in the Austrian Army, and, 1811, Austrian envoy to the Court of Stockholm, was presented to Marie Louise a few days after Napoleon's abdication, became her chamberlain; and, according to the Nouvelle Biographie Universelle, "plus tard il l'épousa." The count, who is said to have been remarkably plain (he had lost an eye in a scrimmage with the French), died April 12, 1829.]


And look along the sea;
That element may meet thy smile,
For Albion kept it free.
But gaze not on the land for there
Walks crownless Power with temples bare
And shakes the head at thee
And Corinth's Pedagogue hath now.—[Proof ii.]


Or sit thee down upon the sand
And trace with thine all idle hand.—
[A final correction made in Proof ii.]

[256] ["Dionysius at Corinth was yet a king to this."—Diary, April 9. Dionysius the Younger, on being for the second time banished from Syracuse, retired to Corinth (B.C. 344), where "he is said to have opened a school for teaching boys to read" (see Plut., Timal., c. 14), but not, apparently, with a view to making a living by pedagogy.—Grote's Hist. of Greece, 1872, ix. 152.]

[257] {312} The cage of Bajazet, by order of Tamerlane.

[The story of the cage is said to be a fable. After the battle of Angora, July 20, 1402, Bajazet, whose escape from prison had been planned by one of his sons, was chained during the night, and placed in a kafes (kàfess), a Turkish word, which signifies either a cage or a grated room or bed. Hence the legend.—Hist. de l'Empire Othoman, par J. von Hammer-Purgstall, 1836, ii. 97.]

[it] There Timour in his captive cage.—[First Proof.]

[258] [Presumably another instance of "careless and negligent ease."]

[259] ["Have you heard that Bertrand has returned to Paris with the account of Napoleon's having lost his senses? It is a report; but, if true, I must, like Mr. Fitzgerald and Jeremiah (of lamentable memory), lay claim to prophecy."—Letter to Murray, June 14, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 95.]

[260] Prometheus.


He suffered for kind acts to men
Who have not seen his like again,
At least of kingly stock
Since he was good, and thou but great
Thou canst not quarrel with thy fate.—[First Proof, stanza x.]

[261] {313}

"O! 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock,
To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
And to suppose her chaste!"

Othello, act iv. sc. 1, lines 69-71.

[We believe there is no doubt of the truth of the anecdote here alluded to—of Napoleon's having found leisure for an unworthy amour, the very evening of his arrival at Fontainebleau.—Note to Edition 1832.

A consultation of numerous lives and memoirs of Napoleon has not revealed the particulars of this "unworthy amour." It is possible that Murray may have discovered the source of Byron's allusion among the papers "in the possession of one of Napoleon's generals, a friend of Miss Waldie," which were offered him "for purchase and publication," in 1815.—See Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 279.]

[iv] And—were he mortal had as proudly died,—[Alteration in First Proof.]

[262] [Of Prometheus—

"Unlike the offence, though like would be the fate—
His to give life, but thine to desolate;
He stole from Heaven the flame for which he fell,
Whilst thine be stolen from thy native Hell."

—Attached to Proof v., April 25.]

[iw] While earth was Gallia's, Gallia thine.—[MS.]

[ix] {314} Where is that tattered——.—[MS.]

[iy] ——the laurel-circled crest.—[MS.]

[263] [Byron had recently become possessed of a "fine print" (by Raphael Morghen, after Gérard) of Napoleon in his imperial robes, which (see Journal, March 6, 1814, Letters, 1898, ii. 393, note 2) became him "as if he had been hatched in them." According to the catalogue of Morghen's works, the engraving represents "the head nearly full-face, looking to the right, crowned with laurel. He wears an enormous velvet robe embroidered with bees—hanging over it the collar and jewel of the Legion of Honour." It was no doubt this "fine print" which suggested "the star, the string [i.e. the chain of enamelled eagles], the crest."]

[iz] Where may the eye of man repose.—[MS.]

[ja] Alas! and must there be but one!—[MS.]

[264] ["The two stanzas which I now send you were, by some mistake, omitted in the copies of Lord Byron's spirited and poetical 'Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte,' already published. One of 'the devils' in Mr. Davison's employ procured a copy of this for me, and I give you the chance of first discovering them to the world.
Your obedient servant,
J. R."

"Yes! better to have stood the storm,
A Monarch to the last!
Although that heartless fireless form
Had crumbled in the blast:
Than stoop to drag out Life's last years,
The nights of terror, days of tears
For all the splendour past;
Then,—after ages would have read
Thy awful death with more than dread.
"A lion in the conquering hour!
In wild defeat a hare!
Thy mind hath vanished with thy power,
For Danger brought despair.
The dreams of sceptres now depart,
And leave thy desolated heart
The Capitol of care!
Dark Corsican, 'tis strange to trace
Thy long deceit and last disgrace."

Morning Chronicle, April 27, 1814.]





The MS. of Lara is dated May 14, 1814. The opening lines, which were not prefixed to the published poem, and were first printed in Murray's Magazine (January, 1887), are of the nature of a Dedication. They were probably written a few days after the well-known song, "I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name," which was enclosed to Moore in a letter dated May 4, 1814. There can be little doubt that both song and dedication were addressed to Lady Frances Wedderburn Webster, and that Lara, like the Corsair and the Bride of Abydos, was written con amore, and because the poet was "eating his heart away."

By the 14th of June Byron was able to announce to Moore that "Lara was finished, and that he had begun copying." It was written, owing to the length of the London season, "amidst balls and fooleries, and after coming home from masquerades and routs, in the summer of the sovereigns" (Letter to Moore, June 8, 1822, Life, p. 561).

By way of keeping his engagement—already broken by the publication of the Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte—not to "trespass on public patience," Byron began by protesting (June 14) that Lara was not to be published separately, but "might be included in a third volume now collecting." A fortnight later (June 27) an interchange of unpublished poems between himself and Rogers, "two cantos of darkness and dismay" in return for a privately printed copy of Jacqueline, who is "all grace and softness and poetry" (Letter to Rogers, Letters, 1899, iii. 101), suggested another[320] and happier solution of the difficulty, a coalescing with Rogers, and, if possible, Moore (Life, 1892, p. 257, note 2), "into a joint invasion of the public" (Letter to Moore, July 8, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 102). But Rogers hesitated, and Moore refused to embark on so doubtful a venture, with the result that, as late as the 3rd of August, Byron thought fit to remonstrate with Murray for "advertising Lara and Jacqueline," and confessed to Moore that he was "still demurring and delaying and in a fuss" (Letters, 1899, iii. 115, 119). Murray knew his man, and, though he waited for Byron's formal and ostensibly reluctant word of command, "Out with Lara, since it must be" (August 5, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 122), he admitted (August 6, Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 230) that he had "anticipated his consent," and "had done everything but actually deliver the copies of Lara." "The moment," he adds, "I received your letter, for for it I waited, I cut the last cord of my aerial work, and at this instant 6000 copies are sold." Lara, a Tale; Jacqueline, a Tale, was published on Saturday, August 6, 1814.

Jacqueline is a somewhat insipid pastoral, betraying the influence of the Lake School, more especially Coleridge, on a belated and irresponsive disciple, and wholly out of place as contrast or foil to the melodramatic Lara.

No sooner had the "lady," as Byron was pleased to call her, played her part as decoy, than she was discharged as emerita. A week after publication (August 12, 1814, Letters, iii. 125) Byron told Moore that "Murray talks of divorcing Larry and Jacky—a bad sign for the authors, who will, I suppose, be divorced too.... Seriously, I don't care a cigar about it." The divorce was soon pronounced, and, contrary to Byron's advice (September 2, 1814, Letters, iii. 131), at least four separate editions of Lara were published during the autumn of 1814.

The "advertisement" to Lara and Jacqueline contains the plain statement that "the reader ... may probably regard it [Lara] as a sequel to the Corsair"—an admission on the author's part which forestalls and renders nugatory any prolonged discussion on the subject. It is evident that Lara is Conrad, and that Kaled, the "darkly delicate" and[321] mysterious page, whose "hand is femininely white," is Gulnare in a transparent and temporary disguise.

If the facts which the "English Gentleman in the Greek Military Service" (Life, Writings, etc., of Lord Byron, 1825, i. 191-201) gives in detail with regard to the sources of the Corsair are not wholly imaginary, it is possible that the original Conrad's determination to "quit so horrible a mode of life" and return to civilization may have suggested to Byron the possible adventures and fate of a grand seigneur who had played the pirate in his time, and resumed his ancestral dignities only to be detected and exposed by some rival or victim of his wild and lawless youth.

Lara was reviewed together with the Corsair, by George Agar Ellis in the Quarterly Review for July, 1814, vol. xi. p. 428; and in the Portfolio, vol. xiv. p. 33.





The Serfs[266] are glad through Lara's wide domain,[267]
And Slavery half forgets her feudal chain;
[324] He, their unhoped, but unforgotten lord,
The long self-exiled Chieftain, is restored:
There be bright faces in the busy hall,
Bowls on the board, and banners on the wall;
Far checkering o'er the pictured window, plays
The unwonted faggot's hospitable blaze;
And gay retainers gather round the hearth,
With tongues all loudness, and with eyes all mirth. 10


The Chief of Lara is returned again:
And why had Lara crossed the bounding main?
Left by his Sire, too young such loss to know,[268]
Lord of himself,—that heritage of woe,
That fearful empire which the human breast
But holds to rob the heart within of rest!—
With none to check, and few to point in time
The thousand paths that slope the way to crime;
Then, when he most required commandment, then
Had Lara's daring boyhood governed men.[jc] 20
It skills not, boots not step by step to trace
His youth through all the mazes of its race;
[325] Short was the course his restlessness had run,[jd]
But long enough to leave him half undone.


And Lara left in youth his father-land;
But from the hour he waved his parting hand
Each trace waxed fainter of his course, till all
Had nearly ceased his memory to recall.
His sire was dust, his vassals could declare,
'Twas all they knew, that Lara was not there; 30
Nor sent, nor came he, till conjecture grew
Cold in the many, anxious in the few.
His hall scarce echoes with his wonted name,
His portrait darkens in its fading frame,
Another chief consoled his destined bride,[je]
The young forgot him, and the old had died;[jf]
"Yet doth he live!" exclaims the impatient heir,
And sighs for sables which he must not wear.[jg]
A hundred scutcheons deck with gloomy grace
The Laras' last and longest dwelling-place; 40
But one is absent from the mouldering file,
That now were welcome in that Gothic pile.[jh]


He comes at last in sudden loneliness,
And whence they know not, why they need not guess;
They more might marvel, when the greeting's o'er
Not that he came, but came not long before:
[326] No train is his beyond a single page,
Of foreign aspect, and of tender age.
Years had rolled on, and fast they speed away
To those that wander as to those that stay; 50
But lack of tidings from another clime
Had lent a flagging wing to weary Time.
They see, they recognise, yet almost deem
The present dubious, or the past a dream.
He lives, nor yet is past his Manhood's prime,
Though seared by toil, and something touched by Time;
His faults, whate'er they were, if scarce forgot,
Might be untaught him by his varied lot;
Nor good nor ill of late were known, his name
Might yet uphold his patrimonial fame: 60
His soul in youth was haughty, but his sins[269]
No more than pleasure from the stripling wins;
And such, if not yet hardened in their course,
Might be redeemed, nor ask a long remorse.


And they indeed were changed—'tis quickly seen,
Whate'er he be, 'twas not what he had been:
That brow in furrowed lines had fixed at last,
And spake of passions, but of passion past:
The pride, but not the fire, of early days,
Coldness of mien, and carelessness of praise; 70
A high demeanour, and a glance that took
Their thoughts from others by a single look;
And that sarcastic levity of tongue,
The stinging of a heart the world hath stung,
[327] That darts in seeming playfulness around,
And makes those feel that will not own the wound;
All these seemed his, and something more beneath
Than glance could well reveal, or accent breathe.
Ambition, Glory, Love, the common aim,
That some can conquer, and that all would claim, 80
Within his breast appeared no more to strive,
Yet seemed as lately they had been alive;
And some deep feeling it were vain to trace
At moments lightened o'er his livid face.


Not much he loved long question of the past,
Nor told of wondrous wilds, and deserts vast,
In those far lands where he had wandered lone,
And—as himself would have it seem—unknown:
Yet these in vain his eye could scarcely scan,
Nor glean experience from his fellow man; 90
But what he had beheld he shunned to show,
As hardly worth a stranger's care to know;
If still more prying such inquiry grew,
His brow fell darker, and his words more few.


Not unrejoiced to see him once again,
Warm was his welcome to the haunts of men;
Born of high lineage, linked in high command,
He mingled with the Magnates of his land;
Joined the carousals of the great and gay,
And saw them smile or sigh their hours away; 100
But still he only saw, and did not share,
The common pleasure or the general care;
He did not follow what they all pursued
With hope still baffled still to be renewed;
[328] Nor shadowy Honour, nor substantial Gain,
Nor Beauty's preference, and the rival's pain:
Around him some mysterious circle thrown
Repelled approach, and showed him still alone;
Upon his eye sat something of reproof,
That kept at least Frivolity aloof; 110
And things more timid that beheld him near
In silence gazed, or whispered mutual fear;
And they the wiser, friendlier few confessed
They deemed him better than his air expressed.


Twas strange—in youth all action and all life,
Burning for pleasure, not averse from strife;
Woman—the Field—the Ocean, all that gave
Promise of gladness, peril of a grave,
In turn he tried—he ransacked all below,
And found his recompense in joy or woe, 120
No tame, trite medium; for his feelings sought
In that intenseness an escape from thought:[ji]
The Tempest of his Heart in scorn had gazed
On that the feebler Elements hath raised;
The Rapture of his Heart had looked on high,
And asked if greater dwelt beyond the sky:
Chained to excess, the slave of each extreme,
How woke he from the wildness of that dream!
Alas! he told not—but he did awake
To curse the withered heart that would not break. 130


Books, for his volume heretofore was Man,
With eye more curious he appeared to scan,
[329] And oft in sudden mood, for many a day,
From all communion he would start away:
And then, his rarely called attendants said,
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried tread
O'er the dark gallery, where his fathers frowned
In rude but antique portraiture around:
They heard, but whispered—"that must not be known—
The sound of words less earthly than his own.[jj] 140
Yes, they who chose might smile, but some had seen
They scarce knew what, but more than should have been.
Why gazed he so upon the ghastly head[270]
Which hands profane had gathered from the dead,
That still beside his opened volume lay,
As if to startle all save him away?
Why slept he not when others were at rest?
Why heard no music, and received no guest?
All was not well, they deemed—but where the wrong?[271]
Some knew perchance—but 'twere a tale too long; 150
And such besides were too discreetly wise,
To more than hint their knowledge in surmise;
But if they would—they could"—around the board
Thus Lara's vassals prattled of their lord.



It was the night—and Lara's glassy stream
The stars are studding, each with imaged beam;
So calm, the waters scarcely seem to stray,
And yet they glide like Happiness away;[272]
Reflecting far and fairy-like from high
The immortal lights that live along the sky: 160
Its banks are fringed with many a goodly tree,
And flowers the fairest that may feast the bee;
Such in her chaplet infant Dian wove,
And Innocence would offer to her love.
These deck the shore; the waves their channel make
In windings bright and mazy like the snake.
All was so still, so soft in earth and air,
You scarce would start to meet a spirit there;
Secure that nought of evil could delight
To walk in such a scene, on such a night! 170
It was a moment only for the good:
So Lara deemed, nor longer there he stood,
But turned in silence to his castle-gate;
Such scene his soul no more could contemplate:
Such scene reminded him of other days,
Of skies more cloudless, moons of purer blaze,
Of nights more soft and frequent, hearts that now—
No—no—the storm may beat upon his brow,
Unfelt, unsparing—but a night like this,
A night of Beauty, mocked such breast as his. 180



He turned within his solitary hall,
And his high shadow shot along the wall:
There were the painted forms of other times,[273]
'Twas all they left of virtues or of crimes,
Save vague tradition; and the gloomy vaults
That hid their dust, their foibles, and their faults;
And half a column of the pompous page,
That speeds the specious tale from age to age;
Where History's pen its praise or blame supplies,
And lies like Truth, and still most truly lies. 190
He wandering mused, and as the moonbeam shone
Through the dim lattice, o'er the floor of stone,
And the high fretted roof, and saints, that there
O'er Gothic windows knelt in pictured prayer,[jk]
Reflected in fantastic figures grew,
Like life, but not like mortal life, to view;
His bristling locks of sable, brow of gloom,
And the wide waving of his shaken plume,
Glanced like a spectre's attributes—and gave
His aspect all that terror gives the grave.[jl] 200


'Twas midnight—all was slumber; the lone light
Dimmed in the lamp, as both to break the night.
Hark! there be murmurs heard in Lara's hall—
A sound—a voice—a shriek—a fearful call!
A long, loud shriek—and silence—did they hear
That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear?
[332] They heard and rose, and, tremulously brave,
Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save;
They come with half-lit tapers in their hands,
And snatched in startled haste unbelted brands. 210


Cold as the marble where his length was laid,
Pale as the beam that o'er his features played,
Was Lara stretched; his half-drawn sabre near,
Dropped it should seem in more than Nature's fear;
Yet he was firm, or had been firm till now,
And still Defiance knit his gathered brow;
Though mixed with terror, senseless as he lay,
There lived upon his lip the wish to slay;
Some half formed threat in utterance there had died,
Some imprecation of despairing Pride; 220
His eye was almost sealed, but not forsook,
Even in its trance, the gladiator's look,
That oft awake his aspect could disclose,
And now was fixed in horrible repose.
They raise him—bear him;—hush! he breathes, he speaks,
The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks,
His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,
Rolls wide and wild, each slowly quivering limb
Recalls its function, but his words are strung
In terms that seem not of his native tongue; 230
Distinct but strange, enough they understand
To deem them accents of another land;
And such they were, and meant to meet an ear
That hears him not—alas! that cannot hear!


His page approached, and he alone appeared
To know the import of the words they heard;
[333] And, by the changes of his cheek and brow,
They were not such as Lara should avow,
Nor he interpret,—yet with less surprise
Than those around their Chieftain's state he eyes, 240
But Lara's prostrate form he bent beside,
And in that tongue which seemed his own replied;
And Lara heeds those tones that gently seem
To soothe away the horrors of his dream—
If dream it were, that thus could overthrow
A breast that needed not ideal woe.


Whate'er his frenzy dreamed or eye beheld,—
If yet remembered ne'er to be revealed,—
Rests at his heart: the customed morning came,
And breathed new vigour in his shaken frame; 250
And solace sought he none from priest nor leech,
And soon the same in movement and in speech,
As heretofore he filled the passing hours,
Nor less he smiles, nor more his forehead lowers,
Than these were wont; and if the coming night
Appeared less welcome now to Lara's sight,
He to his marvelling vassals showed it not,
Whose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot.
In trembling pairs (alone they dared not) crawl[jm]
The astonished slaves, and shun the fated hall; 260
The waving banner, and the clapping door,
The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor;
The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
The flapping bat, the night song of the breeze;
Aught they behold or hear their thought appals,
As evening saddens o'er the dark grey walls.



Vain thought! that hour of ne'er unravelled gloom
Came not again, or Lara could assume
A seeming of forgetfulness, that made
His vassals more amazed nor less afraid. 270
Had Memory vanished then with sense restored?
Since word, nor look, nor gesture of their lord
Betrayed a feeling that recalled to these
That fevered moment of his mind's disease.
Was it a dream? was his the voice that spoke
Those strange wild accents; his the cry that broke
Their slumber? his the oppressed, o'erlaboured heart
That ceased to beat, the look that made them start?
Could he who thus had suffered so forget,
When such as saw that suffering shudder yet? 280
Or did that silence prove his memory fixed
Too deep for words, indelible, unmixed
In that corroding secrecy which gnaws
The heart to show the effect, but not the cause?
Not so in him; his breast had buried both,
Nor common gazers could discern the growth
Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave half told;
They choke the feeble words that would unfold.


In him inexplicably mixed appeared
Much to be loved and hated, sought and feared; 290
Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,[jn]
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot:
His silence formed a theme for others' prate—
They guessed—they gazed—they fain would know his fate.
[335] What had he been? what was he, thus unknown,
Who walked their world, his lineage only known?
A hater of his kind? yet some would say,
With them he could seem gay amidst the gay;[jo]
But owned that smile, if oft observed and near,
Waned in its mirth, and withered to a sneer; 300
That smile might reach his lip, but passed not by,
Nor e'er could trace its laughter to his eye:
Yet there was softness too in his regard,
At times, a heart as not by nature hard,
But once perceived, his Spirit seemed to chide
Such weakness, as unworthy of its pride,
And steeled itself, as scorning to redeem
One doubt from others' half withheld esteem;
In self-inflicted penance of a breast
Which Tenderness might once have wrung from Rest; 310
In vigilance of Grief that would compel
The soul to hate for having loved too well.[274]


There was in him a vital scorn of all:[jp]
As if the worst had fallen which could befall,
He stood a stranger in this breathing world,
An erring Spirit from another hurled;
A thing of dark imaginings, that shaped
By choice the perils he by chance escaped;
But 'scaped in vain, for in their memory yet
[336]His mind would half exult and half regret: 320
With more capacity for love than Earth
Bestows on most of mortal mould and birth.
His early dreams of good outstripped the truth,[275]
And troubled Manhood followed baffled Youth;
With thought of years in phantom chase misspent,
And wasted powers for better purpose lent;
And fiery passions that had poured their wrath
In hurried desolation o'er his path,
And left the better feelings all at strife[jq]
In wild reflection o'er his stormy life; 330
But haughty still, and loth himself to blame,
He called on Nature's self to share the shame,
And charged all faults upon the fleshly form
She gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm:
Till he at last confounded good and ill,
And half mistook for fate the acts of will:[jr][276]
Too high for common selfishness, he could
At times resign his own for others' good,
But not in pity—not because he ought,
But in some strange perversity of thought, 340
That swayed him onward with a secret pride
To do what few or none would do beside;
And this same impulse would, in tempting time,
Mislead his spirit equally to crime;
[337] So much he soared beyond, or sunk beneath,
The men with whom he felt condemned to breathe,
And longed by good or ill to separate
Himself from all who shared his mortal state;
His mind abhorring this had fixed her throne
Far from the world, in regions of her own: 350
Thus coldly passing all that passed below,
His blood in temperate seeming now would flow:
Ah! happier if it ne'er with guilt had glowed,
But ever in that icy smoothness flowed!
'Tis true, with other men their path he walked,
And like the rest in seeming did and talked,
Nor outraged Reason's rules by flaw nor start,
His Madness was not of the head, but heart;
And rarely wandered in his speech, or drew
His thoughts so forth as to offend the view. 360


With all that chilling mystery of mien,
And seeming gladness to remain unseen,
He had (if 'twere not nature's boon) an art
Of fixing memory on another's heart:
It was not love perchance—nor hate—nor aught
That words can image to express the thought;
But they who saw him did not see in vain,
And once beheld—would ask of him again:
And those to whom he spake remembered well,
And on the words, however light, would dwell: 370
None knew, nor how, nor why, but he entwined
Himself perforce around the hearer's mind;[js]
There he was stamped, in liking, or in hate,
If greeted once; however brief the date
[338] That friendship, pity, or aversion knew,[jt]
Still there within the inmost thought he grew.
You could not penetrate his soul, but found,
Despite your wonder, to your own he wound;
His presence haunted still; and from the breast[ju]
He forced an all unwilling interest: 380
Vain was the struggle in that mental net—
His Spirit seemed to dare you to forget!


There is a festival, where knights and dames,
And aught that wealth or lofty lineage claims,
Appear—a high-born and a welcome guest
To Otho's hall came Lara with the rest.
The long carousal shakes the illumined hall,
Well speeds alike the banquet and the ball;
And the gay dance of bounding Beauty's train
Links grace and harmony in happiest chain: 390
Blest are the early hearts and gentle hands
That mingle there in well according bands;
It is a sight the careful brow might smooth,
And make Age smile, and dream itself to youth,
And Youth forget such hour was past on earth,
So springs the exulting bosom to that mirth![jv]


And Lara gazed on these, sedately glad,
His brow belied him if his soul was sad;
And his glance followed fast each fluttering fair,
[339] Whose steps of lightness woke no echo there: 400
He leaned against the lofty pillar nigh,
With folded arms and long attentive eye,
Nor marked a glance so sternly fixed on his—
Ill brooked high Lara scrutiny like this:
At length he caught it—'tis a face unknown,
But seems as searching his, and his alone;
Prying and dark, a stranger's by his mien,
Who still till now had gazed on him unseen:
At length encountering meets the mutual gaze
Of keen enquiry, and of mute amaze; 410
On Lara's glance emotion gathering grew,
As if distrusting that the stranger threw;
Along the stranger's aspect, fixed and stern,
Flashed more than thence the vulgar eye could learn.


"'Tis he!" the stranger cried, and those that heard
Re-echoed fast and far the whispered word.
"'Tis he!"—"'Tis who?" they question far and near,
Till louder accents rung on Lara's ear;
So widely spread, few bosoms well could brook
The general marvel, or that single look: 420
But Lara stirred not, changed not, the surprise
That sprung at first to his arrested eyes
Seemed now subsided—neither sunk nor raised
Glanced his eye round, though still the stranger gazed;
And drawing nigh, exclaimed, with haughty sneer,
"'Tis he!—how came he thence?—what doth he here?"


It were too much for Lara to pass by
Such questions, so repeated fierce and high;[340][jw]
With look collected, but with accent cold,
More mildly firm than petulantly bold, 430
He turned, and met the inquisitorial tone—
"My name is Lara—when thine own is known,
Doubt not my fitting answer to requite
The unlooked for courtesy of such a knight.
'Tis Lara!—further wouldst thou mark or ask?
I shun no question, and I wear no mask."
"Thou shunn'st no question! Ponder—is there none
Thy heart must answer, though thine ear would shun?
And deem'st thou me unknown too? Gaze again!
At least thy memory was not given in vain. 440
Oh! never canst thou cancel half her debt—
Eternity forbids thee to forget."
With slow and searching glance upon his face
Grew Lara's eyes, but nothing there could trace
They knew, or chose to know—with dubious look
He deigned no answer, but his head he shook,
And half contemptuous turned to pass away;
But the stern stranger motioned him to stay.
"A word!—I charge thee stay, and answer here
To one, who, wert thou noble, were thy peer, 450
But as thou wast and art—nay, frown not, Lord,
If false, 'tis easy to disprove the word—
But as thou wast and art, on thee looks down,
Distrusts thy smiles, but shakes not at thy frown.
Art thou not he? whose deeds——"[jx]
"Whate'er I be,
Words wild as these, accusers like to thee,
[341] I list no further; those with whom they weigh
May hear the rest, nor venture to gainsay
The wondrous tale no doubt thy tongue can tell,
Which thus begins so courteously and well. 460
Let Otho cherish here his polished guest,
To him my thanks and thoughts shall be expressed."
And here their wondering host hath interposed—
"Whate'er there be between you undisclosed,
This is no time nor fitting place to mar
The mirthful meeting with a wordy war.
If thou, Sir Ezzelin, hast aught to show
Which it befits Count Lara's ear to know,
To-morrow, here, or elsewhere, as may best
Beseem your mutual judgment, speak the rest; 470
I pledge myself for thee, as not unknown,
Though, like Count Lara, now returned alone
From other lands, almost a stranger grown;
And if from Lara's blood and gentle birth
I augur right of courage and of worth,
He will not that untainted line belie,
Nor aught that Knighthood may accord, deny."
"To-morrow be it," Ezzelin replied,
"And here our several worth and truth be tried;
I gage my life, my falchion to attest 480
My words, so may I mingle with the blest!"
What answers Lara? to its centre shrunk
His soul, in deep abstraction sudden sunk;
The words of many, and the eyes of all
That there were gathered, seemed on him to fall;
But his were silent, his appeared to stray
In far forgetfulness away—away—
Alas! that heedlessness of all around
Bespoke remembrance only too profound.


"To-morrow!—aye, to-morrow!" further word[jy] 490
Than those repeated none from Lara heard;
Upon his brow no outward passion spoke;
From his large eye no flashing anger broke;
Yet there was something fixed in that low tone,
Which showed resolve, determined, though unknown.
He seized his cloak—his head he slightly bowed,
And passing Ezzelin, he left the crowd;
And, as he passed him, smiling met the frown
With which that Chieftain's brow would bear him down:
It was nor smile of mirth, nor struggling pride 500
That curbs to scorn the wrath it cannot hide;
But that of one in his own heart secure
Of all that he would do, or could endure.
Could this mean peace? the calmness of the good?
Or guilt grown old in desperate hardihood?
Alas! too like in confidence are each,
For man to trust to mortal look or speech;
From deeds, and deeds alone, may he discern
Truths which it wrings the unpractised heart to learn.


And Lara called his page, and went his way— 510
Well could that stripling word or sign obey:
His only follower from those climes afar,
Where the Soul glows beneath a brighter star:
For Lara left the shore from whence he sprung,
In duty patient, and sedate though young;
Silent as him he served, his faith appears
Above his station, and beyond his years.
[343] Though not unknown the tongue of Lara's land,
In such from him he rarely heard command;
But fleet his step, and clear his tones would come, 520
When Lara's lip breathed forth the words of home:
Those accents, as his native mountains dear,
Awake their absent echoes in his ear,[jz]
Friends'—kindred's—parents'—wonted voice recall,
Now lost, abjured, for one—his friend, his all:
For him earth now disclosed no other guide;
What marvel then he rarely left his side?


Light was his form, and darkly delicate
That brow whereon his native sun had sate,
But had not marred, though in his beams he grew, 530
The cheek where oft the unbidden blush shone through;
Yet not such blush as mounts when health would show
All the heart's hue in that delighted glow;
But 'twas a hectic tint of secret care
That for a burning moment fevered there;
And the wild sparkle of his eye seemed caught
From high, and lightened with electric thought,[ka]
Though its black orb those long low lashes' fringe
Had tempered with a melancholy tinge;
Yet less of sorrow than of pride was there, 540
Or, if 'twere grief, a grief that none should share:
And pleased not him the sports that please his age,
The tricks of Youth, the frolics of the Page;
For hours on Lara he would fix his glance,
As all-forgotten in that watchful trance;
And from his chief withdrawn, he wandered lone,
Brief were his answers, and his questions none;
[344] His walk the wood, his sport some foreign book;
His resting-place the bank that curbs the brook:
He seemed, like him he served, to live apart 550
From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart;
To know no brotherhood, and take from earth
No gift beyond that bitter boon—our birth.


If aught he loved, 'twas Lara; but was shown
His faith in reverence and in deeds alone;
In mute attention; and his care, which guessed
Each wish, fulfilled it ere the tongue expressed.
Still there was haughtiness in all he did,
A spirit deep that brooked not to be chid;
His zeal, though more than that of servile hands,[kb] 560
In act alone obeys, his air commands;
As if 'twas Lara's less than his desire
That thus he served, but surely not for hire.
Slight were the tasks enjoined him by his Lord,
To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword;
To tune his lute, or, if he willed it more,[kc]
On tomes of other times and tongues to pore;
But ne'er to mingle with the menial train,
To whom he showed nor deference nor disdain,
But that well-worn reserve which proved he knew 570
No sympathy with that familiar crew:
His soul, whate'er his station or his stem,
Could bow to Lara, not descend to them.
Of higher birth he seemed, and better days,
Nor mark of vulgar toil that hand betrays,
[345] So femininely white it might bespeak
Another sex, when matched with that smooth cheek,
But for his garb, and something in his gaze,
More wild and high than Woman's eye betrays;
A latent fierceness that far more became 580
His fiery climate than his tender frame:
True, in his words it broke not from his breast,
But from his aspect might be more than guessed.[kd]
Kaled his name, though rumour said he bore
Another ere he left his mountain-shore;
For sometimes he would hear, however nigh,
That name repeated loud without reply,
As unfamiliar—or, if roused again,
Start to the sound, as but remembered then;
Unless 'twas Lara's wonted voice that spake, 590
For then—ear—eyes—and heart would all awake.


He had looked down upon the festive hall,
And mark'd that sudden strife so marked of all:
And when the crowd around and near him told[ke]
Their wonder at the calmness of the bold,
Their marvel how the high-born Lara bore
Such insult from a stranger, doubly sore,
The colour of young Kaled went and came,
The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame;
And o'er his brow the dampening heart-drops threw 600
The sickening iciness of that cold dew,
That rises as the busy bosom sinks
With heavy thoughts from which Reflection shrinks.
Yes—there be things which we must dream and dare,
[346] And execute ere thought be half aware:[277]
Whate'er might Kaled's be, it was enow
To seal his lip, but agonise his brow.
He gazed on Ezzelin till Lara cast
That sidelong smile upon the knight he past;
When Kaled saw that smile his visage fell, 610
As if on something recognised right well:
His memory read in such a meaning more
Than Lara's aspect unto others wore:
Forward he sprung—a moment, both were gone,
And all within that hall seemed left alone;
Each had so fixed his eye on Lara's mien,
All had so mixed their feelings with that scene,
That when his long dark shadow through the porch
No more relieves the glare of yon high torch,
Each pulse beats quicker, and all bosoms seem 620
To bound as doubting from too black a dream,
Such as we know is false, yet dread in sooth,
Because the worst is ever nearest truth.
And they are gone—but Ezzelin is there,
With thoughtful visage and imperious air;
But long remained not; ere an hour expired
He waved his hand to Otho, and retired.


The crowd are gone, the revellers at rest;
The courteous host, and all-approving guest,
Again to that accustomed couch must creep 630
Where Joy subsides, and Sorrow sighs to sleep,
[347] And Man, o'erlaboured with his Being's strife,
Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of life:
There lie Love's feverish hope, and Cunning's guile,[kf]
Hate's working brain, and lulled Ambition's wile;
O'er each vain eye Oblivion's pinions wave,
And quenched Existence crouches in a grave.[kg]
What better name may Slumber's bed become?
Night's sepulchre, the universal home,
Where Weakness—Strength—Vice—Virtue—sunk supine, 640
Alike in naked helplessness recline;
Glad for a while to heave unconscious breath,
Yet wake to wrestle with the dread of Death,
And shun—though Day but dawn on ills increased—
That sleep,—the loveliest, since it dreams the least.




Night wanes—the vapours round the mountains curled[278]
Melt into morn, and Light awakes the world,
Man has another day to swell the past,
And lead him near to little, but his last;
But mighty Nature bounds as from her birth, 650
The Sun is in the heavens, and Life on earth;[279]
Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam,
Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
Immortal Man! behold her glories shine,
And cry, exulting inly, "They are thine!"
Gaze on, while yet thy gladdened eye may see:
A morrow comes when they are not for thee:
And grieve what may above thy senseless bier,
Nor earth nor sky will yield a single tear;
Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall, 660
Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee, for all;[349][280]
But creeping things shall revel in their spoil,
And fit thy clay to fertilise the soil.


'Tis morn—'tis noon—assembled in the hall,
The gathered Chieftains come to Otho's call;
'Tis now the promised hour, that must proclaim
The life or death of Lara's future fame;
And Ezzelin his charge may here unfold,[kh]
And whatsoe'er the tale, it must be told.
His faith was pledged, and Lara's promise given, 670
To meet it in the eye of Man and Heaven.
Why comes he not? Such truths to be divulged,
Methinks the accuser's rest is long indulged.


The hour is past, and Lara too is there,
With self-confiding, coldly patient air;
Why comes not Ezzelin? The hour is past,
And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow's o'ercast.
"I know my friend! his faith I cannot fear,
If yet he be on earth, expect him here;
The roof that held him in the valley stands 680
Between my own and noble Lara's lands;
My halls from such a guest had honour gained,
Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdained,
But that some previous proof forbade his stay,
And urged him to prepare against to-day;
The word I pledged for his I pledge again,
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's stain."
[350] He ceased—and Lara answered, "I am here
To lend at thy demand a listening ear
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue, 690
Whose words already might my heart have wrung,
But that I deemed him scarcely less than mad,
Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad.
I know him not—but me it seems he knew
In lands where—but I must not trifle too:
Produce this babbler—or redeem the pledge;
Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's edge."[ki]
Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw
His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew.
"The last alternative befits me best, 700
And thus I answer for mine absent guest."
With cheek unchanging from its sallow gloom,
However near his own or other's tomb;
With hand, whose almost careless coolness spoke
Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke;
With eye, though calm, determined not to spare,
Did Lara too his willing weapon bare.
In vain the circling Chieftains round them closed,
For Otho's frenzy would not be opposed;
And from his lip those words of insult fell— 710
His sword is good who can maintain them well.


Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash,
Vain Otho gave his bosom to the gash:
He bled, and fell; but not with deadly wound,
Stretched by a dextrous sleight along the ground.
[351] "Demand thy life!" He answered not: and then
From that red floor he ne'er had risen again,
For Lara's brow upon the moment grew
Almost to blackness in its demon hue;[281]
And fiercer shook his angry falchion now 720
Than when his foe's was levelled at his brow;
Then all was stern collectedness and art,
Now rose the unleavened hatred of his heart;
So little sparing to the foe he felled,[kj]
That when the approaching crowd his arm withheld,
He almost turned the thirsty point on those
Who thus for mercy dared to interpose;
But to a moment's thought that purpose bent;
Yet looked he on him still with eye intent,
As if he loathed the ineffectual strife 730
That left a foe, howe'er o'erthrown, with life;
As if to search how far the wound he gave
Had sent its victim onward to his grave.


They raised the bleeding Otho, and the Leech
Forbade all present question, sign, and speech;
The others met within a neighbouring hall,
And he, incensed, and heedless of them all,[kk]
The cause and conqueror in this sudden fray,
In haughty silence slowly strode away;
He backed his steed, his homeward path he took, 740
Nor cast on Otho's towers a single look.



But where was he? that meteor of a night,
Who menaced but to disappear with light.
Where was this Ezzelin? who came and went,
To leave no other trace of his intent.
He left the dome of Otho long ere morn,
In darkness, yet so well the path was worn
He could not miss it: near his dwelling lay;
But there he was not, and with coming day
Came fast inquiry, which unfolded nought, 750
Except the absence of the Chief it sought.
A chamber tenantless, a steed at rest,
His host alarmed, his murmuring squires distressed:
Their search extends along, around the path,
In dread to meet the marks of prowlers' wrath:
But none are there, and not a brake hath borne
Nor gout of blood, nor shred of mantle torn;
Nor fall nor struggle hath defaced the grass,
Which still retains a mark where Murder was;
Nor dabbling fingers left to tell the tale, 760
The bitter print of each convulsive nail,
When agoniséd hands that cease to guard,
Wound in that pang the smoothness of the sward.
Some such had been, if here a life was reft,
But these were not; and doubting Hope is left;
And strange Suspicion, whispering Lara's name,
Now daily mutters o'er his blackened fame;
Then sudden silent when his form appeared,
Awaits the absence of the thing it feared
Again its wonted wondering to renew, 770
And dye conjecture with a darker hue.


Days roll along, and Otho's wounds are healed,
But not his pride; and hate no more concealed:
He was a man of power, and Lara's foe,
The friend of all who sought to work him woe,
And from his country's justice now demands
Account of Ezzelin at Lara's hands.
Who else than Lara could have cause to fear
His presence? who had made him disappear,
If not the man on whom his menaced charge 780
Had sate too deeply were he left at large?
The general rumour ignorantly loud,
The mystery dearest to the curious crowd;
The seeming friendliness of him who strove
To win no confidence, and wake no love;
The sweeping fierceness which his soul betrayed,
The skill with which he wielded his keen blade;
Where had his arm unwarlike caught that art?
Where had that fierceness grown upon his heart?
For it was not the blind capricious rage[kl] 790
A word can kindle and a word assuage;
But the deep working of a soul unmixed
With aught of pity where its wrath had fixed;
Such as long power and overgorged success
Concentrates into all that's merciless:
These, linked with that desire which ever sways
Mankind, the rather to condemn than praise,
'Gainst Lara gathering raised at length a storm,
Such as himself might fear, and foes would form,
And he must answer for the absent head 800
Of one that haunts him still, alive or dead.



Within that land was many a malcontent,
Who cursed the tyranny to which he bent;
That soil full many a wringing despot saw,
Who worked his wantonness in form of law;
Long war without and frequent broil within
Had made a path for blood and giant sin,
That waited but a signal to begin
New havoc, such as civil discord blends,
Which knows no neuter, owns but foes or friends; 810
Fixed in his feudal fortress each was lord,
In word and deed obeyed, in soul abhorred.
Thus Lara had inherited his lands,
And with them pining hearts and sluggish hands;
But that long absence from his native clime
Had left him stainless of Oppression's crime,
And now, diverted by his milder sway,[km]
All dread by slow degrees had worn away.
The menials felt their usual awe alone,
But more for him than them that fear was grown; 820
They deemed him now unhappy, though at first
Their evil judgment augured of the worst,
And each long restless night, and silent mood,
Was traced to sickness, fed by solitude:
And though his lonely habits threw of late
Gloom o'er his chamber, cheerful was his gate;[kn]
For thence the wretched ne'er unsoothed withdrew,
For them, at least, his soul compassion knew.
Cold to the great, contemptuous to the high,
[355]The humble passed not his unheeding eye; 830
Much he would speak not, but beneath his roof
They found asylum oft, and ne'er reproof.
And they who watched might mark that, day by day,
Some new retainers gathered to his sway;
But most of late, since Ezzelin was lost,
He played the courteous lord and bounteous host:
Perchance his strife with Otho made him dread
Some snare prepared for his obnoxious head;
Whate'er his view, his favour more obtains
With these, the people, than his fellow thanes. 840
If this were policy, so far 'twas sound,
The million judged but of him as they found;
From him by sterner chiefs to exile driven
They but required a shelter, and 'twas given.
By him no peasant mourned his rifled cot,
And scarce the Serf could murmur o'er his lot;
With him old Avarice found its hoard secure,
With him contempt forbore to mock the poor;
Youth present cheer and promised recompense
Detained, till all too late to part from thence: 850
To Hate he offered, with the coming change,
The deep reversion of delayed revenge;
To Love, long baffled by the unequal match,
The well-won charms success was sure to snatch.[ko]
All now was ripe, he waits but to proclaim
That slavery nothing which was still a name.
The moment came, the hour when Otho thought
Secure at last the vengeance which he sought:
His summons found the destined criminal
Begirt by thousands in his swarming hall; 860
Fresh from their feudal fetters newly riven,
Defying earth, and confident of heaven.
[356] That morning he had freed the soil-bound slaves,
Who dig no land for tyrants but their graves!
Such is their cry—some watchword for the fight
Must vindicate the wrong, and warp the right;
Religion—Freedom—Vengeance—what you will,
A word's enough to raise Mankind to kill;[kp]
Some factious phrase by cunning caught and spread,
That Guilt may reign-and wolves and worms be fed! 870


Throughout that clime the feudal Chiefs had gained
Such sway, their infant monarch hardly reigned;
Now was the hour for Faction's rebel growth,
The Serfs contemned the one, and hated both:
They waited but a leader, and they found
One to their cause inseparably bound;
By circumstance compelled to plunge again,
In self-defence, amidst the strife of men.
Cut off by some mysterious fate from those
Whom Birth and Nature meant not for his foes, 880
Had Lara from that night, to him accurst,
Prepared to meet, but not alone, the worst:
Some reason urged, whate'er it was, to shun
Inquiry into deeds at distance done;
By mingling with his own the cause of all,
E'en if he failed, he still delayed his fall.
The sullen calm that long his bosom kept,
The storm that once had spent itself and slept,
Roused by events that seemed foredoomed to urge
His gloomy fortunes to their utmost verge, 890
Burst forth, and made him all he once had been,
And is again; he only changed the scene.
[357] Light care had he for life, and less for fame,
But not less fitted for the desperate game:
He deemed himself marked out for others' hate,
And mocked at Ruin so they shared his fate.
And cared he for the freedom of the crowd?
He raised the humble but to bend the proud.
He had hoped quiet in his sullen lair,
But Man and Destiny beset him there: 900
Inured to hunters, he was found at bay;
And they must kill, they cannot snare the prey.
Stern, unambitious, silent, he had been
Henceforth a calm spectator of Life's scene;
But dragged again upon the arena, stood
A leader not unequal to the feud;
In voice—mien—gesture—savage nature spoke,
And from his eye the gladiator broke.


What boots the oft-repeated tale of strife,
The feast of vultures, and the waste of life? 910
The varying fortune of each separate field,
The fierce that vanquish, and the faint that yield?
The smoking ruin, and the crumbled wall?
In this the struggle was the same with all;
Save that distempered passions lent their force
In bitterness that banished all remorse.
None sued, for Mercy knew her cry was vain,
The captive died upon the battle-plain:[kq]
In either cause, one rage alone possessed
The empire of the alternate victor's breast; 920
And they that smote for freedom or for sway,
Deemed few were slain, while more remained to slay.
[358] It was too late to check the wasting brand,
And Desolation reaped the famished land;
The torch was lighted, and the flame was spread,
And Carnage smiled upon her daily dead.


Fresh with the nerve the new-born impulse strung,
The first success to Lara's numbers clung:
But that vain victory hath ruined all;
They form no longer to their leader's call: 930
In blind confusion on the foe they press,
And think to snatch is to secure success.
The lust of booty, and the thirst of hate,
Lure on the broken brigands to their fate:
In vain he doth whate'er a chief may do,
To check the headlong fury of that crew;
In vain their stubborn ardour he would tame,
The hand that kindles cannot quench the flame;
The wary foe alone hath turned their mood,
And shown their rashness to that erring brood: 940
The feigned retreat, the nightly ambuscade,
The daily harass, and the fight delayed,
The long privation of the hoped supply,
The tentless rest beneath the humid sky,
The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's art,
And palls the patience of his baffled art,
Of these they had not deemed: the battle-day
They could encounter as a veteran may;
But more preferred the fury of the strife,[kr]
And present death, to hourly suffering life: 950
And Famine wrings, and Fever sweeps away
His numbers melting fast from their array;
[359] Intemperate triumph fades to discontent,
And Lara's soul alone seems still unbent;
But few remain to aid his voice and hand,
And thousands dwindled to a scanty band:
Desperate, though few, the last and best remained
To mourn the discipline they late disdained.
One hope survives, the frontier is not far,
And thence they may escape from native war: 960
And bear within them to the neighbouring state
An exile's sorrows, or an outlaw's hate:
Hard is the task their father-land to quit,
But harder still to perish or submit.


It is resolved—they march—consenting Night
Guides with her star their dim and torchless flight;
Already they perceive its tranquil beam
Sleep on the surface of the barrier stream;
Already they descry—Is yon the bank?
Away! 'tis lined with many a hostile rank. 970
Return or fly!—What glitters in the rear?
'Tis Otho's banner—the pursuer's spear!
Are those the shepherds' fires upon the height?
Alas! they blaze too widely for the flight:
Cut off from hope, and compassed in the toil,
Less blood perchance hath bought a richer spoil!


A moment's pause—'tis but to breathe their band,
Or shall they onward press, or here withstand?
It matters little—if they charge the foes
Who by their border-stream their march oppose, 980
Some few, perchance, may break and pass the line,
However linked to baffle such design.
[360] "The charge be ours! to wait for their assault
Were fate well worthy of a coward's halt."
Forth flies each sabre, reined is every steed,
And the next word shall scarce outstrip the deed:
In the next tone of Lara's gathering breath
How many shall but hear the voice of Death!


His blade is bared,—in him there is an air
As deep, but far too tranquil for despair; 990
A something of indifference more than then
Becomes the bravest, if they feel for men—
He turned his eye on Kaled, ever near,
And still too faithful to betray one fear;
Perchance 'twas but the moon's dim twilight threw
Along his aspect an unwonted hue
Of mournful paleness, whose deep tint expressed
The truth, and not the terror of his breast.
This Lara marked, and laid his hand on his:
It trembled not in such an hour as this; 1000
His lip was silent, scarcely beat his heart,
His eye alone proclaimed, "We will not part!
Thy band may perish, or thy friends may flee,
Farewell to Life—but not Adieu to thee!"
The word hath passed his lips, and onward driven,
Pours the linked band through ranks asunder riven:
Well has each steed obeyed the arméd heel,
And flash the scimitars, and rings the steel;
Outnumbered, not outbraved, they still oppose
Despair to daring, and a front to foes; 1010
And blood is mingled with the dashing stream,
Which runs all redly till the morning beam.[ks]



Commanding—aiding—animating all,[283]
Where foe appeared to press, or friend to fall,
Cheers Lara's voice, and waves or strikes his steel,
Inspiring hope, himself had ceased to feel.
None fled, for well they knew that flight were vain;
But those that waver turn to smite again,
While yet they find the firmest of the foe
Recoil before their leader's look and blow: 1020
Now girt with numbers, now almost alone,
He foils their ranks, or re-unites his own;
Himself he spared not—once they seemed to fly—
Now was the time, he waved his hand on high,
And shook—Why sudden droops that pluméd crest?
The shaft is sped—the arrow's in his breast!
That fatal gesture left the unguarded side,
And Death has stricken down yon arm of pride.
The word of triumph fainted from his tongue;
That hand, so raised, how droopingly it hung! 1030
But yet the sword instinctively retains,
Though from its fellow shrink the falling reins;
These Kaled snatches: dizzy with the blow,
And senseless bending o'er his saddle-bow,
Perceives not Lara that his anxious page
Beguiles his charger from the combat's rage:
Meantime his followers charge, and charge again;
Too mixed the slayers now to heed the slain!



Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,
The cloven cuirass, and the helmless head; 1040
The war-horse masterless is on the earth,[kt][284]
And that last gasp hath burst his bloody girth;
And near, yet quivering with what life remained,
The heel that urged him and the hand that reined;
And some too near that rolling torrent lie,[ku]
Whose waters mock the lip of those that die;
That panting thirst which scorches in the breath
Of those that die the soldier's fiery death,
In vain impels the burning mouth to crave
One drop—the last—to cool it for the grave; 1050
With feeble and convulsive effort swept,
Their limbs along the crimsoned turf have crept;
The faint remains of life such struggles waste,
But yet they reach the stream, and bend to taste:
They feel its freshness, and almost partake—
Why pause? No further thirst have they to slake—
It is unquenched, and yet they feel it not;
It was an agony—but now forgot!


Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene,
Where but for him that strife had never been, 1060
A breathing but devoted warrior lay:
'Twas Lara bleeding fast from life away.
[363] His follower once, and now his only guide,
Kneels Kaled watchful o'er his welling side,
And with his scarf would staunch the tides that rush,
With each convulsion, in a blacker gush;
And then, as his faint breathing waxes low,
In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow:
He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain,
And merely adds another throb to pain. 1070
He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage,
And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page,
Who nothing fears—nor feels—nor heeds—nor sees—
Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees;
Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim,
Held all the light that shone on earth for him.


The foe arrives, who long had searched the field,
Their triumph nought till Lara too should yield:
They would remove him, but they see 'twere vain,
And he regards them with a calm disdain, 1080
That rose to reconcile him with his fate,
And that escape to death from living hate:
And Otho comes, and leaping from his steed,
Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed,
And questions of his state; he answers not,
Scarce glances on him as on one forgot,
And turns to Kaled:—each remaining word
They understood not, if distinctly heard;
His dying tones are in that other tongue,
To which some strange remembrance wildly clung. 1090
They spake of other scenes, but what—is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reached alone;
And he replied, though faintly, to their sound,
While gazed the rest in dumb amazement round:
[364] They seemed even then—that twain—unto the last
To half forget the present in the past;
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate.


Their words though faint were many—from the tone
Their import those who heard could judge alone; 1100
From this, you might have deemed young Kaled's death
More near than Lara's by his voice and breath,
So sad—so deep—and hesitating broke
The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke;[kv]
But Lara's voice, though low, at first was clear
And calm, till murmuring Death gasped hoarsely near;
But from his visage little could we guess,
So unrepentant—dark—and passionless,[kw]
Save that when struggling nearer to his last,
Upon that page his eye was kindly cast; 1110
And once, as Kaled's answering accents ceased,
Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the East:
Whether (as then the breaking Sun from high
Rolled back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye,
Or that 'twas chance—or some remembered scene,
That raised his arm to point where such had been,
Scarce Kaled seemed to know, but turned away,
As if his heart abhorred that coming day,
And shrunk his glance before that morning light,
To look on Lara's brow—where all grew night. 1120
Yet sense seemed left, though better were its loss;
For when one near displayed the absolving Cross,
[365] And proffered to his touch the holy bead,
Of which his parting soul might own the need,
He looked upon it with an eye profane,
And smiled—Heaven pardon! if 'twere with disdain:
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fixed despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift, 1130
As if such but disturbed the expiring man,
Nor seemed to know his life but then began—
That Life of Immortality, secure[kx]
To none, save them whose faith in Christ is sure.


But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew,[ky]
And dull the film along his dim eye grew;
His limbs stretched fluttering, and his head drooped o'er
The weak yet still untiring knee that bore;
He pressed the hand he held upon his heart—
It beats no more, but Kaled will not part 1140
With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain,
For that faint throb which answers not again.
"It beats!"—Away, thou dreamer! he is gone—
It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.


He gazed, as if not yet had passed away[kz]
The haughty spirit of that humbled clay;
[366] And those around have roused him from his trance,
But cannot tear from thence his fixéd glance;
And when, in raising him from where he bore
Within his arms the form that felt no more, 1150
He saw the head his breast would still sustain,
Roll down like earth to earth upon the plain;
He did not dash himself thereby, nor tear
The glossy tendrils of his raven hair,
But strove to stand and gaze, but reeled and fell,
Scarce breathing more than that he loved so well.
Than that he loved! Oh! never yet beneath
The breast of man such trusty love may breathe!
That trying moment hath at once revealed
The secret long and yet but half concealed; 1160
In baring to revive that lifeless breast,
Its grief seemed ended, but the sex confessed;
And life returned, and Kaled felt no shame—
What now to her was Womanhood or Fame?


And Lara sleeps not where his fathers sleep,
But where he died his grave was dug as deep;
Nor is his mortal slumber less profound,
Though priest nor blessed nor marble decked the mound,
And he was mourned by one whose quiet grief,
Less loud, outlasts a people's for their Chief. 1170
Vain was all question asked her of the past,
And vain e'en menace—silent to the last;
She told nor whence, nor why she left behind
Her all for one who seemed but little kind.
Why did she love him? Curious fool!—be still—
Is human love the growth of human will?
To her he might be gentleness; the stern
Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern,
[367] And when they love, your smilers guess not how
Beats the strong heart, though less the lips avow. 1180
They were not common links, that formed the chain
That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain;
But that wild tale she brooked not to unfold,
And sealed is now each lip that could have told.


They laid him in the earth, and on his breast,
Besides the wound that sent his soul to rest,
They found the scattered dints of many a scar,
Which were not planted there in recent war;
Where'er had passed his summer years of life,
It seems they vanished in a land of strife; 1190
But all unknown his Glory or his Guilt,[la]
These only told that somewhere blood was spilt,
And Ezzelin, who might have spoke the past,
Returned no more—that night appeared his last.


Upon that night (a peasant's is the tale)
A Serf that crossed the intervening vale,[286]
[368]When Cynthia's light almost gave way to morn,
And nearly veiled in mist her waning horn;
[369] A Serf, that rose betimes to thread the wood,
And hew the bough that bought his children's food, 1200
Passed by the river that divides the plain
Of Otho's lands and Lara's broad domain:
He heard a tramp—a horse and horseman broke
From out the wood—before him was a cloak
Wrapt round some burthen at his saddle-bow,
Bent was his head, and hidden was his brow.
Roused by the sudden sight at such a time,
And some foreboding that it might be crime,
Himself unheeded watched the stranger's course,
Who reached the river, bounded from his horse, 1210
And lifting thence the burthen which he bore,
Heaved up the bank, and dashed it from the shore,
Then paused—and looked—and turned—and seemed to watch,
And still another hurried glance would snatch,
And follow with his step the stream that flowed,
As if even yet too much its surface showed;
[370] At once he started—stooped—around him strown
The winter floods had scattered heaps of stone:
Of these the heaviest thence he gathered there,
And slung them with a more than common care. 1220
Meantime the Serf had crept to where unseen
Himself might safely mark what