« ForrigeFortsett »
Thou too art gone, thou loved and lovely one !
Would they had never been, or were to come! Would he had ne'er return'd to find fresh cause to roam !
Oh! ever loving, lovely, and beloved !
2 How selfish Sorrow ponders on the past, And clings to thoughts now better far removed ! But Time shall tear thy shadow from me last. All thou couldst have of mine, stern Death ! thou hast; The parent, friend, and now the more than friend : Ne'er yet for one thine arrows flew so fast,
And grief with grief continuing still to blend, Hath snatch'd the little joy that life had yet to lend.
Then must I plunge again into the crowd,
Smiles from the channel of a future tear,
What is the worst of woes that wait on age ?
Since Time hath reft whate'er my soul enjoy'd, And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloy'd.
NOTES TO CANTO THE SECOND.
1.-Stanza i., line 4.
And is, despite of war and wasting fire, Part of the Acropolis was destroyed by the explosion of a magazine during the Venetian siege.-On the highest part of Lycabettus, as Chandler was informed by an eye-witness, the Venetians, in 1687, placed four mortars and six pieces of cannon, when they battered the Acropolis. One of the bombs was fatal to some of the sculpture on the west front of the Parthenon.]
2.-Stanza i., line 9. That thoughts of thee and thine on polish'd breasts bestow. We can all feel, or imagine, the regret with which the ruins of cities, once the capitals of empires, are beheld: the reflections suggested by such objects are too trite to require recapitulation. But never did the littleness of man, and the vanity of his very best virtues, of patriotism to exalt, and of valour to defend his country, appear more conspicuous than in the record of what Athens was, and the certainty of what she now is. This theatre of contention between mighty factions, of the struggles of orators, the exaltation and deposition of tyrants, the triumph and punishment of generals, is now become a scene of petty intrigne and perpetual disturbance, between the bickering agents of certain British nobility and gentry. “The wild foxes, the owls and serpents in the ruins of Babylon," were surely less degrading than such inhabitants. The Turks have the plea of conquest for their tyranny, and the Greeks have only suffered the fortune of war, incidental to the bravest; but how are the mighty fallen, when two painters contest the privilege of plundering the Parthenon, and triumph in turn, according to the tenor of each succeeding firman! Sylla could but punish, Philip subdue, and Xerxes burn Athens; but it remained for the paltry antiquarian, and his despicable agents, to render her contemptible as bimself and his pursuits. The Parthenon, before its destruction, in part, by fire during the Venetian siege, had been a temple, a church, and a
mosque. In each point of view it is an object of regard: it changed its worshippers; but still it was a place of worship thrice sacred to devotion: its violation is a triple sacrifice. But
“Man, proud man,
3.-Stanza iii., line 9. Poor child of Doubt and Death, whose hope is built on reeds. [In the original MS. is a note to this and the five succeeding stanzas, which had been prepared for publication, but was afterwards withdrawn, " from a fear," says the poet, “that it might be considered rather as an attack, than a defence of religion;”—“In this age of bigotry, when the puritan and priest have changed places, and the wretched Catholic is visited with the sins of his fathers,' even into generations far beyond the pale of the commandment, the cast of opinion in these stanzas will, doubtless, meet with many a contemptuous anathema. But let it be remembered, that the spirit they breathe is desponding, not sneering, scepticism; that he who has seen the Greek and Moslem superstitions contending for mastery over the former shrines of Polytheism-who has left in his own 'Pharisees, thanking God that they are not like publicans and sinners,' and Spaniards in theirs, abhorring the heretics, who have holpen them in their need, --will be not a little bewildered, and begin to think, that as only one of them can be right, they may, most of them, be wrong. With regard to morals, and the effect of religion on mankind, it appears, from all historical testimony, to have had less effect in making them love their neighbours, than inducing that cordial Christian abhorrence between sectaries and schismatics. The Turks and Quakers are the most tolerant: if an Infidel pays his heratch to the former, he may pray, how, when, and where he pleases; and the mild tenets and devout demeanour of the latter, make their lives the truest commentary on the Sermon on the Mount."]
4.-Stanza iv., line 7.
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe ? (“Still wilt thou harp.”—MB.]
line 2. Far on the solitary shore he sleeps : It was not always the custom of the Greeks to burn their dead; the greater Ajax, in particular, was interred entire. Almost all the chiefs became gods after their decease; and he was indeed neglected, who had not annual games near his tomb, or festivals in honour of his memory by his countrymen, as Achilles, Brasidas, &c., and at last even Antinous, whose death was as heroic as his life was infamous.
"Frown not upon me, churlish Priest! that I
Still dream of Paradise, thou know'st not where,
But lov'st too well to bid thine erring brother share."
"Come then, ye classic Thanes of each degree,
Or will the gentle Dilettanti crew
His pencil, pen, and shade, alike without a flaw." The review which Lord Byron wrote of Gell's works in 1811, is mora coinplimentary than these ironical lines, but he still reiterates that his engravings are inaccurate, and his books too big.]
7.-Stanza ix., line 9. For me 'twere bliss enough to know thy spirit blest! (Lord Byron wrote this stanza at Newstead, in October, 1811, on hearing of the death of his Cambridge friend, young Eddlestone; "making," be says, “the sixth within four months, of friends and relations that I have lost between May and the end of August."]
8.--Stanza x. line 3.
Here, son of Saturn! was thy fav'rite throne : The temple of Jupiter Olympius, of which sixteen columns, entirely of marble, yet survive; originally there were one hundred and fifty.