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Which pierces the deep hills through and through
Where they lie, and how they fell ? Not a stone on their turf, nor a bone in their graves ; But they live in the verse that immortally saves.
6 [Outnumber'd his hairs, &c. – GIFFORD.]
[Sons that were unborn, when he dipp'd. - G.] 8 [Bravo! - this is better than King Priam's alty sons. - G.]
The khan and the pachas are all at their post;
And your hands on your sabres, and how should ye
1 ["He who first downs with the red-cross may crave," &c. What vulgarism is this ! -
“ He who lowers,- or plucks down," &c. - GIFFORD.] [Thus against the wall they bent,
Thus the first were backward sent.-G.] 3 [Such was the fall of the foremost train.-G.) * [There stood a man, &c. - G.] 5 [“ Lurk'd," a bad word - say “ IVas hid.” – G.]
9 In the naval battle at the mouth of the Dardanelles, between the Venetians and Turks.
10 [There can be no such thing; but the whole of this is poor, and spun out. - G.]
Yield thee, Minotti; quarter take,
From within the neighbouring porch Of a long defended church, Where the last and desperate few. Would the failing fight renew, The sharp shot dash'd Alp to the ground; Erc.an eye could view the wound That crash'd through the brain of the infidel, Round he spun, and down he fell; A flash like fire within his eyes Blazed, as he bent no more to rise, And then eternal darkness sunk Through all the palpitating trunk ; 5 Nought of life left, save a quivering Where his limbs were slightly shivering: They turn'd him on his back; his breast And brow were stain'd with gore and dust, And through his lips the life-blood oozeu, From its deep veins lately loosed; But in his pulse there was no throb, Nor on his lips one dying sob; Sigh, nor word, nor struggling breath Heralded his way to death: Ere his very thought could pray, Unanel'd he pass'd away, Without a hope from mercy's aid, To the last- a Renegade. 6
* Never, renegado, never ! Though the life of thy gift would last for ever."3
“ Francesca ! - Oh, my promised bride ! 4
XXVIII. Fearfully the yell arose Of his followers, and his foes ; These in joy, in fury those : 7 Then again in conflict mixing, Clashing swords, and spears transfixing, Interchanged the blow and thrust, Hurling warriors in the dust. Street by street, and foot by foot, Still Minotti dares dispute The latest portion of the land Left beneath his high command ; With him, aiding heart and hand, The remnant of his gallant band. Still the church is tenable,
Whence issued late the fated ball
That half avenged the city's fall,
XXIX. Brief breathing-time! the turband host, With adding ranks and raging boast,
(Hark to the Alla Hu ! &c. - GIFFORD.) a (Omit the remainder of the section.
- G.] (la the original MS.
Though the life of thy giving would last for ever.”] * " Where's Francesca ? - my promised bride!"- MS.) » (Here follows in MS.
* Twice and once he rollid a space,
Then lead-like lay upon his face."] $(One cannot help suspecting, on longer and more mature consideration, that one has been led to join in ascribing much Dore force to the objections made against such characters as
the Corsair, Lara, the Giaour, Alp, &c. than belongs to them. The incidents, habits, &c. are much too remote from modern and European life to act as mischievous examples to others; while, under the given circumstances, the splendour of imagery, beauty and tenderness of sentiment, and extraordinary strength and felicity of language, are applicable to human nature at all times, and in all countries, and convey to the best ficulties of the reader's mind an impulse which elevates, refines, instructs, and enchants, with the noblest and purest of all pleasures. — Sir E. BRYDGES.)
7 [“ These in rage, in triumph those." - MS.) 8 (Dealing death with every blow._ GIYYORD.]
Press onwards with such strength and heat,
XXX. Darkly, sternly, and all alone, Minotti stood o'er the altar stone : Madonna's face upon him shone, Painted in heavenly hues above, With eyes of light and looks of love; And placed upon that holy shrine To fix our thoughts on things divine, When pictured there, we kneeling see Her, and the boy-God on her knee, Smiling sweetly on each prayer To heaven, as if to waft it there. · Still she smiled; even now she smiles, Though slaughter streams along her aisles : Minotti lifted his aged eye, And made the sign of a cross with a sigh, Then seized a torch which blazed thereby; And still he stood, while, with steel and flame, Inward and onward the Mussulman came.
Minotti's last and stern resource
When old Minotti's hand
The turban'd victors, the Christian band,
In one wild roar expired !
As if an earthquake pass'd
By that tremendous blast -
XXXI. The vaults beneath the mosaic stone Contain'd the dead of ages gone; Their names were on the graven floor, But now illegible with gore ; The carved crests, and curious hues The varied marble's veins diffuse, Were smear'd, and slippery — stain'd, and strown With broken swords, and helms o'erthrown: There were dead above, and the dead below Lay cold in many a coffin'd row; You might see them piled in sable state, By a pale light through a gloomy grate; But War had enter'd their dark caves, And stored along the vaulted graves Her sulphurous treasures, thickly spread In masses by the fleshless dead :
Here, throughout the siege, had been
The Christians' chiefest magazine ; To these a late form'd train now led,
"[" Oh, but it made a glorious show!!!" Out. – Gır. TORD.)
? [Strike out from “ Up to the sky," &c. to " All blacken'd there and reeking lay." Despicable stutt. – GIFFORD.]
Little deem'd she such a day
The nearer steed plunged o'er the plain,
Thus was Corinth lost and won ! 4
delicacy or fastidiousness of the reader may deem
such subjects unfit for the purposes of poetry. The The following poem is grounded on a circumstance Greek dramatists, and some of the best of our old mentioned in Gibbon's “ Antiquities of the House of English writers, were of a different opinion: 18 Brunswick." I am aware, that in modern times the Alfieri and Schiller have also been, more recently,
[Omit the next six lines. – GIPFORD.] ? I believe I have taken a poetical licence to transplant the jackal from Asia. In Greece I never saw nor heard these animals; but among the ruins of Ephesus I have heard them by hundreds. They haunt ruins and follow armies.
* [Leave out this couplet. GIPFORD.]
* The “ Siege of Corinth," though written, perhaps, with too visible an effect, and not very well harmonised in all its parts, cannot but be regarded as a magnificent composition. There is less misanthropy in it than in any of the rest ; and the interest is made up of alternate representations of soft and solemn scenes and emotions, and of the tumult, and ter. rors, and intoxication of war. These opposite pictures are, perhaps, too violently contrasted, and, in some parts, too barshly coloured ; but they are in general exquisitely designed, and executed with the utmost spirit and energy.- JEFFREY.)
This poem, perhaps the most exquisitely versified one that ever the author produced, was written in London in the autumn of 1815, and publisbed in February, 1816. Although the beauties of it were universally acknowledged, and frag. ments of its music ere long on every lip, the nature of the suhject prevented it from being dwelt upon at much length in the critical journals of the time; most of which were content to record, generally, their regret that so great a poet should have permitted himself, by awakening sympathy for a pair of incestuous lovers, to become, in some sort, the apologist of their sin.
An anonymous writer, in “ Blackwood's Magazine," seems, however, to have suggested some particulars, in the execution of the story, which ought to be taken into consideration, before we rashly class Lord Byroa with those poetical offenders, who have bent their powers " to divest incest of its hereditary horrors." Parsina, says this critic, “ we are scarcely permitted to have a single glance at the guilt, before our attention is rivetied upua the punishment : we have scarcely had time to
condemn, within our own hearts, the sinning, though injured son, when
. For a departing being's soul
To see the Son fall by the doom of the Father!' The fatal guilt of the Princess is in like manner swallowed up in the dreary contemplation of her uncertain fate. We forbear to think of her as an adulteress, after we have heard that'horrid voice' which is sent up to heaven at the death of her paramour
• Whatsoe'er its end below,
Her life began and closed in woe.' * Not only has Lord Byron avoided all the details of this unhallowed love, he has also contrived to mingle in the very incest which he condemns the idea of retribution ; and our horror for the sin of Hugo is diminished by our belief that it was brought about by some strange and super-human fatalism, to revenge the ruin of Bianca. That gloom of righteous risitation, which invests, in the old Greek tragedies, the fated house of Atreus, seems here to impend with some portion of its ancient horror over the line of Esté. We hear, in the language of Hugo, the voice of the saine prophetic solemnity which announced to Agamemnon, in the very moment of his triumph, the approaching and inevitable darkness of his fate :
upon the Continent. The following extract will ex. plain the facts on which the story is founded. The name of Azo is substituted for Nicholas, as more metrical.
“ Under the reign of Nicholas III. Ferrara was polluted with a domestic tragedy. By the testi. mony of an attendant, and his own observation, the Marquis of Este discovered the incestuous loves of his wife Parisina, and Hugo his bastard son, a beautiful and valiant youth. They were beheaded in the castle by the sentence of a father and husband, who published his shame, and survived their execution. He was unfortunate, if they were guilty : if they were innocent, he was still more unfortunate; nor is there any possible situation in which I can sincerely approve the last act of the justice of a parent. Gibson's Miscellaneous Works, vol. iii. p. 470.
1. It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale's high note is hcard ; It is the hour hen lovers' vows
Seem sweet in every whisper'd word ; ? And gentle winds, and waters near, Make music to the lonely ear. Each flower the dews bave lightly wet, And in the sky the stars are met, And on the wave is deeper blue, And on the leaf a browner hue, And in the heaven that clear obscure, So softly dark, and darkly pure,
• The gather'd guilt of elder times
There is a day of vengeance still,
Linger it may - but come it will.' " That awful chorus does not, unless we be greatly mis. taken, leave an impression of destiny upon the mind more powerful than that which rushed on the troubled spirit of Azo, when he heard the speech of Hugo in his hall of judg. ment:
• Thou gavest, and may'st resume my breath,
A gift for which I thank thee not ;
Her offspring's heritage of shame." We shall have occasion to recur to this subject when we reach our author's " Manfred." The facts on which the present poem was grounded are thus given in Frizzi's History of Ferrara :
“ This turned out a calamitous year for the people of Fer. rara ; for there occurred a very tragical event in the court of their sovereign. Our annals, both printed and in manuscript, with the exception of the unpolished and negligent work of Sardi, and one other, have given the following relation of it, - from which, however, are rejected many details, and especially the narrative of Bandelli, who wrote a century afterwards, and who does not accord with the contemporary historians.
" By the above-mentioned Stella dell' Assassino, the Marquis, in the year 1405, had a son called Ugo, a beautiful and ingenuous youth. Parisina Malatesta, second wife of Nic. colo, like the generality of step-mothers, treated him with little kindness, to the infinite regret of the Marquis, who regarded him with fond partiality. One day she asked leave of her husband to undertake a certain journey, to which he consented, but upon condition that Ugo should bear her com. pany; for he hoped by these means to induce her, in the end, to lay aside the obstinate aversion which she had conceived against him. And indeed his intent was accomplished but too well, since, during the journey, she not only divested herself of all her hatred, but fell into the opposite extreme. After their return, the Marquis had no longer any occasion to renew his former reproois. It happened one day that a servant of the Marquis, named Zoese, or, as some call him, Giorgio, passing before the apartments of Parisina, saw going out from them one of her chamber-maids, all terrified and in tears. Asking the reason, she told him that her mistress, for some slight offence, had been beating her; and, giving vent to her rage, she added, that she could easily be revenged, if she chose to make known the criminal familiarity which sub. sisted between Parisina and her step-son. The servant took note of the words, and related them to his master.
He was astounded thereat, but scarcely believing his ears, he assured himself of the fact, alas ! too clearly, on the 18th of May, by looking through a hole made in the ceiling of his wife's chamber. Instantly he broke into a furious rage, and arrested both of them, together with Aldobrandino Rangoni, of Mo. dena, her gentleman, and also, as some say, two of the women of her chamber, as abettors of this sinful act. He ordered them to be brought to a hasty trial, desiring the judges to pronounce sentence, in the accustomed forms, upon the culprits. This sentence was death. Some there were that bestirred themselves in favour of the delinquents, and, amongst others, Ugoccion Contrario, who was all powerful with Nic. colo, and also his aged and much deserving minister Alberto dal Sale. Both of these, their tears flowing down their cheeks, and upon their knees, implored him for mercy: adducing whatever reasons they could suggest for sparing the on.
fenders, besides those motives of honour and decency which might persuade him to conceal from the public so scandalous a deed. But his rage made him indexible, and, on the instant, he commanued that the scutence should be put in execution.
" It was, then, in the prisons of the castle, and exactly in those frightful dungeons which are seen at this day beneath the chamber called the Aurora, at the foot of the Lion's tower at the top of the street Giovecca, that on the night of the 21st of May were beheaded, first, Ugo, and afterwards Parisina Zoese, he that accused her, conducted the latter under his arm to the place of punishment. She, all along, fancied tha she was to be thrown into a pit, and asked at every step whether she was yet come to the spot? She was told tha her punishment was the axe. Ste inquired what was becom of Ugo, and received for answer, that he was aiready dead at the which, sighing grievously, she exclaimed. Now, the I wish not myself to live;' and, beiug come to the block, sh stripped herself with her own hands of all her ornament and wrapping a clo:h round her head, submitted to the fat stroke, which terminated the cruel scene. The same w done with Rangoni, who, together with the others, accordir to two calendars in the library of St. Francesco, was buri in the cemetery of that convent. Nothing else is know respecting the women.
"The Marquis kept watch the whole of that dreadful nigt and, as he was walking backwards and forwards, inquired the captain of the castle if Ugo was dead yet? who answer him, Yes. He then gave himself up to the most desper. lamentations, exclaiming, . Oh! that I too were dead, sinc have been hurried on to resolve thus against my own Ugu And then gnawing with his teeth a cane which he had in: hand, he passed the rest of the night in sighs and in tea calling frequently upon his own dear Ugo. On the follow day, calling to mind that it would be necessary to make put his justification, seeing that the transaction could not be k secret, he ordered the narrative to be drawn out upon par and sent it to all the courts of Italy.
" On receiving this advice, the Doge of Venice, France Foscari, gave orders, but without publishing his reasons, stop should be put to the preparations for a tourname which, under the auspices of the Marquis, and at the expe of the city of Padua, was about to take place, in the squar St. Mark, in order to celebrate his advancement to the d chair.
“ The Marquis, in addition to what he had already d from some unaccountable burst of vengeance, comma: that as many of the married women as were well know him to be faithless, like his Parisina, should, like her beheaded. Amongst others, Barberina, or, as some call Laodamia Romei, wife of the court judge, underwent sentence, at the usual place of execution ; that is to sa the quarter of St. Giacomo, opposite the present for beyond St. Paul's. It cannot be told how strange app this proceeding in a prince, who, considering his own dis tion, should, as it seemed, have been in such cases indulgent. Some, howerer, there were who did not L commend him."
The above passage of Frizzi was translated by Lord B and formed a closing note to the original edition of " sina.")
" [" Ferrara is much decayed and depopulated ; b: castle still exists entire ; and I saw the court where Pa and Hugo were beheaded, according to tbe annal of Gil Byron Letters, 1817.)
(The opening verses, though soft and voluptuou tinged with the same shade of sorrow which gives cha and harmony to the whole poem - JEFFREY. I