« ForrigeFortsett »
" And now I'm in the world alone,
Upon the wide, wide sea :
When none will sigh for me? Perchance my dog 5 will whine in vain,
Till fed by stranger hands; But long ere I come back again
He'd tear me where he stands. 6
" William Fletcher, the faithful valet; – who, alter a service of twenty years, (" during which," he says, "his Lord was more to hird than a father,") received the Pilgrim's last words at Missolonghi, and did not quit his remains, until he had seen them deposited in the family vault at Hucknall. This an sophisticated “yeoman" was a constant source of pleasantry to his master:- e. g.“ Fletcher," he says, in a letter to his mother, “is not valiant; he requires comforts that I can dispense with, and sighs for beer, and beer, and tea, and his wife, and the devil knows what besides. We were one night lost in a thunder-storm, and since, nearly wrecked. In both cases he was sorely bewildered ; from apprehensions of famine and banditti in the first, and drowning in the second instance, His eyes were a little hurt by the lightning, or crying, I don't know which. I did what I could to console him, but found him incorrigible. He sends six sighs to Sally. I shall settle him in a farm ; for he has served me faithfully, and Sally is a good womar." After all his adventures by flood and field, short commons included, this humble Achates of the poet has DOW established himself as the keeper of an Italian warehouse, in Charles Street, Berkeley Square, where, if he does not thrive, every one who knows any thing of his character will say he deserves to do so.] . (" Enough, enough, my yeoman good,
All this is well to say ;
I'd laugh to get away." - MS.] * (" For who would trust a paramour,
Or e'en a wedded freere,
And torn her yellow hair ?" - MS.) • ( I leave England without regret - I shall return to it without pleasure. I am like Adam, the first convict sentenced to transportation ; but I have no Eve, and have eaten no apple but what was sour as a crab."- Lord B. to Mr. Ilodgson.)
(From the following passage in a letter to Mr. Dallas, it would appear that that gentleman had recommended the surpression or alteration of this stanza:-“I do not mean to exchange the ninth verse the Good Night.' I have no reason to suppose my dog better than his brother brutes, mankiad; and Argus, we know to be a fable."]
6 Here follows, in the original MS.:
“ Methinks it would my bosom glad,
To change my proud estate,
With one beloved playmate.
Without disgust or pain,
Or when the bowl I drain."] ? [Originally, the “ little page" and the "geoman were introduced in the following stanzas :
“ And of his train there was a henchman page,
A peasant boy, who served his inaster well;
The gloomy film from Harold's eye beguiled ;
or which our vaunting voyagers oft have told, In many a tome as true as Mandeville's of old.") 8C" These Lusian brutes, and earth from worst of wretches
purge."-- MS.) 9
(" A friend advises Ulissipont; but Lisboa is the Por. tuguese word, consequently the best. Ulissipont is pedantic ; and as I had lugged in Hellas and Eros not long before, there would have been something like an affectation of Greek terms, which I wished to avoid. On the submission of Lusitania to the Moors, they changed the name of the capital, which till then had been Ulisipo, or Lispo; because, in the Arabic al. phabet, the letter p is not used. Hence, I believe, Lisboa, whence again, the French Lisbonne, and our Lisbon, - God knows which the earlier corruption !"- Byron, MS.) 10 C“ Which poets, prone to lie, hare paved with gold."-MS.)
And to the Lusians did her aid afford :
Who lick yet loathe the hand that waves the sword To save them from the wrath of Gaul's unsparing lord, 1
x But whoso entereth within this town, 'That, sheening far, celestial secms to be, Disconsolate will wander up and down, 'Mid many things unsightly to strange ee; ? For hut and palace show like filthily : The dingy denizens are rear'd in dirt; Ne personage of high or mean degree
Doth care for cleanness of surtout or shirt, Though shent with Egypt's plague, unkempt, un
wash'd ; unhurt.
XX. Then slowly climb the many-winding way, And frequent turn to linger as you go, Froin lottier rocks new loveliness survey, And rest ye at “ Our Lady's house of woe; Where frugal monks their little relics show, And sundry legends to the stranger tell : Here impious men have punish'd been, and lo!
Deep in yon cave Honorius long did dwell, In hope to merit Heaven by making earth a Hell.
XXI. And here and there, as up the crags you spring, Mark many rude-carved crosses near the path : Yet deem not these devotion's offering These are memorials frail of murderous wrath : For wheresoe'er the shrieking victim hath Pour'd forth his blood beneath the assassin's knife, Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath ;
And grove and glen with thousand such are rife Throughout this purple land, where law secures not
XVIII. Poor, paltry slaves ! yet born 'midst noblest scenesWhy, Nature, waste thy wonders on such men ? Lo! Cintra's 3 glorious Eden intervenes In variegated maze of mount and glen. Ah, me! what hand can pencil guide, or pen, To follow half on which the eye dilates Through views more dazzling unto mortal ken
Than those whereof such things the bard relates, Who to the awe-struck world unlock'd Elysium's gates ?
XXII. On sloping mounds, or in the vale beneath, Are domes where whilome kings did make repair; But now the wild flowers round them only breathe; Yet ruin'd splendour still is lingering there, And yonder towers the Prince's palace fair : There thou too, Vathek: 6 England's wealthiest son, Once form'd thy Paradise, as not aware
When wanton Wealth her mightiest deeds hath done, Meek Peace voluptuous lures was ever wont to shun, 7
XIX. The horrid crags, by toppling convent crown'd, The cork-trees hoar that clothe the shaggy steep, The mountain-moss by scorching skies imbrown’d, The sunken glen, whose sunless shrubs must weep, The tender azure of the unruffled deep, The orange tints that gild the greenest bough, The torrents that from cliff to valley leap,
The vine on high, the willow branch below, Mix'd in one migbty scene, with varied beauty glow.
XXIII. Here didst thou dwell, here schemes of pleasure plan, Beneath yon mountain's ever beauteous brow; But now, as if a thing unblest by Man, Thy fairy dwelling is as lone as thou !
« Was For cor
! [By comparing this and the thirteen following stanzas with the account of his progress which Lord Byron sent home to his mother, the reader will see that they are the exact echoes of the thoughts which occurred to his mind as he went over the spots described. - Moore.)
["'Mid many things that grieve both nose and ee."-MS.] 3.C“ To make amends for the filthiness of Lisbon, and its still filthier inhabitants, the village of Cintra, about fifteen miles from the capital, is, perhaps, in every respect the most delightful in Europe. It contains beauties of every description, natural and artificial: palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts, and precipices : convents on stupendous heights; a distant view of the sea and the Tagus; and, besides (though that is a secondary consideration), is remarkable as the scene of Sir Hew Dalrymple's convention. It unites in itself all the wildness of the western Highlands with the verdure of the south of France." - B. to Jirs. Byron, 1809.]
* The convent of “ Our Lady of Punishment," Vossa Señora de Pena, on the summit of the rock. Below, at some distance, is the Cork Convent, where St. Honorius dug his den, over which is his epitaph. From the hills, the sea adds to the beauty of the view. - Note to 1st Edition. – Since the publication of this poem, I have been informed of the misappre. heasion of the term Nossa Senora de Pena. It was owing to the want of the tilde or mark over the n, which alters the sig. nification of the word: with it, Pena signifies a rock; without it, Pena has the sense I adopted. I do not think it necessary to alter the passage ; as, though the common acceptation affixed to it is " Our Lady of the Rock," I may well assume the other sense from the severities practised there. — Note to 2d Edition.
5 It is a well known fact, that in the year 1909, the assassin. ations in the streets of Lisbon and its vicinity were not contined by the Portuguese to their countrymen ; but that Englishmen were daily butchered: and so far from redress being obtained, we were requested not to interfere if we perceived any compatriot defending himself against his allies. I was once stopped
in the way to the theatre at eight o'clock in the evening, when the streets were not more empty than they generally are at that hour, opposite to an open shop, and in a carriage with a friend : had we not fortunately been armed, I have not the least doubt that we should have adorned a tale" instead of telling one. The crime of assassination is not confined to Portugal: in Sicily and Malta we are knocked on the head at a handsome arerage nightly, and not a Sicilian or Maitese is ever punished !
6 (“ Vathek" (says Lord Byron, in one of his diaries.) one of the tales I had a very early admiration of. rectness 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 ditticuity in believing it to be more than a translation. As an eastern tale, even Rasselas must bow before it; bis 'happy valley' will not bear a comparison with the Hall of Eblis.'"- William Beckford, Esq: son of the once celebrated alderman, and heir to his enormous wealth, published, at the early age of cighteen, " Memoirs of extraordinary Painters ; " and in the year after, the romance thus eulogised. After sitting for Hindoo in several parlia. ments, this giited person was induceti to fix, for a time, his residence in Portugal, where the memory of his magnificence was fresh at the period of Lord Byron's pilgrimage. Returning to England, he realised all the outward shows of Gothic grandeur in his unsubstantial pageant of Fonthill Abbey; and has more recently been indulging his fancy with another, probably not more lasting, monument of architectural caprice, in the vicinity of Bath. It is much to be regretted, that, after a lapse of fiity years, Mr. Beckford's literary reputation should continue to rest entirely on his juvenile, however remarkable, performances. It is said, however, that he has prepared sereral works for posthumous publication.] 7 [" When Wealth and Taste their worst and best have done, Meek Peace pollution's lure voluptuous still must
I The Convention of Cintra was signed in the palace of the Marchese Marialva. -(" The armistice, the negotiations, the convention itself, and the execution of its provisions, were all commenced, conducted, and concluded, at the distance of thirty miles from Cintra, with which place they had not the slightest connection, political, military, or local ; yet Lord Byron has gravely asserted, in prose and verse, that the con. vention was signed at the Marquis of Marialva's house at Cintra ; and the author of "TH Diary of an Invalid,' improv. ing upon the poet's discovery, detected the stains of the ink spilt by Junot upon the occasion." - Napier's History of the Peninsular War.]
• The passage stood differently in the original MS. Some verses which the poet omitted at the entreaty of his friends can now offend no one, and may perhaps amuse many :
In golden characters right well design'd,
Sir Arthur, Harry, and the dizzard Hew
Consention is the dwarfish demon styled
Such Pæans teemed for our triumphant host,
But when Convention sent his handy-work,
To question aught, once more with transport leapt,
With foe such treaty never should be kept, [- slept !
Thus unto Heaven appeal'd the people : Heaven,
phlegm ! 3 [“ After remaining ten days in Lisbon, we sent our bag. gage and part of our servants by sea to Gibraltar, and travelled on horseback to Seville ; a distance of nearly four hundred miles. The horses are excellent: we rode seventy miles a day. Eggs and wine, and hard beds, are all the accommodation we found, and, in such torrid weather, quite cnough.” B. Letters, 1809.)
4 - Her luckless Majesty went subsequently mad; and Dr. Willis, who so dexterously cudgelled 'kingly pericraniums, could make nothing of hers." — Byron vs. [The queen laboured under a melancholy kind of derangement, from which she never recovered. She died at the Brazils, in 1816.)
5 The extent of Mafra is prodigious: it contains a palace,
" Blatant beast" - a figure for the mob, I think first used by Smollett in his “ Adventures of an Atom." Horace has the “bellua multorum capitum:" in England, fortunately enough, the illustrious mobility have not even one.
+ By this query it is not meant that our foolish generals should have been shot, but that Byng might have been spared, though the one sutfered and the others escaped, probably for Candide's reason, " pour encourager les autres." [See Croker's “ Boswell," vol. i. p. 298.; and the Quarterly Review, vol. xxvii. p. 207., where the question, whether the admiral was or was not a political martyr, is treated at large.]
Or Moor and Knight, in mailed splendour drest:
The Paynim turban and the Christian crcst
Red gleam'd the cross, and waned the crescent pale, While Afric's echoes thrill'd with Moorish matrons' wail.
XXXVI. Teems not each ditty with the glorious tale ? Ah! such, alas ! the hero's amplest fate ! When granite moulders and when records fail, A peasant's plaint prolongs his dubious date. Pride! bend thine eye from heaven to thine estate, See how the mighty shrink into a song ! Can Volume, Pillar, Pile, preserve thee great ?
Or must thou trust Tradition's simple tongue, When Flattery sleeps with thee, and History does thce wrong?
XXXVII. Awake, ye sons of Spain ! awake! advance Lo! Chivalry, your ancient goddess, cries ; But wields not, as of old, her thirsty lance, Nor shakes her crimson plumage in the skies : Now on the smoke of blazing bolts she flies, And speaks in thunder through yon engine's roar ! In every peal she calls — “Awake! arise !”
Say, is her voice more feeble than of yore, When her war-song was heard on Andalusia's shore ?
XXXVIII. Hark! heard you not those hoofs of dreadful note ? Sounds not the clang of conflict on the heath ? Saw ye not whom the reeking sabre smote ; Nor saved your brethren ere they sank beneath Tyrants and tyrants' slaves ? - the fires of death, The bale-fires flash on high :- from rock to rock Each volley tells that thousands cease to breathe;
Death rides upon the sulphury Siroc, 5 Red Battle stamps his foot, and nations feel the shock. ancient popular poetry, - unequalled in Europe, — which must ever form the pride of that magnificent language. See his beautiful version of one of the best of the ballads of the Granada war - the “ Romance muy doloruso del sitio y toma de Alhama.")
* Count Julian's daughter, the Helen of Spain. Pelagius preserved his independence in the fastnesses of the Asturias, and the descendants of his followers, after some centuries, completed their struggle by the conquest of Grenada. (" Almost all the Spanish historians, as well as the voice of tradition, ascribe the invasion of the Moors to the forcible violation by Roderick upon Florinda, called by the Moors Caba, or Cava She was the daughter of Count Julian, one of the Gothic monarch's principal lieutenants, who, when the crime was perpetrated, was engaged in the defence of Ceuta against the Moors, In his indignation at the ingratitude of his sovereign, and the dishonour of his daughter, Count Julian forgot the duties of a Christian and a patriot, and, forming an alliance with Musa, then the Caliph's lieutenant in Africa, he countenanced the invasion of Spain by a body of Saracens and Africans, commanded by the celebrated Tarik; the issue of which was the defeat and death of Roderick, and the occupation of almost the whole peninsula by the Moors The Spaniards, in detestation of Florinda's memory, are said, hy Cervantes, never to bestow that name upon any human female, reserving it for their dogs." - SIR WALTER SCOTT.)
" from rock to rock
Though sluggards deem it but a foolish chase, And marvel men should quit their easy chair, The toilsome way, and long, long league to trace,
Oh! there is sweetness in the mountain air, And life, that bloated Ease can never hope to share.
XXXI. More bleak to view the hills at length reccdc, Aud, less luxuriant, smoother vales extend; Immense líorizon-bounded plains succeed ! Far as the eye discerns, withouten end, Spain's realms appear whereon her shepherds tend Flocks, whose rich fleece right well the trader
knows Now must the pastor's arm his lambs defend :
For Spain is compass'd by unyielding focs, And all must shield their all, or share Subjection's
Ne horrid crags, nor mountains dark and tall,
Well doth the Spanish hind the difference know 'Twixt him and Lusian slave, the lowest of the low.!
XXXIV. But ere the mingling bounds have far been passid, Dark Guadiana rolls his power along ? In sullen billows, murmuring and vast, So noted ancient roundelays among. S Whilome upon his banks did legions throng
convent, and most superb church. The six organs are the most beautiful I ever beheld, in point of decoration: we did not hear them, but were told that their tones were corre. spondent to their splendour. Mafra is termed the Escurial of Portugal. (" About ten miles to the right of Cintra," says Lord Byron, in a letter to his mother, " is the palace of Mafra, the boast of Portugal, as it might be of any country, in point of magnificence, without elegance. There is a convent annexed: the monks, who possess large revenues, are courteous cnough, and understand Latin; so that we had a long conversation. They have a large library, and asked me if the English had any books in their country." - Mafra was erected by John V., in pursuance of a vow, made in a dangerous fit of illness, to found a convent for the use of the poorest friary in the kingdom. Upon inquiry, this poorest was found at Maira; where twelve Franciscans lived together in a hut. There is a magnificent view of the existing edifice in " Finden's Ilustrations."
1 As I found the Portuguese, so I hare characterised them. That they are since improved, at least in courage, is evident. The late exploits of Lord Wellington have effaced the follies of Cintra. He has, indeed, done wonders : he has, perhaps, changed the character of a nation, reconciled rival superstitions, and balled an enemy who never retreated before his predecessors. - 1812. 2 C" But ere the bounds of Spain hare far been passid,
For ever famed in many a noted song." - IS.) 3 (Lord Byron seems to have thus early acquired enough of Spanish to understand and appreciate the grand body of
XLIV. Enough of Battle's minions ! let them play Their game of lives, and barter breath for fame : Fame that will scarce re-animate their clay, Though thousands fall to deck some single name. In sooth 'twere sad to thwart their noble aim Who strike, blest hirelings ! for their country's good, And die, that living might have proved her shame;
Perish'd, perchance, in somc domestic feud, Or in a narrower sphere wild Rapine's path pursued.
XXXIX. Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands, Ilis blood-red tresses deep'ning in the sun, With death-shot glowing in his ficry bands, And eye that scorcheth all it glares upon ; Restless it rolls, now fix'd, and now anon Flashing afar, - and at his iron feet Destruction cowers, to mark what deeds are done;
For on this morn three potent nations meet, To shed before his shrine the blood he deems most sweet.
XL. By Heaven! it is a splendid sight to see (For one who hath no friend, no brother there) Their rival scarfs of mix'd embroidery, Their various arms that glitter in the air ! What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair, And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for the prey ! All join the chase, but few the triumph share;
The Grave shall bear the chiefest prize away, And Havoc scarce for joy can number their array,
Is vain, or Ilion, Tyre might yet survive,
XLII. There shall they rot - Ambition's honour'd fools !? Yes, Honour decks the turf that wraps their clay ! Vain Sophistry! in these behold the tools, The broken tools, that tyrants cast away By myriads, when they dare to pave their way With human hearts - to what? — a dream alone. Can despots compass aught that hails their sway ?
Or call with truth one span of earth their own, Save that wherein at last they crumble bone by bone ?
XLIII. Oh, Albuera, glorious field of grief ! As o'er thy plain the Pilgrim prick'd his steed, Who could foresee thee, in a space so brief, A scene where mingling foes should boast and bleed! Peace to the perish'd! may the warrior's meed And tears of triumph their reward prolong! Till others fall where other chieftains lead,
Thy name shall circle round the gaping throng, And shine in worthless lays, the theme of transient
Not in the toils of Glory would ye fret ; The hoarse dull drum would sleep, and Man be happy yet!
When first Spain's queen beheld the black-eyed boy, And gore-faced Treason sprung from her adulterate
joy. own, about three feet in length, which I send, and beg you will retain till my return. Her last words were, Adios, tu hermoso ! me gusto mucho.'. 'Adieu, you pretty fellow! you please me much.'” – Lord B. to his Mother, Aug. 1809.)
5 [A kind of fiddle, with only two strings, played on by a bow, said to have been brought by the Moors into Spain.]
6“ Vivā el Rey Fernando !" Long live King Ferdinand ! is the chorus of most of the Spanish patriotic songs. They are chiefly in dispraise of the old king Charles, the Queen, and the Prince of Peace. I have heard many of them : some of the airs are beautiful. Don Manuel Godoy, the Principe de la Paz, of an ancient but decayed family, was born at Ba. dajoz, on the frontiers of Portugal, and was originally in the ranks of the Spanish guards ; ull his person attracted the queen's eyes, and raised him to the dukedom of Alcudia, &c. &c. It is to this man that the Spaniards universally impute the ruin of their country.
I See Arpendix, Note A.
How honour decks ne that wraps their clay!
Liars avaunt!"- MS.] 3 [This stanza is not in the original MS. It was written at Newstead, in August, 1811, shortly after the battle of Albuera.)
** At Seville, we lodged in the house of two Spanish un. married ladies, women of character, the eldest a line woman, the youngest pretty. The freedom of manner, which is general here, astonished me not a little; and, in the course of further observation, I tiad that reserve is not the characteristic of Spanish beiles. The eldest honoured your unworthy son with very particular attention, embracing him with great tenderness at parting (I was there but three days), after cutting od a lock of his hair, and presenting him with one of her