« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
295: 29. from Athens.
Citharon's head. A mountain in Boeotia, northwest
295: 33. high Hymettus. A mountain two miles southeast from Athens.
295: 42. meek Cephisus. The smaller stream of this name, in Attica.
295: 44, 46. "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 interCephisus' stream is indeed scanty, and Ilissus has no stream at all." [Byron's note.
296: "SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY." The first among the so-called 'Hebrew Melodies,' written in December, 1814, and published in 1815. The volume was intended for the use of the modern Israelites, the music being written or arranged by Messrs. Nathan and Braham. At the solicitation of his friend the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird, Byron consented to write a number songs for the col
The editor of the 1832 edition of Byron's Works appends the following note to this lyric: "These stanzas were written by Lord Byron on returning from a ballroom, where he had seen Mrs. (now Lady) Wilmot Horton, the wife of his relation, the present Governor of Ceylon. On this occasion Mrs. W. H. had appeared in mourning, with numerous spangles on her dress." 296: 3. The meaning is made more explicit in l. 7. 296: 5. Thus mellowed. i.e., through the meeting "in her aspect and her eyes."
296: "IF THAT HIGH WORLD.". Also from the Hebrew Melodies,' 1814.
296: 2. Love is the subject of the sentence.
297: 14. The phrase is elliptical; after "shares" is understood some such phrase as "mutual love with it."
297: "OH! SNATCH'D AWAY IN BEAUTY'S BLOOM." From the Hebrew Melodies,' 1814.
297: "WHEN COLDNESS WRAPS THIS SUFFERING CLAY." From the Hebrew Melodies,' 1814.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB.
From the He
brew Melodies,' 1814.
Cf. II 'Kings' xviii-xix, esp. xviii, 13: "Now in the fourteenth
year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib, king of Assyria, come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.” Also xix, 35: "And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." Cf. also II Chronicles' xxxii, and 'Isaiah' xxxvi-vii.
299: 21. the widows of Ashur. i.e. of Assyria, the ancient Semitic kingdom of Asshur, or perhaps one of its capitals, the city of the same name.
299: "THERE BE NONE OF BEAUTY'S DAUghters. Written in 1815, as "Stanzas for Music." Published 1816.
The rhythmical scansion of these two stanzas is difficult, if not practically impossible, after any consistent scheme. As they were written for music, however, the metrical scansion is the more important. This seems to require the scheme 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3,4, 4 (i.e. a four-foot line, a three-foot, etc.), with allowance of a full rest or pause to complete the defective foot in each seven-syllabled line.
2993. Cf. Manfred,' I, i, 177.
300: SO WE'LL GO NO MORE A-ROVING. Sent in the poet's letter of February 28, 1817, from Venice to Moore, introduced with the following words: "The Carnival-that is, the latter part of it, and sitting up late o' nights, had knocked me up a little. But it is over,--and it is now Lent, with all its abstinence and sacred music. The mumming closed with a masked ball at the Fenice, where I went, as also to most of the ridottos, etc., etc.; and, though I did not dissipate much upon the whole, yet I find 'the sword wearing out the scabbard,' though I have but just turned the corner of twenty-nine.
So, we'll go no more a-roving," etc. . . .
300. "O, TALK NOT TO ME OF A NAME GREAT IN STORY." Otherwise headed Stanzas written on the road between Florence and Pisa.' Written in the autumn of 1821.
301. SONG OF THE SOUTH-SEA ISLANDERS. From The Island,' written early in 1823, and published in June of the same year. The poem as a whole is chiefly concerned with the story of the mutiny of the Bounty, and, as Byron tells us, is founded
on Bligh's Narrative of the Mutiny and Seizure of the Bounty, in the South Seas, in 1789,' and on Mariner's 'Account of the Tonga Islands.' This passage occurs at the beginning of canto II.
301: I ff. "The first three sections are taken from an actual song of the Tonga Islanders, of which a prose translation is given in Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands.' Toobonai is not, however, one of them; but was one of those where . . . the mutineers took refuge. I have altered and added, but have retained as much as possible of the original." [Byron's note.-This "original," in the prose translation mentioned, is as follows:
"Whilst we were talking of Vaváoo tóa Licoo, the women said to us, let us repair to the back of the island to contemplate the setting sun there let us listen to the warbling of the birds and the cooing of the wood-pigeon. We will gather flowers from the burying-place at Matáwto, and partake of refreshments prepared for us at Licoo Ónë: we will then bathe in the sea, and rinse ourselves in the Váoo Áca; we will anoint our skins in the sun with sweet scented oil, and will plait in wreaths the flowers gathered at Matáwto. And now as we stand motionless on the eminence over Ana Mánoo, the whistling of the wind among the branches of the lofty toa shall fill us with a pleasing melancholy; or our minds shall be seized with astonishment as we behold the roaring surf below, endeavouring but in vain to tear away the firm rocks. Oh! how much happier shall we be thus employed, than when engaged in the troublesome and insipid affairs of life!
Now as night comes on, we must return to the Moóa: But hark !— hear you not the sound of the mats?-they are practising a bo-oóla* to be performed to-night on the malái at Tanéo. Let us also go there. How will that scene of rejoicing call to our minds the many festivals held there, before Vaváoo was torn to pieces by war! Alas, how destructive is war! Behold! how it has rendered the land productive of weeds, and opened untimely graves for departed heroes! Our chiefs can now no longer enjoy the sweet pleasures of wandering alone by moonlight in search of their mistresses. But let us banish sorrow from our hearts: since we are at war, we must think and act like the natives of Fiji, who first taught us this destructive art. Let us therefore enjoy the present time, for to-morrow perhaps, or the next day, we may die. We will dress ourselves with chi coola, and put bands of white táppa round our waists. We will plait thick wreaths of jiale for our heads, and prepare strings of hooni for our necks, that their whiteness may show off the colour of our skins. Mark how the
*"A kind of dance performed by torch-light."
uncultivated spectators are profuse of their applause!—But now the dance is over: let us remain here tonight and feast and be cheerful, and tomorrow we will depart for the Mooa. How troublesome are the young men, begging for our wreaths of flowers, while they say in their flattery, 'See how charming these young girls look coming from Licoo!-how beautiful are their skins, diffusing around a fragrance like the flowery precipice of Mataloco' :-Let us also visit Licoo. We will depart to-morrow." (Mariner's Account, etc., 1827 ed., I, 244.)
In the same place is given a poetical version in eight-line stanzas (by "a literary friend "). A more strictly literal prose version also is given in vol. II, at page xl of the Appendix. Byron, however, seems to have used only the version quoted above. The author notes that "it is perhaps a curious circumstance that love and war seldom form the subjects of their poetical compositions, but mostly scenery and moral reflections.”— In what sense are Byron's verses original poetry? What is the most important element in poetic originality?
tooa. "A superior sort of yam" (Mariner).
301 : 10. 302 29. (Mariner).
302: 30. "Mats" are a common article of clothing in the Tonga Islands, according to Mariner.
302: 32. Marly, or Malái, "a piece of ground, generally before a large house, or chief's grave, where public ceremonies are principally held" (Mariner).
302: 45. Cava, the pepper-plant, from which an intoxicating drink is prepared.
302: 49. Tappa. "A substance used for clothing, prepared from the bark of the Chinese paper mulberry tree" (Mariner).
302 50. Hooni. A kind of flower.
302: 58. "Licoo is the name given to the back or unfrequented part of any island" (Mariner).
303. ON THIS DAY I COMPLETE MY THIRTY-SIXTH YEAR. Byron's last poem, written in Greece a few weeks before his death. 303 5. Cf. Macbeth,' V, iii, 23 :
"my way of life
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf."
The following passage is from an article on Byron in Blackwood's Magazine, 1825:
"The last poem he wrote was produced upon his birthday, not many weeks before he died. We consider it as one of the finest and most touching effusions of his noble genius. The deep and passionate struggles with the inferior elements of his nature (and ours) which it records-the lofty thirsting after purity-the heroic devotion of a soul half weary of life, because unable to believe in its own powers to live up to what it so intensely felt to be, and so reverentially honoured as, the right-the whole picture of this mighty spirit, often darkened, but never sunk, often erring, but never ceasing to see and to worship the beauty of virtue—the repentance of it, the anguish, the aspiration, almost stifled in despair-the whole of this is such a whole that we are sure no man can read these solemn verses too often."