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The full of hope, misnamed “ forlorn,"
The Moslem warriors sternly teach
VIII. And many deem'd her heart was won; For sought by numbers, given to none, Had young Francesca's hand remain'd Still by the church's bonds unchain'd: And when the Adriatic bore Lanciotto to the Paynim shore, Her wonted smiles were seen to fail, And pensive wax'd the maid and pale ; More constant at confessional, More rare at masque and festival; Or seen at such, with downcast eyes, Which conquer'd hearts they ceased to prize : With listless look she seems to gaze; With humbler care her form arrays; Her voice less lively in the song ; Her step, though light, less fleet among The pairs, on whom the Morning's glance Breaks, yet unsated with the dance.
XI. 'T is midnight: on the mountains brown The cold, round moon shines deeply down; Blue roll the waters, blue the sky Spreads like an occan hung on high, Bespangled with those isles of light, So wildly, spiritually bright; Who ever gazed upon them shining And turn'd to earth without repining, Nor wish'd for wings to flee away, And mix with their eternal ray ? The waves on either shore lay there Calm, clear, and azure as the air ; And scarce their foam the pebbles shook, But murmur'd meekly as the brook. The winds were pillow'd on the waves; The banners droop'd along their staves, And, as they fell around them furling, Above them shone the crescent curling; And that deep silence was unbroke, Save where the watch his signal spoke, Save where the steed neigh'd oft and shrill, And echo answer'd from the hill, And the wide hum of that wild host Rustled like leaves from coast to coast, As rose the Muezzin's voice in air In midnight call to wonted prayer; It rose, that chanted mournful strain, Like some lone spirit's o'er the plain : 'Twas musical, but sadly sweet, Such as when winds and harp-strings mect, And take a long unmeasured tone, To mortal minstrelsy unknown.
2 It seem'd to those within the wall A cry prophetic of their fall : It struck even the besieger's ear With something ominous and drear, An undefined and sudden thrill, Which makes the heart a moment still, Then beat with quicker pulse, ashamed Of that strange sense its silence framed ; Such as a sudden passing-bell Wakes, though but for a stranger's knell. 3
IX. Sent by the state to guard the land, (Which, wrested from the Moslem's hand, While Sobieski tamed his pride By Buda's wall and Danube's side, The chiefs of Venice wrung away From Patra to Eubæa's bay,) Minotti held in Corinth's towers The Doge's delegated powers, While yet the pitying eye of Peace Smiled o'er her long forgotten Greece : And ere that faithless truce was broke Which freed her from the unchristian yoke. With him his gentle daughter came ; Nor there, since Menelaus' dame Forsook her lord and land, to prove What woes await on lawless love, Had fairer form adorn'd the shore Than she, the matchless stranger, bore.
X. The wall is rent, the ruins yawn; And, with to-morrow's earliest dawn, O'er the disjointed mass shall vault The foremost of the fierce assault. The bands are rank'd; the chosen van of Tartar and of Mussulman,
XII. The tent of Alp was on the shore; The sound was hush'd, the prayer was o'er; The watch was set, the night-round made, All mandates issued and obey'd : "T is but another anxious night, His pains the morrow may requite With all revenge and love can pay, In guerdon for their long delay. Few hours remain, and he hath need Of rest, to nerve for many a deed Of slaughter: but within his soul The thoughts like troubled waters roll.
"[" In midnight courtship to Italian maid.” – MS.] (" And make a melancholy moan,
To mortal voice and ear unknown." -MS.]
3 [“ Which rings a deep, internal knell,
A visionary passing bell." - MS.]
XIV. He felt his soul become more light Beneath the freshness of the night Cool was the silent sky, though calm, And bathed his brow with airy balm : Behind, the camp — before him lay, In many a winding creek and bay, Lepanto's gulf; and, on the brow Of Delphi's bill, unshaken snow, High and eternal, such as shone Through thousand summers brightly gone, Along the gulf, the mount, the clime; It will not melt, like man, to time: Tyrant and slave are swept away, Less form'd to wear before the ray; But that white veil, the lightest, frailest, Which on the mighty mount thou hailest, While tower and tree are torn and rent, Shines o'er its craggy battlement; In form a peak, in height a cloud, In texture like a hovering shruud, Thus high by parting Freedom spread, As from her fond abode she fled, And linger'd on the spot, where long Her prophet spirit spake in song. Oh! still her step at moments falters O'er wither'd fields, and ruin'd altars, And fain would wake, in souls too broken, By pointing to each glorious token: But vain her voice, till better days Dawn in those yet remember'd rays, Which shone upon the Persian fying, And saw the Spartan smile in dying.
He stood alone among the host;
By springing dauntless on the prey;
XV. Not mindless of these mighty times Was Alp, despite his flight and crimes ; And through this night, as on he wander'd, And o'er the past and present ponder'd, And thought upon the glorious dead Who there in better cause had bled, He felt how faint and feebly dim The fame that could accrue to him, Who cheer'd the band, and waved the sword, A traitor in a turban'd horde ; And led them to the lawless siege, Whose best success were sacrilege. Not so had those his fancy number'd, The chiefs whose dust around him siurnber'd ; Their phalanx marshall’d on the plain, Whose bulwarks were not then in vain. They fell devoted, but undying; The very gale their names seem'd sighing: The waters murmur'd of their name ; The woods were peopled with their fame; The silent pillar, lone and grey, Claim'd kindred with their sacred clay ; Their spirits wrapp'd the dusky mountain, Their memory sparkled o'er the fountain ; The meanest rill, the mightiest river Rolld mingling with their fame for ever. Despite of every joke she bears, That land is glory's still and theirs ! 3 2 ( Ile vainly turn'd from side to side,
And each reposing posture tried" - MS.) 3 [Here follows, in MS.
Immortal - boundless — undecay'd -
'Tis still a watch-word to the earth:
So well had they broken a lingering fast When man would do a deed of worth
With those who had fallen for that night's repast. 6 He points to Greece, and turns to tread,
And Alp knew, by the turbans that rollid on the sand, So sanction'd, on the tyrant's head:
The foremost of these were the best of his band : He looks to her, and rushes on
Crimson and green were the shawls of their wear, Where life is lost, or freedom won. '
And each scalp had a single long tuft of hair, 7 XVI.
All the rest was shaven and bare. Still by the shore Alp mutely mused,
The scalps were in the wild dog's maw, · And woo'd the freshness Night diffused.
The hair was tangled round his jaw.
But close by the shore, on the edge of the gulf, There shrinks no ebb in that tideless seil, Which changeless rolls eternally ;
There sat a vulture flapping a wolf,
Who had stolen from the hills, but kept away,
Scared by the dogs, from the human prey ;
But he seized on his share of a steed that lay,
Pick'd by the birds, on the sands of the bay.
Alp turn'd him from the sickening sight : And looks o'er the surf, but it comes not there;
Never had shaken his nerves in fight; And the fringe of the foam may be seen below, But he better could brook to behold the dying, On the line that it left long ages ago :
Deep in the tide of their warm blood lying, 8 A smooth short space of yellow sand
Scorch'd with the death-thirst, and writhing in vain, Between it and the greener land.
Than the perishing dead who are past all pain. 9 He wander'd on, along the beach,
There is something of pride in the perilous hour,
Whate'er be the shape in which death may lower; Till within the range of a carbine's reach
For Fame is there to say who bleeds,
And Honour's eye on daring deeds!
But when all is past, it is humbling to tread
O'er the weltering field of the tombless dead, 10 Were their hands grown stiff, or their hearts wax'd cold ?
And see worms of the earth, and fowls of the air, I know not, in sooth; but from yonder wall
Beasts of the forest, all gathering there;
All regarding man as their prey,
All rejoicing in his decay.11
There is a temple in ruin stands, Clank'd, as he paced it to and fro;
Fashion'd by long forgotten hands; And he saw the lean dogs beneath the wall
Two or three columns, and many a stone, Hold o'er the dead their carnival, 4
Marble and granite, with grass o'ergrown ! Gorging and growling o'er carcass and limb;
Out upon Time! it will leave no more They were too busy to bark at him !
Of the things to come than the things before ! 12 From a Tartar's skull they had stripp'd the flesh, Out upon Time! who for ever will leave As ye peel the fig when its fruit is fresh ;
But enough of the past for the future to grieve And their white tusks crunch'd o'er the whiter skull, 5 O'er that which hath been, and o'er that which must As it slipp'd through their jaws, when their edge grew As they lazily mumbled the bones of the dead, (dull, What we have seen, our sons shall see ; When they scarce could rise from the spot where they Remnants of things that have pass'd away, fed ;
Fragments of stone, rear'd by creatures of clay ! 13 1 [" Where Freedom loveliest may be won." - MS.] 9 [Strike out ? The reader need hardly be reminded that there are no
“ Scorch'd with the death-thirst, and writhing in vain, perceptible tides in the Mediterranean.
Than the perishing dead who are past all pain.' 3 [" Or would not waste on a single head
What is a “perishing dead ?"- GIFFORD.] The ball on numbers better sped." - MS.]
10 CO'er the weltering limbs of the tombless dead. - G.] * [Omit the rest of this section. - Gifford.)
11 (" All that liveth on man will prey', * This spectacle I have seen, such as described, beneath the
All rejoice in his decay, wall of the Seraglio at Constantinople, in the little cavities
All that can kindle dismay and disgust worn by the Bosphorus in the rock, a narrow terrace of which
Follow his frame from the bier to the dust," - MS.] projects between the wall an
I think the fact is
12 [Omit this couplet. – G.] also mentioned in Hobhouse's Travels. The bodies were probably those of some refractory Janizaries. [" The sens. 13 [ After this follows in MS. ations produced by the state of the weather, and leaving a
« Monuments that the coming age comfortable cabin, were in unison with the impressions which
Leaves to the spoil of the seasons' rage -we felt when, passing under the palace of the sultans, and
Till Ruin makes the relics scarce, gazing at the gloomy cypresses which rise above the walls, we
Then Learning acts her solemn tarce, saw two dogs gnawing a dead body.". HODHOUSE.)
And, roaming through the inarble waste, [This passage shows the force of Lord Byron's pencil.
Prates of beauty, art, and taste. JEFFREY.)
XIX. This tuft, or long lock, is left, from a superstition that
“ That Temple wis more in the midst of the plain; Blahomet will draw them into Paradise by it.
What of that shrine did yet remain * (Than the mangled corpse in its own blood lying. - G.] Lay to his leit
XIX. IIe sate him down at a pillar's base, And pass'd his hand athwart his face; Like one in dreary musing mood, Declining was his attitude ; His head was drooping on his breast, Fever'd, throbbing, and oppress'd : And o'er his brow, so downward bent, Oft his beating fingers went, Hurriedly, as you may see Your own run over the ivory key, Ere the measured tone is taken By the chords you would awaken. There he sate all heavily, As he heard the night-wind sigh. Was it the wind through some hollow stone, Sent that soft and tender moan ? ? He lifted his head, and he look'd on the sea, But it was unrippled as glass may be ; He look'd on the long grass -it waved not a blade; How was that gentle sound convey'd ? He look'd to the banners - each flag lay still, So did the leaves on Cithæron's hill, And he felt not a breath come over his cheek; What did that sudden sound bespeak ? He turn'd to the lett – is he sure of sight? There sate a lady, youthful and bright!
And ere yet she made reply,
“ And where shoud our bridal couch be spread ?
[From this, all is beautiful to
He saw not, he knew not; but nothing is there." GIPFORD.)
* I must here acknowledge a close, though unintentional, resemblance in these twelre lines to a passage in an unpub. lished poem of Mr. Coleridge, called “ Christabel." It was not till after these lines were written that I heard that wild and singularly original and beautiful poem recited; and the MS. of that production I never saw till very recently, by the kindness of Mr. Coleridge hiinself, who, I hope, is convinced that I have not been a wilful plagiarist. The original idea undoubtedly pertains to Mr. Coleridge, whose poem has been composed above fourteen years. Let me conclude by a hope that he will not longer delay the publication of a production, of which I can only add my mite of approbation to the applause
of far more competent judges. - [The following are the lines in * Christabel" which Lord Byron had unintentionally imi. tated :
“ The night is chill, the forest bare,
Is it the wind that moneth bleak ?
On the topmost twig that looks at the sky."] 3 [And its thrilling glance, &c. - GIPFORD.]
And her motionless lips lay still as death,
“ If not for love of me be given
Lifeless but life-like, and ever the same."- MS.) 3 [In the summer of 1803, when in his sixteenth year, Lord Byron, though offered a bed at Annesley, used at first to return every night to sleep at Newstead; alleging as a reason, that he was afraid of the family pictures of the Chaworths; that he fancied “they had taken a grudge to him on account of the duel." Mr. Moore thinks it may possibly have been the recollection of these pictures that suggested to him these lines.)
3 I have been told that the idea expressed in this and the fire following lines has been admired by those whose approbation is valuable. I am glad of it: but it is not original at least not mine ; it may be found much better expressed in pazes 182-3-4. of the English version of “ Vathek" (I forget the precise page of the French), a work to which I have before referred ; and never recur to, or read, without a reneral of gratification.-(The following is the passage :** Deludeu prince!' said the Genius, addressing the Caliph,
to whom Providence hath contided the care of innumerable subjects ; is it thus that thou fulfillest thy mission ? Thy crines are already complcted ; and art 'thou now hastening to thy punishment ? Thou knowest that bo
No-though that cloud were thunder's worst,
But thou art safe : oh, fly with me!"
Hark to the trump, and the drum,
come !" The horsetails 6 are pluck'd from the ground, and the sword
yond those mountains Eblis and his accursed dives hold their infernal empire ; and, seduced by a malignant phan. tom, thou art proceeding to surrender thyseli to them! This moment is the last of grace allowed thee : give back Nouronahar to her father, who still retains a few sparks of life : destroy thy tower with all its abominations : drive Carathis from thy councils : be just to thy subjects: respect the ministers of the prophet : compensate for thy impieties by an exemplary life; and, instead of squandering thy days in voluptuous indulgence, lament thy crimes on the sepulchres of thy ancestors. Thou beholdest the clouds that obscure the sun : at the instant be recovers his splendour, if thy heart be not changed, the time of mercy assigned thee will be past
anged, for ever.'
* [Leave out this couplet. - Giffond.]
5 (Strike out -“ And the Noon will look on a sultry day.” - G.] 6 The horsetails, fixed upon a lance, a pacha's standard. i Omit" tvhile your fellows on foot, in a ficry mass,
Bloodstain the breach through which they pass." -G.) B (And crush the wall they have shaken before. - G.]