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LINES WRITTEN IN AN ALBUM, AT MALTA.
As o'er the cold sepulchral stone
Some name arrests the passer-by;
Perchance in some succeeding year,
And think my heart is buried here.
TO FLORENCE. (1).
OH, Lady! when I left the shore,
The distant shore which gave me birth, I hardly thought to grieve once more, To quit another spot on earth: Yet here, amidst this barren isle,
Where panting Nature droops the head, Where only thou art seen to smile,
I view my parting hour with dread. Though far from Albin's craggy shore,
Divided by the dark-blue main ; A few, brief, rolling seasons o'er,
Perchance I view her cliffs again; But wheresoe'er I now may roam, Though scorching clime, and varied sea, Though Time restore me to my home,
I ne'er shall bend mine eyes on thee:
On thee, in whom at once conspire
All charms which heedless hearts can move, Whom but to see is to admire,
And, oh! forgive the word-to love.
Forgive the word, in one who ne'er
With such a word can more offend; And since thy heart I cannot share, Believe me, what I am, thy friend.
no apple but what was sour as a crab; and thus ends my first chapter."-E.
(1) These lines were written at Malta. The lady to whom they were addressed, and whom be afterwards apostrophises in the stanzas on the thunder-storm of Zitza, and in Childe Harold, is thus mentioned in a letter to his mother:-"This letter is committed to the charge of a very extraordinary lady, whom you have doubtless heard of, Mrs. Spencer Smith, of whose escape the Marquis de Salvo published a narrative a few years ago. She has since been shipwrecked; and her life has been from its commencement so fertile in remarkable incidents, that in a romance they would appear improbable. She was born at Constantinople, where her father, Baron Herbert, was Austrian ambassador; married unhappily, yet has never been impeached in point of character; excited the vengeance of Bonaparte, by taking a part in some conspiracy; several times risked her life; and is not yet five-and-twenty. She is bere on her way to England to join her husband, being obliged to leave Trieste, where sh was paying a visit to her mother, by the approach of the French, and embarks soon in a ship of war. Since my arrival here I have bad scarcely any other companion. I have found her very
And who so cold as look on thee,
Ah! who would think that form had pass'd
Where free Byzantium once arose, And Stamboul's Oriental halls
The Turkish tyrants now enclose; Though mightiest, in the lists of fame, That glorious city still shall be; On me 'twill hold a dearer claim,
As spot of thy nativity:
And, though I bid thee now farewell,
When I behold that wondrous scene, Since where thou art I may not dwell, 'T will soothe to be where thou hast been. September, 1809.
COMPOSED DURING A THUNDER-STORM. (2)
Our guides are gone, our hope is lost,
But show where rocks our path have cross'd,
Is yon a cot I saw, though low?
When lightning broke the gloomHow welcome were its shade!-ah, no!
'T is but a Turkish tomb.
pretty, very accomplished, and extremely eccentric. Bonaparte is even now so incensed against her, that her life would be in danger if she were taken prisoner a second time."-E.
(2) This thunder-storm occurred during the night of the 11th October, 1809, when Lord Byron's guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called Pindus, in Albania. Mr. Hobhouse, who had rode on before the rest of the party, and arrived at Zitza just as the evening set in, describes the thunder as "roaring without intermission, the echoes of one peal not ceasing to roll in the mountains, before another tre mendous crash burst over our heads; whilst the plains and the "The tempest," distant hills appeared in a perpetual blaze." he says, "was altogether terrific, and worthy of the Grecian Jove. My friend, with the priest and the servants, did not enter our hut till three in the morning. I now learnt from him that they had lost their way, and that, after wandering up and down in total ignorance of their position, they had stopped at last near some Turkish tomb-stones and a torrent, which they say by the flashes of lightning. They had been thus exposed for nine hours. It was long before we ceased to talk of the thunderstorm in the plain of Zitza.”—E
Again thou 'lt smile, and blushing shun
Some coxcomb's raillery;
Who ever thinks on thee.
When sever'd hearts repine,
And mourns in search of thine.
WRITTEN IN PASSING THE AMBRACIAN GULF.
Through sounds of foaming waterfalls,
I hear a voice exclaim-
On distant England's name?
Another-'t is to tell
And lead us where they dwell.
To tempt the wilderness ?
Our signal of distress ?
To try the dubious road,
That outlaws were abroad?
More fiercely pours the storm!
To keep my bosom warm.
O'er brake and cragey brow; While elements exhaust their wrath,
Sweet Florence, where art thou ? Not on the sea, not on the sea
Thy bark hath long been gone: Oh, may the storm that pours on me
Bow down my head alone!
When last I press’d thy lip;
Impell’d thy gallant ship.
Hast trod the shore of Spain;
Should linger on the main. And since I now remember thee
In darkness and in dread, As in those hours of revelry
Which mirth and music sped;
If Cadiz yet be free,
Look o'er the dark blue sea;
Endear'd by days gone by;
To me a single sigh.
The paleness of thy face,
Of melancholy grace,
THROUGH cloudless skies, in silvery sheen,
Full beams the moon on Actium's coast: And on these waves, for Egypt's queen,
The ancient world was won and lost. And now upon the scene I look,
The azure grave of many a Roman; The stern Ambition once forsook
His wavering crown to follow woman. Florence! whom I will love as well
As ever yet was said or sung (Since Orpheus sang his spouse from hell),
Whilst thou art fair and I am young; Sweet Florence! those were pleasant times, When worlds were staked for ladies'
eyes : Had bards as many realms as rhymes,
Thy charms might raise new Antonies.
Yet, by thine eyes and ringlets curld!
November 14, 1809.
THE SPELL IS BROKE, THE CHARM IS
WRITTEN AT ATHENS, JANUARY 16, 1810.
The spell is broke, the charm is flown!
Thus is it with life's fitful fever: We madly smile when we should groan;
Delirium is our best deceiver. Each lucid interval of thought
Recalls the woes of Nature's charter, And he that acts as wise men ought,
But lives, as saints have died, a martyr.
WRITTEN AFTER SWIMMING FROM SESTOS
TO ABYDOS. (1)
Leander, who was nightly wont
(1) On the 3d of May, 1810, while the Salselte (Captain of that frigate, and the writer of these rhymes, swam from this Bathurst) was lying in the Dardanelles, Lieutenant Ekenhead, European shore to the Asiatic-by the by, from Abydos lo Series
(What maid will not the tale remember ?)
He sped to Hero, nothing loth,
And think I've done a feat to-day.
According to the doubtful story,
'T were hard to say who fared the best:
For he was drown'd, and I've the ague.(1)
LINES IN THE TRAVELLERS' BOOK AT
IN THIS BOOK A TRAVELLER HAD WRITTEN:
"FAIR Albion, smiling, sees her son depart
BENEATH WHICH LORD BYRON INSERTED THE
THE modest bard, like many a bard unknown,
(1) "My companion had before made a more perilous, bat a less celebrated passage; for I recollect that, when we were in Portugal, he swam from Old Lisbon to Belem Castle, and having to contend with a tide and counter current, the wind blowing freshly, was but little less than two hours in crossing." -Hobhouse.
PARAPHRASE FROM THE OPENING LINES
On how I wish that an embargo
YOUTH, Nature, and relenting Jove,
He beat all three-and blew it out.
SUBSTITUTE FOR AN EPITAPH.
KIND Reader! take your choice to cry or laugh;
would have been more correct. The whole distance, from the him so remarkably into his maturer years, and which, while it place whence we started to our landing on the other side, includ-puzzled distant observers of his conduct, was not among the ing the length we were carried by the current, was computed least amusing or attaching of his particularities to those who by those on board the frigate at upwards of four English miles; knew him intimately. So late as eleven years from the period, though the actual breadth is barely one. The rapidity of the when some sceptical traveller ventured to question, after all, current is such that no boat can row directly across, and it may, the practicability of Leander's exploit, Lord Byron, with that in some measure, be estimated from the circumstance of the jealousy on the subject of his own personal prowess which he whole distance being accomplished by one of the parties in an retained from boyhood, entered again with fresh zeal into the hour and five, and by the other in an hour and ten, minutes. discussion, and brought forward two or three other instances of The water was extremely cold, from the melting of the mountain his own feats in swimming to corroborate the statement ori snows. About three weeks before, in April, we had made anginally made by him. attempt; but, having ridden all the way from the Troad the same morning, and the water being of an icy chillness, we found it necessary to postpone the completion till the frigate anchored below the castles, when we swam the straits, as just stated: entering a considerable way above the European, and landing below the Asiatic, fort. Chevalier says that a young Jew swam the same distance for his mistress; and Oliver mentions its having been done by a Neapolitan; but our consul, Tarragona, remembered neither of these circumstances, and tried to dissuade us from the attempt. A number of the Salsette's crew were known to have accomplished a greater distance; and the only thing that surprised me was, that, as doubts had been entertained of the truth of Leander's story, no traveller had ever eudeavoured to ascertain its practicability.
"In the year 1808, he had been nearly drowned while swimming at Brighton with Mr. L. Stanhope. His friend, Mr. Hobhouse, and other by-standers, sent in some boatmen with ropes tied round them, who at last succeeded in dragging Lord Byron and Mr. Stanhope from the surf, and thus saved their lives."— Moore.
Lord Byron, on one occasion, swam across the Thames with Mr. H. Drury, after the Montem, to see how many times they could perform the passage backwards and forwards without touching land. In this trial (at night, after supper, when both were heated with drinking), Lord Byron was the conqueror.
(2) "At Orchomenus, where stood the Temple of the Graces, I was tempted to exclaim, Whither have the Graces Bled?' Little did I expect to find them here; yet here comes one of them with golden cups and coffee, and another with a book. The book is a register of names, some of which are far sounded by the voice of fame. Among them is Lord Byron's, connected with some lines which I here send you." H. W. Williams.—E. (5) "I have just escaped from a physician and a fever. The The exceeding pride which Byron took in the classic feat (of English consul forced a physician (Romanelli) upon me. In this swimming across the Hellespont) may be cited among the in-state I made my epitaph-take it." Letter to Mr. Hodgson, stances of that boyishness of character which he carried with Oct. 3, 1810.
With his three hundred waging
Expired in seas of blood.
Sons of Greeks, etc. (3)
TRANSLATION OF THE ROMAIC SONG,
Επαινῶ μὲς τὸ μεριβόλι, (4)
I ENTER thy garden of roses, (5)
Oh, lovely! thus low I implore thee,
Yet trembles for what it has sung.
But the loveliest garden grows hateful
When Love has abandon'd the bowers;
But when drunk to escape from thy malice,
My heart from these horrors to save:
As the chief who to combat advances
By pangs which a smile would dispel?
for a rising, which he and his comrades had for years been endeavouring to accomplish,; but he was given up by the Austrian government to the Turks, who vainly endeavoured by torture to force from him the names of the other conspirators.-E.
(4) The song from which this is taken is a great favourite with the young girls of Athens of all classes. Their manner of singing it is by verses in rotation, the whole number present joining in the chorus. I have heard it frequently at our "xópot" in the winter of 1810-11. The air is plaintive and pretty
(5) "National songs and popular works of amusement throw no small light on the manners of a people: they are materials which most travellers have within their reach, but which they almost always disdain to collect. Lord Byron has shown a better taste; and it is to be hoped that his example will, in future, be generally followed." George Ellis.
(1) Romaic expression of tenderness: If I translate it, I shall be said to be rather pensive. Their persons are elegant, and affront the gentlemen, as it may seem that I supposed they their manners pleasing and ladylike, such as would be fascinatcould not; and if I do not, I may affront the ladies. For fearing in any country. They possess very considerable powers of any misconstruction on the part of the latter, I shall do so, of conversation, and their minds seem to be more instructed begging pardon of the learned. It means, "My life, I love than those of the Greek women in general. With such attrac you!" which sounds very prettily in all languages, and is as much tions, it would, indeed, be remarkable, if they did not meet with in fashion in Greece at this day as, Juvenal tells us, the two first great attentions from the travellers who occasionally are resident words were amongst the Roman ladies, whose erotic expressions in Athens. They sit in the eastern style, a little reclined, with were all Hellenized. their limbs gathered under them on the divan, and without shoes. Their employments are the needle, tambouring, and reading."
(2) We copy the following interesting account of the Maid of Athens and her family from the late eminent artist, Mr. Hugh Williams of Edinburgh's Travels in Italy, Greece, etc.-"Our servant, who had gone before to procure accommodation, inet us at the gate, and conducted us to Theodora Macri, the Consulina's, where we at present live. This lady is the widow of the consul, and has three lovely daughters; the eldest, celebrated for her beauty, and said to be the Maid of Athens,' of Lord Byron. Their apartment is immediately opposite to ours, and, if you could see them, as we do now, through the gently-waving aromatic plants before our window, you would leave your heart in Athens.
Moore states that Byron, in making love to one of the three Athenian maidens, "had recourse to an act of courtship often practised in that country-namely, giving himself a wound across the breast with his dagger. The young Athenian, by his own account, looked on very coolly during the operation, considering it a fit tribute to her beauty, but in no degree moved to gratitude."
(3) In the East (where ladies are not taught to write, lest they should scribble assignations) flowers, cinders, pebbles, etc. convey the sentiments of the parties by that universal deputy of Mercury-an old woman. A cinder says, "I burn for thee;" a bunch of flowers tied with hair, "Take me and fly;" but a pebble declares-what nothing else can.
"Theresa, the Maid of Athens, Catinco, and Mariana, are of middle stature. On the crown of the head of each is a red Albanian skull-cap, with a blue tassel spread out and fastened down like a star. Near the edge or bottom of the skull-cap is a handkerchief of various colours bound round their temples. The youngest wears her hair loose, falling on her shoulders,-the hair behind descending down the back nearly to the waist, and, as usual, mixed with silk. The two eldest generally have their hair bound, and fastened under the handkerchief. Their upper robe is a pelisse edged with fur, hanging loose down to the ankles; below is a handkerchief of muslin covering the bosom, and terminating at the waist, which is short; under that, a gown of striped silk or muslin, with a gore round the swell of the loins, falling in front in graceful negligence;-white stockings and yellow slippers complete their attire. The two eldest have black, or dark, hair and eyes; their visage oval, and complexion some-tours, in collecting materials for those notices on the state of what pale, with teeth of dazzling whiteness. Their cheeks are modern Greece which are appended to the second canto of rounded, and noses straight, rather inclined to aquiline. The Childe Harold. In this retreat also he wrote Hints from Horace, youngest, Mariana, is very fair, her face not so finely rounded, The Curse of Minerva, and Remarks on the Romaic, or Mebut has a gayer expression than her sister's, whose countenances, dern Greek Language. He thus writes to his mother:-"AL except when the conversation has something of mirth in it, may present, I do not care to venture a winter's voyage, even if
(7) On the departure, in July, 1810, of his friend and fellowtraveller, Mr. Hobhouse, for England, Lord Byron fixed his head-quarters at Athens, where he had taken lodgings in a Franciscan convent; making occasional excursions through Attica and the Morea, and employing himself, in the interval of his
(5) These lines are copied from a leaf of the original MS. of the second canto of Childe Harold.-E.
(6) "The last two lines, though hardly intelligible as connected with the rest of the poem, may, taken separately, be interpreted as employing a sort of prophetic consciousness that it was out of the wreck and ruin of all his hopes the immortality of his name was to arise." Moore.