« 上一頁繼續 »
which was very disagreeable to the taste. We laboured all next day against the stream, and fared as we had done the day before. The next day brought us to the carrying place. Here was plenty of wood, but nothing to be got for sustenance. We passed this night as we had frequently done, under a tree; but what we suffered at this time is not easy to be expressed. I had been three days at the oar, without any kind of nourishment except the wretched root above mentioned. I had no shirt, for it had rotted off by bits. All my clothes consisted of a short grieko, (something like a bear-skin,) a piece of red cloth which had once been a waistcoat, and a ragged pair of trowsers, without shoes or stockings."
Note (b.) A Briton and a friend. Don Patricio Gedd, a Scotch physician in one of the Spanish settlements, hospitably relieved Byron and his wretched associates, of which the Commodore speaks in the warmest terms of gratitude. Note (c.) Or yield the lyre of heaven another string
The seven strings of Apollo's harp were the symbolical representation of the seven planets. Herschel, by discovering an eighth, might be said to add another string to the instrument. Note (d.) The Swedish sage.
Linnæus. Note (e.) Deep from his vaults the Loxian murmurs flow.
Loxias is a name frequently given to Apollo by Greek writers: it is met with more than once in the Chophoræ of Æschylus. Note (f.) Unlocks a generous store at thy command,
Like Horco's rock beneath the prophet's hand. See Exodus, chap. xvii. 3, 5, 6.
Note (i.) Wild Obi flies. Among the negroes of the West Indies, Obi or Obiah is the name of a magical power, which is believed by them to affect the object of its malignity with dismal calamities. Such a belief must undoubtedly have been deduced from the superstitious mythology of their kinsmen on the coast of Africa. I have therefore personified Obi as the evil spirit of the African, although the history of the African tribes mentions the evil spirit of their religious creed by a different appellation.
Note (8.) Sibir's dreary mines. Mr. Bell of Antermony, in his travels through Siberia, informs us that the name of the country is universally pronounced Sibir by the Russians. Note (h.) Presaging wrath to Poland—and to man !
The history of the partition of Poland, of the massacre in the suburbs of Warsaw, and on the bridge of Prague, the triumphant entry of Suwarrow into the Polish capital, and insult offered to human nature, by the blasphemous thanks offered up to Heaven, for victories obtained over men fighting in the sacred cause of liberty, by murderers and oppressors, are events generally known.
Note (k.). The shrill horn blew. The negroes in the West Indies are summoned to their morning work by a shell or a horn. Note (1) How long was Timour's iron sceptre swayed ?
To elucidate this passage, I shall subjoin a quotation from the Preface to letters from a Hindoo Rajah, a work of elegance and celebrity.
“ The impostor of Mecca had established, as one of the principles of his doctrine, the merit of extending it, either by persuasion, or the sword, to all parts of the earth. How steadily this injunction was adhered to by his followers, and with what success it was pursued, is well known to all who are in the least conversant in history.
“The same overwhelming torrent, which had inundated the greater part of Africa, burst its way into the very heart of Europe, and covered many kingdoms of Asia with unbounded desolation, directed its baleful course to the flourishing provinces of Hindostan. Here these fierce and hardy adventurers, whose only improvement had been in the science of destruction, who added the fury of fanaticism to the ravages of war, found the great end of their conquests opposed by objects which neither the ardour of their persevering zeal, nor savage barbarity could surmount. Multitudes were sacrificed by the cruel hand of religious persecution, and whole countries were deluged in blood, in the vain hope, that by the destruction of a part, the remainder
might be persuaded, or terrified, into the profession of Mabomedanism; but all these sanguinary efforts were ineffectual ; and at length, being fully convinced, that though they might extirpate, they could never hope to convert any number of the Hindoos, they relinquished the impracticable idea, with which they had entered upon
their career of conquest, and contented themselves with the acquirement of the civil dominion and almost universal empire of Hindostan.”
Letters from a Hindoo Rajah, by Eliza Hamiltor.. Note (m.) And braved the stormy spirit of the Cape.
See the description of the Cape of Good Hope, translated from Camoens, by Mickle. Note (n.) While famished nations died along the shore.
The following account of the British conduct, and its consequences, in Bengal, will afford a sufficient idea of the fact alluded to in this passage. After describing the monopoly of salt, betel nut, and tobacco, the historian proceeds thus :—“Money in this current came but by drops; it could not quench the thirst of those who waited in India to receive it. An expedient, such as it was, remained to quicken its pace. The natives could live with little salt, but could not want food. Some of the agents saw themselves well situated for collecting the rice into stores : they did so. They knew the Gentoos would rather die than violate the principles of their religion by eating flesh. The alternative would therefore be between giving what they had or dying. The inhabitants sunk ;—they that cultivated the land, and saw the harvest at the disposal of others, planted in doubtscarcity ensued. Then the monopoly was easier managed --sickness ensued. In some districts the languid living lest the bodies of their numerous dead unburied.”
Short History of English Transactions in the
East Indics, Note (0.) Nine times hath Brama's wheels of lightning
hurled His awful presence o'er the prostrate world! Among the sublime fictions of the Hindoo mythology, it is one article of belief, that the Deity Brama has descended nine times upon the world in various forms, and
that he is yet to appear a tenth time, in the figure of a warrior upon a white horse, to cut off all incorrigible offenders. Āvater is the word used to express his descent.
Note (P.) And Camdeo bright, and Ganesa sublime.
Camdeo is the God of Love in the mythology of the Hindoos. Ganesa and Seriswattee correspond to the Pagan deities Janus and Minerva.
PLEASURES OF HOPE.
Note (a.) The noon of Manhood to a myrtle shade ! Sacred to Venus is the myrtle shade.-Dryden.
Note (6.) Thy woes, Arion ! Falconer in bis poem, The Shipwreck, speaks of himself by the name of Arion.—See Falconer's Shipwreck, Canto III.
Note (c.) The robber Moor. See Schiller's tragedy of the Robbers, scene v. Note (d.) What millions died that Cæsar might be great.
The carnage occasioned by the wars of Julius Cæsar has been usually estimated at two millions of men. Note (e.) Or learn the fate that bleeding thousands bore,
Marched by their Charles to Dneiper's swampy
shore. In this extremity, (says the biographer of Charles XII. of Sweden, speaking of his military exploits before the battle of Pultowa,) the memorable winter of 1709, which was still more remarkable in that part of Europe than in France, destroyed numbers of his troops : for Charles resolved to brave the seasons as he bad done
his enemies, and ventured to make long marches during this mortal cold. It was in one of these marches that two thousand men fell down dead with cold before his eyes.
Note (f.) As on Iona's height. The natives of the island of Iona have an opinion, that on certain evenings every year, the tutelary saint Columba is seen on the top of the church spires counting the surrounding islands, to see that they have not been sunk by the power of witchcraft.
Note (8.) And part, like Ajut-never to return ! See the history of Ajut and Anningait in the Rambler.
GERTRUDE OF WYOMING.
Stanza 3. I. 6.
From merry mock-bird's song. The mocking bird is of the form, but larger, than the thrush; and the colours are a mixture of black, white,
What is said of the nightingale, by its greatest admirers, is, what may with more propriety apply to this bird, who, in a natural state, sings with very superior taste. Towards evening I have heard one begin softly, reserving its breath to swell certain notes, which, by this means, had a most astonishing effect. A gentleman in London had one of these birds for six
years. During the space of a minute he was heard to imitate the woodlark, chaffinch, blackbird, thrush, and sparrow. In this country (America) I have frequently known the mockingbirds so engaged in this mimickry, that it was with much difficulty I could ever obtain an opportunity of hearing their own natural note.