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NOTES TO CANTO I.
Yes! sigh'd o'er Delphi's long deserted shrine.
THE little village of Castri stands partly on the site of Delphi. Along the path of the mountain, from Chrysso, are the remains of sepulchres hewn in and from the rock. "One," said the guide, "of a king who broke his neck hunting." His majesty had certainly chosen the fittest spot for such an achievement.
A little above Castri is a cave, supposed the Pythian, of immense depth; the upper part of it is paved, and now a cow-house.
On the other side of Castri stands a Greek monastery; some way above which is the cleft in the rock, with a range of caverns difficult of ascent, and apparently leading to the interior of the mountain; probably to the Corycian Cavern mentioned by Pausanias. From this part descend the fountain and the "Dews of Castalie."
And rest ye at our Lady's house of woe."
Stanza xx. line 4.
The Convent of "Our Lady of Punishment," Nossa Señora de Pena*, on the summit of the rock. Below, at some
*Since the publication of this poem, I have been informed of the misapprehension of the term Nossa Señora de Pena. It was owing to the want of the tilde, or mark over the ñ, which alters the signification of the word: with it, Peña 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.
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.
Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life. Stanza xxi. line last.
It is a well known fact, that in the year 1809 the assassinations in the streets of Lisbon and its vicinity were not confined 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 average nightly, and not a Sicilian or Maltese is ever punished!
Behold the hall where chiefs were late convened!
Stanza xxiv. line 1.
The Convention of Cintra was signed in the palace of the Marchese Marialva. 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 baffled an enemy who never retreated before his predecessors.
Yet Mafra shall one moment claim delay.
Stanza xxix. line 1.
The extent of Mafra is prodigious; it contains a palace, 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 correspondent to their splendour. Mafra is termed the Escurial
Well doth the Spanish hind the difference know
"Twixt him and Lusian slave, the lowest of the low. Stanza xxxiii. lines 8 and 9.
As I found the Portuguese, so I have characterized them. That they are since improved, at least in courage, is evident.
When Cava's traitor-sire first call'd the band
That dyed thy mountain streams with Gothic gore.
Stanza xxxv. lines 3 and 4.
Count Julian's daughter, the Helen of Spain. 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.
No! as he speeds, he chants, "Viva el Rey!"
Stanza xlviii. line 5.
"Viva 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. Godoy, the Principe de la Paz, was born at Badajoz, on the frontiers of Portugal, and was originally in the ranks of the Spanish Guards, till 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.
Bears in his cap the badge of crimson hue,
Which tells you whom to shun and whom to greet.
Stanza 1. lines 2 and 3.
The red cockade, with " Fernando Septimo" in the centre.
The ball-piled pyramid, the ever-blazing match.
All who have seen a battery will recollect the pyramidal form in which shot and shells are piled. The Sierra Morena was fortified in every defile through which I passed in my way to Seville.
Foil'd by a woman's hand, before a batter'd wall.
Stanza Ivi. line last.
Such were the exploits of the Maid of Saragoza. the author was at Seville she walked daily on the Prado, decorated with medals and orders, by command of the Junta.
The seal Love's dimpling finger hath impress'd
Denotes how soft that chin which bears his touch.
Stanza lviii. lines 1 and 2.
"Sigilla in mento impressa Amoris digitulo
Oh, thou Parnassus!
Stanza lx. line 1.
These stanzas were written in Castri (Delphos), at the foot of Parnassus, now called Alanuga-Liakura.
Fair is proud Seville; let her country boast
Her strength, her wealth, her site of ancient days.
Stanza lxv. lines 1 and 2.
Seville was the Hispalis of the Romans.
Ask ye, Baotian shades! the reason why?
Stanza Ixx. line 5.
This was written at Thebes, and consequently in the best
situation for asking and answering such a question; not as the birthplace of Pindar, but as the capital of Boeotia, where the first riddle was propounded and solved.
Some bitter o'er the flowers its bubbling venom flings.
"Medio de fonte leporum
Surgit amari aliquid quod in ipsis floribus angat."
A traitor only fell beneath the feud.
Stanza lxxxv. line 7.
Alluding to the conduct and death of Solano, the Governor of Cadiz.
"War even to the knife!"
Stanza Ixxxvi. line last.
"War to the knife." Palafox's answer to the French general at the siege of Saragoza.
And thou, my friend! &c.
Stanza xci. line 1.
The Honourable I*. W**. of the Guards, who died of a fever at Coimbra. I had known him ten years, the better half of his life, and the happiest part of mine.
In the short space of one month I have lost her who gave me being, and most of those who had made that being tolerable. To me the lines of Young are no fiction:
"Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?
Thy shaft flew thrice, and thrice my peace was slain,