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Note 31. Page 242.
His calpac rent-his caftan red.
The "Calpac" is the solid cap or centre part of the head-dress; the shawl is wound round it, and forms the turban.
Note 32. Page 242.
A turban carved in coarsest stone.
The turban, pillar, and inscriptive verse, decorate the tombs of the Osmanlies, whether in the cemetery or the wilderness. In the mountains you frequently pass similar mementos; and, on inquiry, you are informed that they record some victim of rebellion, plunder, or revenge.
Note 33. Page 243.
At solemn sound of "Alla Hu!"
"Alla Hu!" the concluding words of the Muezzin's call to prayer from the highest gallery on the exterior of the minaret. On a still evening, when the Muezzin has a fine voice, which is frequently the case, the effect is solemn and beautiful beyond all the bells in Christendom.
Note 34. Page 243.
They come their kerchiefs green they wave.
The following is part of a battle-song of the Turks :-"I see-I see a dark-eyed girl of Paradise, and she waves a handkerchief, a kerchief of green; and cries aloud, Come, kiss me, for I love thee," &c.
Note 35. Page 243.
Beneath avenging Monkir's scythe.
Monkir and Nekir are the inquisitors of the dead, before whom the corpse undergoes a slight noviciate and preparatory training for damnation. If the answers are none of the clearest, he is hauled up with a scythe and thumped down with a red-hot mace till properly seasoned, with a variety of subsidiary probations. The office of these angels is no sinecure; there are but two, and the number of orthodox deceased being in a small proportion to the remainder, their hands are always full.
Note 36. Page 243.
To wander round lost Eblis' throne.
Eblis, the Oriental Prince of Darkness.
Note 37. Page 244.
But first, on earth as vampire sent.
The Vampire superstition is still general in the Levant. Honest Tournefort tells a long story, which Mr. Southey, in his notes on Thalaba, quotes, about these "Vroucolochas," as he calls them. The Romaic term is "Vardoulacha." I recollect a whole family being terrified by the scream of a child, which they imagined must proceed from such a visitation. The Greeks never mention the word without horror. I find that "Broucolokas" is an old legitimate Hellenic appellation—at least is so applied to Arsenius, who, according to the Greeks, was after his death animated by the Devil. The moderns, however, use the word I mention.
Note 38. Page 244.
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip.
The freshness of the face, and the wetness of the lip with blood, are the neverfailing signs of a Vampire. The stories told in Hungary and Greece of these foul feeders are singular, and some of them most incredibly attested.
Note 39. Page 247.
It is as if the desert-bird.
The pelican is, I believe, the bird so libelled, by the imputation of feeding her chickens with her blood.
Note 40. Page 250.
Deep in whose darkly boding ear.
This superstition of a second-hearing (for I never met with downright second
sight in the East) fell once under my own observation.-On my third journey to Cape Colonna early in 1811, as we passed through the defile that leads from the hamlet between Keratia and Colonna, I observed Dervish Tahiri riding rather out of the path, and leaning his head upon his hand as if in pain. I rode up and inquired. "We are in peril," he answered. "What peril? we are not now in Albania, nor in the passes to Ephesus, Messalunghi, or Lepanto; there are plenty of us, well armed, and the Choriates have not courage to be thieves."-"True, Affendi; but nevertheless the shot is ringing in my ears."-"The shot!-not a tophaike has been fired this morning.”—“I hear it notwithstanding-Bom-Bomas plainly as I hear your voice."—" Psha.”—“ As you please, Affendi; if it is written, so will it be."-I left this quick-eared predestinarian, and rode up to Basili, his Christian compatriot, whose ears, though not at all prophetic, by no means relished the intelligence. We all arrived at Colonna, remained some hours, and returned leisurely, saying a variety of brilliant things, in more languages than spoiled the building of Babel, upon the mistaken seer; Romaic, Arnaout, Turkish, Italian, and English were all exercised, in various conceits upon the unfortunate Mussulman. While we were contemplating the beautiful prospect, Dervish was occupied about the columns. I thought he was deranged into an antiquarian, and asked him if he had become a "Palaocastro" man: "No," said he, "but these pillars will be useful in making a stand;" and added other remarks, which at least evinced his own belief in his troublesome faculty of fore-hearing. On our return to Athens, we heard from Leoné (a prisoner set ashore some days after) of the intended attack of the Mainotes, mentioned, with the cause of its not taking place, in the notes to Childe Harold, Canto 2d. I was at some pains to question the man, and he described the dresses, arms, and marks of the horses of our party so accurately, that, with other circumstances, we could not doubt of his having been in "villanous company," and ourselves in a bad neighbourhood. Dervish became a soothsayer for life, and I dare say is now hearing more musketry than ever will be fired, to the great refreshment of the Arnaouts of Berat, and his native mountains. -I shall mention one trait more of this singular race. In March 1811, a remarkably stout and active Arnaout came (I believe the 50th on the same errand) to offer himself as an attendant, which was declined: "Well, Affendi," quoth he, "may you live!-you would have found me useful. I shall leave the town for the hills tomorrow; in the winter I return, perhaps you will then receive me."-Dervish, who was present, remarked, as a thing of course, and of no consequence," in the mean time he will join the Klephtes" (robbers), which was true to the letter.—If not cut off, they come down in the winter, and pass it unmolested in some town, where they are often as well known as their exploits.
Note 41. Page 253.
Looks not to priesthood for relief.
The monk's sermon is omitted. It seems to have had so little effect upon the patient, that it could have no hopes from the reader. It may be sufficient to say, that it was of a customary length (as may be perceived from the interruptions and uneasiness of the penitent), and was delivered in the nasal tone of all orthodox preachers.
Note 42. Page 254.
Note 43. Page 256.
The circumstance to which the above story relates was not very uncommon in Turkey. A few years ago, the wife of Muchtar Pacha complained to his father of his son's supposed infidelity; he asked with whom, and she had the barbarity to give in a list of the twelve handsomest women in Yanina. They were seized, fastened up in sacks, and drowned in the lake the same night! One of the guards who was present informed me, that not one of the victims uttered a cry, or showed a symptom of terror at so sudden a "wrench from all we know, from all we love."
The fate of Phrosine, the fairest of this sacrifice, is the subject of many a Romaic and Arnaout ditty. The story in the text is one told of a young Venetian many years ago, and now nearly forgotten. I heard it by accident recited by one of the coffee-house story-tellers who abound in the Levant, and sing or recite their narratives. The additions and interpolations by the translator will be easily distinguished from the rest by the want of Eastern imagery; and I regret that my memory has retained so few fragments of the original.
For the contents of some of the notes I am indebted partly to D'Herbelot, and partly to that most eastern, and, as Mr. Weber justly entitles it, "sublime tale," the "Caliph Vathek." I do not know from what source the author of that singular volume may have drawn his materials; some of his incidents are to be found in the Bibliothèque Orientale;" but for correctness of costume, beauty of description, and power of imagination, it far surpasses all European imitations; and bears such marks of originality, that those who have visited the East will find some difficulty in believing it to be more than a translation. As an Eastern tale, even Rasselas must bow before it; his "Happy Valley" will not bear a comparison with the "Hall of Eblis."
SIEGE OF CORINTH.
TO JOHN CAM HOBHOUSE, ESQ.
THIS POEM IS INSCRIBED,
BY HIS FRIEND.
January 22, 1816.
"The grand army of the Turks (in 1715), under the Prime Vizier, to open to themselves a way into the heart of the Morea, and to form the siege of Napoli di Romania, the most considerable place in all that country, thought it best, in the first place, to attack Corinth, upon which they made several storms. The garrison being weakened, and the governor seeing it was impossible to hold out against so mighty a force, thought it fit to beat a parley: but while they were treating about-the articles, one of the magazines in the Turkish camp, wherein they had six hundred barrels of powder, blew up by accident, whereby six or seven hundred men were killed: which so enraged the infidels, that they would not grant any capitulation, but stormed the place with so much fury, that they took it, and put most of the garrison, with Signor Minotti, the governor, to the sword. The rest, with Antonio Bembo, proveditor extraordinary, were made prisoners of war."History of the Turks, vol. iii. p. 151.
* Napoli di Romania is not now the most considerable place in the Morea, but Tripolitza, where the Pacha resides, and maintains his government. Napoli is near Argos. I visited all three in 1810-11; and in the course of journeying through the country, from my first arrival in 1809, I crossed the Isthmus eight times, in my way from Attica to the Morea, over the mountains, or in the other direction, when passing from the Gulf of Athens to that of Lepanto. Both the routes are picturesque and beautiful, though very different: that by sea has more sameness, but the voyage, being always within sight of land, and often very near it, presents many attractive views of the islands Salamis, Egina, Poro, etc. and the coast of the continent.