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XXIX.

Brief breathing-time! the turban'd host,
With added ranks and raging boast,
Press onwards with such strength and heat,
Their numbers balk their own retreat;
For narrow the way that led to the spot
Where still the Christians yielded not;
And the foremost, if fearful, may vainly try
Through the massy column to turn and fly:
They perforce must do or die.
They die ; but ere their eyes could close,
Avengers o'er their bodies rose;
Fresh and furious, fast they fill
The ranks unthinn'd, though slaughter'd still;
And faint the weary Christians wax
Before the still renew'd attacks :
And now the Othmans gain the gate;
Still resists its iron weight,
And still, all deadly aim'd and hot,
From
every

crevice comes the shot ;
From
every
shatter'd window

pour
The volleys of the sulphurous shower :
But the portal wavering grows and weak-
The iron yields, the hinges creak-
It bends—it falls—and all is o'er;
Lost Corinth may resist no more!

XXX.

Darkly, sternly, and all alone,
Minotti stood o'er the altar stone :
Madonna's face

upon

him shone, Painted in heavenly hues above, With

eyes of light and looks of love; And placed upon that holy shrine To fix our thoughts on things divine, When pictured there, we kneeling see Her and the boy-god on her knee, Smiling sweetly on each prayer To heaven, as if to waft it there. Still she smiled; even now she smiles, Though slaughter streams along her aisles : Minotti lifted his aged eye, And made the sign of a cross with a sigh, Then seized a torch which blazed thereby ; And still he stood, while, with steel and flame, Inward and onward the Mussulmans came,

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XXXI.

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The vaults beneath the mosaic stone
Contain'd the dead of ages gone ;
Their names were on the graven floor,
But now illegible with gore ;
The carved crests, and curious hues
The varied marble's veins diffuse,
Were smear'd and slippery-stain'd and strown
With broken swords, and helms o'erthrown:
There were dead above, and the dead below
Lay cold in

many a coffin'd
You might see them piled in sable state,
By a pale light through a gloomy grate:
But war had enter'd their dark caves,
And stored along the vaulted graves
Her sulphurous treasures, thickly spread
In masses by the fleshless dead;
Here, throughout the siege, had been
The Christians' chiefest magazine ;
To these a late-form'd train now led,
Minotti's last and stern resource
Against the foe's o'erwhelming force.

XXXII.

The foe came on, and remain
To strive, and those must strive in vain :
For lack of further lifes, to slake
The thirst of vengeance now awake,
With barbarous blows they gash the dead,
And lop the already lifeless head,
And fell the statues from their niche,
And spoil the shrines of offerings rich,
And from each other's rude hands wrest
The silver vessels saints had blest.
To the high altar on they go ;
Oh, but it made a glorious show!
On its table still behold
The cup of consecrated gold;
Massy and deep, a glittering prize,
Brightly it sparkles to plunderers' eyes :
That morn it held the holy wine,
Converted by Christ to his blood so divine,"
Which his worshippers drank at the break of day,
To shrive their souls ere they join'd in the fray.
Still a few drops within it lay ;
And round the sacred table glow
Twelve lofty lamps, in splendid row,

From the purest metal cast ;
A spoil—the richest, and the last.

XXXIII.

:

So near they came, the nearest stretch'd
To grasp the spoil he almost reach'd,

When old Minotti's hand
Touch'd with the torch the train

'Tis fired!
Spire, vaults, the shrine, the spoil, the slain,

The turban'd victors, the Christian band,
All that of living or dead remain,
Hurl'd on high with the shiver'd fane,

In one wild roar expired!
The shatter'd town--the walls thrown down
The waves a moment backwards bent-
The hills that shake, although unrent,

As if an earthquake pass'd—
The thousand shapeless things all driven
In cloud and flame athwart the heaven,

By that tremendous blast-
Proclaim'd the desperate conflict o'er
On that too long afflicted shore:
Up to the sky like rockets go
All that mingled there below :
Many a tall and goodly man,
Scorch'd and shrivell’d to a span,
When he fell to earth again,
Like a cinder strew'd the plain :
Down the ashes shower like rain ;
Some fell in the gulf, which received the sprinkles
With a thousand circling wrinkles ;
Some fell on the shore, but, far

away,
Scatter'd o'er the isthmus lay ;
Christian or Moslem, which be they?
Let their mothers see and say !
When in cradled rest they lay,
And each nursing mother smiled
On the sweet sleep of her child,
Little deem'd she such a day
Would rend those tender limbs

away.
Not the matrons that them bore
Could discern their offspring more;
That one moment left no trace
More of human form or face,
Save a scatter'd scalp or bone :
And down came blazing rafters, strown
Around, and many a falling stone,

Deeply dinted in the clay,
All blacken'd there and reeking lay.
All the living things that heard
That deadly earth-shock disappear'd :
The wild birds flew, the wild dogs fled,
And howling left the unburied dead;
The camels from their keepers broke ;
The distant steer forsook the yoke
The nearer steed plunged o'er the plain,
And burst his girth, and tore his rein ;
The bull-frog's note, from out the marsh,
Deep-mouth'd arose, and doubly harsh;
The wolves yell’d on the cavern'd hill,
Where echo roll'd in thunder still;
The jackal's troop, in gather'd cry,
Bay'd from afar complainingly,
With a mix'd and mournful sound,
Like crying babe and beaten hound:
With sudden wing and ruffled breast,
The eagle left his rocky nest,

And mounted nearer to the sun,

The clouds beneath him seem'd so dun; Their smoke assail'd his startled beak, And made him higher soar and shriek

Thus was Corinth lost and won !

10

NOTES.

Note 1. Page 266.

The Turcoman hath left his herd.
The life of the Turcomans is wandering and patriarchal: they dwell in tents.

Note 2. Page 267.

Coumourgi-he whose closing scene. Ali Coumourgi, the favourite of three sultans, and Grand Vizier to Achmet III., after recovering Peloponnesus from the Venetians, in one campaign, was mortally wounded in the next, against the Germans, at the battle of Peterwaradin (in the plain of Carlowitz), in Hungary, endeavouring to rally his guards. He died of his wounds next day. His last order was the decapitation of General Breuner, and some other German prisoners; and his last words, “Oh that I could thus serve all the Christian dogs!” a speech and act not unlike one of Caligula. He was a young man of great ambition and unbounded presumption : on being told that Prince Eugene, then opposed to him, “was a great general,” he said "I shall become a greater, and at his expense.”

Note 3. Page 273.

a

There shrinks no ebb in that tideless sea.

The reader need hardly be reminded that there are no perceptible tides in the Mediterranean.

Note 4. Page 274.

And their white tusks crunch'd o'er the whiter skull. This spectacle 1, have seen, such as described, beneath the wall of the Seraglio at Constantinople, in the little cavities worn by the Bosphorus in the rock, a narrow terrace of which projects between the wall and the water. I think the fact is also mentioned in Hobhouse's Travels. The bodies were probably those of some refractory Janizaries.

Note 5. Page 274.

And each scalp had a single long tuft of hair. This tuft, or long lock, is left from a superstition that Mahomet will draw them into paradise by it.

Note 6. Page 276. I must here acknowledge a close, though unintentional, resemblance in these twelve lines to a passage in an unpublished 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 himself, 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 no 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.

Note 7. Page 278.

There is a light cloud by the moon. I have been told that the idea expressed from lines 598 to 603 have been admired

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