« AnteriorContinuar »
She clapp'd her hands-and through the gallery pour,
Embark'd, the sail unfurl'd, the light breeze blew-
She watch'd his features till she could not bear
She wrongs his thoughts, they more himself upbraid
[I have added a section for Gulnare, to fill up the parting, and dismiss her more ceremoniously. If Mr. Gifford or
With light alacrity and gaze of pride,
They view him mount once more his vessel's side;
XVI. These greetings o'er, the feelings that o'erflow, Yet grieve to win him back without a blow; They sail'd prepared for vengeance-had they known A woman's hand secured that deed her own, She were their queen-less scrupulous are they Than haughty Conrad how they win their way. With many an asking smile, and wondering stare, They whisper round, and gaze upon Gulnare; And her, at once above-beneath her sex, Whom blood appall'd not, their regards perplex. To turns her faint imploring eye, She drops her veil, and stands in silence by; Her arms are meekly folded on that breast, Which Conrad safe-to fate resign'd the rest. Though worse than frenzy could that bosom fill, Extreme in love or hate, in good or ill,
The worst of crimes had left her woman still!
This Conrad mark'd, and felt-ah! could he less? 1-
But varying oft the colour of her cheek
That fearful spot which stain'd it from the dead!
XVIII. They gain by twilight's hour their lonely isle. To them the very rocks appear to smile;
you dislike, 'tis but a sponge and another midnight."- Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, Jan. 11. 1814.]
The haven hums with many a cheering sound,
The lights are high on beacon and from bower,
He reach'd his turret door- -he paused—no sound
He would not wait for that reviving ray-
He turn'd not-spoke not-sunk not-fix'd his look,
That death with gentler aspect wither'd there;
In the Levant it is the custom to strew flowers on the bodies of the dead, and in the hands of young persons to place
But the white shroud, and each extended tress,
He ask'd no question-all were answer'd now
By those, that deepest feel, is ill exprest
On Conrad's stricken soul exhaustion prest,
So feeble now-his mother's softness crept
His heart was form'd for softness-warp'd to wrong; ?
2 [These sixteen lines are not in the original MS.]
'Tis morn-to venture on his lonely hour
'Tis idle all-moons roll on moons away, And, Conrad comes not-came not since that day: Nor trace, nor tidings of his doom declare Where lives his grief, or perish'd his despair!
Lòng mourn'd his band whom none could mourn beside;
And fair the monument they gave his bride:
That the point of honour which is represented in one instance of Conrad's character has not been carried beyond the bounds of probability, may perhaps be in some degree confirmed by the following anecdote of a brother buccaneer in the year 1814:-" Our readers have all seen the account of the enterprise against the pirates of Barrataria; but few, we believe, were informed of the situation, history, or nature of that establishment. For the information of such as were unacquainted with it, we have procured from a friend the following interesting narrative of the main facts, of which he has personal knowledge, and which cannot fail to interest some of our readers. Barrataria is a ay, or a narrow arm of the Gulf of Mexico; it runs through a rich but very flat country, until it reaches within a mile of the Mississippi river, fifteen miles below the city of New Orleans. The bay has branches almost innumerable, in which persons can lie con. cealed from the severest scrutiny. It communicates with three lakes which lie on the south-west side, and these, with the lake of the same name, and which lies contiguous to the sea, where there is an island formed by the two arms of this lake and the sea The east and west points of this island were fortified, in the year 1811, by a band of pirates, under the command of one Monsieur La Fitte. A large majority of these outlaws are of that class of the population of the state of Louisiana who fled from the island of St. Domingo during the troubles there, and took refuge in the island of Cuba; and when the last war between France and Spain commenced, they were compelled to leave that island with the short notice of a few days. Without ceremony, they entered the United States, the most of them the state of Louisiana, with all the negroes they had possessed in Cuba. They were notified by the Governor of that State of the clause in the constitution which forbad the importation of slaves; but, at the same time, received the assurance of the Governor that he would obtain, if possible, the approbation of the General Government for their retaining this property. The island of Barrataria is situated about lat. 29 deg. 15 min., lon. 92. 30.; and is as remarkable for its health as for the superior scale and shell fish with which its waters abound. The chief of this horde, like Charles de Moor, had mixed with his many vices some virtues. In the year 1813, this party had, from its turpitude and boldness, claimed the attention of the Governor of Louisiana; and to break up the establishment, he thought proper to strike at the head. He therefore offered a reward of 500 dollars for the head of Monsieur La Fitte, who was well known to the inhabitants of the city of New Orleans, from his immediate connection, and his once having been a fencingmaster in that city of great reputation, which art he learnt in Buonaparte's army, where he was a captain. The reward which was offered by the Governor for the head of La Fitte was answered by the offer of a reward from the latter of 15,000 for the head of the Governor. The Governor ordered out a company to march from the city to La Fitte's island, and to burn and destroy all the property, and to bring to the city of New Orleans all his banditti. This company, under the command of a man who had been the intimate associate of this bold Captain, approached very near to the fortified island, before he saw a inan, or heard a sound, until he heard a whistle, not unlike a boatswain's call. Then it was he found himself surrounded by armed men who had emerged from the secret avenues which led into Bayou. Here it was that the modern Charles de Moor developed his few noble traits; for to this man who had come to destroy his life and all that was dear to him, he not only spared his life, but of fered him that which would have made the honest soldier easy for the remainder of his days; which was indignantly refused. Ile then, with the approbation of his captor, returned to the city. This circumstance, and some concomitant events, proved that this band of pirates was not to be taken by land. Our naval force having always been small in that quarter, exertions for the destruction of this illicit establishment could not be expected from them until aug. mented; for an officer of the navy, with most of the gunboats on that station, had to retreat from an overwhelming force of La Fitte's. So soon as the augmentation of the
navy authorised an attack, one was made; the overthrow of this banditti has been the result; and now this almost invulnerable point and key to New Orleans is clear of an enemy, it is to be hoped the government will hold it by a strong military force."-American Newspaper.
In Noble's continuation of Granger's Biographical History there is a singular passage in his account of Archbishop Blackbourne; and as in some measure connected with the profession of the hero of the foregoing poem, I cannot resist the temptation of extracting it." There is something mysterious in the history and character of Dr. Blackbourne. The former is but imperfectly known; and report has even asserted he was a buccaneer; and that one of his brethren in that profession having asked, on his arrival in England, what had become of his old chum, Blackbourne, was answered, He is Archbishop of York. We are informed, that Blackbourne was installed sub-dean of Exeter in 1694, which office he resigned in 1702; but after his successor Lewis Barnet's death, in 1704, he regained it. In the following year he became dean; and in 1714, held with it the archdeanery of Cornwall. He was consecrated bishop of Exeter, February 24. 1716; and translated to York, November 28. 1724, as a reward, ac. cording to court scandal, for uniting George I. to the Duchess of Munster. This, however, appears to have been an unfounded calumny. As archbishop he behaved with great prudence, and was equally respectable as the guardian of the revenues of the see. Rumour whispered he retained the vices of his youth, and that a passion for the fair sex formed an item in the list of his weaknesses; but so far from being convicted by seventy witnesses, he does not appear to have been directly criminated by one. In short, I look upon these aspersions as the effects of mere malice. How is it possible a buccaneer should have been so good a scholar as Blackbourne certainly was? He who had so perfect a knowledge of the classics (particularly of the Greek tragedians), as to be able to read them with the same ease as he could Shakspeare, must have taken great pains to acquire the learned languages; and have had both leisure and good masters. But he was undoubtedly educated at Christ Church College, Oxford. He is allowed to have been a pleasant man: this, however, was turned against him by its being said, he gained more hearts than souls.'"
"The only voice that could soothe the passions of the savage (Alphonso III.) was that of an amiable and virtuous wife, the sole object of his love; the voice of Donna Isabella, the daughter of the Duke of Savoy, and the grand-daughter of Philip II. King of Spain. Her dying words sunk deep into his memory; his fierce spirit melted into tears; and after the last embrace, Alphonso retired into his chamber to bewail his irreparable loss, and to meditate on the vanity of human life.". Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works, vol. iii. p. 473.
2 [In "The Corsair," Lord Byron first felt himself at full liberty; and then all at once he shows the unbroken stream of his native eloquence, of rapid narrative, of vigorous and intense, yet unforced imagery, sentiment, and thought; of extraordinary elasticity, transparency, purity, ease, and harmony of language; of an arrangement of words, never trite, yet always simple and flowing;-in such a perfect expression of ideas, always impressive, generally pointed, frequently pas. sionate, and often new, that it is perspicuity itself, with not a superfluous word, and not a word out of its natural place. Sir E. BRYDGES. "The Corsair" is written in the regular heroic couplet, with a spirit, freedom, and variety of tone, of which, notwithstanding the example of Dryden, we scarcely believed that measure susceptible. It was yet to be proved that this, the most ponderous and stately verse in our language, could be accommodated to the variations of a tale of passion and of pity, and to all the breaks, starts, and transitions of an adventurous and dramatic narration. This experiment Lord Byron has made, with equal boldness and success; and has satisfied us, that the oldest and most respectable measure that is known amongst us, is at least as flexible as any other, and capable, in the hands of a master, of vibrations as strong and rapid as those of a lighter structure. - JEFFREY.]
THE Serfs are glad through Lara's wide domain,
The chief of Lara is return'd again :
A few days after he had put the finishing hand to the "Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte," Lord Byron adopted the most extraordinary resolution that, perhaps, ever entered into the mind of an author of any celebrity. Annoyed at the tone of disparagement in which his assailants -not content with blackening his moral and social character- now affected to speak of his genius, and somewhat mortified, there is reason to believe, by finding that his own friends dreaded the effects of constant publication on his ultimate fame, he came to the determination, not only to print no more in future, but to purchase back the whole of his past copyrights, and suppress every line he had ever written. With this view, on the 29th of April, he actually enclosed his publisher a draft for the money. "For all this," he said, "it might be as well to assign some reason: I have none to give, except my own caprice, and I do not consider the circumstance of consequence enough to require explanation." An appeal, however, from Mr. Murray, to his good-nature and considerateness, brought, in eight and forty hours, the following reply: "If your present note is serious, and it really would be inconvenient, there is an end of the matter: tear my draft, and go on as usual that I was perfectly serious, in wishing to suppress all future publication, is true; but certainly not to interfere with the convenience of others, and more particularly your
The following passages in his Diary depict the state of Lord Byron's mind at this period:-" Murray has had a letter from his brother bibliopole of Edinburgh, who says, he is lucky in having such a poet'-something as if one was a pack-horse, or ass, or any thing that is his; or like Mrs. Packwood, who replied to some inquiry after the Odes on Razors, Laws, sir, we keeps a poet." The same illustrious Edinburgh bookseller once sent an order for books, poesy, and cookery, with this agreeable postscript - The Harold and Cookery are much wanted. Such is fame! and, after all, quite as good as any other life in others' breath.' 'Tis much the same to divide purchasers with Hannah Glasse or Hannah More."-" March 17th, Redde the Quarrels of Authors,' a new work by that most entertaining and researching writer, D'Israeli. They seem to be an irritable set, and I wish myself well out of it. I'll not march through
With none to check and few to point in time
It skills not, boots not step by step to trace
And Lara left in youth his father-land;
Coventry with them, that 's flat.' What the devil had I to do with the scribbling? It is too late to inquire, and all regret is useless. But 'an it were to do again-I should write again, I suppose. Such is human nature, at least my share of it; though I shall think better of myself if I have sense to stop now. If I have a wife, and that wife has a son, I will bring up mine heir in the most anti-poetical way-make him a lawyer, or a pirate, or anything. But if he writes, too, I shall be sure he is none of mine, and will cut him off with a Bank token."" April 19. I will keep no further journal; and, to prevent me from returning, like a dog, to the vomit of memory, I tear out the remaining leaves of this volume. 'Oh fool! I shall go mad.'"
These extracts are from the Diary of March and April, 1814. Before the end of May he had begun the composition of "Lara," which has been almost universally considered as the continuation of "The Corsair." This poem was published anonymously in the following August, in the same volume with Mr. Rogers's elegant tale of "Jacqueline;" an unnatural and unintelligible conjunction, which, however, gave rise to some pretty good jokes. "I believe," says Lord Byron, in one of his letters, "I told you of Larry and Jacquy. A friend of mine- at least a friend of his-was reading said Larry and Jacquy in a Brighton coach. A passenger took up the book and queried as to the author. The proprietor said, 'there were two;'-to which the answer of the unknown was, Ay, ay, a joint concern, I suppose, summot like Sternhold and Hopkins.' Is not this excellent? I would not have missed the vile comparison' to have escaped being the Arcades ambo et cantare pares.'"]
2 The reader is apprised, that the name of Lara being Spanish, and no circumstance of local and natural description fixing the scene or hero of the poem to any country or age, the word Serf,' which could not be correctly applied to the lower classes in Spain, who were never vassals of the soil, has nevertheless been employed to designate the followers of our fictitious chieftain. [Lord Byron elsewhere intimates, that he meant Lara for a chief of the Morea.]
3 [Lord Byron's own tale is partly told in this sectionSIR WALTER SCOTT.]
But one is absent from the mouldering file, That now were welcome in that Gothic pile.
He comes at last in sudden loneliness,
And whence they know not, why they need not guess;
Of foreign aspect, and of tender age.
He lives, nor yet is past his manhood's prime, [time;
And they indeed were changed-'tis quickly seen,
1 [It is a remarkable property of the poetry of Lord Byron, that although his manner is frequently varied, although he appears to have assumed for an occasion the characteristic stanza and style of several contemporaries, yet not only is his poetry marked in every instance by the strongest cast of originality, but in some leading particulars, and especially in the character of his heroes, each story so closely resembled the other, that, managed by a writer of less power, the effect would have been an unpleasant monotony All, or almost all, his heroes have somewhat the attributes of Childe Harold :all, or almost all, have minds which seem at variance with their fortunes, and exhibit high and poignant feelings of pain. and pleasure; a keen sense of what is noble and honourable; and an equally keen susceptibility of injustice or injury, under the garb of stoicism or contempt of mankind. The strength of early passion, and the glow of youthful feeling, are uniformly painted as chilled or subdued by a train of early imprudences or of darker guit, and the sense of enjoyment tarnished, by too intimate an acquaintance with the vanity of human Wishes. These general attributes mark the stern features of all Lord Byron's heroes, from those which are shaded by the scalloped hat of the illustrious Pilgrim, to those which lurk under the turban of Alp the Renegade. It was reserved to him to present the same character on the public stage again
Not much he loved long question of the past,
Not unrejoiced to see him once again,
Warm was his welcome to the haunts of men;
And things more timid that beheld him near,
'Twas strange-in youth all action and all life,
In turn he tried- he ransack'd all below,
and again, varied only by the exertions of that powerful genius which, searching the springs of passion and of feeling in their innermost recesses, knew how to combine their operations, so that the interest was eternally varying, and never abated, although the most important personage of the drama retained the same lineaments. It will one day be considered as not the least remarkable literary phenomenon of this age, that during a period of four years, notwithstanding the quantity of distinguished poetical talent of which we may be permitted to boast, a single author - and he managing his pen with the careless and negligent ease of a man of quality, and choosing for his theme subjects so very similar, and personages bearing so close a resemblance to each other,- did, in despite of these circumstances, of the unamiable attributes with which he usually invested his heroes, and of the proverbial fickleness of the public, maintain the ascendency in their favour, which he had acquired by his first matured production. So, however, it indisputably has been.- SIR WALTER SCOTT.]
2 [This description of Lara, suddenly and unexpectedly returned from distant travels, and re-assuming his station in the society of his own country, has strong points of resemblance to the part which the author himself seemed occasionally to bear amid the scenes where the great mingle with the fair. SIR WALTER SCOTT.]