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He cannot curb his haughty mood, Nor I forgive a father's blood.
"Within thy father's house are foes;
His days, his very hours were few :
This tale, whose close is almost nigh:
And held that post in his Serai
Which holds he here- he saw him die : But what could single slavery do? Avenge his lord? alas! too late ; Or save his son from such a fate? He chose the last, and when elate
With foes subdued, or friends betray'd, Proud Giaffir in high triumph sate, He led me helpless to his gate,
And not in vain it seems essay'd To save the life for which he pray'd. The knowledge of my birth secured
From all and each, but most from me; Thus Giaffir's safety was ensured.
Removed he too from Roumelie
Far from our seats by Danube's tide,
But harsher still my tale must be :
And long must wear: this Galiongée,
Is leader of those pirate hordes,
Whose laws and lives are on their swords; To hear whose desolating tale Would make thy waning cheek more pale: Those arms thou see'st my band have brought, The hands that wield are not remote; This cup too for the rugged knaves
Is fill'd once quaff'd, they ne'er repine: Our prophet might forgive the slaves; They're only infidels in wine.
"What could I be? Proscribed at home,
1 The Turkish notions of almost all islands are confined to the Archipelago, the sea alluded to.
Lambro Canzani, a Greek, famous for his efforts in 178990, for the independence of his country. Abandoned by the Russians, he became a pirate, and the Archipelago was the
Though oft- Oh, Mahomet! how oft!-
Beneath inaction's sluggish yoke,
His captive, though with dread resigning,
The day when Giaffir's charge was o'er.
Convey'd me from this idle shore;
I sought by turns, and saw them all; ' But when and where I join'd the crew, With whom I'm pledg'd to rise or fall, When all that we design to do.
Is done, 't will then be time more meet To tell thee, when the tale's complete.
""Tis true, they are a lawless brood,
But rough in form, nor mild in mood;
But open speech, and ready hand,
Distinguish'd from the vulgar rank, But chiefly to my council call
The wisdom of the cautious FrankAnd some to higher thoughts aspire,
The last of Lambro's 2 patriots there
And oft around the cavern fire
On visionary schemes debate,
To snatch the Rayahs 3 from their fate.
scene of his enterprises. He is said to be still alive at Petersburg. He and Riga are the two most celebrated of the Greek revolutionists.
Rayahs," all who pay the capitation tax, called the "Haratch."
So let them ease their hearts with prate Of equal rights, which man ne'er knew; I have a love for freedom too. Ay let me like the ocean-Patriarch roam, Or only know on land the Tartar's home!? My tent on shore, my galley on the sea, Are more than cities and Serais to me: Borne by my steed, or wafted by my sail, Across the desert, or before the gale, Bound where thou wilt, my barb! or glide, my prow! But be the star that guides the wanderer, Thou! Thou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark; The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark 13 Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife, Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life! The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray ! 4 Blest as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's wall To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call; Soft as the melody of youthful days, That steals the trembling tear of speechless praise; Dear as his native song to Exile's ears, Shall sound each tone thy long-loved voice endears For thee in those bright isles is built a bower Blooming as Aden 5 in its earliest hour.
A thousand swords, with Selim's heart and hand, Wait-wave-defend-destroy-at thy command!
Girt by my band, Zuleika at my side,
1 The first of voyages is one of the few with which the Mussulmans profess much acquaintance.
2 The wandering life of the Arabs, Tartars, and Turkomans, will be found well detailed in any book of Eastern travels. That it possesses a charm peculiar to itself, cannot be denied. A young French renegado confessed to Chateaubriand, that he never found himself alone, galloping in the desert, without a sensation approaching to rapture, which was indescribable.
[Originally written thus
"And tints to-morrow with
3 [The longest, as well as most splendid, of those passages, with which the perusal of his own strains, during revision, inspired him, was that rich flow of eloquent feeling which follows the couplet, "Thou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark," &c.a strain of poetry, which, for energy and tenderness of thought, for music of versification, and selectness of diction, has, throughout the greater portion of it, but few rivals in either ancient or modern song. - MOORE.]
The following note being annexed:" Mr. Murray, choose which of the two epithets, fancied,' or 'airy,' may be best; or if neither will do, tell me, and I will dream another." In a subsequent letter, he says:-" Instead of
"And tints to-morrow with a fancied ray,
"And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray;
I like the rest must use my skill or strength,
To Love, whose deadliest bane is human Art:
5" Jannat al Aden," the perpetual abode, the Mussulman paradise.
6 [" You wanted some reflections; and I send you, per Selim, eighteen lines in decent couplets, of a pensive, if not an ethical, tendency. One more revise-positively the last, if decently done at any rate, the penultimate. Mr. Can. ning's approbation, I need not say, makes me proud. To make you some amends for eternally pestering you with alterations, I send you Cobbett, to confirm your orthodoxy." -Lord B. to Mr. Murray.]
7 [" Then if my lip once murmurs, it must be."- MS.]
[Mr. Canning's note was as follows:-"I received the books, and among them, the Bride of Abydos.' It is very, very beautiful. Lord Byron (when I met him, one day, at a dinner at Mr. Ward's) was so kind as to promise to give me a copy of it. I mention this, not to save my purchase, but because I should be really flattered by the present."]
I form the plan, decree the spoil,
Dauntless he stood. -"'Tis come-soon past -
But yet my band not far from shore
His pistol's echo rang on high, Zuleika started not, nor wept,
Despair benumb'd her breast and eye!— "They hear me not, or if they ply Their oars, 'tis but to see me die ; That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh. Then forth my father's scimitar, Thou ne'er hast seen less equal war! Farewell, Zuleika !-Sweet! retire:
Yet stay within- here linger safe, At thee his rage will only chafe. Stir not-lest even to thee perchance Some erring blade or ball should glance. Fear'st thou for him?-may I expire If in this strife I seek thy sire! No-though by him that poison pour'd: No though again he call me coward! But tamely shall I meet their steel? No -as each crest save his may feel!"
One bound he made, and gain'd the sand:
A gasping head, a quivering trunk :
And almost met the meeting wave:
Oh! are they yet in time to save ?
XXV. Escaped from shot, unharm'd by steel, Or scarcely grazed its force to feel, Had Selim won, betray'd, beset, To where the strand and billows met: There as his last step left the land, And the last death-blow dealt his hand Ah! wherefore did he turn to look
For her his eye but sought in vain? That pause, that fatal gaze he took,
Hath doom'd his death, or fix'd his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain,
Too nearly, deadly aim'd to err?
"T is rent in twain - one dark-red stain
Go, seek them where the surges sweep
Flung by the tossing tide on high,
What recks it, though that corse shall lie
The bird that tears that prostrate form
Had bled or wept to see him die,
That heart hath burst
And mourn'd above his turban-stone, 2 that eye was closedYea- closed before his own!
By Helle's stream there is a voice of wail!
Thy destined lord is come too late : He sees not-ne'er shall see thy face!
Can he not hear
The loud Wul-wulleh 3 warn his distant ear?
The Koran-chanters of the hymn of fate,
Thou didst not view thy Selim fall!
That fearful moment when he left the cave
He was thy hope-thy joy-thy love-thine all And that last thought on him thou could'st not save Sufficed to kill,
Burst forth in one wild cry- and all was still.
Vainly thou heap'st the dust upon thy head,
1 ["While the Salsette lay off the Dardanelles, Lord Byron saw the body of a man who had been executed by being cast into the sea, floating on the stream to and fro with the trembling of the water, which gave to its arms the effect of scaring away several sea-fowl that were hovering to devour. This incident has been strikingly depicted.” — GALT.]
A turban is carved in stone above the graves of men only. 3 The death-song of the Turkish women. The "silent
slaves" are the men, whose notions of decorum forbid complaint in public.
4 "I came to the place of my birth, and cried, "The friends of my youth, where are they?' and an Echo answered, Where are they?" From an Arabic MS. The above quotation (from which the idea in the text is taken) must be already familiar to every reader: it is given in the first annotation, p. 67., of "The Pleasures of Memory; " a poem so well known as to render a reference almost superfluous; but to whose pages all will be delighted to recur.
Yet harsh be they that blame,) That note so piercing and profound Will shape and syllable its sound Into Zuleika's name.2
'Tis from her cypress' summit heard, That melts in air the liquid word: 'Tis from her lowly virgin earth That white rose takes its tender birth. There late was laid a marble stone; Eve saw it placed the Morrow gone! It was no mortal arm that bore
That deep fixed pillar to the shore;
TO THOMAS MOORE, ESQ.
I suoi pensieri in lui dormir non ponno."
For there, as Helle's legends tell,
MY DEAR MOORE,
I DEDICATE to you the last production with which I shall trespass on public patience, and your indulgence, for some years; and I own that I feel anxious to avail myself of this latest and only opportunity of adorning my pages with a name, consecrated by unshaken public principle, and the most undoubted and various talents. While Ireland ranks you among the firmest of her patriots; while you stand alone the first of her bards in her estimation, and Britain repeats and ratifies the decree, permit one, whose
And there by night, reclined, 't is said, Is seen a ghastly turban'd head: And hence extended by the billow, "Tis named the "Pirate-phantom's pillow! Where first it lay that mourning flower Hath flourished; flourisheth this hour, Alone and dewy, coldly pure and pale; As weeping Beauty's cheek at Sorrow's tale! 3
TASSO, Gerusalemme Liberata, canto x.
"And airy tongues that syllable men's names."-MILTON. For a belief that the souls of the dead inhabit the form of birds, we need not travel to the East. Lord Lyttleton's ghost story, the belief of the Duchess of Kendal, that George I. flew into her window in the shape of a raven (see Orford's Reminiscences), and many other instances, bring this superstition nearer home. The most singular was the whim of a Worcester lady, who, believing her daughter to exist in the shape of a singing bird, literally furnished her pew in the cathedral with cages full of the kind; and as she was rich, and a benefactress in beautifying the church, no objection was made to her harmless folly. For this anecdote, see Orford's Letters.
[The heroine of this poem, the blooming Zuleika, is all purity and loveliness. Never was a faultless character more delicately or more justly delineated. Her piety, her intelligence, her strict sense of duty, and her undeviating love of truth, appear to have been originally blended in her mind, rather than inculcated by education. She is always natural, always attractive, always affectionate; and it must be admitted that her affections are not unworthily bestowed. Selim, while an orphan and dependant, is never degraded by calamity; when better hopes are presented to him, his buoyant spirit rises with his expectations: he is enterprising, with no more rashness than becomes his youth; and when disappointed in the success of a well-concerted project, he meets, with intrepidity, the fate to which he is exposed through his own generous forbearance. To us, "The Bride of Abydos" appears to be, in every respect, superior to " The Giaour,' though, in point of diction, it has been, perhaps, less warmly admired We will not argue this point, but will simply ob serve, that what is read with case is generally read with rapi. dity; and that many beauties of style which escape observation in a simple and connected narrative, would be forced on the reader's attention by abrupt and perplexing transitions. It is only when a traveller is obliged to stop on his journey, that he is disposed to examine and admire the prospect.-GEORGE ELLIS.]
only regret, since our first acquaintance, has been the years he had lost before it commenced, to add the humble but sincere suffrage of friendship, to the voice of more than one nation. It will at least prove to you, that I have neither forgotten the gratification derived from your society, nor abandoned the prospect of its renewal, whenever your leisure or inclination allows you to atone to your friends for too long an absence. It is said among those friends, I trust truly, that you are engaged in the composition of a poem whose scene will be laid in the East; none can do those scenes so much justice. The wrongs of your own country 5, the mag
3 The Bride,' such as it is, is my first entire composition of any length (except the Satire, and be d-d to it), for the Giaour' is but a string of passages, and Childe Harold' is, and I rather think always will be, unconcluded. It was published on Thursday, the 2d of December; but how it is liked, I know not. Whether it succeeds or not, is no fault of the public, against whom I can have no complaint. But I am much more indebted to the tale than I can ever be to the most important reader; as it wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination; from selfish regrets to vivid recollections; and recalled me to a country replete with the brightest and darkest, but always most lively colours of my memory."Byron Diary, Dec. 5. 1813.]
4 ["The Corsair " was begun on the 18th, and finished on the 31st, of December, 1813; a rapidity of composition which, taking into consideration the extraordinary beauty of the poem, is, perhaps, unparalleled in the literary history of the country. Lord Byron states it to have been written “con amore, and very much from existence." In the original MS. the chief female character was called Francesca, in whose person the author meant to delineate one of his acquaintance; but, while the work was at press, he changed the name to Medora.]
[This political allusion having been objected to by a friend, Lord Byron sent a second dedication to Mr. Moore, with a request that he would "take his choice." It ran as follows:
"MY DEAR MOORE,
January 7th, 1814.
"I had written to you a long letter of dedication, which I suppress, because, though it contained something relating to you, which every one had been glad to hear, yet there was too much about politics, and poesy, and all things whatsoever, ending with that topic on which most men are fluent, and none very amusing, one's self. It might have been re-written; but to what purpose? My praise could add nothing to your well-earned and firmly established fame;