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The Works Of Lord Byron, Vol. 3 (of 7)
by Lord Byron
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[79] Green is the privileged colour of the prophet's numerous pretended descendants; with them, as here, faith (the family inheritance) is supposed to supersede the necessity of good works: they are the worst of a very indifferent brood.

[80] {104} "Salam aleikoum! aleikoum salam!" peace be with you; be with you peace—the salutation reserved for the faithful:—to a Christian, "Urlarula!" a good journey; or "saban hiresem, saban serula," good morn, good even; and sometimes, "may your end be happy!" are the usual salutes.

["After both sets of prayers, Farz and Sunnah, the Moslem looks over his right shoulder, and says, 'The Peace (of Allah) be upon you and the ruth of Allah,' and repeats the words over the left shoulder. The salutation is addressed to the Guardian Angels, or to the bystanders (Moslem), who, however, do not return it."—Arabian Nights, by Richard F. Burton, 1887: Supplemental Nights, i. 14, note.]

[dk] Take ye and give ye that salam, That says of Moslem faith I am.—[MS.]

[dl] Which one of yonder barks may wait.—[MS.]

[81] [In the MS. and the first five editions the broken line (373) consisted of two words only, "That one."]

[82] The blue-winged butterfly of Kashmeer, the most rare and beautiful of the species.

[The same insects (butterflies of Cachemir) are celebrated in an unpublished poem of Mesihi.... Sir Anthony Shirley relates that it was customary in Persia "to hawk after butterflies with sparrows, made to that use."—Note by S. Henley to Vathek, ed. 1893, p. 222. Byron, in his Journal, December 1, 1813, speaks of Lady Charlemont as "that blue-winged Kashmirian butterfly of book-learning."]

[dm] If caught, to fate alike betrayed.-[MS.]

[dn] {106} The gathering flames around her close.-[MS. erased.]

[83] {107} Alluding to the dubious suicide of the scorpion, so placed for experiment by gentle philosophers. Some maintain that the position of the sting, when turned towards the head, is merely a convulsive movement; but others have actually brought in the verdict "Felo de se." The scorpions are surely interested in a speedy decision of the question; as, if once fairly established as insect Catos, they will probably be allowed to live as long as they think proper, without being martyred for the sake of an hypothesis.

[Byron assured Dallas that the simile of the scorpion was imagined in his sleep.—Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron, by R. C. Dallas, p. 264.

"Probably in some instances the poor scorpion has been burnt to death; and the well-known habit of these creatures to raise the tail over the back and recurve it so that the extremity touches the fore part of the cephalo-thorax, has led to the idea that it was stinging itself."—Encycl. Brit., art. "Arachnida," by Rev. O. P. Cambridge, ii. 281.]

[do] So writhes the mind by Conscience riven.—[MS.]

[84] The cannon at sunset close the Rhamazan. [Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza Iv. line 5, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 134. note 2.]

[85] {108} Phingari, the moon. [[Greek: phenga/ri] is derived from [Greek: phenga/rion,] dim. of [Greek: phe/ngos.]]

[86] The celebrated fabulous ruby of Sultan Giamschid, the embellisher of Istakhar; from its splendour, named Schebgerag [Schabchirāgh], "the torch of night;" also "the cup of the sun," etc. In the First Edition, "Giamschid" was written as a word of three syllables; so D'Herbelot has it; but I am told Richardson reduces it to a dissyllable, and writes "Jamshid." I have left in the text the orthography of the one with the pronunciation of the other.

[The MS. and First Edition read, "Bright as the gem of Giamschid." Byron's first intention was to change the line into "Bright as the ruby of Giamschid;" but to this Moore objected, "that as the comparison of his heroine's eye to a ruby might unluckily call up the idea of its being bloodshot, he had better change the line to 'Bright as the jewel,' etc."

For the original of Byron's note, see S. Henley's note, Vathek, 1893, p. 230. See, too, D'Herbelot's Bibliotheque Orientale, 1781, iii. 27.

Sir Richard Burton (Arabian Nights, S.N., iii. 440) gives the following resume of the conflicting legends: "Jam-i-jamshid is a well-known commonplace in Moslem folk-lore; but commentators cannot agree whether 'Jam' be a mirror or a cup. In the latter sense it would represent the Cyathomantic cup of the Patriarch Joseph, and the symbolic bowl of Nestor. Jamshid may be translated either 'Jam the bright,' or 'the Cup of the Sun;' this ancient king is the Solomon of the grand old Guebres."

Fitzgerald, "in a very composite quatrain (stanza v.) which cannot be claimed as a translation at all" (see the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyaām, by Edward Heron Allen, 1898), embodies a late version of the myth—

"Iram is gone and all his Rose, And Jamshyd's sev'n-ringed Cup where no one knows."]

[87] {109} Al-Sirat, the bridge of breadth narrower than the thread of a famished spider, and sharper than the edge of a sword, over which the Mussulmans must skate into Paradise, to which it is the only entrance; but this is not the worst, the river beneath being hell itself, into which, as may be expected, the unskilful and tender of foot contrive to tumble with a "facilis descensus Averni," not very pleasing in prospect to the next passenger. There is a shorter cut downwards for the Jews and Christians.

[Byron is again indebted to Vathek, and S. Henley on Vathek, p. 237, for his information. The authority for the legend of the Bridge of Paradise is not the Koran, but the Book of Mawakef, quoted by Edward Pococke, in his Commentary (Notae Miscellaneae) on the Porta Mosis of Moses Maimonides (Oxford, 1654, p. 288)—

"Stretched across the back of Hell, it is narrower than a javelin, sharper than the edge of a sword. But all must essay the passage, believers as well as infidels, and it baffles the understanding to imagine in what manner they keep their foothold."

The legend, or rather allegory, to which there would seem to be some allusion in the words of Scripture, "Strait is the gate," etc., is of Zoroastrian origin. Compare the Zend-Avesta, Yasna xix. 6 (Sacred Books of the East, edited by F. Max Muller, 1887, xxxi. 261), "With even threefold (safety and with speed) I will bring his soul over the Bridge of Kinvat," etc.]

[88] {110} A vulgar error: the Koran allots at least a third of Paradise to well-behaved women; but by far the greater number of Mussulmans interpret the text their own way, and exclude their moieties from heaven. Being enemies to Platonics, they cannot discern "any fitness of things" in the souls of the other sex, conceiving them to be superseded by the Houris.

[Sale, in his Preliminary Discourse ("Chandos Classics," p. 80), in dealing with this question, notes "that there are several passages in the Koran which affirm that women, in the next life, will not only be punished for their evil actions, but will also receive the rewards of their good deeds, as well as the men, and that in this case God will make no distinction of sexes." A single quotation will suffice: "God has promised to believers, men and women, gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for aye; and goodly places in the garden of Eden."—The Qur'an, translated by E. H. Palmer, 1880, vi. 183.]

[89] An Oriental simile, which may, perhaps, though fairly stolen, be deemed "plus Arabe qu'en Arabie."

[Gulnar (the heroine of the Corsair is named Gulnare) is Persian for a pomegranate flower.]

[90] Hyacinthine, in Arabic "Sunbul;" as common a thought in the Eastern poets as it was among the Greeks.

[S. Henley (Vathek, 1893, p. 208) quotes two lines from the Solima (lines 5, 6) of Sir W. Jones—

"The fragrant hyacinths of Azza's hair That wanton with the laughing summer-air;"

and refers Milton's "Hyacinthine locks" (Paradise Lost, iv. 301) to Lucian's Pro Imaginibus, cap. v.]

[91] {111} "Franguestan," Circassia. [Or Europe generally—the land of the Frank.]

[92] [Lines 504-518 were inserted in the second revise of the Third Edition, July 31, 1813.]

[93] {113} [Parnassus.]

[94] "In the name of God;" the commencement of all the chapters of the Koran but one [the ninth], and of prayer and thanksgiving. ["Bismillah" (in full, Bismillahi 'rrahmani 'rrahiem, i.e. "In the name of Allah the God of Mercy, the Merciful") is often used as a deprecatory formula. Sir R. Burton (Arabian Nights, i. 40) cites as an equivalent the "remembering Iddio e' Santi," of Boccaccio's Decameron, viii. 9.

The MS. reads, "Thank Alla! now the peril's past."]

[95] [A Turkish messenger, sergeant or lictor. The proper sixteen-seventeenth century pronunciation would have been chaush, but apparently the nearest approach to this was chaus, whence chouse and chiaush, and the vulgar form chiaus (N. Eng. Dict., art. "Chiaus"). The peculations of a certain "chiaus" in the year A.D. 1000 are said to have been the origin of the word "to chouse."]

[96] {114} A phenomenon not uncommon with an angry Mussulman. In 1809 the Capitan Pacha's whiskers at a diplomatic audience were no less lively with indignation than a tiger cat's, to the horror of all the dragomans; the portentous mustachios twisted, they stood erect of their own accord, and were expected every moment to change their colour, but at last condescended to subside, which, probably, saved more heads than they contained hairs.

[97] {115} "Amaun," quarter, pardon.

[Line 603 was inserted in a proof of the Second Edition, dated July 24, 1813: "Nor raised the coward cry, Amaun!"]

[98] The "evil eye," a common superstition in the Levant, and of which the imaginary effects are yet very singular on those who conceive themselves affected.

[99] [Compare "As with a thousand waves to the rocks, so Swaran's host came on."—Fingal, bk. i., Ossian's Works, 1807, i. 19.]

[dp] {116} That neither gives nor asks for life.—[MS.]

[100] {117} The flowered shawls generally worn by persons of rank.

[101] [Compare "Catilina vero longe a suis, inter hostium cadavera repertus est, paululum etiam spirans ferociamque animi, quam habuerat vivus, in vultu retinens."—Catilina, cap. 61, Opera, 1820, i. 124.]

[dq] {118} His mother looked from the lattice high, With throbbing heart and eager eye; The browsing camel bells are tinkling, And the last beam of twilight twinkling: 'Tis eve; his train should now be nigh. She could not rest in her garden bower, And gazed through the loop of her steepest tower. "Why comes he not? his steeds are fleet, And well are they train'd to the summer's heat."—[MS.]

Another copy began—

The browsing camel bells are tinkling, And the first beam of evening twinkling; His mother looked from her lattice high, With throbbing breast and eager eye— "'Tis twilight—sure his train is nigh."—[MS. Aug. 11, 1813.]

The browsing camel's bells are tinkling The dews of eve the pasture sprinkling And rising planets feebly twinkling: His mother looked from the lattice high With throbbing heart and eager eye.—[Fourth Edition.]

[These lines were erased, and lines 689-692 were substituted. They appeared first in the Fifth Edition.]

[102] ["The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariot?"—Judges v. 28.]

[dr] {119} And now his courser's pace amends.—[MS. erased.]

[ds] I could not deem my son was slow.—[MS. erased.]

[dt] The Tartar sped beneath the gate And flung to earth his fainting weight.—[MS.]

[103] The calpac is the solid cap or centre part of the head-dress; the shawl is wound round it, and forms the turban.

[104] 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.

[The following is a "Koran verse:" "Every one that is upon it (the earth) perisheth; but the person of thy Lord abideth, the possessor of glory and honour" (Sur. lv. 26, 27). (See "Kufic Tombstones in the British Museum," by Professor Wright, Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeological Society, 1887, ix. 337, sq.)]

[105] {120} "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. [Valid, the son of Abdalmalek, was the first who erected a minaret or turret; and this he placed on the grand mosque at Damascus, for the muezzin or crier to announce from it the hour of prayer. (See D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, 1783, vi. 473, art. "Valid." See, too, Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza lix. line 9, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 136, note 1.)]

[106] 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,'" etc.

[107] {121} 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.—See Relig. Ceremon., v. 290; vii. 59,68, 118, and Sale's Preliminary Discourse to the Koran, p. 101.

[Byron is again indebted to S. Henley (see Vathek, 1893, p. 236). According to Pococke (Porta Mosis, 1654, Notae Miscellaneae, p. 241), the angels Moncar and Nacir are black, ghastly, and of fearsome aspect. Their function is to hold inquisition on the corpse. If his replies are orthodox (de Mohammede), he is bidden to sleep sweetly and soundly in his tomb, but if his views are lax and unsound, he is cudgelled between the ears with iron rods. Loud are his groans, and audible to the whole wide world, save to those deaf animals, men and genii. Finally, the earth is enjoined to press him tight and keep him close till the crack of doom.]

[108] Eblis, the Oriental Prince of Darkness.

[109] The Vampire superstition is still general in the Levant. Honest Tournefort [Relation d'un Voyage du Levant, par Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, 1717, i. 131] tells a long story, which Mr. Southey, in the notes on Thalaba [book viii., notes, ed. 1838, iv. 297-300], quotes about these "Vroucolochas" ["Vroucolocasses"], 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.

[[Greek: Bourko/lakas] or [Greek: Bryko/lakas] (= the Bohemian and Slovak Vrholak) is modern Greek for a ghost or vampire. George Bentotes, in his [Greek: Lexikon Tri/glosson,] published in Vienna in 1790 (see Childe Harold, Canto II. Notes, Papers, etc., No. III., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 197), renders [Greek: Brouko/lakas] "lutin," and [Greek: Broukoliasme/nos,] "devenu un spectre."

Arsenius, Archbishop of Monembasia (circ. 1530), was famous for his scholarship. He prefaced his Scholia in Septem Euripidis Tragaedias (Basileae, 1544) by a dedicatory epistle in Greek to his friend Pope Paul III. "He submitted to the Church of Rome, which made him so odious to the Greek schismatics that the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated him; and the Greeks reported that Arsenius, after his death, was Broukolakas, that is, that the Devil hovered about his corps and re-animated him" (Bayle, Dictionary, 1724, i. 508, art. "Arsenius"). Martinus Crusius, in his Turco-Graecia, lib. ii. (Basileae, 1584, p. 151) records the death of Arsenius while under sentence of excommunication, and adds that "his miserable corpse turned black, and swelled to the size of a drum, so that all who beheld it were horror-stricken, and trembled exceedingly." Hence, no doubt, the legend which Bayle takes verbatim from Guillet, "Les Grecs disent qu' Arsenius, apres la mort fust Broukolakas," etc. (Lacedemone, Ancienne et Nouvelle, par Le Sieur de la Guilletiere, 1676, ii. 586. See, too, for "Arsenius," Fabricii Script. Gr. Var., 1808, xi. 581, and Gesneri Bibliotheca Univ., ed. 1545, fol. 96.) Byron, no doubt, got his information from Bayle. By "old legitimate Hellenic" he must mean literary as opposed to klephtic Greek.]

[110] {123} The freshness of the face [? "The paleness of the face," MS.] and the wetness of the lip with blood, are the never-failing signs of a Vampire. The stories told in Hungary and Greece of these foul feeders are singular, and some of them most incredibly attested.

[Vampires were the reanimated corpses of persons newly buried, which were supposed to suck the blood and suck out the life of their selected victims. The marks by which a vampire corpse was recognized were the apparent non-putrefaction of the body and effusion of blood from the lips. A suspected vampire was exhumed, and if the marks were perceived or imagined to be present, a stake was driven through the heart, and the body was burned. This, if Southey's authorities (J. B. Boyer, Marquis d'Argens, in Lettres Juives) may be believed, "laid" the vampire, and the community might sleep in peace. (See, too, Dissertations sur les Apparitions, par Augustine Calmet, 1746, p. 395, sq., and Russian Folk-Tales, by W. R. S. Ralston, 1873, pp. 318-324.)]

[111] [For "Caloyer," see Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza xlix. line 6, and note 21, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 130, 181. It is a hard matter to piece together the "fragments" which make up the rest of the poem. Apparently the question, "How name ye?" is put by the fisherman, the narrator of the first part of the Fragment, and answered by a monk of the fraternity, with whom the Giaour has been pleased to "abide" during the past six years, under conditions and after a fashion of which the monk disapproves. Hereupon the fisherman disappears, and a kind of dialogue between the author and the protesting monk ensues. The poem concludes with the Giaour's confession, which is addressed to the monk, or perhaps to the interested and more tolerant Prior of the community.]

[du] {124} As Time were wasted on his brow.—[MS.]

[dv] {125} Of foreign maiden lost at sea.—[MS.]

[dw] {127} Behold—as turns he from the—wall His cowl fly back, his dark hair fall.—[ms]

[A variant of the copy sent for insertion in the Seventh Edition differs alike from the MS. and the text—]

Behold as turns him from the wallHis Cowl flies back—his tresses fallThat pallid aspect wreathing round.

[dx] Lo! mark him as the harmony.—[MS.]

[dy] Thank heaven—he stands without the shrine.—[MS. erased.]

[dz] {128} Must burn before it smite or shine.—[MS.] Appears unfit to smite or shine.—[MS. erased]

[112] [In defence of lines 922-927, which had been attacked by a critic in the British Review, October, 1813, vol. v. p. 139, who compared them with some lines in Crabbe's Resentment (lines 11—16, Tales, 1812, p. 309), Byron wrote to Murray, October 12, 1813, "I have ... read the British Review. I really think the writer in most points very right. The only mortifying thing is the accusation of imitation. Crabbe's passage I never saw; and Scott I no further meant to follow than in his lyric measure, which is Gray's, Milton's, and any one's who like it." The lines, which Moore quotes (Life, p. 191), have only a formal and accidental resemblance to the passage in question.]

[113] {129} [Compare—

"To surfeit on the same [our pleasures] And yawn our joys. Or thank a misery For change, though sad?"

Night Thoughts, iii., by Edward Young; Anderson's British Poets, x. 72. Compare, too, Childe Harold, Canto I. stanza vi, line 8—

"With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe."]

[114] [Byron was wont to let his imagination dwell on these details of the charnel-house. In a letter to Dallas, August 12, 1811, he writes, "I am already too familiar with the dead. It is strange that I look on the skulls which stand beside me (I have always had four in my study) without emotion, but I cannot strip the features of those I have known of their fleshy covering, even in idea, without a hideous sensation; but the worms are less ceremonious." See, too, his "Lines inscribed upon a Cup formed from a Skull," Poetical Works, 1898, i. 276.]

[115] {130} The pelican is, I believe, the bird so libelled, by the imputation of feeding her chickens with her blood. [It has been suggested that the curious bloody secretion ejected from the mouth of the flamingo may have given rise to the belief, through that bird having been mistaken for the "pelican of the wilderness."—Encycl. Brit., art. "Pelican" (by Professor A. Newton), xviii. 474.]

[ea] Than feeling we must feel no more.—[MS.]

[116] {131} [Compare—

"I'd rather be a toad, And live upon the vapours of a dungeon."

Othello, act iii. sc. 3, lines 274, 275.]

[eb] Though hope hath long withdrawn her beam.—[MS.] [This line was omitted in the Third and following Editions.]

[ec] {132} Through ranks of steel and tracks of fire, And all she threatens in her ire; And these are but the words of one Who thus would do—who thus hath done.—[MS. erased.]

[ed] {134} My hope a tomb, our foe a grave.—[MS.]

[117] 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—Bom—as 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 forehearing. On our return to Athens we heard from Leone (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 2nd [Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 169]. 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" [I Henry IV., act iii. sc. 3, line 11] 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 fiftieth 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 to-morrow; 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.

[118] {135} [Vide ante, p. 90, line 89, note 2, "In death from a stab the countenance preserves its traits of feeling or ferocity."]

[ee] Her power to soothe—her skill to save— And doubly darken o'er the grave,—[MS.]

[ef] {136} Of Ladye-love—and dart—and chain— And fire that raged in every vein.—[MS.]

[eg] Even now alone, yet undismayed,— I know no friend, and ask no aid.—[MS.]

[119] [Lines 1127-1130 were inserted in the Seventh Edition. They recall the first line of Plato's epitaph [Greek: A)ste prin me
e)/lampes e)ni zooi~sin e(o~ os] which Byron prefixed to his "Epitaph on a Beloved Friend" (Poetical Works, 1898, i. 18), and which, long afterwards, Shelley chose as the motto to his Adonais.]

[eh] {137} Yes / doth spring } Love indeed { descend } from heaven: If / be born /

/ immortal A spark of that { eternal } fire celestial / To human hearts in mercy given, To lift from earth our low desire, A feeling from the Godhead caught, / each To wean from self { } sordid thought: our / Devotion sends the soul above, But Heaven itself descends to love, Yet marvel not, if they who love This present joy, this future hope Which taught them with all ill to cope, No more with anguish bravely cope.—[MS.]

[120] [The hundred and twenty-six lines which follow, down to "Tell me no more of Fancy's gleam," first appeared in the Fifth Edition. In returning the proof to Murray, Byron writes, August 26, 1813, "The last lines Hodgson likes—it is not often he does—and when he don't, he tells me with great energy, and I fret and alter. I have thrown them in to soften the ferocity of our Infidel, and, for a dying man, have given him a good deal to say for himself."—Letters, 1898, ii. 252.]

[ei] {138} That quenched, I wandered far in night, or, 'Tis quenched, and I am lost in night.—[MS.]

[ej] Must plunge into a dark abyss.—[MS.]

[ek] {139} And let the light, inconstant fool That sneers his coxcomb ridicule.—[MS.]

[el] Less than the soft and shallow maid.—[MS. erased.]

[em] The joy—the madness of my heart.—[MS.]

[en] To me alike all time and placeScarce could I gaze on Nature's face For every hue——.—[MS.] or, All, all was changed on Nature's face To me alike all time and place.—[MS. erased.]

[eo] {140} ——but this grief In truth is not for thy relief. My state thy thought can never guess.—[MS.]

[121] 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 patient), and was delivered in the usual tone of all orthodox preachers.

[ep] Where thou, it seems, canst offer grace.—[MS. erased.]

[eq] Where rise my native city's towers.—[MS.]

[er] I had, and though but one—a friend!—[MS.]

[es] {141} I have no heart to love him now And 'tis but to declare my end.—[ms]

[et] But now Remembrance murmurs o'er Of all our early youth had beenIn pain, I now had turned aside To bless his memory ere I died, But Heaven would mark the vain essay, If Guilt should for the guiltless frayI do not ask him not to blameToo gentle he to wound my nameI do not ask him not to mourn, For such request might sound like scornAnd what like Friendship's manly tear So well can grace a brother's bier? But bear this ring he gave of old, And tell him—what thou didst beholdThe withered frame—the ruined mind, The wreck that Passion leaves behindThe shrivelled and discoloured leaf Seared by the Autumn blast of Grief.—[MS., First Copy.]

[eu] {142} Nay—kneel not, father, rise—despair.—[MS.]

[122] {143} "Symar," a shroud. [Cymar, or simar, is a long loose robe worn by women. It is, perhaps, the same word as the Spanish camarra (Arabic camarra), a sheep-skin cloak. It is equivalent to "shroud" only in the primary sense of a "covering."]

[ev] Which now I view with trembling spark.—[MS.]

[ew] {144} Then lay me with the nameless dead.—[MS.]

[123] 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 Bibliotheque 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." [See Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza xxii. line 6, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 37, note 1.

"Mansour Effendi tells the story (vide supra, line 6) thus: Frosini was niece of the Archbishop of Joannina. Mouctar Pasha ordered her to come to his harem, and her father advised her to go; she did so. Mouctar, among other presents, gave her a ring of great value, which she wished to sell, and gave it for that purpose to a merchant, who offered it to the wife of Mouctar. That lady recognized the jewel as her own, and, discovering the intrigue, complained to Ali Pasha, who, the next night, seized her himself in his own house, and ordered her to be drowned. Mansour Effendi says he had the story from the brother and son of Frosini. This son was a child of six years old, and was in bed in his mother's chamber when Ali came to carry away his mother to death. He had a confused recollection of the horrid scene."—Travels in Albania, 1858, i. Ill, note 6.

The concluding note, like the poem, was built up sentence by sentence. Lines 1-12, "forgotten," are in the MS. Line 12, "I heard," to line 17, "original," were added in the Second Edition. The next sentence, "For the contents" to "Vathek," was inserted in the Third; and the concluding paragraph, "I do not know" to the end, in the Fourth Editions.]

[ex] {146} Nor whether most he mourned none knew. For her he loved—or him he slew.—[MS.]



THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.

A TURKISH TALE.

"Had we never loved sae kindly, Had we never loved sae blindly, Never met—or never parted, We had ne'er been broken-hearted."—

Burns [Farewell to Nancy].



INTRODUCTION TO THE THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.

Many poets—Wordsworth, for instance—have been conscious in their old age that an interest attaches to the circumstances of the composition of their poems, and have furnished their friends and admirers with explanatory notes. Byron recorded the motif and occasion of the Bride of Abydos while the poem was still in the press. It was written, he says, to divert his mind, "to wring his thoughts from reality to imagination—from selfish regrets to vivid recollections" (Diary, December 5, 1813, Letters, ii. 361), "to distract his dreams from ..." (Diary, November 16) "for the sake of employment" (Letter to Moore, November 30, 1813). He had been staying during part of October and November at Aston Hall, Rotherham, with his friend James Wedderburn Webster, and had fallen in love with his friend's wife, Lady Frances. From a brief note to his sister, dated November 5, we learn that he was in a scrape, but in "no immediate peril," and from the lines, "Remember him, whom Passion's power" (vide ante, p. 67), we may infer that he had sought safety in flight. The Bride of Abydos, or Zuleika, as it was first entitled, was written early in November, "in four nights" (Diary, November 16), or in a week (Letter to Gifford, November 12)—the reckoning goes for little—as a counter-irritant to the pain and distress of amour interrompu.

The confession or apology is eminently characteristic. Whilst the Giaour was still in process of evolution, still "lengthening its rattles," another Turkish poem is offered to the public, and the natural explanation, that the author is in vein, and can score another trick, is felt to be inadequate and dishonouring—"To withdraw myself from myself," he confides to his Diary(November 27), "has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive for scribbling at all."

It is more than probable that in his twenty-sixth year Byron had not attained to perfect self-knowledge, but there is no reason to question his sincerity. That Byron loved to surround himself with mystery, and to dissociate himself from "the general," is true enough; but it does not follow that at all times and under all circumstances he was insincere. "Once a poseur always a poseur" is a rough-and-ready formula not invariably applicable even to a poet.

But the Bride of Abydos was a tonic as well as a styptic. Like the Giaour, it embodied a personal experience, and recalled "a country replete with the darkest and brightest, but always the most lively colours of my memory" (Diary, December 5, 1813).

In a letter to Galt (December 11, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 304, reprinted from Life of Byron, pp. 181, 182) Byron maintains that the first part of the Bride was drawn from "observations" of his own, "from existence." He had, it would appear, intended to make the story turn on the guilty love of a brother for a sister, a tragic incident of life in a Harem, which had come under his notice during his travels in the East, but "on second thoughts" had reflected that he lived "two centuries at least too late for the subject," and that not even the authority of the "finest works of the Greeks," or of Schiller (in the Bride of Messina), or of Alfieri (in Mirra), "in modern times," would sanction the intrusion of the [Greek: miseto
] into English literature. The early drafts and variants of the MS. do not afford any evidence of this alteration of the plot which, as Byron thought, was detrimental to the poem as a work of art, but the undoubted fact that the Bride of Abydos, as well as the Giaour, embody recollections of actual scenes and incidents which had burnt themselves into the memory of an eye-witness, accounts not only for the fervent heat at which these Turkish tales were written, but for the extraordinary glamour which they threw over contemporary readers, to whom the local colouring was new and attractive, and who were not out of conceit with "good Monsieur Melancholy."

Byron was less dissatisfied with his second Turkish tale than he had been with the Giaour. He apologizes for the rapidity with which it had been composed—stans pede in uno—but he announced to Murray (November 20) that "he was doing his best to beat the Giaour," and (November 29) he appraises the Bride as "my first entire composition of any length."

Moreover, he records (November 15), with evident gratification, the approval of his friend Hodgson, "a very sincere and by no means (at times) a flattering critic of mine," and modestly accepts the praise of such masters of letters as "Mr. Canning," Hookham Frere, Heber, Lord Holland, and of the traveller Edward Daniel Clarke.

The Bride of Abydos was advertised in the Morning Chronicle, among "Books published this day," on November 29, 1813. It was reviewed by George Agar Ellis in the Quarterly Review of January, 1814 (vol. x. p. 331), and, together with the Corsair, by Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review of April, 1814 (vol. xxiii. p. 198).

* * * * *

NOTE TO THE MSS. OF THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.

The MSS. of the Bride of Abydos are contained in a bound volume, and in two packets of loose sheets, numbering thirty-two in all, of which eighteen represent additions, etc., to the First Canto; and fourteen additions, etc., to the Second Canto.

The bound volume consists of a rough copy and a fair copy of the first draft of the Bride; the fair copy beginning with the sixth stanza of Canto I.

The "additions" in the bound volume consist of—

1. Stanza xxviii. of Canto II.—here called "Conclusion" (fifty-eight lines). And note on "Sir Orford's Letters."

2. Eight lines beginning, "Eve saw it placed," at the end of stanza xxviii.

3. An emendation of six lines to stanza v. of Canto II., with reference to the comboloio, the Turkish rosary.

4. Forty additional lines to stanza xx. of Canto II., beginning, "For thee in those bright isles," and being the first draft of the addition as printed in the Revises of November 13, etc.

5. Stanza xxvii. of Canto II., twenty-eight lines.

6. Ten additional lines to stanza xxvii., "Ah! happy!"—"depart."

7. Affixed to the rough Copy in stanza xxviii., fifty-eight lines, here called "Continuation." This is the rough Copy of No. 1.

The eighteen loose sheets of additions to Canto I. consist of—

1. The Dedication.

2. Two revisions of "Know ye the land."

3. Seven sheets, Canto I. stanzas i.-v., being the commencement of the Fair Copy in the bound volume.

4. Two sheets of the additional twelve lines to Canto I. stanza vi., "Who hath not proved,"—"Soul."

5. Four sheets of notes to Canto I. stanza vi., dated November 20, November 22, 1813.

6. Two sheets of notes to stanza xvi.

7. Sixteen additional lines to stanza xiii.

The fourteen additional sheets to Canto II. consist of—

1. Ten lines of stanza iv., and four lines of stanza xvii.

2. Two lines and note of stanza v.

3. Sheets of additions, etc., to stanza xx. (eight sheets).

(a) Eight lines, "Or, since that hope,"—"thy command."

(b) "For thee in those bright isles" (twenty-four lines).

(c) "For thee," etc. (thirty-six lines).

(d) "Blest as the call" (three variants).

(e) "For thee in those bright isles" (seven lines).

(f) Fourteen lines, "There ev'n thy soul,"—"Zuleika's name," "Aye—let the loud winds,"—"bars escape," additional to stanza xx.

4. Two sheets of five variants of "Ah! wherefore did he turn to look?" being six additional lines to stanza xxv.

5. Thirty-five lines of stanza xxvi.

6. Ten lines, "Ah! happy! but,"—"depart." And eleven lines, "Woe to thee, rash,"—"hast shed," being a continuous addition to stanza xxvii.



REVISES.

Endorsed— i. November 13, 1813. ii. November 15, 1813. iii. November 16, 1813. iv. November 18, 1813. v. November 19, 1813. vi. November 21, 1813. vii. November 23, 1813. viii. November 24, 1813. A wrong date, ix. November 25, 1813. x. An imperfect revise = Nos. i.-v.



to

the right honourable

LORD HOLLAND,

this tale

is inscribed, with

every sentiment of regard

and respect,

by his gratefully obliged

and sincere friend,

BYRON.[ey]



THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.[124]



CANTO THE FIRST.

I.

Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle[125] Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime? Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle, Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime? Know ye the land of the cedar and vine, Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine; Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppressed with perfume, Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gul[126] in her bloom; Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, And the voice of the nightingale never is mute;[127] 10 Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, In colour though varied, in beauty may vie, And the purple of Ocean is deepest in dye; Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine, And all, save the spirit of man, is divine— Tis the clime of the East—'tis the land of the Sun— Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done?[128] Oh! wild as the accents of lovers' farewell[ez] Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell.

II.[fa]

Begirt with many a gallant slave, 20 Apparelled as becomes the brave, Awaiting each his Lord's behest To guide his steps, or guard his rest, Old Giaffir sate in his Divan: Deep thought was in his aged eye; And though the face of Mussulman Not oft betrays to standers by The mind within, well skilled to hide All but unconquerable pride, His pensive cheek and pondering brow[fb] 30 Did more than he was wont avow.

III.

"Let the chamber be cleared."—The train disappeared— "Now call me the chief of the Haram guard"— With Giaffir is none but his only son, And the Nubian awaiting the sire's award. "Haroun—when all the crowd that wait Are passed beyond the outer gate, (Woe to the head whose eye beheld My child Zuleika's face unveiled!) Hence, lead my daughter from her tower—[fc] 40 Her fate is fixed this very hour; Yet not to her repeat my thought— By me alone be duty taught!"

"Pacha! to hear is to obey."— No more must slave to despot say— Then to the tower had ta'en his way: But here young Selim silence brake, First lowly rendering reverence meet; And downcast looked, and gently spake, Still standing at the Pacha's feet: 50 For son of Moslem must expire, Ere dare to sit before his sire! "Father! for fear that thou shouldst chide My sister, or her sable guide— Know—for the fault, if fault there be, Was mine—then fall thy frowns on me! So lovelily the morning shone, That—let the old and weary sleep— I could not; and to view alone The fairest scenes of land and deep, 60 With none to listen and reply To thoughts with which my heart beat high Were irksome—for whate'er my mood, In sooth I love not solitude; I on Zuleika's slumber broke, And, as thou knowest that for me Soon turns the Haram's grating key, Before the guardian slaves awoke We to the cypress groves had flown, And made earth, main, and heaven our own! 70 There lingered we, beguiled too long With Mejnoun's tale, or Sadi's song;[fd][129] Till I, who heard the deep tambour[130] Beat thy Divan's approaching hour, To thee, and to my duty true, Warned by the sound, to greet thee flew: But there Zuleika wanders yet— Nay, Father, rage not—nor forget That none can pierce that secret bower But those who watch the women's tower." 80

IV.

"Son of a slave"—the Pacha said— "From unbelieving mother bred, Vain were a father's hope to see Aught that beseems a man in thee. Thou, when thine arm should bend the bow, And hurl the dart, and curb the steed, Thou, Greek in soul if not in creed, Must pore where babbling waters flow,[fe] And watch unfolding roses blow. Would that yon Orb, whose matin glow 90 Thy listless eyes so much admire, Would lend thee something of his fire! Thou, who woulds't see this battlement By Christian cannon piecemeal rent; Nay, tamely view old Stambol's wall Before the dogs of Moscow fall, Nor strike one stroke for life and death Against the curs of Nazareth! Go—let thy less than woman's hand Assume the distaff—not the brand. 100 But, Haroun!—to my daughter speed: And hark—of thine own head take heed— If thus Zuleika oft takes wing— Thou see'st yon bow—it hath a string!"

V.

No sound from Selim's lip was heard, At least that met old Giaffir's ear, But every frown and every word Pierced keener than a Christian's sword. "Son of a slave!—reproached with fear! Those gibes had cost another dear. 110 Son of a slave!—and who my Sire?" Thus held his thoughts their dark career; And glances ev'n of more than ire[ff] Flash forth, then faintly disappear. Old Giaffir gazed upon his son And started; for within his eye He read how much his wrath had done; He saw rebellion there begun: "Come hither, boy—what, no reply? I mark thee—and I know thee too; 120 But there be deeds thou dar'st not do: But if thy beard had manlier length, And if thy hand had skill and strength, I'd joy to see thee break a lance, Albeit against my own perchance." As sneeringly these accents fell, On Selim's eye he fiercely gazed: That eye returned him glance for glance, And proudly to his Sire's was raised[fg], Till Giaffir's quailed and shrunk askance— 130 And why—he felt, but durst not tell. "Much I misdoubt this wayward boy Will one day work me more annoy: I never loved him from his birth, And—but his arm is little worth, And scarcely in the chase could cope With timid fawn or antelope, Far less would venture into strife Where man contends for fame and life— I would not trust that look or tone: 140 No—nor the blood so near my own.[fh] That blood—he hath not heard—no more— I'll watch him closer than before. He is an Arab[131] to my sight, Or Christian crouching in the fight—[fi] But hark!—I hear Zuleika's voice; Like Houris' hymn it meets mine ear: She is the offspring of my choice; Oh! more than ev'n her mother dear, With all to hope, and nought to fear— 150 My Peri! ever welcome here![fj] Sweet, as the desert fountain's wave To lips just cooled in time to save— Such to my longing sight art thou; Nor can they waft to Mecca's shrine More thanks for life, than I for thine, Who blest thy birth and bless thee now."[fk]

VI.

Fair, as the first that fell of womankind, When on that dread yet lovely serpent smiling, Whose Image then was stamped upon her mind— 160 But once beguiled—and ever more beguiling; Dazzling, as that, oh! too transcendent vision To Sorrow's phantom-peopled slumber given, When heart meets heart again in dreams Elysian, And paints the lost on Earth revived in Heaven; Soft, as the memory of buried love; Pure, as the prayer which Childhood wafts above; Was she—the daughter of that rude old Chief, Who met the maid with tears—but not of grief.

Who hath not proved how feebly words essay[132] 170 To fix one spark of Beauty's heavenly ray? Who doth not feel, until his failing sight[fl] Faints into dimness with its own delight, His changing cheek, his sinking heart confess The might—the majesty of Loveliness? Such was Zuleika—such around her shone The nameless charms unmarked by her alone— The light of Love, the purity of Grace,[fm] The mind, the Music[133] breathing from her face, The heart whose softness harmonized the whole, 180 And oh! that eye was in itself a Soul!

Her graceful arms in meekness bending Across her gently-budding breast; At one kind word those arms extending To clasp the neck of him who blest His child caressing and carest, Zuleika came—and Giaffir felt His purpose half within him melt: Not that against her fancied weal His heart though stern could ever feel; 190 Affection chained her to that heart; Ambition tore the links apart.

VII.

"Zuleika! child of Gentleness! How dear this very day must tell, When I forget my own distress, In losing what I love so well, To bid thee with another dwell: Another! and a braver man Was never seen in battle's van. We Moslem reck not much of blood: 200 But yet the line of Carasman[134] Unchanged, unchangeable hath stood First of the bold Timariot bands That won and well can keep their lands.[fn] Enough that he who comes to woo[fo] Is kinsman of the Bey Oglou:[135] His years need scarce a thought employ; I would not have thee wed a boy. And thou shalt have a noble dower: And his and my united power 210 Will laugh to scorn the death-firman, Which others tremble but to scan, And teach the messenger[136] what fate The bearer of such boon may wait. And now thou know'st thy father's will; All that thy sex hath need to know: 'Twas mine to teach obedience still— The way to love, thy Lord may show."

VIII.

In silence bowed the virgin's head; And if her eye was filled with tears 220 That stifled feeling dare not shed, And changed her cheek from pale to red, And red to pale, as through her ears Those winged words like arrows sped, What could such be but maiden fears? So bright the tear in Beauty's eye, Love half regrets to kiss it dry; So sweet the blush of Bashfulness, Even Pity scarce can wish it less!

Whate'er it was the sire forgot: 230 Or if remembered, marked it not; Thrice clapped his hands, and called his steed,[137] Resigned his gem-adorned chibouque,[138] And mounting featly for the mead, With Maugrabeel[139] and Mamaluke, His way amid his Delis took,[140] To witness many an active deed With sabre keen, or blunt jerreed. The Kislar only and his Moors[141] Watch well the Haram's massy doors. 240

IX.

His head was leant upon his hand, His eye looked o'er the dark blue water That swiftly glides and gently swells Between the winding Dardanelles; But yet he saw nor sea nor strand, Nor even his Pacha's turbaned band Mix in the game of mimic slaughter, Careering cleave the folded felt[142] With sabre stroke right sharply dealt; Nor marked the javelin-darting crowd, 250 Nor heard their Ollahs[143] wild and loud— He thought but of old Giaffir's daughter!

X.

No word from Selim's bosom broke; One sigh Zuleika's thought bespoke: Still gazed he through the lattice grate, Pale, mute, and mournfully sedate. To him Zuleika's eye was turned, But little from his aspect learned: Equal her grief, yet not the same; Her heart confessed a gentler flame:[fp] 260 But yet that heart, alarmed or weak, She knew not why, forbade to speak. Yet speak she must—but when essay? "How strange he thus should turn away! Not thus we e'er before have met; Not thus shall be our parting yet." Thrice paced she slowly through the room, And watched his eye—it still was fixed: She snatched the urn wherein was mixed The Persian Atar-gul's perfume,[144] 270 And sprinkled all its odours o'er The pictured roof[145] and marble floor: The drops, that through his glittering vest[fq] The playful girl's appeal addressed, Unheeded o'er his bosom flew, As if that breast were marble too. "What, sullen yet? it must not be— Oh! gentle Selim, this from thee!" She saw in curious order set The fairest flowers of Eastern land— 280 "He loved them once; may touch them yet, If offered by Zuleika's hand." The childish thought was hardly breathed Before the rose was plucked and wreathed; The next fond moment saw her seat Her fairy form at Selim's feet: "This rose to calm my brother's cares A message from the Bulbul[146] bears; It says to-night he will prolong For Selim's ear his sweetest song; 290 And though his note is somewhat sad, He'll try for once a strain more glad, With some faint hope his altered lay May sing these gloomy thoughts away.

XI.

"What! not receive my foolish flower? Nay then I am indeed unblest: On me can thus thy forehead lower? And know'st thou not who loves thee best?[fr] Oh, Selim dear! oh, more than dearest! Say, is it me thou hat'st or fearest? 300 Come, lay thy head upon my breast, And I will kiss thee into rest, Since words of mine, and songs must fail, Ev'n from my fabled nightingale. I knew our sire at times was stern, But this from thee had yet to learn: Too well I know he loves thee not; But is Zuleika's love forgot? Ah! deem I right? the Pacha's plan— This kinsman Bey of Carasman 310 Perhaps may prove some foe of thine. If so, I swear by Mecca's shrine,—[fs] If shrines that ne'er approach allow To woman's step admit her vow,— Without thy free consent—command— The Sultan should not have my hand! Think'st thou that I could bear to part With thee, and learn to halve my heart? Ah! were I severed from thy side, Where were thy friend—and who my guide? 320 Years have not seen, Time shall not see, The hour that tears my soul from thee:[ft] Ev'n Azrael,[147] from his deadly quiver When flies that shaft, and fly it must,[fu] That parts all else, shall doom for ever Our hearts to undivided dust!"

XII.

He lived—he breathed—he moved—he felt; He raised the maid from where she knelt; His trance was gone, his keen eye shone With thoughts that long in darkness dwelt; 330 With thoughts that burn—in rays that melt. As the stream late concealed By the fringe of its willows, When it rushes reveal'd In the light of its billows; As the bolt bursts on high From the black cloud that bound it, Flashed the soul of that eye Through the long lashes round it. A war-horse at the trumpet's sound, 340 A lion roused by heedless hound, A tyrant waked to sudden strife By graze of ill-directed knife,[fv] Starts not to more convulsive life Than he, who heard that vow, displayed, And all, before repressed, betrayed: "Now thou art mine, for ever mine, With life to keep, and scarce with life resign;[fw] Now thou art mine, that sacred oath, Though sworn by one, hath bound us both. 350 Yes, fondly, wisely hast thou done; That vow hath saved more heads than one: But blench not thou—thy simplest tress Claims more from me than tenderness; I would not wrong the slenderest hair That clusters round thy forehead fair,[fx] For all the treasures buried far Within the caves of Istakar.[148] This morning clouds upon me lowered, Reproaches on my head were showered, 360 And Giaffir almost called me coward! Now I have motive to be brave; The son of his neglected slave, Nay, start not,'twas the term he gave, May show, though little apt to vaunt, A heart his words nor deeds can daunt. His son, indeed!—yet, thanks to thee, Perchance I am, at least shall be; But let our plighted secret vow Be only known to us as now. 370 I know the wretch who dares demand From Giaffir thy reluctant hand; More ill-got wealth, a meaner soul Holds not a Musselim's[149] control; Was he not bred in Egripo?[150] A viler race let Israel show! But let that pass—to none be told Our oath; the rest shall time unfold. To me and mine leave Osman Bey! I've partisans for Peril's day: 380 Think not I am what I appear; I've arms—and friends—and vengeance near."

XIII.

"Think not thou art what thou appearest! My Selim, thou art sadly changed: This morn I saw thee gentlest—dearest— But now thou'rt from thyself estranged. My love thou surely knew'st before, It ne'er was less—nor can be more. To see thee—hear thee—near thee stay— And hate the night—I know not why, 390 Save that we meet not but by day; With thee to live, with thee to die, I dare not to my hope deny: Thy cheek—thine eyes—thy lips to kiss— Like this—and this—no more than this;[fy] For, Allah! sure thy lips are flame: What fever in thy veins is flushing? My own have nearly caught the same, At least I feel my cheek, too, blushing. To soothe thy sickness, watch thy health, 400 Partake, but never waste thy wealth, Or stand with smiles unmurmuring by, And lighten half thy poverty; Do all but close thy dying eye, For that I could not live to try; To these alone my thoughts aspire: More can I do? or thou require? But, Selim, thou must answer why[fz] We need so much of mystery? The cause I cannot dream nor tell, 410 But be it, since thou say'st 'tis well; Yet what thou mean'st by 'arms' and 'friends,' Beyond my weaker sense extends. I meant that Giaffir should have heard The very vow I plighted thee; His wrath would not revoke my word: But surely he would leave me free. Can this fond wish seem strange in me, To be what I have ever been? What other hath Zuleika seen 420 From simple childhood's earliest hour? What other can she seek to see Than thee, companion of her bower, The partner of her infancy? These cherished thoughts with life begun, Say, why must I no more avow? What change is wrought to make me shun The truth—my pride, and thine till now? To meet the gaze of stranger's eyes Our law—our creed—our God denies; 430 Nor shall one wandering thought of mine At such, our Prophet's will, repine: No! happier made by that decree, He left me all in leaving thee. Deep were my anguish, thus compelled[ga] To wed with one I ne'er beheld: This wherefore should I not reveal? Why wilt thou urge me to conceal?[gb] I know the Pacha's haughty mood To thee hath never boded good; 440 And he so often storms at nought, Allah! forbid that e'er he ought! And why I know not, but within My heart concealment weighs like sin.[gc] If then such secrecy be crime, And such it feels while lurking here; Oh, Selim! tell me yet in time, Nor leave me thus to thoughts of fear. Ah! yonder see the Tchocadar,[151] My father leaves the mimic war; 450 I tremble now to meet his eye— Say, Selim, canst thou tell me why?"

XIV.

"Zuleika—to thy tower's retreat Betake thee—Giaffir I can greet: And now with him I fain must prate Of firmans, imposts, levies, state. There's fearful news from Danube's banks, Our Vizier nobly thins his ranks For which the Giaour may give him thanks! Our Sultan hath a shorter way 460 Such costly triumph to repay. But, mark me, when the twilight drum Hath warned the troops to food and sleep, Unto thy cell with Selim come; Then softly from the Haram creep Where we may wander by the deep: Our garden battlements are steep; Nor these will rash intruder climb To list our words, or stint our time; And if he doth, I want not steel 470 Which some have felt, and more may feel. Then shalt thou learn of Selim more Than thou hast heard or thought before: Trust me, Zuleika—fear not me! Thou know'st I hold a Haram key."

"Fear thee, my Selim! ne'er till now Did words like this——"

"Delay not thou;[gd] I keep the key—and Haroun's guard Have some, and hope of more reward. To-night, Zuleika, thou shalt hear 480 My tale, my purpose, and my fear: I am not, love! what I appear."



CANTO THE SECOND.[ge]

I.

The winds are high on Helle's wave, As on that night of stormy water When Love, who sent, forgot to save The young—the beautiful—the brave— The lonely hope of Sestos' daughter. Oh! when alone along the sky Her turret-torch was blazing high, Though rising gale, and breaking foam, 490 And shrieking sea-birds warned him home; And clouds aloft and tides below, With signs and sounds, forbade to go, He could not see, he would not hear, Or sound or sign foreboding fear; His eye but saw that light of Love, The only star it hailed above; His ear but rang with Hero's song, "Ye waves, divide not lovers long!"— That tale is old, but Love anew[152] 500 May nerve young hearts to prove as true.

II.

The winds are high and Helle's tide Rolls darkly heaving to the main; And Night's descending shadows hide That field with blood bedewed in vain, The desert of old Priam's pride; The tombs, sole relics of his reign, All—save immortal dreams that could beguile The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle!

III.

Oh! yet—for there my steps have been; 510 These feet have pressed the sacred shore, These limbs that buoyant wave hath borne— Minstrel! with thee to muse, to mourn, To trace again those fields of yore, Believing every hillock green Contains no fabled hero's ashes, And that around the undoubted scene Thine own "broad Hellespont"[153] still dashes, Be long my lot! and cold were he Who there could gaze denying thee! 520

IV.

The Night hath closed on Helle's stream, Nor yet hath risen on Ida's hill That Moon, which shone on his high theme: No warrior chides her peaceful beam, But conscious shepherds bless it still. Their flocks are grazing on the Mound Of him who felt the Dardan's arrow: That mighty heap of gathered ground Which Ammon's son ran proudly round,[154] By nations raised, by monarchs crowned, 530 Is now a lone and nameless barrow! Within—thy dwelling-place how narrow![155] Without—can only strangers breathe The name of him that was beneath: Dust long outlasts the storied stone; But Thou—thy very dust is gone!

V.

Late, late to-night will Dian cheer The swain, and chase the boatman's fear; Till then—no beacon on the cliff May shape the course of struggling skiff; 540 The scattered lights that skirt the bay, All, one by one, have died away; The only lamp of this lone hour Is glimmering in Zuleika's tower. Yes! there is light in that lone chamber, And o'er her silken ottoman Are thrown the fragrant beads of amber, O'er which her fairy fingers ran;[156] Near these, with emerald rays beset,[157] (How could she thus that gem forget?) 550 Her mother's sainted amulet,[158] Whereon engraved the Koorsee text, Could smooth this life, and win the next; And by her Comboloio[159] lies A Koran of illumined dyes; And many a bright emblazoned rhyme By Persian scribes redeemed from Time; And o'er those scrolls, not oft so mute, Reclines her now neglected lute; And round her lamp of fretted gold 560 Bloom flowers in urns of China's mould; The richest work of Iran's loom, And Sheeraz[160] tribute of perfume;

All that can eye or sense delight Are gathered in that gorgeous room: But yet it hath an air of gloom. She, of this Peri cell the sprite, What doth she hence, and on so rude a night?

VI.

Wrapt in the darkest sable vest, Which none save noblest Moslem wear, 570 To guard from winds of Heaven the breast As Heaven itself to Selim dear, With cautious steps the thicket threading, And starting oft, as through the glade The gust its hollow moanings made, Till on the smoother pathway treading, More free her timid bosom beat, The maid pursued her silent guide; And though her terror urged retreat, How could she quit her Selim's side? 580 How teach her tender lips to chide?

VII.

They reached at length a grotto, hewn By nature, but enlarged by art, Where oft her lute she wont to tune, And oft her Koran conned apart; And oft in youthful reverie She dreamed what Paradise might be: Where Woman's parted soul shall go Her Prophet had disdained to show;[gf][161] But Selim's mansion was secure, 590 Nor deemed she, could he long endure His bower in other worlds of bliss Without her, most beloved in this! Oh! who so dear with him could dwell? What Houri soothe him half so well?

VIII.

Since last she visited the spot Some change seemed wrought within the grot: It might be only that the night Disguised things seen by better light: That brazen lamp but dimly threw 600 A ray of no celestial hue; But in a nook within the cell Her eye on stranger objects fell. There arms were piled, not such as wield The turbaned Delis in the field; But brands of foreign blade and hilt, And one was red—perchance with guilt![gg] Ah! how without can blood be spilt? A cup too on the board was set That did not seem to hold sherbet. 610 What may this mean? she turned to see Her Selim—"Oh! can this be he?"[gh]

IX.

His robe of pride was thrown aside, His brow no high-crowned turban bore, But in its stead a shawl of red, Wreathed lightly round, his temples wore: That dagger, on whose hilt the gem Were worthy of a diadem, No longer glittered at his waist, Where pistols unadorned were braced; 620 And from his belt a sabre swung, And from his shoulder loosely hung The cloak of white, the thin capote That decks the wandering Candiote; Beneath—his golden plated vest Clung like a cuirass to his breast; The greaves below his knee that wound With silvery scales were sheathed and bound. But were it not that high command Spake in his eye, and tone, and hand, 630 All that a careless eye could see In him was some young Galiongee.[162]

X.

"I said I was not what I seemed; And now thou see'st my words were true: I have a tale thou hast not dreamed, If sooth—its truth must others rue. My story now 'twere vain to hide, I must not see thee Osman's bride: But had not thine own lips declared How much of that young heart I shared, 640 I could not, must not, yet have shown The darker secret of my own. In this I speak not now of love; That—let Time—Truth—and Peril prove: But first—Oh! never wed another— Zuleika! I am not thy brother!"

XI.

"Oh! not my brother!—yet unsay— God! am I left alone on earth To mourn—I dare not curse—the day[gi] That saw my solitary birth? 650 Oh! thou wilt love me now no more! My sinking heart foreboded ill; But know me all I was before, Thy sister—friend—Zuleika still. Thou led'st me here perchance to kill; If thou hast cause for vengeance, see! My breast is offered—take thy fill! Far better with the dead to be Than live thus nothing now to thee: Perhaps far worse, for now I know 660 Why Giaffir always seemed thy foe; And I, alas! am Giaffir's child, For whom thou wert contemned, reviled. If not thy sister—would'st thou save My life—Oh! bid me be thy slave!"

XII.

"My slave, Zuleika!—nay, I'm thine: But, gentle love, this transport calm, Thy lot shall yet be linked with mine; I swear it by our Prophet's shrine,[gj] And be that thought thy sorrow's balm. 670 So may the Koran[163] verse displayed Upon its steel direct my blade, In danger's hour to guard us both, As I preserve that awful oath! The name in which thy heart hath prided Must change; but, my Zuleika, know, That tie is widened, not divided, Although thy Sire's my deadliest foe. My father was to Giaffir all That Selim late was deemed to thee; 680 That brother wrought a brother's fall, But spared, at least, my infancy! And lulled me with a vain deceit That yet a like return may meet. He reared me, not with tender help, But like the nephew of a Cain;[164] He watched me like a lion's whelp, That gnaws and yet may break his chain. My father's blood in every vein Is boiling! but for thy dear sake 690 No present vengeance will I take; Though here I must no more remain. But first, beloved Zuleika! hear How Giaffir wrought this deed of fear.

XIII.

"How first their strife to rancour grew, If Love or Envy made them foes, It matters little if I knew; In fiery spirits, slights, though few And thoughtless, will disturb repose. In war Abdallah's arm was strong, 700 Remembered yet in Bosniac song,[165] And Paswan's[166] rebel hordes attest How little love they bore such guest: His death is all I need relate, The stern effect of Giaffir's hate; And how my birth disclosed to me,[gk] Whate'er beside it makes, hath made me free.

XIV.

"When Paswan, after years of strife, At last for power, but first for life, In Widdin's walls too proudly sate, 710 Our Pachas rallied round the state; Not last nor least in high command, Each brother led a separate band; They gave their Horse-tails[167] to the wind, And mustering in Sophia's plain Their tents were pitched, their post assigned; To one, alas! assigned in vain! What need of words? the deadly bowl, By Giaffir's order drugged and given, With venom subtle as his soul,[gl] Dismissed Abdallah's hence to heaven. 720 Reclined and feverish in the bath, He, when the hunter's sport was up, But little deemed a brother's wrath To quench his thirst had such a cup: The bowl a bribed attendant bore; He drank one draught,[168] nor needed more! If thou my tale, Zuleika, doubt, Call Haroun—he can tell it out.

XV.

"The deed once done, and Paswan's feud 730 In part suppressed, though ne'er subdued, Abdallah's Pachalick was gained:— Thou know'st not what in our Divan Can wealth procure for worse than man— Abdallah's honours were obtained By him a brother's murder stained; 'Tis true, the purchase nearly drained His ill-got treasure, soon replaced. Would'st question whence? Survey the waste, And ask the squalid peasant how 740 His gains repay his broiling brow!— Why me the stern Usurper spared, Why thus with me his palace spared, I know not. Shame—regret—remorse— And little fear from infant's force— Besides, adoption as a son By him whom Heaven accorded none, Or some unknown cabal, caprice, Preserved me thus:—but not in peace: He cannot curb his haughty mood,[gm] 750 Nor I forgive a father's blood.

XVI.

"Within thy Father's house are foes; Not all who break his bread are true: To these should I my birth disclose, His days-his very hours were few: They only want a heart to lead, A hand to point them to the deed. But Haroun only knows, or knew This tale, whose close is almost nigh: He in Abdallah's palace grew, 760 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 betrayed, Proud Giaffir in high triumph sate, He led me helpless to his gate, And not in vain it seems essayed 770 To save the life for which he prayed. 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 To this our Asiatic side, Far from our seats by Danube's tide, With none but Haroun, who retains Such knowledge—and that Nubian feels A Tyrant's secrets are but chains, 780 From which the captive gladly steals, And this and more to me reveals: Such still to guilt just Allah sends— Slaves, tools, accomplices—no friends!

XVII.

"All this, Zuleika, harshly sounds; But harsher still my tale must be: Howe'er my tongue thy softness wounds, Yet I must prove all truth to thee."[gn] I saw thee start this garb to see, Yet is it one I oft have worn, 790 And long must wear: this Galiongee, To whom thy plighted vow is sworn, 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 filled—once quaffed, they ne'er repine: 800 Our Prophet might forgive the slaves; They're only infidels in wine.

XVIII.

"What could I be? Proscribed at home, And taunted to a wish to roam; And listless left—for Giaffir's fear Denied the courser and the spear— Though oft—Oh, Mahomet! how oft!— In full Divan the despot scoffed, As if my weak unwilling hand Refused the bridle or the brand: 810 He ever went to war alone, And pent me here untried—unknown; To Haroun's care with women left,[go] By hope unblest, of fame bereft, While thou—whose softness long endeared, Though it unmanned me, still had cheered— To Brusa's walls for safety sent, Awaited'st there the field's event. Haroun who saw my spirit pining[gp] Beneath inaction's sluggish yoke, 820 His captive, though with dread resigning, My thraldom for a season broke, On promise to return before The day when Giaffir's charge was o'er. 'Tis vain—my tongue can not impart[gq] My almost drunkenness of heart,[169] When first this liberated eye Surveyed Earth—Ocean—Sun—and Sky— As if my Spirit pierced them through, And all their inmost wonders knew! 830 One word alone can paint to thee That more than feeling—I was Free! E'en for thy presence ceased to pine; The World—nay, Heaven itself was mine!

XIX.

"The shallop of a trusty Moor Conveyed me from this idle shore; I longed to see the isles that gem Old Ocean's purple diadem: I sought by turns, and saw them all;[170] But when and where I joined the crew, 840 With whom I'm pledged to rise or fall, When all that we design to do Is done,'twill then be time more meet To tell thee, when the tale's complete.

XX.

"'Tis true, they are a lawless brood, But rough in form, nor mild in mood; And every creed, and every race, With them hath found—may find a place: But open speech, and ready hand, Obedience to their Chief's command; 850 A soul for every enterprise, That never sees with Terror's eyes; Friendship for each, and faith to all, And vengeance vowed for those who fall, Have made them fitting instruments For more than e'en my own intents. And some—and I have studied all Distinguished from the vulgar rank, But chiefly to my council call The wisdom of the cautious Frank:— 860 And some to higher thoughts aspire. The last of Lambro's[171] patriots there Anticipated freedom share; And oft around the cavern fire On visionary schemes debate, To snatch the Rayahs[172] from their fate. So let them ease their hearts with prate Of equal rights, which man ne'er knew; I have a love for freedom too. Aye! let me like the ocean-Patriarch[173] roam, 870 Or only know on land the Tartar's home![174] My tent on shore, my galley on the sea, Are more than cities and Serais to me:[175] 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![176] Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife, 880 Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life! The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray![177] 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,[gr] Shall sound each tone thy long-loved voice endears. For thee in those bright isles is built a bower 890 Blooming as Aden[178] in its earliest hour. A thousand swords, with Selim's heart and hand, Wait—wave—defend—destroy—at thy command![gs] Girt by my band, Zuleika at my side, The spoil of nations shall bedeck my bride. The Haram's languid years of listless ease Are well resigned for cares—for joys like these: Not blind to Fate, I see, where'er I rove, Unnumbered perils,—but one only love! Yet well my toils shall that fond breast repay, 900 Though Fortune frown, or falser friends betray. How dear the dream in darkest hours of ill, Should all be changed, to find thee faithful still! Be but thy soul, like Selim's firmly shown; To thee be Selim's tender as thine own; To soothe each sorrow, share in each delight,[gt] Blend every thought, do all—but disunite! Once free, 'tis mine our horde again to guide; Friends to each other, foes to aught beside:[179] Yet there we follow but the bent assigned 910 By fatal Nature to man's warring kind:[gu] Mark! where his carnage and his conquests cease! He makes a solitude, and calls it—peace![gv][180] I like the rest must use my skill or strength, But ask no land beyond my sabre's length: Power sways but by division—her resource[gw] The blest alternative of fraud or force! Ours be the last; in time Deceit may come When cities cage us in a social home: There ev'n thy soul might err—how oft the heart 920 Corruption shakes which Peril could not part! And Woman, more than Man, when Death or Woe, Or even Disgrace, would lay her lover low, Sunk in the lap of Luxury will shame— Away suspicion!—not Zuleika's name! But life is hazard at the best; and here No more remains to win, and much to fear: Yes, fear!—the doubt, the dread of losing thee, By Osman's power, and Giaffir's stern decree. That dread shall vanish with the favouring gale, 930 Which Love to-night hath promised to my sail:[gx] No danger daunts the pair his smile hath blest, Their steps still roving, but their hearts at rest. With thee all toils are sweet, each clime hath charms; Earth—sea alike—our world within our arms! Aye—let the loud winds whistle o'er the deck,[181] So that those arms cling closer round my neck: The deepest murmur of this lip shall be,[gy][182] No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee! The war of elements no fears impart 940 To Love, whose deadliest bane is human Art: There lie the only rocks our course can check; Here moments menace—there are years of wreck! But hence ye thoughts that rise in Horror's shape! This hour bestows, or ever bars escape.[gz] Few words remain of mine my tale to close; Of thine but one to waft us from our foes; Yea—foes—to me will Giaffir's hate decline? And is not Osman, who would part us, thine?

XXI.

"His head and faith from doubt and death 950 Returned in time my guard to save; Few heard, none told, that o'er the wave From isle to isle I roved the while: And since, though parted from my band Too seldom now I leave the land, No deed they've done, nor deed shall do, Ere I have heard and doomed it too: I form the plan—decree the spoil— Tis fit I oftener share the toil. But now too long I've held thine ear; 960 Time presses—floats my bark—and here We leave behind but hate and fear. To-morrow Osman with his train Arrives—to-night must break thy chain: And would'st thou save that haughty Bey,— Perchance his life who gave thee thine,— With me this hour away—away! But yet, though thou art plighted mine, Would'st thou recall thy willing vow, Appalled by truths imparted now, 970 Here rest I—not to see thee wed: But be that peril on my head!"

XXII.

Zuleika, mute and motionless, Stood like that Statue of Distress, When, her last hope for ever gone, The Mother hardened into stone; All in the maid that eye could see Was but a younger Niobe. But ere her lip, or even her eye, Essayed to speak, or look reply, 980 Beneath the garden's wicket porch Far flashed on high a blazing torch! Another—and another—and another—[183] "Oh! fly—no more—yet now my more than brother!" Far, wide, through every thicket spread The fearful lights are gleaming red; Nor these alone—for each right hand Is ready with a sheathless brand. They part—pursue—return, and wheel With searching flambeau, shining steel; 990 And last of all, his sabre waving, Stern Giaffir in his fury raving: And now almost they touch the cave— Oh! must that grot be Selim's grave?

XXIII.

Dauntless he stood—"'Tis come—soon past— One kiss, Zuleika—'tis my last: But yet my band not far from shore May hear this signal, see the flash; Yet now too few—the attempt were rash: No matter—yet one effort more." 1000 Forth to the cavern mouth he stept; His pistol's echo rang on high, Zuleika started not, nor wept, Despair benumbed 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: 1010 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 them for him?—may I expire If in this strife I seek thy sire! No—though by him that poison poured; No—though again he call me coward! But tamely shall I meet their steel? No—as each crest save his may feel!" 1020

XXIV.

One bound he made, and gained the sand: Already at his feet hath sunk The foremost of the prying band, A gasping head, a quivering trunk: Another falls—but round him close A swarming circle of his foes; From right to left his path he cleft, And almost met the meeting wave: His boat appears—not five oars' length— His comrades strain with desperate strength— 1030 Oh! are they yet in time to save? His feet the foremost breakers lave; His band are plunging in the bay, Their sabres glitter through the spray; Wet—wild—unwearied to the strand They struggle—now they touch the land! They come—'tis but to add to slaughter— His heart's best blood is on the water.

XXV.

Escaped from shot, unharmed by steel, Or scarcely grazed its force to feel,[ha] 1040 Had Selim won, betrayed, 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[hb] For her his eye but sought in vain? That pause, that fatal gaze he took, Hath doomed his death, or fixed his chain. Sad proof, in peril and in pain, How late will Lover's hope remain! 1050 His back was to the dashing spray; Behind, but close, his comrades lay, When, at the instant, hissed the ball— "So may the foes of Giaffir fall!" Whose voice is heard? whose carbine rang? Whose bullet through the night-air sang, Too nearly, deadly aimed to err? 'Tis thine—Abdallah's Murderer! The father slowly rued thy hate, The son hath found a quicker fate: 1060 Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling, The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling— If aught his lips essayed to groan, The rushing billows choked the tone!

XXVI.

Morn slowly rolls the clouds away; Few trophies of the fight are there: The shouts that shook the midnight-bay Are silent; but some signs of fray That strand of strife may bear, And fragments of each shivered brand; 1070 Steps stamped; and dashed into the sand The print of many a struggling hand May there be marked; nor far remote A broken torch, an oarless boat; And tangled on the weeds that heap The beach where shelving to the deep There lies a white capote! 'Tis rent in twain—one dark-red stain The wave yet ripples o'er in vain: But where is he who wore? 1080 Ye! who would o'er his relics weep, Go, seek them where the surges sweep Their burthen round Sigaeum's steep And cast on Lemnos' shore: The sea-birds shriek above the prey, O'er which their hungry beaks delay,[hc] As shaken on his restless pillow, His head heaves with the heaving billow; That hand, whose motion is not life,[hd] Yet feebly seems to menace strife, 1090 Flung by the tossing tide on high, Then levelled with the wave—[184] What recks it, though that corse shall lie Within a living grave? The bird that tears that prostrate form Hath only robbed the meaner worm; The only heart, the only eye Had bled or wept to see him die, Had seen those scattered limbs composed, And mourned above his turban-stone,[185] 1100 That heart hath burst—that eye was closed— Yea—closed before his own!

XXVII.

By Helle's stream there is a voice of wail! And Woman's eye is wet—Man's cheek is pale: Zuleika! last of Giaffir's race, Thy destined lord is come too late: He sees not—ne'er shall see thy face! Can he not hear The loud Wul-wulleh[186] warn his distant ear? Thy handmaids weeping at the gate, 1110 The Koran-chanters of the Hymn of Fate,[he][187] The silent slaves with folded arms that wait, Sighs in the hall, and shrieks upon the gale, Tell him thy tale! Thou didst not view thy Selim fall! That fearful moment when he left the cave Thy heart grew chill: He was thy hope—thy joy—thy love—thine all, And that last thought on him thou could'st not save Sufficed to kill; 1120 Burst forth in one wild cry—and all was still. Peace to thy broken heart—and virgin grave! Ah! happy! but of life to lose the worst! That grief—though deep—though fatal—was thy first! Thrice happy! ne'er to feel nor fear the force Of absence—shame—pride—hate—revenge—remorse! And, oh! that pang where more than Madness lies The Worm that will not sleep—and never dies; Thought of the gloomy day and ghastly night, That dreads the darkness, and yet loathes the light, 1130 That winds around, and tears the quivering heart! Ah! wherefore not consume it—and depart! Woe to thee, rash and unrelenting Chief! Vainly thou heap'st the dust upon thy head, Vainly the sackcloth o'er thy limbs dost spread:[188] By that same hand Abdallah—Selim bled. Now let it tear thy beard in idle grief: Thy pride of heart, thy bride for Osman's bed, She, whom thy Sultan had but seen to wed,[hf] Thy Daughter's dead! 1140 Hope of thine age, thy twilight's lonely beam, The Star hath set that shone on Helle's stream. What quenched its ray?—the blood that thou hast shed! Hark! to the hurried question of Despair:[189] "Where is my child?"—an Echo answers—"Where?"[190]

XXVIII.

Within the place of thousand tombs That shine beneath, while dark above The sad but living cypress glooms[hg] And withers not, though branch and leaf Are stamped with an eternal grief, 1150 Like early unrequited Love, One spot exists, which ever blooms, Ev'n in that deadly grove— A single rose is shedding there Its lonely lustre, meek and pale: It looks as planted by Despair— So white—so faint—the slightest gale Might whirl the leaves on high; And yet, though storms and blight assail, And hands more rude than wintry sky 1160 May wring it from the stem—in vain— To-morrow sees it bloom again! The stalk some Spirit gently rears, And waters with celestial tears; For well may maids of Helle deem That this can be no earthly flower, Which mocks the tempest's withering hour, And buds unsheltered by a bower; Nor droops, though Spring refuse her shower, Nor woos the Summer beam: 1170 To it the livelong night there sings A Bird unseen—but not remote: Invisible his airy wings, But soft as harp that Houri strings His long entrancing note! It were the Bulbul; but his throat, Though mournful, pours not such a strain: For they who listen cannot leave The spot, but linger there and grieve, As if they loved in vain! 1180 And yet so sweet the tears they shed, 'Tis sorrow so unmixed with dread, They scarce can bear the morn to break That melancholy spell, And longer yet would weep and wake, He sings so wild and well! But when the day-blush bursts from high[hh] Expires that magic melody. And some have been who could believe,[hi] (So fondly youthful dreams deceive, 1190 Yet harsh be they that blame,) That note so piercing and profound Will shape and syllable[191] its sound Into Zuleika's name. '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! 1200 It was no mortal arm that bore That deep fixed pillar to the shore; For there, as Helle's legends tell, Next morn 'twas found where Selim fell; Lashed by the tumbling tide, whose wave Denied his bones a holier grave: And there by night, reclined, 'tis said. Is seen a ghastly turbaned head:[192] And hence extended by the billow, 'Tis named the "Pirate-phantom's pillow!" 1210 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![hj][193]



NOTE TO THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.

CANTO II. STANZA XX.

After the completion of the fair copy of the MS. of the Bride of Abydos, seventy lines were added to stanza xx. of Canto II. In both MSS. the rough and fair copies, the stanza ends with the line, "The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark!"

Seven MS. sheets are extant, which make up the greater portion of these additional lines.

The First Addition amounts to eight lines, and takes the narrative from line 880 to line 893, "Wait—wave—defend—destroy—at thy command!"

Lines 884-889 do not appear in the first MS. Fragment, but are given in three variants on separate sheets. Two of these are dated December 2 and December 3, 1813.

The Second Fragment begins with line 890, "For thee in those bright isles is built a bower," and, numbering twenty-two lines, ends with a variant of line 907, "Blend every thought, do all—but disunite!" Two lines of this addition, "With thee all toils are sweet," find a place in the text as lines 934, 935.

The Third Fragment amounts to thirty-six lines, and may be taken as the first draft of the whole additions—lines 880-949.

Lines 908-925 and 936-945 of the text are still later additions, but a fourth MS. fragment supplies lines 920-925 and lines 936-945. (A fair copy of this fragment gives text for Revise of November 13.) Between November 13 and November 25 no less than ten revises of the Bride were submitted to Lord Byron. In the earliest of these, dated November 13, the thirty-six lines of the Third Fragment have been expanded into forty lines—four lines of the MS. being omitted, and twelve lines, 908-919, "Once free,"—"social home," being inserted. The text passed through five revises and remained unaltered till November 21, when eighteen lines were added to the forty, viz.: (4) "Mark! where his carnage,"—"sabre's length;" (6) "There ev'n thy soul,"—"Zuleika's name;" and (8) "Aye—let the loud winds,"—"bars escape." Of these the two latter additions belong to the Fourth Fragment. The text in this state passed through three more revises, but before the first edition was issued two more lines were added—lines 938, 939,

"The deepest murmur of this lip shall be, No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!"

Even then the six lines, "Blest—as the Muezzin's,"—"endears," are wanting in the text; but the four lines, "Soft—as the melody,"—"endears," are inserted in MS. in the margin. The text as it stands first appears in the Seventh Edition.

* * * * *

[First Draft of 880, sq., of Canto II. Stanz xx. of the Bride of Abydos.]

For thee in those bright isles is built a bower Aden, in its earliest hour Blooming as {-Eden—guarded like a tower-} A thousand swords—thy Selim's soul and hand Wait on thy voice, and bow to thy command pair No Danger daunts—the {-souls-} that Love hath blest steps still roving With {-feet long-wandering-}—but with hearts at rest. {-For thee my blade shall shine—my hand shall toil-} With thee all toils were sweet—each clime hath charms {line 934} Earth—sea—alike—one World within our arms {line 935} Girt by my hand—Zuleika at my side— The Spoil of nations shall bedeck my bride slumbring The Haram's sluggish life of listless ease Is well exchanged for cares and joys like these {-Mine be the lot to know where'er I rove-} {-A thousand perils wait where-er I rove,-} Not blind to fate I view where-er I rove A thousand perils—but one only love— Yet well my labor shall fond breast repay When Fortune frowns or falser friends betray How dear the thought in darkest hours of ill Should all be changed to find thee faithful still Be but thy soul like Selim's firmly shown {-mine in firmness-} {-Firm as my own I deem thy tender heart-} To thee be Selim's tender as thine own Exchange, or mingle every thought with his And all our future days unite in this.

* * * * *

Man I may lead—but trust not—I may fall By those now friends to me—yet foes to all— In this they follow but the bent assigned fatal Nature By {-savage Nature-} to our warning kind But there—oh, far be every thought of fear Life is but peril at the best—and here No more remains to win and much to fear Yes fear—the doubt the dread of losing thee— That dread must vanish.



FOOTNOTES:

[ey] To the Right Hon^ble^ Henry Richard Vassal Lord Holland This Tale Is inscribed with Every sentiment of the Most affectionate respect by his gratefully obliged serv^t. And sincere Friend Byron.

[Proof and Revise.—See Letters to Murray, November 13, 17, 1813.]

[124] {157} ["Murray tells me that Croker asked him why the thing was called the Bride of Abydos? It is a cursed awkward question, being unanswerable. She is not a bride, only about to become one. I don't wonder at his finding out the Bull; but the detection ... is too late to do any good. I was a great fool to make it, and am ashamed of not being an Irishman."—Journal, December 6, 1813; Letters, 1898, ii. 365.

Byron need not have been dismayed. "The term is particularly applied on the day of marriage and during the 'honeymoon,' but is frequently used from the proclamation of the banns.... In the debate on Prince Leopold's allowance, Mr. Gladstone, being criticized for speaking of the Princess Helena as the 'bride,' said he believed that colloquially a lady when engaged was often called a 'bride.' This was met with 'Hear! Hear!' from some, and 'No! No!' from others."—N. Engl. Dict., art. "Bride."]

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