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The Works Of Lord Byron, Vol. 3 (of 7)
by Lord Byron
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XXVII.

Still the old man stood erect. And Alp's career a moment checked. "Yield thee, Minotti; quarter take, For thine own, thy daughter's sake." 850

"Never, Renegado, never! Though the life of thy gift would last for ever."[qg]

"Francesca!—Oh, my promised bride![qh] Must she too perish by thy pride!"

"She is safe."—"Where? where?"—"In Heaven; From whence thy traitor soul is driven— Far from thee, and undefiled." Grimly then Minotti smiled, As he saw Alp staggering bow Before his words, as with a blow. 860

"Oh God! when died she?"—"Yesternight— Nor weep I for her spirit's flight: None of my pure race shall be Slaves to Mahomet and thee— Come on!"—That challenge is in vain— Alp's already with the slain! While Minotti's words were wreaking More revenge in bitter speaking Than his falchion's point had found, Had the time allowed to wound, 870 From within the neighbouring porch Of a long defended church, Where the last and desperate few Would the failing fight renew, The sharp shot dashed Alp to the ground; Ere an eye could view the wound That crashed through the brain of the infidel, Round he spun, and down he fell; A flash like fire within his eyes Blazed, as he bent no more to rise, 880 And then eternal darkness sunk Through all the palpitating trunk;[qi] Nought of life left, save a quivering Where his limbs were slightly shivering: They turned him on his back; his breast And brow were stained with gore and dust, And through his lips the life-blood oozed, From its deep veins lately loosed; But in his pulse there was no throb, Nor on his lips one dying sob; 890 Sigh, nor word, nor struggling breath[qj] Heralded his way to death: Ere his very thought could pray, Unaneled he passed away, Without a hope from Mercy's aid,— To the last a Renegade.[397]

XXVIII.

Fearfully the yell arose Of his followers, and his foes; These in joy, in fury those:[qk] Then again in conflict mixing,[ql] 900 Clashing swords, and spears transfixing, Interchanged the blow and thrust, Hurling warriors in the dust. Street by street, and foot by foot, Still Minotti dares dispute The latest portion of the land Left beneath his high command; With him, aiding heart and hand, The remnant of his gallant band. Still the church is tenable, 910 Whence issued late the fated ball That half avenged the city's fall, When Alp, her fierce assailant, fell: Thither bending sternly back, They leave before a bloody track; And, with their faces to the foe, Dealing wounds with every blow,[398] The chief, and his retreating train, Join to those within the fane; There they yet may breathe awhile, 920 Sheltered by the massy pile.

XXIX.

Brief breathing-time! the turbaned host, With added ranks and raging boast, Press onwards with such strength and heat, Their numbers balk their own retreat; For narrow the way that led to the spot Where still the Christians yielded not; And the foremost, if fearful, may vainly try Through the massy column to turn and fly; They perforce must do or die. 930 They die; but ere their eyes could close, Avengers o'er their bodies rose; Fresh and furious, fast they fill The ranks unthinned, though slaughtered still; And faint the weary Christians wax Before the still renewed attacks: And now the Othmans gain the gate; Still resists its iron weight, And still, all deadly aimed and hot, From every crevice comes the shot; 940 From every shattered window pour The volleys of the sulphurous shower: But the portal wavering grows and weak— The iron yields, the hinges creak— It bends—it falls—and all is o'er; Lost Corinth may resist no more!

XXX.

Darkly, sternly, and all alone, Minotti stood o'er the altar stone: Madonna's face upon him shone,[399] Painted in heavenly hues above, 950 With eyes of light and looks of love; And placed upon that holy shrine To fix our thoughts on things divine, When pictured there, we kneeling see Her, and the boy-God on her knee, Smiling sweetly on each prayer To Heaven, as if to waft it there. Still she smiled; even now she smiles, Though slaughter streams along her aisles: Minotti lifted his aged eye, 960 And made the sign of a cross with a sigh, Then seized a torch which blazed thereby; And still he stood, while with steel and flame, Inward and onward the Mussulman came.

XXXI.

The vaults beneath the mosaic stone[qm] Contained the dead of ages gone; Their names were on the graven floor, But now illegible with gore;[qn] The carved crests, and curious hues The varied marble's veins diffuse, 970 Were smeared, and slippery—stained, and strown With broken swords, and helms o'erthrown: There were dead above, and the dead below Lay cold in many a coffined row; You might see them piled in sable state, By a pale light through a gloomy grate; But War had entered their dark caves,[qo] And stored along the vaulted graves Her sulphurous treasures, thickly spread In masses by the fleshless dead: 980 Here, throughout the siege, had been The Christians' chiefest magazine; To these a late formed train now led, Minotti's last and stern resource Against the foe's o'erwhelming force.

XXXII.

The foe came on, and few remain To strive, and those must strive in vain: For lack of further lives, to slake The thirst of vengeance now awake, With barbarous blows they gash the dead, 990 And lop the already lifeless head, And fell the statues from their niche, And spoil the shrines of offerings rich, And from each other's rude hands wrest The silver vessels Saints had blessed. To the high altar on they go; Oh, but it made a glorious show![400] On its table still behold The cup of consecrated gold; Massy and deep, a glittering prize, 1000 Brightly it sparkles to plunderers' eyes: That morn it held the holy wine,[qp] Converted by Christ to his blood so divine, Which his worshippers drank at the break of day,[qq] To shrive their souls ere they joined in the fray. Still a few drops within it lay; And round the sacred table glow Twelve lofty lamps, in splendid row, From the purest metal cast; A spoil—the richest, and the last. 1010

XXXIII.

So near they came, the nearest stretched To grasp the spoil he almost reached When old Minotti's hand Touched with the torch the train— 'Tis fired![401] Spire, vaults, the shrine, the spoil, the slain, The turbaned victors, the Christian band, All that of living or dead remain, Hurled on high with the shivered fane, In one wild roar expired![402] 1020 The shattered town—the walls thrown down— The waves a moment backward bent— The hills that shake, although unrent,[qr] As if an Earthquake passed— The thousand shapeless things all driven In cloud and flame athwart the heaven, By that tremendous blast— Proclaimed the desperate conflict o'er On that too long afflicted shore:[403] Up to the sky like rockets go 1030 All that mingled there below: Many a tall and goodly man, Scorched and shrivelled to a span, When he fell to earth again Like a cinder strewed the plain: Down the ashes shower like rain; Some fell in the gulf, which received the sprinkles With a thousand circling wrinkles; Some fell on the shore, but, far away, Scattered o'er the isthmus lay; 1040 Christian or Moslem, which be they? Let their mothers see and say![qs] When in cradled rest they lay, And each nursing mother smiled On the sweet sleep of her child, Little deemed she such a day Would rend those tender limbs away.[404] Not the matrons that them bore Could discern their offspring more;[405] That one moment left no trace 1050 More of human form or face Save a scattered scalp or bone: And down came blazing rafters, strown Around, and many a falling stone,[qt] Deeply dinted in the clay, All blackened there and reeking lay. All the living things that heard The deadly earth-shock disappeared: The wild birds flew; the wild dogs fled, And howling left the unburied dead;[qu][406] 1060 The camels from their keepers broke; The distant steer forsook the yoke— The nearer steed plunged o'er the plain, And burst his girth, and tore his rein; The bull-frog's note, from out the marsh, Deep-mouthed arose, and doubly harsh;[407] The wolves yelled on the caverned hill Where Echo rolled in thunder still;[qv] The jackal's troop, in gathered cry,[qw][408] Bayed from afar complainingly, 1070 With a mixed and mournful sound,[qx] Like crying babe, and beaten hound:[409] With sudden wing, and ruffled breast, The eagle left his rocky nest, And mounted nearer to the sun, The clouds beneath him seemed so dun; Their smoke assailed his startled beak, And made him higher soar and shriek— Thus was Corinth lost and won![410]



FOOTNOTES:

[330] "With Gun, Drum, Trumpet, Blunderbuss, and Thunder."

[331] {447} Napoli di Romania is not now the most considerable place in the Morea, but Tripolitza, where the Pacha resides, and maintains his government. Napoli is near Argos. I visited all three in 1810-11; and, in the course of journeying through the country from my first arrival in 1809, I crossed the Isthmus eight times in my way from Attica to the Morea, over the mountains; or in the other direction, when passing from the Gulf of Athens to that of Lepanto. Both the routes are picturesque and beautiful, though very different: that by sea has more sameness; but the voyage, being always within sight of land, and often very near it, presents many attractive views of the islands Salamis, AEgina, Poros, etc., and the coast of the Continent.

["Independently of the suitableness of such an event to the power of Lord Byron's genius, the Fall of Corinth afforded local attractions, by the intimate knowledge which the poet had of the place and surrounding objects.... Thus furnished with that topographical information which could not be well obtained from books and maps, he was admirably qualified to depict the various operations and progress of the siege."—Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Right Honourable Lord Byron, London, 1822, p. 222.]

[332] {449} [The introductory lines, 1-45, are not included in the copy of the poem in Lady Byron's handwriting, nor were they published in the First Edition. On Christmas Day, 1815, Byron, enclosing this fragment to Murray, says, "I send some lines written some time ago, and intended as an opening to the Siege of Corinth. I had forgotten them, and am not sure that they had not better be left out now;—on that you and your Synod can determine." They are headed in the MS., "The Stranger's Tale," October 23rd. First published in Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 638, they were included among the Occasional Poems in the edition of 1831, and first prefixed to the poem in the edition of 1832.]

[333] [The metrical rendering of the date (miscalculated from the death instead of the birth of Christ) may be traced to the opening lines of an old ballad (Koelbing's Siege of Corinth, p. 53)—

"Upon the sixteen hunder year Of God, and fifty-three, From Christ was born, that bought us dear, As writings testifie," etc.

See "The Life and Age of Man" (Burns' Selected Poems, ed. by J. L. Robertson, 1889, p. 191).]

[334] [Compare letter to Hodgson, July 16, 1809: "How merrily we lives that travellers be!"—Letters, 1898, i. 233.]

[335] {450} [For "capote," compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza lii. line 7, and Byron's note (24.B.), Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 132, 181. Compare, too, letter to Mrs. Byron, November 12, 1809 (Letters, 1899, i. 253): "Two days ago I was nearly lost in a Turkish ship of war.... I wrapped myself up in my Albanian capote (an immense cloak), and lay down on deck to wait the worst."]

[336] The last tidings recently heard of Dervish (one of the Arnauts who followed me) state him to be in revolt upon the mountains, at the head of some of the bands common in that country in times of trouble.

[nz] {451} But those winged days——.—[MS.]

[337] [Compare Kingsley's Last Buccaneer

"If I might but be a sea-dove, I'd fly across the main— To the pleasant isle of Aves, to look at it once again."]

[oa] The kindly few who love my lay.—[MS.]

[338] [The MS. is dated J^y (January) 31, 1815. Lady Byron's copy is dated November 2, 1815.]

[ob] Many a year, and many an age.—[MS. G. Copy.]

[oc] A marvel from her Moslem bands.—[MS. G.]

[339] {452} [Timoleon, who had saved the life of his brother Timophanes in battle, afterwards put him to death for aiming at the supreme power in Corinth. Warton says that Pope once intended to write an epic poem on the story, and that Akenside had the same design (Works of Alexander Pope, Esq., 1806, ii. 83).]

[od] Or could the dead be raised again.—[MS. G. erased.]

[oe] ——through yon clear skies Than tower-capt Acropolis.—[MS. G.]

[of] Stretched on the edge——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[340] [Turkish holders of military fiefs.]

[og] The turbaned crowd of dusky hue Whose march Morea's fields may rue.—[MS. G. erased.]

[341] {453} The life of the Turcomans is wandering and patriarchal: they dwell in tents.

[342] [Compare The Giaour, line 639 (vide ante, p. 116)—"The deathshot hissing from afar."]

[343] {454} [Professor Kolbing admits that he is unable to say how "Byron met with the name of Alp." I am indebted to my cousin, Miss Edith Coleridge, for the suggestion that the name is derived from Mohammed (Lhaz-ed-Dyn-Abou-Choudja), surnamed Alp-Arslan (Arsslan), or "Brave Lion," the second of the Seljuk dynasty, in the eleventh century. "He conquered Armenia and Georgia ... but was assassinated by Yussuf Cothuol, Governor of Berzem, and was buried at Merw, in Khorassan." His epitaph moralizes his fate: "O vous qui avez vu la grandeur d'Alparslan elevee jusq'au ciel, regardez! le voici maintenant en poussiere."—Hammer-Purgstall, Histoire de l'Empire Othoman, i. 13-15.]

[oh] But now an exile——.—[MS. G.]

[344] {455} ["The Lions' Mouths, under the arcade at the summit of the Giants' Stairs, which gaped widely to receive anonymous charges, were no doubt far more often employed as vehicles of private malice than of zeal for the public welfare."—Sketches from Venetian History, 1832, ii. 380.]

[oi] To waste its future——.—[MS. G.]

[345] Ali Coumourgi [Damad Ali or Ali Cumurgi (i.e. son of the charcoal-burner)], the favourite of three sultans, and Grand Vizier to Achmet III., after recovering Peloponnesus from the Venetians in one campaign, was mortally wounded in the next, against the Germans, at the battle of Peterwaradin (in the plain of Carlowitz), in Hungary, endeavouring to rally his guards. He died of his wounds next day [August 16, 1716]. His last order was the decapitation of General Breuner, and some other German prisoners, and his last words, "Oh that I could thus serve all the Christian dogs!" a speech and act not unlike one of Caligula. He was a young man of great ambition and unbounded presumption: on being told that Prince Eugene, then opposed to him, "was a great general," he said, "I shall become a greater, and at his expense."

[For his letter to Prince Eugene, "Eh bien! la guerre va decider entre nous," etc., and for an account of his death, see Hammer-Purgstall, Historie de l'Empire Othoman, xiii. 300, 312.]

[oj] {456} And death-like rolled——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[ok] Like comets in convulsion riven.—[MS. G. Copy erased.]

[ol] Impervious to the powerless sun, Through sulphurous smoke whose blackness grew.— [MS. G. erased.]

[om] {457} In midnight courtship to Italian maid.—[MS. G.]

[346] {458} [The siege of Vienna was raised by John Sobieski, King of Poland (1629-1696), September 12, 1683. Buda was retaken from the Turks by Charles VII., Duke of Lorraine, Sobieski's ally and former rival for the kingdom of Poland, September 2, 1686. The conquest of the Morea was begun by the Venetians in 1685, and completed in 1699.]

[on] By Buda's wall to Danube's side.—[MS. G.]

[oo] Pisani held——.—[MS. G.]

[op] Than she, the beauteous stranger, bore.—[MS. G. erased.]

[347] {459} [For Byron's use of the phrase, "Forlorn Hope," as an equivalent of the Turkish Delhis, or Delis, see Childe Harold, Canto II. ("The Albanian War-Song"), Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 149, note 1.]

[oq] By stepping o'er——.—[MS. G.]

[348] ["Brown" is Byron's usual epithet for landscape seen by moonlight. Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza xxii. line 6, etc., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 113, note 3.]

[or] Bespangled with her isles——.—[MS. G.]

[349] ["Stars" are likened to "isles" by Campbell, in The Pleasures of Hope, Part II.—

"The seraph eye shall count the starry train, Like distant isles embosomed on the main."

And "isles" to "stars" by Byron, in The Island, Canto II. stanza xi. lines 14, 15—

"The studded archipelago, O'er whose blue bosom rose the starry isles."

For other "star-similes," see Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza lxxxviii. line 9, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 270, note 2.]

[os] And take a dark unmeasured tone.—[MS. G.] And make a melancholy moan, To mortal voice and ear unknown.—[MS. G. erased.]

[350] {461} [Compare Scott's Marmion, III. xvi. 4—

"And that strange Palmer's boding say, That fell so ominous and drear."]

[ot] ——by fancy framed, Which rings a deep, internal knell, A visionary passing-bell.—[MS. G. erased.]

[ou] The thoughts tumultuously roll.—[MS. G.]

[ov] {462} To triumph o'er——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[ow] They but provide, he fells the prey.—[MS. G.] As lions o'er the jackal sway By springing dauntless on the prey; They follow on, and yelling press To gorge the fragments of success.—[MS. G. erased.]

[351] [Lines 329-331 are inserted in the copy. They are in Byron's handwriting. Compare Don Juan, Canto IX. stanza xxvii. line 1, seq.—"That's an appropriate simile, that jackal."]

[ox] {463} He vainly turned from side to side, And each reposing posture tried.—[MS. G. erased.]

[oy] Beyond a rougher——.—[MS. G.]

[oz] ——to sigh for day.—[MS. G.]

[pa] {464} Of Liakura—his unmelting snow Bright and eternal——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[352] [Compare The Giaour, line 566 (vide ante, p. 113)—

"For where is he that hath beheld The peak of Liakura unveiled?"

The reference is to the almost perpetual "cap" of mist on Parnassus (Mount Likeri or Liakura), which lies some thirty miles to the north-west of Corinth.]

[pb] {465} Her spirit spoke in deathless song.—[MS. G. erased.]

[pc] And in this night——.—[MS. G.]

[pd] He felt how little and how dim.—[MS. G. erased.]

[pe] Who led the band——.—[MS. G.]

[353] [Compare The Giaour, lines 103, seq. (vide ante, p. 91)—"Clime of the unforgotten brave!" etc.]

[pf] {466} Their memory hallowed every fountain.—[MS. G. erased.]

[pg] Here follows, in the MS.—

Immortal—boundless—undecayed— Their souls the very soil pervade.— [In the Copy the lines are erased.]

[ph] Where Freedom loveliest may be won.—[MS. G. erased.]

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

[pi] So that fiercest of waves——.—[MS. G.]

[pj] {467} A little space of light grey sand.—[MS. G. erased.]

[355] [Compare The Island, Canto IV. sect. ii. lines 11, 12—

"A narrow segment of the yellow sand On one side forms the outline of a strand."]

[pk] Or would not waste on a single head The ball on numbers better sped.—[MS. G. erased]

[pl] I know not in faith——.—[MS. G.]

[356] [Gifford has drawn his pen through lines 456-478. If, as the editor of The Works of Lord Byron, 1832 (x. 100), maintains, "Lord Byron gave Mr. Gifford carte blanche to strike out or alter anything at his pleasure in this poem as it was passing through the press," it is somewhat remarkable that he does not appear to have paid any attention whatever to the august "reader's" suggestions and strictures. The sheets on which Gifford's corrections are scrawled are not proof-sheets, but pages torn out of the first edition; and it is probable that they were made after the poem was published, and with a view to the inclusion of an emended edition in the collected works. See letter to Murray, January 2, 1817.]

[357] {468} This spectacle I have seen, such as described, beneath the wall of the Seraglio at Constantinople, in the little cavities worn by the Bosphorus in the rock, a narrow terrace of which projects between the wall and the water. I think the fact is also mentioned in Hobhouse's Travels [in Albania, 1855, ii. 215]. The bodies were probably those of some refractory Janizaries.

[358] This tuft, or long lock, is left from a superstition that Mahomet will draw them into Paradise by it.

[pm] {469} Deep in the tide of their lost blood lying.—[MS. G. Copy.]

[359] ["Than the mangled corpse in its own blood lying."—Gifford.]

[pn] Than the rotting dead——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[360] [Strike out—

"Scorch'd with the death-thirst, and writhing in vain, Than the perishing dead who are past all pain."

What is a "perishing dead"?—Gifford.]

[361] [Lines 487, 488 are inserted in the copy in Byron's handwriting.]

[po] And when all——.—[MS. G.]

[362] ["O'er the weltering limbs of the tombless dead."—Gifford.]

[pp] All that liveth on man will prey, All rejoicing in his decay, or, Nature rejoicing in his decay. All that can kindle dismay and disgust Follow his frame from the bier to the dust.—[MS. G. erased.]

[pq] {470} ——it hath left no more Of the mightiest things that have gone before.—[MS. G. erased.]

[363] [Omit this couplet.—Gifford.]

[pr] After this follows in the MS. erased—

Monuments that the coming age Leaves to the spoil of the season's rageTill Ruin makes the relics scarce, Then Learning acts her solemn farce, And, roaming through the marble waste, Prates of beauty, art, and taste.

XIX.

That Temple was more in the midst of the plain— or, What of that shrine did yet remain Lay to his left more in midst of the plain.—[MS. G.]

[364] [From this all is beautiful to—"He saw not—he knew not—but nothing is there."—Gifford. For "pillar's base," compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza x. line 2, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 105.]

[ps] {471} Is it the wind that through the stone. or,——o'er the heavy stone.—[MS. G. erased.]

[365] I must here acknowledge a close, though unintentional, resemblance in these twelve lines to a passage in an unpublished poem of Mr. Coleridge, called "Christabel." It was not till after these lines were written that I heard that wild and singularly original and beautiful poem recited; and the MS. of that production I never saw till very recently, by the kindness of Mr. Coleridge himself, who, I hope, is convinced that I have not been a wilful plagiarist. The original idea undoubtedly pertains to Mr. Coleridge, whose poem has been composed above fourteen years. Let me conclude by a hope that he will not longer delay the publication of a production, of which I can only add my mite of approbation to the applause of far more competent judges.

[The lines in Christabel, Part the First, 43-52, 57, 58, are these—

"The night is chill; the forest bare; Is it the wind that moaneth bleak? There is not wind enough in the air To move away the ringlet curl From the lovely lady's cheek— There is not wind enough to twirl The one red leaf, the last of its clan, That dances as often as dance it can, Hanging so light, and hanging so high, On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky."

" ... What sees she there? There she sees a damsel bright, Drest in a silken robe of white."

Byron (vide ante, p. 443), in a letter to Coleridge, dated October 27, 1815, had already expressly guarded himself against a charge of plagiarism, by explaining that lines 521-532 of stanza xix. were written before he heard Walter Scott repeat Christabel in the preceding June. Now, as Byron himself perceived, perhaps for the first time, when he had the MS. of Christabel before him, the coincidence in language and style between the two passages is unquestionable; and, as he hoped and expected that Coleridge's fragment, when completed, would issue from the press, he was anxious to avoid even the semblance of pilfering, and went so far as to suggest that the passage should be cancelled. Neither in the private letter nor the published note does Byron attempt to deny or explain away the coincidence, but pleads that his lines were written before he had heard Coleridge's poem recited, and that he had not been guilty of a "wilful plagiarism." There is no difficulty in accepting his statement. Long before the summer of 1815 Christabel "had a pretty general circulation in the literary world" (Medwin, Conversations, 1824, p. 261), and he may have heard without heeding this and other passages quoted by privileged readers; or, though never a line of Christabel had sounded in his ears, he may (as Koelbing points out) have caught its lilt at second hand from the published works of Southey, or of Scott himself.

Compare Thalaba the Destroyer, v. 20 (1838, iv. 187)—

"What sound is borne on the wind? Is it the storm that shakes The thousand oaks of the forest?

* * * * *

Is it the river's roar Dashed down some rocky descent?" etc.

Or compare The Lay of the Last Minstrel, I. xii. 5. seq. (1812, p. 24)—

"And now she sits in secret bower In old Lord David's western tower, And listens to a heavy sound, That moans the mossy turrets round. Is it the roar of Teviot's tide, That chafes against the scaur's red side? Is it the wind that swings the oaks? Is it the echo from the rocks?" etc.

Certain lines of Coleridge's did, no doubt, "find themselves" in the Siege of Corinth, having found their way to the younger poet's ear and fancy before the Lady of the vision was directly and formally introduced to his notice.]

[pt] {473}There sate a lady young and bright.—[MS. G. erased.]

[366] [Contemporary critics fell foul of these lines for various reasons. The Critical Review (February, 1816, vol. iii. p. 151) remarks that "the following couplet [i.e. lines 531, 532] reminds us of the persiflage of Lewis or the pathos of a vulgar ballad;" while the Dublin Examiner (May, 1816, vol. i. p. 19) directs a double charge against the founders of the schism and their proselyte: "If the Cumberland Lakers were not well known to be personages of the most pious and saintly temperament, we would really have serious apprehensions lest our noble Poet should come to any harm in consequence of the envy which the two following lines and a great many others through the poems, might excite by their successful rivalship of some of the finest effects of babyism that these Gentlemen can boast."]

[pu] He would have made it——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[pv] She who would——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[pw] {474} The ocean spread before their view.—[Copy.]

[367] ["And its thrilling glance, etc."—Gifford.]

[368] [Warton (Observations en the Fairy Queen, 1807, ii. 131), commenting on Spenser's famous description of "Una and the Lion" (Faery Queene, Book I. canto iii. stanzas 5, 6, 7), quotes the following passage from Seven Champions of Christendom: "Now, Sabra, I have by this sufficiently proved thy true virginitie: for it is the nature of a lion, be he never so furious, not to harme the unspotted virgin, but humbly to lay his bristled head upon a maiden's lap."

Byron, according to Leigh Hunt (Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries, 1828, i. 77), could not "see anything" in Spenser, and was not familiar with the Fairy Queen; but he may have had in mind Scott's allusion to Spenser's Una—

"Harpers have sung and poets told That he, in fury uncontrolled, The shaggy monarch of the wood, Before a virgin, fair and good, Hath pacified his savage mood."

Marmion, Canto II. stanza vii. line 3, seq.

(See Koelbing's note to Siege of Corinth, 1893, pp. 110-112.)]

[px] {476} She laid her fingers on his hand, Its coldness thrilled through every bone.—[MS. G. erased.]

[py] As he looked on her face——.—[MS. G.]

[pz] ——on her bosom's swell.—[MS. G. erased. Copy.]

[369] [Compare Shakespeare, Macbeth, act v. sc. 1, line 30—

"You see, her eyes are open, Aye, but their sense is shut."

Compare, too, Christabel, Conclusion to Part the First (lines 292, 293)—

"With open eyes (ah, woe is me!) Asleep, and dreaming fearfully."]

[qa] {477} Like a picture, that magic had charmed from its frame, Lifeless but life-like, and ever the same. or, Like a picture come forth from its canvas and frame.— [MS. G. erased.]

[qb] And seen——.—[MS. G.] ——its fleecy mail.—[MS. G. erased.]

[370] [In the summer of 1803, Byron, then turned fifteen, though offered a bed at Annesley, used at first to return every night to Newstead; alleging that he was afraid of the family pictures of the Chaworths, which he fancied "had taken a grudge to him on account of the duel, and would come down from their frames to haunt him." Moore thinks this passage may have been suggested by the recollection (Life, p. 27). Compare Lara, Canto I. stanza xi. line 1, seq. (vide ante, p. 331, note 1).]

[371] [Compare Southey's Roderick, Canto XXI. (ed. 1838, ix. 195)—

" ... and till the grave Open, the gate of mercy is not closed."]

[372] {478} I have been told that the idea expressed in this and the five following lines has been admired by those whose approbation is valuable. I am glad of it; but it is not original—at least not mine; it may be found much better expressed in pages 182-3-4 of the English version of "Vathek" (I forget the precise page of the French), a work to which I have before referred; and never recur to, or read, without a renewal of gratification.—[The following is the passage: "'Deluded prince!' said the Genius, addressing the Caliph ... 'This moment is the last, of grace, allowed thee: ... give back Nouronihar to her father, who still retains a few sparks of life: destroy thy tower, with all its abominations: drive Carathis from thy councils: be just to thy subjects: respect the ministers of the Prophet: compensate for thy impieties by an exemplary life; and, instead of squandering thy days in voluptuous indulgence, lament thy crimes on the sepulchres of thy ancestors. Thou beholdest the clouds that obscure the sun: at the instant he recovers his splendour, if thy heart be not changed, the time of mercy assigned thee will be past for ever.'"

"Vathek, depressed with fear, was on the point of prostrating himself at the feet of the shepherd ... but, his pride prevailing ... he said, 'Whoever thou art, withhold thy useless admonitions.... If what I have done be so criminal ... there remains not for me a moment of grace. I have traversed a sea of blood to acquire a power which will make thy equals tremble; deem not that I shall retire when in view of the port; or that I will relinquish her who is dearer to me than either my life or thy mercy. Let the sun appear! let him illumine my career! it matters not where it may end!' On uttering these words ... Vathek ... commanded that his horses should be forced back to the road.

"There was no difficulty in obeying these orders; for the attraction had ceased; the sun shone forth in all his glory, and the shepherd vanished with a lamentable scream" (ed. 1786, pp. 183-185).]

[qc] {479} By rooted and unhallowed pride.—[MS. G. erased.]

[373] [Leave out this couplet.—Gifford.]

[374] {480} [Compare—"While the still morn went out with sandals grey." Lycidas, line 187.]

[375] [Strike out—"And the Noon will look on a sultry day."—Gifford.]

[376] The horsetails, fixed upon a lance, a pacha's standard.

["When the vizir appears in public, three thoughs, or horse-tails, fastened to a long staff, with a large gold ball at top, is borne before him."—Moeurs des Ottomans, par A. L. Castellan (Translated, 1821), iv. 7.

Compare Childe Harold, Canto II., "Albanian War-Song," stanza 10, line 2; and Bride of Abydos, line 714 (vide ante, p. 189).]

[377] [Compare—"Send out moe horses, skirr the country round." Macbeth, act v. sc. 3, line 35.]

[378] [Omit—

"While your fellows on foot, in a fiery mass, Bloodstain the breach through which they pass."

—Gifford.]

[379] ["And crush the wall they have shaken before."—Gifford.]

[380] [Compare The Giaour, line 734 (vide ante, p. 120)—"At solemn sound of 'Alla Hu!'" And Don Juan, Canto VIII. stanza viii.]

[381] ["He who first downs with the red cross may crave," etc. What vulgarism is this!—"He who lowers,—or plucks down," etc.—Gifford.]

[382] [The historian, George Finlay, who met and frequently conversed with Byron at Mesalonghi, with a view to illustrating "Lord Byron's Siege of Corinth," subjoins in a note the full text of "the summons sent by the grand vizier, and the answer." (See Finlay's Greece under Othoman and Venetian Domination, 1856, p. 266, note 1; and, for the original authority, see Brue's Journal de la Campagne, ... en 1715, Paris, 1871, p. 18.)]

[383] {482} ["Thus against the wall they bent, Thus the first were backward sent."

—Gifford.]

[qd] With such volley yields like glass.—[MS. G. erased.]

[qe] Like the mowers ridge——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[384] ["Such was the fall of the foremost train."—Gifford.]

[385] {483} [Compare The Deformed Transformed, Part I. sc. 2 ("Song of the Soldiers")—

"Our shout shall grow gladder, And death only be mute."]

[qf] I have heard——.—[MS. G.]

[386] [Compare Macbeth, act ii. sc. 2, line 55—

"If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal."]

[387] {484} ["There stood a man," etc.—Gifford.]

[388] ["Lurked"—a bad word—say "was hid."—Gifford.]

[389] ["Outnumbered his hairs," etc.—Gifford.]

[390] ["Sons that were unborn, when he dipped."—Gifford.]

[391] {485} [Bravo!—this is better than King Priam's fifty sons.—Gifford.]

[392] In the naval battle at the mouth of the Dardanelles, between the Venetians and Turks.

[393] [There can be no such thing; but the whole of this is poor, and spun out.—Gifford. The solecism, if such it be, was repeated in Marino Faliero, act iii. sc. I, line 38.]

[394] [Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza xxix. lines 5-8 (Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 125)—

"Dark Sappho! could not Verse immortal save?... If life eternal may await the lyre."]

[395] ["Hark to the Alia Hu!" etc.—Gifford.]

[396] {486} [Gifford has erased lines 839-847.]

[qg] Though the life of thy giving would last for ever.—[MS. G. Copy.]

[qh] Where's Francesca?—my promised bride!—[MS. G. Copy.]

[qi] {488} Here follows in MS. G.

Twice and once he roll'd a space, Then lead-like lay upon his face.

[qj] Sigh, nor sign, nor parting word.—[MS. G. erased.]

[397] [The Spanish "renegado" and the Anglicized "renegade" were favourite terms of reprobation with politicians and others at the beginning of the century. When Southey's Wat Tyler was reprinted in 1817, William Smith, the Member for Norwich, denounced the Laureate as a "renegado," an attack which Coleridge did his best to parry by contributing articles to the Courier on "Apostasy and Renegadoism" (Letter to Murray, March 26, 1817, Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 306). Byron himself, in Don Juan ("Dedication," stanza i. line 5), hails Southey as "My Epic Renegade!" Compare, too, stanza xiv. of "Lines addressed to a Noble Lord (His Lordship will know why), By one of the small Fry of the Lakes" (i.e. Miss Barker, the "Bhow Begum" of Southey's Doctor)—

"And our Ponds shall better please thee, Than those now dishonoured seas, With their shores and Cyclades Stocked with Pachas, Seraskiers, Slaves and turbaned Buccaneers; Sensual Mussulmans atrocious, Renegadoes more ferocious," etc.]

[qk] {489} These in rage, in triumph those.—[MS. G. Copy erased.]

[ql] Then again in fury mixing.—[MS. G.]

[398] ["Dealing death with every blow."—Gifford.]

[399] {490} [Compare Don Juan, Canto XIII. stanza lxi. lines 1, seq.

"But in a higher niche, alone, but crowned, The Virgin-Mother of the God-born Child, With her Son in her blessed arms, looked round ... But even the faintest relics of a shrine Of any worship wake some thoughts divine."]

[qm] / chequered ——beneath the { } stone.—[MS. G. erased.] inlaid /

[qn] But now half-blotted——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[qo] But War must make the most of means.—[MS. G. erased.]

[400] {492} ["Oh, but it made a glorious show!!!" Gifford erases the line, and adds these marks of exclamation.]

[qp] ——the sacrament wine.—[MS. G. erased.]

[qq] Which the Christians partook at the break of the day.—[MS. G. Copy.]

[401] {493} [Compare Sardanapalus, act v. sc. 1 (s.f.)—

"Myr. Art thou ready? Sard. As the torch in thy grasp. (Myrrha fires the pile.) Myr. 'Tis fired! I come."]

[402] [A critic in the Eclectic Review (vol. v. N.S., 1816, p. 273), commenting on the "obvious carelessness" of these lines, remarks, "We know not how 'all that of dead remained' could expire in that wild roar." To apply the word "expire" to inanimate objects is, no doubt, an archaism, but Byron might have quoted Dryden as an authority, "The ponderous ball expires."]

[qr] The hills as by an earthquake bent.—[MS. G. erased.]

[403] {494} [Strike out from "Up to the sky," etc., to "All blackened there and reeking lay." Despicable stuff.—Gifford.]

[qs] Who can see or who shall say?—[MS. G. erased.]

[404] [Lines 1043-1047 are not in the Copy or MS. G., but were included in the text of the First Edition.]

[405] [Compare Don Juan, Canto II. stanza cii. line 1, seq.

"Famine, despair, cold, thirst, and heat, had done Their work on them by turns, and thinned them to Such things a mother had not known her son Amidst the skeletons of that gaunt crew."

Compare, too, The Island, Canto I. section ix. lines 13, 14.]

[qt] {495} And crashed each mass of stone.—[MS. G. erased.]

[qu] And left their food the unburied dead.—[Copy.] And left their food the untasted dead.—[MS. G.] And howling left——.—[MS. G. erased.]

[406] [Omit the next six lines.—Gifford.]

[407] ["I have heard hyaenas and jackalls in the ruins of Asia; and bull-frogs in the marshes; besides wolves and angry Mussulmans."—Journal, November 23, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 340.]

[qv] Where Echo rolled in horror still.—[MS. G.]

[qw] The frightened jackal's shrill sharp cry.—[MS. G. erased.]

[408] I believe I have taken a poetical licence to transplant the jackal from Asia. In Greece I never saw nor heard these animals; but among the ruins of Ephesus I have heard them by hundreds. They haunt ruins, and follow armies. [Compare Childe Harold, Canto IV. stanza cliii. line 6; and Don Juan, Canto IX. stanza xxvii. line 2.]

[qx] Mixed and mournful as the sound.—[MS. G.]

[409] [Leave out this couplet.—Gifford.]

[410] [With lines 1058-1079, compare Southey's Roderick (Canto XVIII., ed. 1838, ix. 169)—

"Far and wide the thundering shout, Rolling among reduplicating rocks, Pealed o'er the hills, and up the mountain vales. The wild ass starting in the forest glade Ran to the covert; the affrighted wolf Skulked through the thicket to a closer brake; The sluggish bear, awakened in his den, Roused up and answered with a sullen growl, Low-breathed and long; and at the uproar scared, The brooding eagle from her nest took wing."

A sentence in a letter to Moore, dated January 10, 1815 (Letters, 1899, iii. 168), "I have tried the rascals (i.e. the public) with my Harrys and Larrys, Pilgrims and Pirates. Nobody but S....y has done any thing worth a slice of bookseller's pudding, and he has not luck enough to be found out in doing a good thing," implies that Byron had read and admired Southey's Roderick—an inference which is curiously confirmed by a memorandum in Murray's handwriting: "When Southey's poem, Don Roderick (sic), was published, Lord Byron sent in the middle of the night to ask John Murray if he had heard any opinion of it, for he thought it one of the finest poems he had ever read." The resemblance between the two passages, which is pointed out by Professor Koelbing, is too close to be wholly unconscious, but Byron's expansion of Southey's lines hardly amounts to a plagiarism.]



PARISINA.



INTRODUCTION TO PARISINA.

Parisina, which had been begun before the Siege of Corinth, was transcribed by Lady Byron, and sent to the publisher at the beginning of December, 1815. Murray confessed that he had been alarmed by some hints which Byron had dropped as to the plot of the narrative, but was reassured when he traced "the delicate hand that transcribed it." He could not say enough of this "Pearl" of great price. "It is very interesting, pathetic, beautiful—do you know I would almost say moral" (Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 353). Ward, to whom the MS. of Parisina was shown, and Isaac D'Israeli, who heard it read aloud by Murray, were enthusiastic as to its merits; and Gifford, who had mingled censure with praise in his critical appreciation of the Siege, declared that the author "had never surpassed Parisina."

The last and shortest of the six narrative poems composed and published in the four years (the first years of manhood and of fame, the only years of manhood passed at home in England) which elapsed between the appearance of the first two cantos of Childe Harold and the third, Parisina has, perhaps, never yet received its due. At the time of its appearance it shared the odium which was provoked by the publication of Fare Thee Well and A Sketch, and before there was time to reconsider the new volume on its own merits, the new canto of Childe Harold, followed almost immediately by the Prisoner of Chillon and its brilliant and noticeable companion poems, usurped the attention of friend and foe. Contemporary critics (with the exception of the Monthly and Critical Reviews) fell foul of the subject-matter of the poem—the guilty passion of a bastard son for his father's wife. "It was too disgusting to be rendered pleasing by any display of genius" (European Magazine); "The story of Parisina includes adultery not to be named" (Literary Panorama); while the Eclectic, on grounds of taste rather than of morals, gave judgment that "the subject of the tale was purely unpleasing"—"the impression left simply painful."

Byron, no doubt, for better or worse, was in advance of his age, in the pursuit of art for art's sake, and in his indifference, not to morality—the denouement of the story is severely moral—but to the moral edification of his readers. The tale was chosen because it is a tale of love and guilt and woe, and the poet, unconcerned with any other issue, sets the tale to an enchanting melody. It does not occur to him to condone or to reprobate the loves of Hugo and Parisina, and in detailing the issue leaves the actors to their fate. It was this aloofness from ethical considerations which perturbed and irritated the "canters," as Byron called them—the children and champions of the anti-revolution. The modern reader, without being attracted or repelled by the motif of the story, will take pleasure in the sustained energy and sure beauty of the poetic strain. Byron may have gone to the "nakedness of history" for his facts, but he clothed them in singing robes of a delicate and shining texture.

to

SCROPE BERDMORE DAVIES, ESQ.

the following poem

Is Inscribed,

by one who has long admired his talents

and valued his friendship.

January 22, 1816.



ADVERTISEMENT.

The following poem is grounded on a circumstance mentioned in Gibbon's "Antiquities of the House of Brunswick." I am aware, that in modern times, the delicacy or fastidiousness of the reader may deem such subjects unfit for the purposes of poetry. The Greek dramatists, and some of the best of our old English writers, were of a different opinion: as Alfieri and Schiller have also been, more recently, upon the Continent. The following extract will explain the facts on which the story is founded. The name of Azo is substituted for Nicholas, as more metrical.—Ḅ

"Under the reign of Nicholas III. [A.D. 1425] Ferrara was polluted with a domestic tragedy. By the testimony of a maid, and his own observation, the Marquis of Este discovered the incestuous loves of his wife Parisina, and Hugo his bastard son, a beautiful and valiant youth. They were beheaded in the castle by the sentence of a father and husband, who published his shame, and survived their execution.[411] He was unfortunate, if they were guilty: if they were innocent, he was still more unfortunate; nor is there any possible situation in which I can sincerely approve the last act of the justice of a parent."—Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works, vol. iii. p. 470.—[Ed. 1837, p. 830.]



PARISINA.[412]

I.

It is the hour when from the boughs[413] The nightingale's high note is heard; It is the hour when lovers' vows Seem sweet in every whispered word; And gentle winds, and waters near, Make music to the lonely ear. Each flower the dews have lightly wet, And in the sky the stars are met, And on the wave is deeper blue, And on the leaf a browner hue, 10 And in the heaven that clear obscure, So softly dark, and darkly pure, Which follows the decline of day, As twilight melts beneath the moon away.[414]

II.

But it is not to list to the waterfall[qy] That Parisina leaves her hall, And it is not to gaze on the heavenly light That the Lady walks in the shadow of night; And if she sits in Este's bower, 'Tis not for the sake of its full-blown flower; 20 She listens—but not for the nightingale— Though her ear expects as soft a tale. There glides a step through the foliage thick,[qz] And her cheek grows pale, and her heart beats quick. There whispers a voice through the rustling leaves, And her blush returns, and her bosom heaves: A moment more—and they shall meet— 'Tis past—her Lover's at her feet.

III.

And what unto them is the world beside, With all its change of time and tide? 30 Its living things—its earth and sky— Are nothing to their mind and eye. And heedless as the dead are they Of aught around, above, beneath; As if all else had passed away, They only for each other breathe; Their very sighs are full of joy So deep, that did it not decay, That happy madness would destroy The hearts which feel its fiery sway: 40 Of guilt, of peril, do they deem In that tumultuous tender dream? Who that have felt that passion's power, Or paused, or feared in such an hour? Or thought how brief such moments last? But yet—they are already past! Alas! we must awake before We know such vision comes no more.

IV.

With many a lingering look they leave The spot of guilty gladness past: 50 And though they hope, and vow, they grieve, As if that parting were the last. The frequent sigh—the long embrace— The lip that there would cling for ever, While gleams on Parisina's face The Heaven she fears will not forgive her, As if each calmly conscious star Beheld her frailty from afar— The frequent sigh, the long embrace, Yet binds them to their trysting-place. 60 But it must come, and they must part In fearful heaviness of heart, With all the deep and shuddering chill Which follows fast the deeds of ill.

V.

And Hugo is gone to his lonely bed, To covet there another's bride; But she must lay her conscious head A husband's trusting heart beside. But fevered in her sleep she seems, And red her cheek with troubled dreams, 70 And mutters she in her unrest A name she dare not breathe by day,[415] And clasps her Lord unto the breast Which pants for one away: And he to that embrace awakes, And, happy in the thought, mistakes That dreaming sigh, and warm caress, For such as he was wont to bless; And could in very fondness weep O'er her who loves him even in sleep. 80

VI.

He clasped her sleeping to his heart, And listened to each broken word: He hears—Why doth Prince Azo start, As if the Archangel's voice he heard? And well he may—a deeper doom Could scarcely thunder o'er his tomb, When he shall wake to sleep no more, And stand the eternal throne before. And well he may—his earthly peace Upon that sound is doomed to cease. 90 That sleeping whisper of a name Bespeaks her guilt and Azo's shame. And whose that name? that o'er his pillow Sounds fearful as the breaking billow, Which rolls the plank upon the shore, And dashes on the pointed rock The wretch who sinks to rise no more,— So came upon his soul the shock. And whose that name?—'tis Hugo's,—his— In sooth he had not deemed of this!— 100 'Tis Hugo's,—he, the child of one He loved—his own all-evil son— The offspring of his wayward youth, When he betrayed Bianca's truth,[ra][416] The maid whose folly could confide In him who made her not his bride.

VII.

He plucked his poniard in its sheath, But sheathed it ere the point was bare; Howe'er unworthy now to breathe, He could not slay a thing so fair— 110 At least, not smiling—sleeping—there— Nay, more:—he did not wake her then, But gazed upon her with a glance Which, had she roused her from her trance, Had frozen her sense to sleep again; And o'er his brow the burning lamp Gleamed on the dew-drops big and damp. She spake no more—but still she slumbered— While, in his thought, her days are numbered.

VIII.

And with the morn he sought and found, 120 In many a tale from those around, The proof of all he feared to know, Their present guilt—his future woe; The long-conniving damsels seek To save themselves, and would transfer The guilt—the shame—the doom—to her: Concealment is no more—they speak All circumstance which may compel Full credence to the tale they tell: And Azo's tortured heart and ear 130 Have nothing more to feel or hear.

IX.

He was not one who brooked delay: Within the chamber of his state, The Chief of Este's ancient sway Upon his throne of judgement sate; His nobles and his guards are there,— Before him is the sinful pair; Both young,—and one how passing fair! With swordless belt, and fettered hand, Oh, Christ! that thus a son should stand 140 Before a father's face! Yet thus must Hugo meet his sire, And hear the sentence of his ire, The tale of his disgrace! And yet he seems not overcome, Although, as yet, his voice be dumb.

X.

And still,—and pale—and silently Did Parisina wait her doom; How changed since last her speaking eye Glanced gladness round the glittering room, 150 Where high-born men were proud to wait— Where Beauty watched to imitate Her gentle voice—her lovely mien— And gather from her air and gait The graces of its Queen: Then,—had her eye in sorrow wept, A thousand warriors forth had leapt, A thousand swords had sheathless shone, And made her quarrel all their own.[417] Now,—what is she? and what are they? 160 Can she command, or these obey? All silent and unheeding now, With downcast eyes and knitting brow, And folded arms, and freezing air, And lips that scarce their scorn forbear, Her knights, her dames, her court—is there: And he—the chosen one, whose lance Had yet been couched before her glance, Who—were his arm a moment free— Had died or gained her liberty; 170 The minion of his father's bride,— He, too, is fettered by her side; Nor sees her swoln and full eye swim Less for her own despair than him: Those lids—o'er which the violet vein Wandering, leaves a tender stain, Shining through the smoothest white That e'er did softest kiss invite— Now seemed with hot and livid glow To press, not shade, the orbs below; 180 Which glance so heavily, and fill, As tear on tear grows gathering still[rb][418]

XI.

And he for her had also wept, But for the eyes that on him gazed: His sorrow, if he felt it, slept; Stern and erect his brow was raised. Whate'er the grief his soul avowed, He would not shrink before the crowd; But yet he dared not look on her; Remembrance of the hours that were— 190 His guilt—his love—his present state— His father's wrath, all good men's hate— His earthly, his eternal fate— And hers,—oh, hers! he dared not throw One look upon that death-like brow! Else had his rising heart betrayed Remorse for all the wreck it made.

XII.

And Azo spake:—"But yesterday I gloried in a wife and son; That dream this morning passed away; 200 Ere day declines, I shall have none. My life must linger on alone; Well,—let that pass,—there breathes not one Who would not do as I have done: Those ties are broken—not by me; Let that too pass;—the doom's prepared! Hugo, the priest awaits on thee, And then—thy crime's reward! Away! address thy prayers to Heaven. Before its evening stars are met, 210 Learn if thou there canst be forgiven: Its mercy may absolve thee yet. But here, upon the earth beneath, There is no spot where thou and I Together for an hour could breathe: Farewell! I will not see thee die— But thou, frail thing! shall view his head— Away! I cannot speak the rest: Go! woman of the wanton breast; Not I, but thou his blood dost shed: 220 Go! if that sight thou canst outlive, And joy thee in the life I give."

XIII.

And here stern Azo hid his face— For on his brow the swelling vein Throbbed as if back upon his brain The hot blood ebbed and flowed again; And therefore bowed he for a space, And passed his shaking hand along His eye, to veil it from the throng; While Hugo raised his chained hands, 230 And for a brief delay demands His father's ear: the silent sire Forbids not what his words require. "It is not that I dread the death— For thou hast seen me by thy side All redly through the battle ride, And that—not once a useless brand— Thy slaves have wrested from my hand Hath shed more blood in cause of thine, Than e'er can stain the axe of mine:[419] 240 Thou gav'st, and may'st resume my breath, A gift for which I thank thee not; Nor are my mother's wrongs forgot, Her slighted love and ruined name, Her offspring's heritage of shame; But she is in the grave, where he, Her son—thy rival—soon shall be. Her broken heart—my severed head— Shall witness for thee from the dead How trusty and how tender were 250 Thy youthful love—paternal care. 'Tis true that I have done thee wrong— But wrong for wrong:—this,—deemed thy bride, The other victim of thy pride,— Thou know'st for me was destined long; Thou saw'st, and coveted'st her charms; And with thy very crime—my birth,— Thou taunted'st me—as little worth; A match ignoble for her arms; Because, forsooth, I could not claim 260 The lawful heirship of thy name, Nor sit on Este's lineal throne; Yet, were a few short summers mine, My name should more than Este's shine With honours all my own. I had a sword—and have a breast That should have won as haught[420] a crest As ever waved along the line Of all these sovereign sires of thine. Not always knightly spurs are worn 270 The brightest by the better born; And mine have lanced my courser's flank Before proud chiefs of princely rank, When charging to the cheering cry Of 'Este and of Victory!' I will not plead the cause of crime, Nor sue thee to redeem from time A few brief hours or days that must At length roll o'er my reckless dust;— Such maddening moments as my past, 280 They could not, and they did not, last;— Albeit my birth and name be base, And thy nobility of race Disdained to deck a thing like me— Yet in my lineaments they trace Some features of my father's face, And in my spirit—all of thee. From thee this tamelessness of heart— From thee—nay, wherefore dost thou start?—- From thee in all their vigour came 290 My arm of strength, my soul of flame— Thou didst not give me life alone, But all that made me more thine own. See what thy guilty love hath done! Repaid thee with too like a son! I am no bastard in my soul, For that, like thine, abhorred control; And for my breath, that hasty boon Thou gav'st and wilt resume so soon, I valued it no more than thou, 300 When rose thy casque above thy brow, And we, all side by side, have striven, And o'er the dead our coursers driven: The past is nothing—and at last The future can but be the past;[421] Yet would I that I then had died: For though thou work'dst my mother's ill, And made thy own my destined bride, I feel thou art my father still: And harsh as sounds thy hard decree, 310 'Tis not unjust, although from thee. Begot in sin, to die in shame, My life begun and ends the same: As erred the sire, so erred the son, And thou must punish both in one. My crime seems worst to human view, But God must judge between us too!"[422]

XIV.

He ceased—and stood with folded arms, On which the circling fetters sounded; And not an ear but felt as wounded, 320 Of all the chiefs that there were ranked, When those dull chains in meeting clanked: Till Parisina's fatal charms[423] Again attracted every eye— Would she thus hear him doomed to die! She stood, I said, all pale and still, The living cause of Hugo's ill: Her eyes unmoved, but full and wide, Not once had turned to either side— Nor once did those sweet eyelids close, 330 Or shade the glance o'er which they rose, But round their orbs of deepest blue The circling white dilated grew— And there with glassy gaze she stood As ice were in her curdled blood; But every now and then a tear[424] So large and slowly gathered slid From the long dark fringe of that fair lid, It was a thing to see, not hear![425] And those who saw, it did surprise, 340 Such drops could fall from human eyes. To speak she thought—the imperfect note Was choked within her swelling throat, Yet seemed in that low hollow groan Her whole heart gushing in the tone. It ceased—again she thought to speak, Then burst her voice in one long shriek, And to the earth she fell like stone Or statue from its base o'erthrown, More like a thing that ne'er had life,— 350 A monument of Azo's wife,— Than her, that living guilty thing, Whose every passion was a sting, Which urged to guilt, but could not bear That guilt's detection and despair. But yet she lived—and all too soon Recovered from that death-like swoon— But scarce to reason—every sense Had been o'erstrung by pangs intense; And each frail fibre of her brain 360 (As bowstrings, when relaxed by rain, The erring arrow launch aside) Sent forth her thoughts all wild and wide— The past a blank, the future black, With glimpses of a dreary track, Like lightning on the desert path, When midnight storms are mustering wrath. She feared—she felt that something ill Lay on her soul, so deep and chill; That there was sin and shame she knew, 370 That some one was to die—but who? She had forgotten:—did she breathe? Could this be still the earth beneath, The sky above, and men around; Or were they fiends who now so frowned On one, before whose eyes each eye Till then had smiled in sympathy? All was confused and undefined To her all-jarred and wandering mind; A chaos of wild hopes and fears: 380 And now in laughter, now in tears, But madly still in each extreme, She strove with that convulsive dream; For so it seemed on her to break: Oh! vainly must she strive to wake!

XV.

The Convent bells are ringing, But mournfully and slow; In the grey square turret swinging, With a deep sound, to and fro. Heavily to the heart they go! 390 Hark! the hymn is singing— The song for the dead below, Or the living who shortly shall be so! For a departed being's soul[rc] The death-hymn peals and the hollow bells knoll:[426] He is near his mortal goal; Kneeling at the Friar's knee, Sad to hear, and piteous to see— Kneeling on the bare cold ground. With the block before and the guards around; 400 And the headsman with his bare arm ready, That the blow may be both swift and steady, Feels if the axe be sharp and true Since he set its edge anew:[427] While the crowd in a speechless circle gather To see the Son fall by the doom of the Father!

XVI.

It is a lovely hour as yet Before the summer sun shall set, Which rose upon that heavy day, And mock'd it with his steadiest ray; 410 And his evening beams are shed Full on Hugo's fated head, As his last confession pouring To the monk, his doom deploring In penitential holiness, He bends to hear his accents bless With absolution such as may Wipe our mortal stains away. That high sun on his head did glisten As he there did bow and listen, 420 And the rings of chestnut hair Curled half down his neck so bare; But brighter still the beam was thrown Upon the axe which near him shone With a clear and ghastly glitter—— Oh! that parting hour was bitter! Even the stern stood chilled with awe: Dark the crime, and just the law— Yet they shuddered as they saw.

XVII.

The parting prayers are said and over 430 Of that false son, and daring lover! His beads and sins are all recounted,[rd] His hours to their last minute mounted; His mantling cloak before was stripped, His bright brown locks must now be clipped; 'Tis done—all closely are they shorn; The vest which till this moment worn— The scarf which Parisina gave— Must not adorn him to the grave. Even that must now be thrown aside, 440 And o'er his eyes the kerchief tied; But no—that last indignity Shall ne'er approach his haughty eye. All feelings seemingly subdued, In deep disdain were half renewed, When headsman's hands prepared to bind Those eyes which would not brook such blind, As if they dared not look on death. "No—yours my forfeit blood and breath; These hands are chained, but let me die 450 At least with an unshackled eye— Strike:"—and as the word he said, Upon the block he bowed his head; These the last accents Hugo spoke: "Strike"—and flashing fell the stroke— Rolled the head—and, gushing, sunk Back the stained and heaving trunk, In the dust, which each deep vein Slaked with its ensanguined rain; His eyes and lips a moment quiver, 460 Convulsed and quick—then fix for ever.

He died, as erring man should die, Without display, without parade; Meekly had he bowed and prayed, As not disdaining priestly aid, Nor desperate of all hope on high. And while before the Prior kneeling, His heart was weaned from earthly feeling; His wrathful Sire—his Paramour— What were they in such an hour? 470 No more reproach,—no more despair,— No thought but Heaven,—no word but prayer— Save the few which from him broke, When, bared to meet the headsman's stroke, He claimed to die with eyes unbound, His sole adieu to those around.

XVIII.

Still as the lips that closed in death, Each gazer's bosom held his breath: But yet, afar, from man to man, A cold electric[428] shiver ran, 480 As down the deadly blow descended On him whose life and love thus ended; And, with a hushing sound compressed, A sigh shrunk back on every breast; But no more thrilling noise rose there,[re] Beyond the blow that to the block Pierced through with forced and sullen shock, Save one:—what cleaves the silent air So madly shrill, so passing wild? That, as a mother's o'er her child, 490 Done to death by sudden blow, To the sky these accents go, Like a soul's in endless woe. Through Azo's palace-lattice driven, That horrid voice ascends to heaven, And every eye is turned thereon; But sound and sight alike are gone! It was a woman's shriek—and ne'er In madlier accents rose despair; And those who heard it, as it past, 500 In mercy wished it were the last.

XIX.

Hugo is fallen; and, from that hour, No more in palace, hall, or bower, Was Parisina heard or seen: Her name—as if she ne'er had been— Was banished from each lip and ear, Like words of wantonness or fear; And from Prince Azo's voice, by none Was mention heard of wife or son; No tomb—no memory had they; 510 Theirs was unconsecrated clay— At least the Knight's who died that day. But Parisina's fate lies hid Like dust beneath the coffin lid: Whether in convent she abode, And won to heaven her dreary road, By blighted and remorseful years Of scourge, and fast, and sleepless tears; Or if she fell by bowl or steel, For that dark love she dared to feel: 520 Or if, upon the moment smote, She died by tortures less remote, Like him she saw upon the block With heart that shared the headsman's shock, In quickened brokenness that came, In pity o'er her shattered frame, None knew—and none can ever know: But whatsoe'er its end below, Her life began and closed in woe!

XX.

And Azo found another bride, 530 And goodly sons grew by his side; But none so lovely and so brave As him who withered in the grave;[429] Or if they were—on his cold eye Their growth but glanced unheeded by, Or noticed with a smothered sigh. But never tear his cheek descended, And never smile his brow unbended; And o'er that fair broad brow were wrought The intersected lines of thought; 540 Those furrows which the burning share Of Sorrow ploughs untimely there; Scars of the lacerating mind Which the Soul's war doth leave behind.[430] He was past all mirth or woe: Nothing more remained below But sleepless nights and heavy days, A mind all dead to scorn or praise, A heart which shunned itself—and yet That would not yield, nor could forget, 550 Which, when it least appeared to melt, Intensely thought—intensely felt: The deepest ice which ever froze Can only o'er the surface close; The living stream lies quick below, And flows, and cannot cease to flow.[431] Still was his sealed-up bosom haunted[rf] By thoughts which Nature hath implanted; Too deeply rooted thence to vanish, Howe'er our stifled tears we banish; 560 When struggling as they rise to start, We check those waters of the heart, They are not dried—those tears unshed But flow back to the fountain head, And resting in their spring more pure, For ever in its depth endure, Unseen—unwept—but uncongealed, And cherished most where least revealed. With inward starts of feeling left, To throb o'er those of life bereft, 570 Without the power to fill again The desert gap which made his pain; Without the hope to meet them where United souls shall gladness share; With all the consciousness that he Had only passed a just decree;[rg] That they had wrought their doom of ill; Yet Azo's age was wretched still. The tainted branches of the tree, If lopped with care, a strength may give, 580 By which the rest shall bloom and live All greenly fresh and wildly free: But if the lightning, in its wrath, The waving boughs with fury scathe, The massy trunk the ruin feels, And never more a leaf reveals.



FOOTNOTES:

[411] {503} ["Ferrara is much decayed and depopulated; but the castle still exists entire; and I saw the court where Parisina and Hugo were beheaded, according to the annal of Gibbon."—Vide Advertisement to Lament of Tasso.]

[412] {505} "This turned out a calamitous year for the people of Ferrara, for there occurred a very tragical event in the court of their sovereign. Our annals, both printed and in manuscript, with the exception of the unpolished and negligent work of Sardi, and one other, have given the following relation of it,—from which, however, are rejected many details, and especially the narrative of Bandelli, who wrote a century afterwards, and who does not accord with the contemporary historians.

"By the above-mentioned Stella dell' Assassino, the Marquis, in the year 1405, had a son called Ugo, a beautiful and ingenuous youth. Parisina Malatesta, second wife of Niccolo, like the generality of step-mothers, treated him with little kindness, to the infinite regret of the Marquis, who regarded him with fond partiality. One day she asked leave of her husband to undertake a certain journey, to which he consented, but upon condition that Ugo should bear her company; for he hoped by these means to induce her, in the end, to lay aside the obstinate aversion which she had conceived against him. And indeed his intent was accomplished but too well, since, during the journey, she not only divested herself of all her hatred, but fell into the opposite extreme. After their return, the Marquis had no longer any occasion to renew his former reproofs. It happened one day that a servant of the Marquis, named Zoese, or, as some call him, Giorgio, passing before the apartments of Parisina, saw going out from them one of her chamber-maids, all terrified and in tears. Asking the reason, she told him that her mistress, for some slight offence, had been beating her; and, giving vent to her rage, she added, that she could easily be revenged, if she chose to make known the criminal familiarity which subsisted between Parisina and her step-son. The servant took note of the words, and related them to his master. He was astounded thereat, but, scarcely believing his ears, he assured himself of the fact, alas! too clearly, on the 18th of May, by looking through a hole made in the ceiling of his wife's chamber. Instantly he broke into a furious rage, and arrested both of them, together with Aldobrandino Rangoni, of Modena, her gentleman, and also, as some say, two of the women of her chamber, as abettors of this sinful act. He ordered them to be brought to a hasty trial, desiring the judges to pronounce sentence, in the accustomed forms, upon the culprits. This sentence was death. Some there were that bestirred themselves in favour of the delinquents, and, amongst others, Ugoccion Contrario, who was all-powerful with Niccolo, and also his aged and much deserving minister Alberto dal Sale. Both of these, their tears flowing down their cheeks, and upon their knees, implored him for mercy; adducing whatever reasons they could suggest for sparing the offenders, besides those motives of honour and decency which might persuade him to conceal from the public so scandalous a deed. But his rage made him inflexible, and, on the instant, he commanded that the sentence should be put in execution.

"It was, then, in the prisons of the castle, and exactly in those frightful dungeons which are seen at this day beneath the chamber called the Aurora, at the foot of the Lion's tower, at the top of the street Giovecca, that on the night of the 21st of May were beheaded, first, Ugo, and afterwards Parisina. Zoese, he that accused her, conducted the latter under his arm to the place of punishment. She, all along, fancied that she was to be thrown into a pit, and asked at every step, whether she was yet come to the spot? She was told that her punishment was the axe. She enquired what was become of Ugo, and received for answer, that he was already dead; at which, sighing grievously, she exclaimed, 'Now, then, I wish not myself to live;' and, being come to the block, she stripped herself, with her own hands, of all her ornaments, and, wrapping a cloth round her head, submitted to the fatal stroke, which terminated the cruel scene. The same was done with Rangoni, who, together with the others, according to two calendars in the library of St. Francesco, was buried in the cemetery of that convent. Nothing else is known respecting the women.

"The Marquis kept watch the whole of that dreadful night, and, as he was walking backwards and forwards, enquired of the captain of the castle if Ugo was dead yet? who answered him, Yes. He then gave himself up to the most desperate lamentations, exclaiming, 'Oh! that I too were dead, since I have been hurried on to resolve thus against my own Ugo!' And then gnawing with his teeth a cane which he had in his hand, he passed the rest of the night in sighs and in tears, calling frequently upon his own dear Ugo. On the following day, calling to mind that it would be necessary to make public his justification, seeing that the transaction could not be kept secret, he ordered the narrative to be drawn out upon paper, and sent it to all the courts of Italy.

"On receiving this advice, the Doge of Venice, Francesco Foscari, gave orders, but without publishing his reasons, that stop should be put to the preparations for a tournament, which, under the auspices of the Marquis, and at the expense of the city of Padua, was about to take place, in the square of St. Mark, in order to celebrate his advancement to the ducal chair.

"The Marquis, in addition to what he had already done, from some unaccountable burst of vengeance, commanded that as many of the married women as were well known to him to be faithless, like his Parisina, should, like her, be beheaded. Amongst others, Barberina, or, as some call her, Laodamia Romei, wife of the court judge, underwent this sentence, at the usual place of execution; that is to say, in the quarter of St. Giacomo, opposite the present fortress, beyond St. Paul's. It cannot be told how strange appeared this proceeding in a prince, who, considering his own disposition, should, as it seemed, have been in such cases most indulgent. Some, however, there were who did not fail to commend him." [Memorie per la Storia di Ferrara, Raccolte da Antonio Frizzi, 1793, iii. 408-410. See, too, Celebri Famiglie Italiane, by Conte Pompeo Litta, 1832, Fasc. xxvi. Part III. vol. ii.]

[413] {507} [The revise of Parisina is endorsed in Murray's handwriting, "Given to me by Lord Byron at his house, Saturday, January 13, 1816."]

[414] The lines contained in this section were printed as set to music some time since, but belonged to the poem where they now appear; the greater part of which was composed prior to Lara, and other compositions since published. [Note to Siege, etc., First Edition, 1816.]

[qy] Francisca walks in the shadow of night, But it is not to gaze on the heavenly lightBut if she sits in her garden bower, 'Tis not for the sake of its blowing flower.— [Nathan, 1815, 1829.]

[qz] {508} There winds a step——.—[Nathan, 1815, 1829.]

[415] {509} [Leigh Hunt, in his Autobiography (1860, p. 252), says, "I had the pleasure of supplying my friendly critic, Lord Byron, with a point for his Parisina (the incident of the heroine talking in her sleep)."

Putting Lady Macbeth out of the question, the situation may be traced to a passage in Henry Mackenzie's Julia de Roubigne (1777, ii. 101: "Montauban to Segarva," Letter xxxv.):—

"I was last night abroad at supper; Julia was a-bed before my return. I found her lute lying on the table, and a music-book open by it. I could perceive the marks of tears shed on the paper, and the air was such as might encourage their falling. Sleep, however, had overcome her sadness, and she did not awake when I opened the curtain to look on her. When I had stood some moments, I heard her sigh strongly through her sleep, and presently she muttered some words, I know not of what import. I had sometimes heard her do so before, without regarding it much; but there was something that roused my attention now. I listened; she sighed again, and again spoke a few broken words. At last I heard her plainly pronounce the name Savillon two or three times, and each time it was accompanied with sighs so deep that her heart seemed bursting as it heaved then."]

[ra] {511} ——Medora's——.—[Copy erased.]

[416] [Compare Christabel, Part II. lines 408, 409—

"Alas! they had been friends in youth; But whispering tongues can poison truth."]

[417] {513} [Compare the famous eulogy of Marie Antoinette, in Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, in a Letter intended to have been sent to a Gentleman in Paris, London, 1790, pp. 112, 113—

"It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles.... Little did I dream ... that I should have lived to see such disasters fall upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult."]

[rb] {514} As tear by tear rose gathering still.—[Revise.]

[418] [Lines 175-182, which are in Byron's handwriting, were added to the Copy.]

[419] {516} [The meaning is plain, but the construction is involved. The contrast is between the blood of foes, which Hugo has shed for Azo, and Hugo's own blood, which Azo is about to shed on the scaffold. But this is one of Byron's incurious infelicities.]

[420] {517} Haught—haughty. "Away, haught man, thou art insulting me."—Shakespeare [Richard II., act iv. sc. i, line 254—"No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man."]

[421] {518} [Lines 304, 305, and lines 310-317 are not in the Copy. They were inserted by Byron in the Revise.]

[422] [A writer in the Critical Review (February, 1816, vol. iii. p. 151) holds this couplet up to derision. "Too" is a weak ending, and, orally at least, ambiguous.]

[423] ["I sent for Marmion, ... because it occurred to me there might be a resemblance between part of Parisina and a similar scene in Canto 2d. of Marmion. I fear there is, though I never thought of it before, and could hardly wish to imitate that which is inimitable.... I had completed the story on the passage from Gibbon, which, in fact, leads to a like scene naturally, without a thought of the kind; but it comes upon me not very comfortably."—Letter to Murray, February 3, 1816 (Letters, 1899, iii. 260). The scene in Marmion is the one where Constance de Beverley appears before the conclave—

"Her look composed, and steady eye, Bespoke a matchless constancy; And there she stood so calm and pale, That, but her breathing did not fail, And motion slight of eye and head, And of her bosom, warranted That neither sense nor pulse she lacks, You must have thought a form of wax, Wrought to the very life, was there— So still she was, so pale, so fair." Canto II. stanza xxi. lines 5-14.]

[424] {519} ["I admire the fabrication of the 'big Tear,' which is very fine—much larger, by the way, than Shakespeare's."—Letter of John Murray to Lord Byron (Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 354).]

[425] [Compare Christabel, Part I. line 253—"A sight to dream of, not to tell!"]

[rc] {521} For a departing beings soul.—[Copy.]

[426] [For the peculiar use of "knoll" as a verb, compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza xcvi. line 5; and Werner, act iii. sc. 3.]

[427] {522} [Lines 401-404, which are in Byron's handwriting, were added to the Copy.]

[rd] {523} His latest beads and sins are counted.—[Copy.]

[428] {524} [For the use of "electric" as a metaphor, compare Coleridge's Songs of the Pixies, v. lines 59, 60—

"The electric flash, that from the melting eye Darts the fond question and the soft reply."]

[re] But no more thrilling voice rose there.—[Copy.]

[429] {526} [Here, again, Byron is super grammaticam. The comparison is between Hugo and "goodly sons," not between Hugo and "bride" in the preceding line.]

[430] [Lines 539-544 are not in the Copy, but were inserted in the Revise.]

[431] {527} [Lines 551-556 are not in the Copy, but were inserted in the Revise.]

[rf] Ah, still unwelcomely was haunted.—[Copy.]

[rg] Had only sealed a just decree.—[Copy.]



POEMS OF THE SEPARATION.



INTRODUCTION TO POEMS OF THE SEPARATION.

The two poems, Fare Thee Well (March 17) and A Sketch (March 29, 1816), which have hitherto been entitled Domestic Pieces, or Poems on His Own Circumstances, I have ventured to rename Poems of the Separation. Of secondary importance as poems or works of art, they stand out by themselves as marking and helping to make the critical epoch in the life and reputation of the poet. It is to be observed that there was an interval of twelve days between the date of Fare Thee Well and A Sketch; that the composition of the latter belongs to a later episode in the separation drama; and that for some reasons connected with the proceedings between the parties, a pathetic if not uncritical resignation had given place to the extremity of exasperation—to hatred and fury and revenge. It follows that either poem, in respect of composition and of publication, must be judged on its own merits. Contemporary critics, while they were all but unanimous in holding up A Sketch to unqualified reprobation, were divided with regard to the good taste and good faith of Fare Thee Well. Moore intimates that at first, and, indeed, for some years after the separation, he was strongly inclined to condemn the Fare Thee Well as a histrionic performance—"a showy effusion of sentiment;" but that on reading the account of all the circumstances in Byron's Memoranda, he was impressed by the reality of the "swell of tender recollections, under the influence of which, as he sat one night musing in his study, these stanzas were produced—the tears, as he said, falling fast over the paper as he wrote them" (Life, p. 302).

With whatever purpose, or under whatever emotion the lines were written, Byron did not keep them to himself. They were shown to Murray, and copies were sent to "the initiated." "I have just received," writes Murray, "the enclosed letter from Mrs. Maria Graham [1785-1842, nee Dundas, authoress and traveller, afterwards Lady Callcott], to whom I had sent the verses. It will show you that you are thought of in the remotest corners, and furnishes me with an excuse for repeating that I shall not forget you. God bless your Lordship. Fare Thee Well" [MSS. M.].

But it does not appear that they were printed in their final shape (the proof of a first draft, consisting of thirteen stanzas, is dated March 18, 1816) till the second copy of verses were set up in type with a view to private distribution (see Letters, 1899, iii. 279). Even then there was no thought of publication on the part of Byron or of Murray, and, as a matter of fact, though Fare Thee Well was included in the "Poems" of 1816, it was not till both poems had appeared in over twenty pirated editions that A Sketch was allowed to appear in vol. iii. of the Collected Works of 1819. Unquestionably Byron intended that the "initiated," whether foes or sympathizers, should know that he had not taken his dismissal in silence; but it is far from certain that he connived at the appearance of either copy of verses in the public press. It is impossible to acquit him of the charge of appealing to a limited circle of specially chosen witnesses and advocates in a matter which lay between himself and his wife, but the aggravated offence of rushing into print may well be attributed to "the injudicious zeal of a friend," or the "malice prepense" of an enemy. If he had hoped that the verses would slip into a newspaper, as it were, malgre lui, he would surely have taken care that the seed fell on good ground under the favouring influence of Perry of the Morning Chronicle, or Leigh Hunt of the Examiner. As it turned out, the first paper which possessed or ventured to publish a copy of the "domestic pieces" was the Champion, a Tory paper, then under the editorship of John Scott (1783-1821), a man of talent and of probity, but, as Mr. Lang puts it (Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart, 1897, i. 256), "Scotch, and a professed moralist." The date of publication was Sunday, April 14, and it is to be noted that the Ode from the French ("We do not curse thee, Waterloo") had been published in the Morning Chronicle on March 15, and that on the preceding Sunday, April 7, the brilliant but unpatriotic apostrophe to the Star of the Legion of Honour had appeared in the Examiner. "We notice it [this strain of his Lordship's harp]," writes the editor, "because we think it would not be doing justice to the merits of such political tenets, if they were not coupled with their corresponding practice in regard to moral and domestic obligations. There is generally a due proportion kept in 'the music of men's lives.' ... Of many of the facts of this distressing case we are not ignorant; but God knows they are not for a newspaper. Fortunately they fall within very general knowledge, in London at least; if they had not they would never have found their way to us. But there is a respect due to certain wrongs and sufferings that would be outraged by uncovering them." It was all very mysterious, very terrible; but what wonder that the laureate of the ex-emperor, the contemner of the Bourbons, the paeanist of the "star of the brave," "the rainbow of the free," should make good his political heresy by personal depravity—by unmanly vice, unmanly whining, unmanly vituperation?

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