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1936 m lord byron

Lord Byron

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
44

CLXXVIII.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
CLXXIX.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
CLXXX.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.
CLXXXI.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals.
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada’s pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
CLXXXII.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee—
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free
And many a tyrant since: their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves’ play—
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow—
Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
CLXXXIII.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving;—boundless, endless, and sublime—
The image of Eternity—the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
CLXXXIV.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.

1

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

5

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling—place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

12

I.
As the Liberty lads o’er the sea
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
So we, boys, we
Will die fighting, or live free,
And down with all kings but King Ludd!

II.
When the web that we weave is complete,
And the shuttle exchanged for the sword,
We will fling the winding sheet
O’er the despot at our feet,
And dye it deep in the gore he has pour’d.

III.
Though black as his heart its hue,
Since his veins are corrupted to mud,
Yet this is the dew
Which the tree shall renew
Of Liberty, planted by Ludd!

When, to their airy hall, my father’s voice
Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice;
When, poised upon the gale, my form shall ride,
Or, dark in mist, descend the mountains side;
Oh! may my shade behold no sculptured urns,
To mark the spot where earth to earth returns!
No lengthen’d scroll, no praise-encumber’d stone;
My epitaph shall be my name alone:
If that with honour fail to crown my clay,
Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay!
That, only that, shall single out the spot;
By that remember’d, or with that forgot.

1

When, to their airy hall, my father’s voice
Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice;
When, poised upon the gale, my form shall ride,
Or, dark in mist, descend the mountains side;
Oh! may my shade behold no sculptured urns,
To mark the spot where earth to earth returns!
No lengthen’d scroll, no praise-encumber’d stone;
My epitaph shall be my name alone:
If that with honour fail to crown my clay,
Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay!
That, only that, shall single out the spot;
By that remember’d, or with that forgot.

1

Oh! might I kiss those eyes of fire,
A million scarce would quench desire:
Still would I steep my lips in bliss,
And dwell an age on every kiss;
Nor then my soul should sated be,
Still would I kiss and cling to thee:
Nought should my kiss from thine dissever;
Still would we kiss, and kiss for ever,
E’en though the numbers did exceed
The yellow harvest’s countless seed.
To part would be a vain endeavor:
Could I desist?—ah! never—never!

“Had we never loved so kindly,
Had we never loved so blindly,
Never met or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.”—Burns

               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.

              THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS

                CANTO THE FIRST.

                           I.

Know ye the land where cypress and myrtle
 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, oppress’d with perfume,
Wax faint o’er the gardens of Gúl in her bloom; [1]
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute;
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? [2]
Oh! wild as the accents of lovers’ farewell
Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell.

            II.

Begirt with many a gallant slave,
Apparell’d 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 skill’d to hide
All but unconquerable pride,
His pensive cheek and pondering brow
Did more than he wont avow.

                    III.

“Let the chamber be clear’d.”—The train disappear’d—
 “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 pass’d beyond the outer gate,
   (Woe to the head whose eye beheld
   My child Zuleika’s face unveil’d!)
   Hence, lead my daughter from her tower:
   Her fate is fix’d 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 look’d, and gently spake,
     Still standing at the Pacha’s feet:
   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,
   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!
   There linger’d we, beguil’d too long
   With Mejnoun’s tale, or Sadi’s song, [3]
   Till I, who heard the deep tambour [4]
   Beat thy Divan’s approaching hour,
   To thee, and to my duty true,
   Warn’d 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."

              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,
And watch unfolding roses blow.
Would that yon orb, whose matin glow
Thy listless eyes so much admire,
Would lend thee something of his fire!
Thou, who wouldst see this battlement
By Christian cannon piecemeal rent;
Nay, tamely view old Stamboul’s wall
Before the dogs of Moscow fall,
Nor strike one stroke for life or death
Against the curs of Nazareth!
Go—let thy less than woman’s hand
Assume the distaff—not the brand.
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!—reproach’d with fear!
 Those gibes had cost another dear.
Son of a slave! and who my sire?”
 Thus held his thoughts their dark career,
And glances ev’n of more than ire
 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;
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 return’d him glance for glance,
And proudly to his sire’s was raised,
 Till Giaffir’s quail’d and shrunk askance—
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:
No—nor the blood so near my own.

That blood—he hath not heard—no more—
I’ll watch him closer than before.
He is an Arab to my sight, [5]
Or Christian crouching in the fight—
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—
My Peri!—ever welcome here!
Sweet, as the desert fountain’s wave,
To lips just cool’d 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."

                 VI.

Fair, as the first that fell of womankind,
 When on that dread yet lovely serpent smiling,
Whose image then was stamp’d upon her mind—
 But once beguiled—and evermore 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
To fix one spark of Beauty’s heavenly ray?
Who doth not feel, until his failing sight
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 unmark’d by her alone;
The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the Music breathing from her face, [6]
The heart whose softness harmonised the whole—
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—Giaffir felt
 His purpose half within him melt;
 Not that against her fancied weal
 His heart though stern could ever feel;
 Affection chain’d 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 Moslems reck not much of blood;
 But yet the line of Carasman [7]
Unchanged, unchangeable, hath stood
 First of the bold Timariot bands
That won and well can keep their lands.
Enough that he who comes to woo
Is kinsman of the Bey Oglou:
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
Will laugh to scorn the death-firman,
Which others tremble but to scan,
And teach the messenger what fate
The bearer of such boon may wait, [8]
And now thy 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 bow’d the virgin’s head;
 And if her eye was fill’d with tears
That stifled feeling dare not shed,
And changed her cheek to 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;
Or if remember’d, mark’d it not;
Thrice clapp’d his hands, and call’d his steed, [9]
 Resign’d his gem-adorn’d chibouque, [10]
And mounting featly for the mead,
 With Maugrabee [11] and Mamaluke,
 His way amid his Delis took, [12]
To witness many an active deed
With sabre keen, or blunt jerreed.
The Kislar only and his Moors
Watch well the Haram’s massy doors.

             IX.

His head was leant upon his hand,
 His eye look’d 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 turban’d band
 Mix in the game of mimic slaughter,
Careering cleave the folded felt [13]
With sabre stroke right sharply dealt;
Nor mark’d the javelin-darting crowd,
Nor heard their Ollahs wild and loud [14]—
 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 turn’d,
But little from his aspect learn’d;
Equal her grief, yet not the same:
Her heart confess’d a gentler flame:
But yet that heart, alarm’d, 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 fix’d:
 She snatch’d the urn wherein was mix’d
The Persian Atar-gúl’s perfume, [15]
And sprinkled all its odours o’er
The pictured roof and marble floor: [16]
The drops, that through his glittering vest
The playful girl’s appeal address’d,
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—
“He loved them once; may touch them yet
 If offer’d by Zuleika’s hand.”
The childish thought was hardly breathed
Before the Rose was pluck’d 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 bears; [17]
It says to-night he will prolong
For Selim’s ear his sweetest song;
And though his note is somewhat sad,
He’ll try for once a strain more glad,
With some faint hope his alter’d 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?
Oh, Selim dear! oh, more than dearest!
Say is it me thou hat’st or fearest?
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
Perhaps may prove some foe of thine:
If so, I swear by Mecca’s shrine,
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 though that I could bear to part
With thee, and learn to halve my heart?
Ah! were I sever’d from thy side,
Where were thy friend—and who my guide?
Years have not seen, Time shall not see
The hour that tears my soul from thee:
Even Azrael, [18] from his deadly quiver
 When flies that shaft, and fly it must,
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;
With thoughts that burn—in rays that melt.
As the streams late conceal’d
 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,
Flash’d the soul of that eye
Through the long lashes round it.
A war-horse at the trumpet’s sound,
A lion roused by heedless hound,
A tyrant waked to sudden strife
By graze of ill-directed knife,
Starts not to more convulsive life
Than he, who heard that vow, display’d,
And all, before repress’d, betray’d:

"Now thou art mine, for ever mine,
With life to keep, and scarce with life resign;
Now thou art mine, that sacred oath,
Though sworn by one, hath bound us both.
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,
For all the treasures buried far
Within the caves of Istakar. [19]
This morning clouds upon me lower’d,
Reproaches on my head were shower’d,
And Giaffir almost call’d me coward!
Now I have motive to be brave;
The son of his neglected slave—
Nay, start not, 'twas the term he gave—
May shew, 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.
I know the wretch who dares demand
From Giaffir thy reluctant hand;
More ill-got wealth, a meaner soul
Holds not a Musselim’s control: [20]
Was he not bred in Egripo? [21]
A viler race let Israel show!
But let that pass—to none be told
Our oath; the rest let time unfold.
To me and mine leave Osman Bey;
I’ve partisans for peril’s day:
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,
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;
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,
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
We need so much of mystery?
The cause I cannot dream nor tell,
But be it, since thou say’st 'tis well;
Yet what thou mean’st by 'arms’ and ‘friends,’
Beyond my weaker sense extends.
I mean 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
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 cherish’d 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,
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 compell’d
To wed with one I ne’er beheld:
This wherefore should I not reveal?
Why wilt thou urge me to conceal!
I know the Pacha’s haughty mood
To thee hath never boded good:
And he so often storms at naught,
Allah! forbid that e’er he ought!
And why I know not, but within
My heart concealment weighs like sin.
If then such secresy 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, [22]
My father leaves the mimic war:
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
Such costly triumph to repay.
But, mark me, when the twilight drum
 Hath warn’d the troops to food and sleep,
Unto thy cell will 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
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 word like this—”
                       “Delay not thou;
I keep the key—and Haroun’s guard
Have some, and hope of more reward.
Tonight, Zuleika, thou shalt hear
My tale, my purpose, and my fear:
I am not, love! what I appear.”

         _

        CANTO THE SECOND.

               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,
And shrieking sea-birds warn’d 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 the light of love,
The only star it hail’d above;
His ear but rang with Hero’s song,
“Ye waves, divide not lovers long!”—
That tale is old, but love anew
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 bedew’d 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!
 These feet have press’d 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” still dashes, [23]
Be long my lot! and cold were he
Who there could gaze denying thee!

               IV.

The night hath closed on Helle’s stream,
 Nor yet hath risen on Ida’s hill
That moon, which shoon 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 gather’d ground
Which Ammon’s son ran proudly round, [24]
By nations raised, by monarchs crown’d,
 Is now a lone and nameless barrow!
 Within—thy dwelling-place how narrow?
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;
The scatter’d 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; [25]
Near these, with emerald rays beset,
(How could she thus that gem forget?)
Her mother’s sainted amulet, [26]
Whereon engraved the Koorsee text,
Could smooth this life, and win the next;
And by her Comboloio lies [27]
A Koran of illumined dyes;
And many a bright emblazon’d rhyme
By Persian scribes redeem’d from time;
And o’er those scrolls, not oft so mute,
Reclines her now neglected lute;
And round her lamp of fretted gold
Bloom flowers in urns of China’s mould;
The richest work of Iran’s loom,
And Sheeraz’ tribute of perfume;
All that can eye or sense delight
 Are gather’d 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 Moslems wear,
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?
 How teach her tender lips to chide?

               VII.

They reach’d at length a grotto, hewn
 By nature, but enlarged by art,
Where oft her lute she wont to tune,
 And oft her Koran conn’d apart:
And oft in youthful reverie
She dream’d what Paradise might be;
Where woman’s parted soul shall go
Her Prophet had disdain’d to show;
But Selim’s mansion was secure,
Nor deem’d 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 seem’d wrought within the grot;
It might be only that the night
Disguised things seen by better light:
That brazen lamp but dimly threw
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 turban’d Delis in the field;
But brands of foreign blade and hilt,
And one was red—perchance with guilt!
Ah! how without can blood be spilt?
A cup too on the board was set
That did not seem to hold sherbet.
What may this mean? she turn’d to see
Her Selim—"Oh! can this be he?"

             IX.

His robe of pride was thrown aside,
 His brow no high-crown’d 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 glitter’d at his waist,
Where pistols unadorn’d were braced;
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,
All that a careless eye could see
In him was some young Galiongée. [28]

              X.

“I said I was not what I seem’d;
 And now thou see’st my words were true:
I have a tale thou hast not dream’d,
 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,
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
 That saw my solitary birth?
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 ledd’st me hear perchance to kill;
 If thou hast cause for vengeance see
My breast is offer’d—take thy fill!
 Far better with the dead to be
 Than live thus nothing now to thee;
Perhaps far worse, for now I know
Why Giaffir always seem’d thy foe;
And I, alas! am Giaffir’s child,
Form whom thou wert contemn’d, reviled.
If not thy sister—wouldst 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 link’d with mine;
I swear it by our Prophet’s shrine,
 And be that thought thy sorrow’s balm.
So may the Koran verse display’d [29]
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 widen’d, not divided,
 Although thy Sire’s my deadliest foe.
My father was to Giaffir all
 That Selim late was deem’d to thee;
That brother wrought a brother’s fall,
 But spared, at least, my infancy;
And lull’d me with a vain deceit
That yet a like return may meet.
He rear’d me, not with tender help,
 But like the nephew of a Cain; [30]
He watch’d 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
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,
Remember’d yet in Bosniac song,
And Paswan’s rebel hordes attest [31]
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,
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,
Our Pachas rallied round the state;
Nor last nor least in high command,
Each brother led a separate band;
They gave their horse-tails to the wind, [32]
 And mustering in Sophia’s plain
Their tents were pitch’d, their posts assign’d;
 To one, alas! assign’d in vain!
What need of words? the deadly bowl,
 By Giaffir’s order drugg’d and given,
With venom subtle as his soul,
 Dismiss’d Abdallah’s hence to heaven.
Reclined and feverish in the bath,
 He, when the hunter’s sport was up,
But little deem’d a brother’s wrath
 To quench his thirst had such a cup:
The bowl a bribed attendant bore;
He drank one draught, and nor needed more! [33]
If thou my tale, Zuleika, doubt,
Call Haroun—he can tell it out.

             XV.

“The deed once done, and Paswan’s feud
In part suppress’d, though ne’er subdued,
 Abdallah’s Pachalic was gain’d:—
Thou know’st not what in our Divan
Can wealth procure for worse than man—
 Abdallah’s honours were obtain’d
By him a brother’s murder stain’d;
'Tis true, the purchase nearly drain’d
His ill got treasure, soon replaced.
Wouldst question whence? Survey the waste,
And ask the squalid peasant how
His gains repay his broiling brow!—
Why me the stern usurper spared,
Why thus with me the palace shared,
I know not. Shame, regret, remorse,
And little fear from infant’s force;
Besides, adoption of a son
Of him whom Heaven accorded none,
Or some unknown cabal, caprice,
Preserved me thus; but not in peace;
He cannot curb his haughty mood,
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,
 And held that post in his Serai
 Which holds he here—he saw him die:
But what could single slavery do?
Avenge his lord? alas! too late;
Or save his son from such a fate?
He chose the last, and when elate
 With foes subdued, or friends betray’d,
Proud Giaffir in high triumph sate,
He led me helpless to his gate,
 And not in vain it seems essay’d
 To save the life for which he pray’d.
The knowledge of my birth secured
 From all and each, but most from me;
Thus Giaffir’s safety was insured.
 Removed he too from Roumelie
To this our Asiatic side,
Far from our seat by Danube’s tide,
 With none but Haroun, who retains
Such knowledge—and that Nubian feels
 A tyrant’s secrets are but chains,
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.
 I saw thee start this garb to see,
Yet is it one I oft have worn,
 And long must wear: this Galiongée,
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 fill’d—once quaff’d, they ne’er repine:
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, Mohammed! how oft!—
In full Divan the despot scoff’d,
As if my weak unwilling hand
Refused the bridle or the brand:
He ever went to war alone,
And pent me here untried—unknown;
To Haroun’s care with women left,
By hope unblest, of fame bereft.
While thou—whose softness long endear’d,
Though it unmann’d me, still had cheer’d—
To Brusa’s walls for safety sent,
Awaited’st there the field’s event.
Haroun, who saw my spirit pining
 Beneath inaction’s sluggish yoke,
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
My almost drunkenness of heart,
When first this liberated eye
Survey’d Earth, Ocean, Sun and Sky,
As if my spirit pierced them through,
And all their inmost wonders knew!
One word alone can paint to thee
That more than feeling—I was Free!
Ev’n for thy presence ceased to pine;
The World—nay—Heaven itself was mine!

             XIX.

"The shallop of a trusty Moor
Convey’d me from this idle shore;
I long’d to see the isles that gem
Old Ocean’s purple diadem:
I sought by turns, and saw them all: [34]
 But when and where I join’d the crew,
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;
With them hath found—may find—a place:
But open speech, and ready hand,
Obedience to their chief’s command;
A soul for every enterprise,
That never sees with terror’s eyes;
Friendship for each, and faith to all,
And vengeance vow’d for those who fall,
Have made them fitting instruments
For more than ev’n my own intents.
And some—and I have studied all
 Distinguish’d from the vulgar rank,
But chiefly to my council call
 The wisdom of the cautious Frank—
And some to higher thoughts aspire,
 The last of Lambro’s patriots there [35]
 Anticipated freedom share;
And oft around the cavern fire
On visionary schemes debate,
To snatch the Rayahs from their fate. [36]
So let them ease their hearts with prate
Of equal rights, which man ne’er knew;
I have a love of freedom too.
Ay! let me like the ocean-Patriarch roam, [37]
Or only known on land the Tartar’s home! [38]
My tent on shore, my galley on the sea,
Are more than cities and Serais to me:
Borne by my steed, or wafted by my sail,
Across the desert, or before the gale,
Bound where thou wilt, my barb! or glide, my prow!
But be the star that guides the wanderer, Thou!
Thou, my Zuleika! share and bless my bark;
The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark!
Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife,
Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
The evening beam that smiles the cloud away,
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!
Blest—as the Muezzin’s strain from Mecca’s wall
To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call;
Soft—as the melody of youthful days,
That steals the trembling tear of speechless praise;
Dear—as his native song to exile’s ears,
Shall sound each tone thy long-loved voice endears.
For thee in those bright isles is built a bower
Blooming as Aden in its earliest hour. [39]
A thousand swords, with Selim’s heart and hand,
Wait—wave—defend—destroy—at thy command!
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 resign’d for cares—for joys like these:
Not blind to fate, I see, where’er I rove,
Unnumber’d perils—but one only love!
Yet well my toils shall that fond beast repay,
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,
Blend every thought, do all—but disunite!
Once free, 'tis mine our horde again to guide;
Friends to each other, foes to aught beside:
Yet there we follow but the bent assign’d
By fatal Nature to man’s warring kind:
Mark! where his carnage and his conquests cease!
He makes a solitude, and calls it—peace!
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
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
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,
Which Love to-night hath promised to my sail:
No danger daunts the pair his smile hath blest,
Their steps till roving, but their hearts at rest.
With thee all toils are sweet, each clime hath charms;
Earth—sea alike—our world within our arms!
Ay—let the loud winds whistle o’er the deck,
So that those arms cling closer round my neck:
The deepest murmur of this lip shall be
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!
The war of elements no fears impart
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.
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
 Return’d 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 doom’d 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;
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 wouldst thou save that haughty Bey,
 Perchance, his life who gave the thine,
With me this hour away—away!
 But yet, though thou art plighted mine,
Wouldst thou recall thy willing vow,
Appall’d by truth imparted now,
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 harden’d into stone;
All in the maid that eye could see
Was but a younger Niobè.
But ere her lip, or even her eye,
Essay’d to speak, or look reply,
Beneath the garden’s wicket porch
Far flash’d on high a blazing torch!
Another—and another—and another—
“Oh!—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;
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."
Forth to the cavern mouth he stept;
 His pistol’s echo rang on high,
Zuleika started not nor wept,
 Despair benumb’d her breast and eye!—
 “They hear me not, or if they ply
 Their oars, 'tis but to see me die;
 That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh.
Then forth my father’s scimitar,
Thou ne’er hast seen less equal war!
 Farewell, Zuleika!—Sweet! retire:
Yet stay within—here linger safe,
At thee his rage will only chafe.
Stir not—lest even to thee perchance
Some erring blade or ball should glance.
 Fear’st though for him?—may I expire
 If in this strife I seek thy sire!
No—though by him that poison pour’d:
No—though again he call me coward!
But tamely shall I meet their steel?
No—as each crest save his may feel!”

              XXIV.

One bound he made, and gain’d 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—
 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;
We—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, unharm’d by steel,
Or scarcely grazed its force to feel,
Had Selim won, betray’d, beset,
To where the strand and billows met:
There as his last step left the land,
And the last death-blow dealt his hand—
Ah! wherefore did he turn to look
 For her his eye but sought in vain?
That pause, that fatal gaze he took,
 Hath doom’d his death, or fix’d his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain,
How late will Lover’s hope remain!
His back was to the dashing spray;
Behind, but close, his comrades lay
When, at the instant, hiss’d 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 aim’d to err?
'Tis thine—Abdallah’s Murderer!
The father slowly rued thy hate,
The son hath found a quicker fate:
Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling,
The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling—
If aught his lips essay’d 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 shiver’d brand;
Steps stamp’d; and dash’d into the sand
The print of many a struggling hand
 May there be mark’d; 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?
Ye! who would o’er his relics weep,
Go, seek them where the surges sweep
Their burthen round Sigæum’s steep,
   And cast on Lemnos’ shore:
The sea-birds shriek above the prey,
O’er which their hungry beaks delay,
As shaken on his restless pillow,
His head heaves with the heaving billow;
That hand, whose motion is not life,
Yet feebly seems to menace strife,
Flung by the tossing tide on high,
   Then levell’d with the wave—
What recks it, though that corse shall lie
   Within a living grave?
The bird that tears that prostrate form
Hath only robb’d the meaner worm:
The only heart, the only eye
Had bled or wept to see him die,
Had seen those scatter’d limbs composed,
 And mourn’d above his turban-stone, [40]
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 warn his distant ear? [41]
 Thy handmaids weeping at the gate,
 The Koran-chanters of the hymn of fate,
 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 couldst not save
     Sufficed to kill;

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,
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 doth spread;
 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,
     Thy Daughter’s dead!
 Hope of thine age, thy twilight’s lonely beam,
 The star hath set that shone on Helle’s stream.
What quench’d its ray?—the blood that thou hast shed!
Hark! to the hurried question of Despair:
“Where is my child?”—an Echo answers—"Where?" [42]

            XVIII.

Within the place of thousand tombs
 That shine beneath, while dark above
The sad but living cypress glooms,
 And withers not, though branch and leaf
Are stamp’d with an eternal grief,
 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
 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 unshelter’d by a bower;
Nor droops, though spring refuse her shower,
 Nor woos the summer beam:
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!
And yet so sweet the tears they shed,
'Tis sorrow so unmix’d 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
Expires that magic melody.
And some have been who could believe,
(So fondly youthful dreams deceive,
 Yet harsh be they that blame,)
That note so piercing and profound
Will shape and syllable its sound
 Into Zuleika’s name. [43]
'Tis from her cypress’ summit heard,
That melts in air the liquid word;
'Tis from her lowly virgin earth
That white rose takes its tender birth.
There late was laid a marble stone;
Eve saw it placed—the Morrow gone!
It was no mortal arm that bore
That deep fixed pillar to the shore;
For there, as Helle’s legends tell,
Next morn 'twas found where Selim fell;
Lash’d by the tumbling tide, whose wave
Denied his bones a holier grave:
And there by night, reclined, 'tis said,
Is seen a ghastly turban’d head:
And hence extended by the billow,
'Tis named the “Pirate-phantom’s pillow!”
Where first it lay that mourning flower
Hath flourish’d; flourisheth this hour,
Alone and dewy, coldly pure and pale;
As weeping Beauty’s cheek at Sorrow’s tale.

(1) “Gúl,” the rose.

(2) “Souls made of fire, and children of the Sun,
   With whom revenge is virtue.”—YOUNG’S “REVENGE.”

(3) Mejnoun and Leila, the Romeo and Juliet of the East. Sadi, the moral set of Persia.

(4) “Tambour,” Turkish drum, which sounds at sunrise, none, and twilight.

(5) The Turks abhor the Arabs (who return the compliment a hundred-fold) even more than they hate the Christians.

(6) This expression has met with objections. I will not refer to “Him who hath not Music in his soul,” but merely request the reader to recollect, for ten seconds, the features of the woman whom he believes to be the most beautiful; and if he then does not comprehend fully what is feebly expressed in the above line, I shall be sorry for us both. For an eloquent passage in the latest work of the first female writer of this, perhaps of any age, on the analogy (and the immediate comparison excited by that analogy) between “painting and music,” see vol. iii. cap. 10, “De L’Allemagne.” And is not this connexion still stronger with the original than the copy? with the colouring of Nature than of Art? After all, this is rather to be felt than described; still, I think there are some who will understand it, at least they would have done had they beheld the countenance whose speaking harmony suggested the idea; for this passage is not drawn from imagination but memory, that mirror which Affliction dashes to the earth, and looking down upon the fragments, only beholds the reflection multiplied.

(7) Carasman Oglou, or Kara Osman Oglou, is the principle landholder in Turkey; he governs Magnesia. Those who, by a kind of feudal tenure, possess land on condition of service, are called Timariots; they serve as Spahis, according to the extent of territory, and bring a certain number into the field, generally cavalry.

(8) When a Pacha is sufficiently strong to resist, the single messenger, who is always the first bearer of the order for his death, is strangled instead, and sometimes five or six, one after the other, on the same errand, by command of the refractory patient; if, on the contrary, he is weak or loyal, he bows, kisses the Sultan’s respectable signature, and is bowstrung with great complacency. In 1810, several of “these presents” were exhibited in the niche of the Seraglio gate: among others, the head of the Pacha of Bagdad, a brave young man, cut off by treachery, after a desperate resistance.

(9) Clapping of the hands calls the servants. The Turks hate a superfluous expenditure of voice, and they have no bells.

(10) “Chibouque,” the Turkish pipe, of which the amber mouth-piece, and sometimes the ball which contains the leaf, is adorned with precious stones, if in possession of the wealthier orders.

(11) “Maugrabee,” Moorish mercenaries.

(12) “Delis,” bravoes who form the forlorn-hope of the cavalry, and always begin the action.

(13) A twisted fold of felt is used for scimitar practice by the Turks, and few but Mussulman arms can cut through it at a single stroke: sometimes a tough turban is used for the same purpose. The jerreed is a game of blunt javelins, animated and graceful.

(14) “Ollahs,” Alla il Allah, the “Leilles,” as the Spanish poets call them; the sound is Ollah; a cry of which the Turks, for a silent people, are somewhat profuse, particularly during the jerreed, or in the chase, but mostly in battle. Their animation in the field, and gravity in the chamber, with their pipes and comboloios, form an amusing contrast.

(15) “Atar-gúl,” ottar of roses. The Persian is the finest.

(16) The ceiling and wainscots, or rather walls, of the Mussulman apartments are generally painted, in great houses, with one eternal and highly-coloured view of Constantinople, wherein the principle feature is a noble contempt of perspective; below, arms, scimitars, &c., are generally fancifully and not inelegantly disposed.

(17) It has been much doubted whether the notes of this “Lover of the rose are sad or merry; and Mr Fox’s remarks on the subject have provoked some learned controversy as to the opinions of the ancients on the subject. I dare not venture a conjecture on the point, though a little inclined to the ”errare [m?]alleum," &c., if Mr Fox was mistaken.

[Transcriber’s note: the print impression I am working from is poor and in places not entirely intelligible.]

(18) “Azrael,” the angel of death.

(19) The treasures of the Pre-Adamite Sultans. See D’Herbelot, article Istakar.

(20) “Musselim,” a governor, the next in rank after a Pacha; a Waywode is the third; and then come the Agas.

(21) “Egripo”—the Negropont. According to the proverb, the Turks of Egrip, the Jews of Salonica, and the Greeks of Athens are the worst of their respective races.

(22) “Tchocadar,” one of the attendants who precedes a man of authority.

(23) The wrangling about this epithet, “the broad Hellespont,” or the “boundless Hellespont,” whether it means one or the other, or what it means at all, has been beyond all possibility of detail. I have even heard it disputed on the spot; and not foreseeing a speedy conclusion to the controversy, amused myself by swimming across it in the meantime, and probably may again, before the point is settled. Indeed, the question as to the truth of “the tale of Troy divine” still continues, much of it resting upon the word {'ápeiros} [in Greek]: probably Homer had the same notion of distance that a coquette has of time, and when he talks of the boundless, means half a mile; as the latter, by a like figure, when she says eternal attachment, simply specifies three weeks.

(24) Before his Persian invasion, and crowned the altar with laurel, &c. He was afterwards imitated by Caracalla in his race. It is believed that the last also poisoned a friend, named Festus, for the sake of new Patroclan games. I have seen the sheep feeding on the tombs of Æsietes and Antilochos: the first is in the center of the plain.

(25) When rubbed, the amber is susceptible of a perfume, which is slight but not disagreeable.

(26) The belief in amulets engraved on gems, or enclosed in gold boxes, containing scraps from the Koran, worn round the neck, wrist, or arm, is still universal in the East. The Koorsee (throne) verse in the second chapter of the Koran describes the attributes of the Most High, and is engraved in this manner, and worn by the pious, as the most esteemed and sublime of all sentences.

(27) “Comboloio,” a Turkish rosary. The MSS., particularly those of the Persians, are richly adorned and illuminated. The Greek females are kept in utter ignorance; but many of the Turkish girls are highly accomplished, though not actually qualified for a Christian coterie. Perhaps some of our own “blues” might not be the worse for bleaching.

(28) “Galiongée,” or Galiongi, a sailor, that is, a Turkish sailor; the Greeks navigate, the Turks work the guns. Their dress is picturesque; and I have seen the Capitan Pacha more than once wearing it as a kind of incog. Their legs, however, are generally naked. The buskins described in the text as sheathed behind with silver are those of an Arnaut robber, who was my host (he had quitted the profession) at his Pyrgo, near Gastouni in the Morea; they were plated in scales one over the other, like the back of an armadillo.

(29) The characters on all Turkish scimitars contain sometimes the name of the place of their manufacture, but more generally a text from the Koran, in letters of gold. Amongst those in my possession is one with a blade of singular construction; it is very broad, and the edge notched into serpentine curves like the ripple of water, or the wavering of flame. I asked the Armenian who sold it what possible use such a figure could add: he said, in Italian, that he did not know; but the Mussulmans had an idea that those of this form gave a severer wound; and liked it because it was “piu feroce.” I did not much admire the reason, but bought it for its peculiarity.

(30) It is to be observed, that every allusion to anything or personage in the Old Testament, such as the Ark, or Cain, is equally the privilege of Mussulman and Jew: indeed, the former profess to be much better acquainted with the lives, true and fabulous, of the patriarchs, than is warranted by our own sacred writ; and not content with Adam, they have a biography of Pre-Adamites. Solomon is the monarch of all necromancy, and Moses a prophet inferior only to Christ and Mohammed. Zuleika is the Persian name of Potiphar’s wife; and her amour with Joseph constitutes one of the finest poems in their language. It is, therefore, no violation of costume to put the names of Cain, or Noah, into the mouth of a Moslem.

(31) Paswan Oglou, the rebel of Widdin; who, for the last years of his life, set the whole power of the Porte at defiance.

(32) “Horse-tail,” the standard of a Pacha.

(33) Giaffir, Pacha of Argyro Castro, or Scutari, I am not sure which, was actually taken off by the Albanian Ali, in the manner described in the text. Ali Pacha, while I was in the country, married the daughter of his victim, some years after the event had taken place at a bath in Sophia, or Adrianople. The poison was mixed in the cup of coffee, which is presented before the sherbet by the bath-keeper, after dressing.

(34) The Turkish notions of almost all islands are confined to the Archipelago, the sea alluded to.

(35) Lambro Canzani, a Greek, famous for his efforts in 1789-90, for the independence of his country. Abandoned by the Russians, he became a pirate, and the Archipelago was the scene of his enterprises. He is said to be still alive at St Petersburg. He and Riga are the two most celebrated of the Greek revolutionists.

(36) “Rayahs,” all who pay the capitation tax, called the “Haratch.”

(37) This first of voyages is one of the few with which the Mussulmans profess much acquaintance.

(38) The wandering life of the Arabs, Tartars, and Turkomans, will be found well detailed in any book of Eastern travels. That it possesses a charm peculiar to itself, cannot be denied. A young French renegado confessed to Chateaubriand, that he never found himself alone, galloping in the desert, without a sensation approaching to rapture, which was indescribable.

(39) “Jannat al Aden,” the perpetual abode, the Mussulman paradise.

(40) A turban is carved in stone above the graves of men only.

(41) The death-song of the Turkish women. The “silent slaves” are the men, whose notions of decorum forbid complain in public.

(42) “I came to the place of my birth, and cried, ‘The friends of my youth, where are they?’ and an Echo answered, ‘Where are they?’”—From an Arabic MS.

The above quotation (from which the idea in the text is taken) must be already familiar to every reader—it is given in the first annotation, p. 67, of “The Pleasures of Memory;” a poem so well known as to render a reference almost superfluous; but to whose pages all will be delighted to recur.

(43) “And airy tongues that syllable men’s names.”—MILTON.

For a belief that the souls of the dead inhabit the form of birds, we need not travel to the East. Lord Lyttleton’s ghost story, the belief of the Duchess of Kendal, that George I. flew into her window in the shape of a raven (see Orford’s “Reminiscences”), and many other instances, bring this superstition nearer home. The most singular was the whim of a Worcester lady, who, believing her daughter to exist in the shape of a singing bird, literally furnished her pew in the cathedral with cages full of the kind; and as she was rich, and a benefactress in beautifying the church, no objection was made to her harmless folly. For this anecdote, see Orford’s “Letters.”

Remember thee! remember thee!
Till Lethe quench life’s burning stream
Remorse and shame shall cling to thee,
And haunt thee like a feverish dream!

Remember thee! Aye, doubt it not.
Thy husband too shall think of thee:
By neither shalt thou be forgot,
Thou false to him, thou fiend to me!

When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,
Let him combat for that of his neighbours;
Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome,
And get knock’d on the head for his labours.
To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,
And, is always as nobly requited;
Then battle for freedom wherever you can,
And, if not shot or hang’d, you’ll get knighted.

Time! on whose arbitrary wing
    The varying hours must flag or fly,
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring,
    But drag or drive us on to die——
Hail thou! who on my birth bestowed
    Those boons to all that know thee known;
Yet better I sustain thy load,
    For now I bear the weight alone.
I would not one fond heart should share
    The bitter moments thou hast given;
And pardon thee——since thou couldst spare
    All that I loved, to peace or Heaven.
To them be joy or rest——on me
    Thy future ills shall press in vain;
I nothing owe but years to thee,
    A debt already paid in pain.
Yet even that pain was some relief;
    It felt, but still forgot thy power:
The active agony of grief
    Retards, but never counts the hour.
In joy I’ve sighed to think thy flight
    Would soon subside from swift to slow;
Thy cloud could overcast the light,
    But could not add a night to Woe;
For then, however drear and dark,
    My soul was suited to thy sky;
One star alone shot forth a spark
    To prove thee——not Eternity.
That beam hath sunk——and now thou art
    A blank——a thing to count and curse
Through each dull tedious trifling part,
    Which all regret, yet all rehearse.
One scene even thou canst not deform——
    The limit of thy sloth or speed
When future wanderers bear the storm
    Which we shall sleep too sound to heed.
And I can smile to think how weak
    Thine efforts shortly shall be shown,
When all the vengeance thou canst wreak
    Must fall upon——a nameless stone.

1

Oh, Wellington! (or 'Villainton’—for Fame
Sounds the heroic syllables both ways;
France could not even conquer your great name,
But punn’d it down to this facetious phrase–
Beating or beaten she will laugh the same),
You have obtain’d great pensions and much praise:
Glory like yours should any dare gainsay,
Humanity would rise, and thunder ‘Nay!’

I don’t think that you used Kinnaird quite well
In Marinet’s affair—in fact, 'twas shabby,
And like some other things won’t do to tell
Upon your tomb in Westminster’s old abbey.
Upon the rest 'tis not worth while to dwell,
Such tales being for the tea-hours of some tabby;
But though your years as man tend fast to zero,
In fact your grace is still but a young hero.

Though Britain owes (and pays you too) so much,
Yet Europe doubtless owes you greatly more:
You have repair’d Legitimacy’s crutch,
A prop not quite so certain as before:
The Spanish, and the French, as well as Dutch,
Have seen, and felt, how strongly you restore;
And Waterloo has made the world your debtor
(I wish your bards would sing it rather better).

You are ‘the best of cut-throats:’—do not start;
The phrase is Shakspeare’s, and not misapplied:
War’s a brain-spattering, windpipe-slitting art,
Unless her cause by right be sanctified.
If you have acted once a generous part,
The world, not the world’s masters, will decide,
And I shall be delighted to learn who,
Save you and yours, have gain’d by Waterloo?

I am no flatterer– you 've supp’d full of flattery:
They say you like it too– 't is no great wonder.
He whose whole life has been assault and battery,
At last may get a little tired of thunder;
And swallowing eulogy much more than satire, he
May like being praised for every lucky blunder,
Call’d 'Saviour of the Nations’—not yet saved,
And 'Europe’s Liberator’—still enslaved.

I’ve done. Now go and dine from off the plate
Presented by the Prince of the Brazils,
And send the sentinel before your gate
A slice or two from your luxurious meals:
He fought, but has not fed so well of late.
Some hunger, too, they say the people feels:—
There is no doubt that you deserve your ration,
But pray give back a little to the nation.

I don’t mean to reflect—a man so great as
You, my lord duke! is far above reflection:
The high Roman fashion, too, of Cincinnatus,
With modern history has but small connection:
Though as an Irishman you love potatoes,
You need not take them under your direction;
And half a million for your Sabine farm
Is rather dear!—I’m sure I mean no harm.

Great men have always scorn’d great recompenses:
Epaminondas saved his Thebes, and died,
Not leaving even his funeral expenses:
George Washington had thanks and nought beside,
Except the all-cloudless glory (which few men’s is
To free his country: Pitt too had his pride,
And as a high-soul’d minister of state is
Renown’d for ruining Great Britain gratis.

Never had mortal man such opportunity,
Except Napoleon, or abused it more:
You might have freed fallen Europe from the unity
Of tyrants, and been blest from shore to shore:
And now—what is your fame? Shall the Muse tune it ye?
Now—that the rabble’s first vain shouts are o’er?
Go! hear it in your famish’d country’s cries!
Behold the world! and curse your victories!

As these new cantos touch on warlike feats,
To you the unflattering Muse deigns to inscribe
Truths, that you will not read in the Gazettes,
But which 'tis time to teach the hireling tribe
Who fatten on their country’s gore, and debts,
Must be recited, and– without a bribe.
You did great things; but not being great in mind,
Have left undone the greatest– and mankind.

Death laughs—Go ponder o’er the skeleton
With which men image out the unknown thing
That hides the past world, like to a set sun
Which still elsewhere may rouse a brighter spring—
Death laughs at all you weep for:—look upon
This hourly dread of all! whose threaten’d sting
Turns life to terror, even though in its sheath:
Mark how its lipless mouth grins without breath!

Mark how it laughs and scorns at all you are!
And yet was what you are: from ear to ear
It laughs not—there is now no fleshy bar
So call’d; the Antic long hath ceased to hear,
But still he smiles; and whether near or far,
He strips from man that mantle (far more dear
Than even the tailor’s), his incarnate skin,
White, black, or copper—the dead bones will grin.

And thus Death laughs,—it is sad merriment,
But still it is so; and with such example
Why should not Life be equally content
With his superior, in a smile to trample
Upon the nothings which are daily spent
Like bubbles on an ocean much less ample
Than the eternal deluge, which devours
Suns as rays—worlds like atoms—years like hours?

‘To be, or not to be? that is the question,’
Says Shakspeare, who just now is much in fashion.
I am neither Alexander nor Hephaestion,
Nor ever had for abstract fame much passion;
But would much rather have a sound digestion
Than Buonaparte’s cancer: could I dash on
Through fifty victories to shame or fame–
Without a stomach what were a good name?

‘O dura ilia messorum!’—'Oh
Ye rigid guts of reapers!' I translate
For the great benefit of those who know
What indigestion is—that inward fate
Which makes all Styx through one small liver flow.
A peasant’s sweat is worth his lord’s estate:
Let this one toil for bread– that rack for rent,
He who sleeps best may be the most content.

‘To be, or not to be?’—Ere I decide,
I should be glad to know that which is being?
‘T is true we speculate both far and wide,
And deem, because we see, we are all-seeing:
For my part, I ’ll enlist on neither side,
Until I see both sides for once agreeing.
For me, I sometimes think that life is death,
Rather than life a mere affair of breath.

‘Que scais-je?’ was the motto of Montaigne,
As also of the first academicians:
That all is dubious which man may attain,
Was one of their most favourite positions.
There’s no such thing as certainty, that’s plain
As any of Mortality’s conditions;
So little do we know what we’re about in
This world, I doubt if doubt itself be doubting.

It is a pleasant voyage perhaps to float,
Like Pyrrho, on a sea of speculation;
But what if carrying sail capsize the boat?
Your wise men don’t know much of navigation;
And swimming long in the abyss of thought
Is apt to tire: a calm and shallow station
Well nigh the shore, where one stoops down and gathers
Some pretty shell, is best for moderate bathers.

‘But heaven,’ as Cassio says, ‘is above all—
No more of this, then,—let us pray!’ We have
Souls to save, since Eve’s slip and Adam’s fall,
Which tumbled all mankind into the grave,
Besides fish, beasts, and birds. 'The sparrow’s fall
Is special providence,' though how it gave
Offence, we know not; probably it perch’d
Upon the tree which Eve so fondly search’d.

Oh, ye immortal gods! what is theogony?
Oh, thou too, mortal man! what is philanthropy?
Oh, world! which was and is, what is cosmogony?
Some people have accused me of misanthropy;
And yet I know no more than the mahogany
That forms this desk, of what they mean; lykanthropy
I comprehend, for without transformation
Men become wolves on any slight occasion.

But I, the mildest, meekest of mankind,
Like Moses, or Melancthon, who have ne’er
Done anything exceedingly unkind,—
And (though I could not now and then forbear
Following the bent of body or of mind)
Have always had a tendency to spare,—
Why do they call me misanthrope? Because
They hate me, not I them.—and here we’ll pause.

‘Tis time we should proceed with our good poem,—
For I maintain that it is really good,
Not only in the body but the proem,
However little both are understood
Just now,—but by and by the Truth will show ’em
Herself in her sublimest attitude:
And till she doth, I fain must be content
To share her beauty and her banishment.

Our hero (and, I trust, kind reader, yours)
Was left upon his way to the chief city
Of the immortal Peter’s polish’d boors
Who still have shown themselves more brave than witty.
I know its mighty empire now allures
Much flattery—even Voltaire’s, and that’s a pity.
For me, I deem an absolute autocrat
Not a barbarian, but much worse than that.

And I will war, at least in words (and—should
My chance so happen—deeds), with all who war
With Thought;—and of Thought’s foes by far most rude,
Tyrants and sycophants have been and are.
I know not who may conquer: if I could
Have such a prescience, it should be no bar
To this my plain, sworn, downright detestation
Of every depotism in every nation.

It is not that I adulate the people:
Without me, there are demagogues enough,
And infidels, to pull down every steeple,
And set up in their stead some proper stuff.
Whether they may sow scepticism to reap hell,
As is the Christian dogma rather rough,
I do not know;—I wish men to be free
As much from mobs as kings– from you as me.

The consequence is, being of no party,
I shall offend all parties: never mind!
My words, at least, are more sincere and hearty
Than if I sought to sail before the wind.
He who has nought to gain can have small art: he
Who neither wishes to be bound nor bind,
May still expatiate freely, as will I,
Nor give my voice to slavery’s jackal cry.

That’s an appropriate simile, that jackal;—
I 've heard them in the Ephesian ruins howl
By night, as do that mercenary pack all,
Power’s base purveyors, who for pickings prowl,
And scent the prey their masters would attack all.
However, the poor jackals are less foul
(As being the brave lions’ keen providers)
Than human insects, catering for spiders.

Raise but an arm! 'twill brush their web away,
And without that, their poison and their claws
Are useless. Mind, good people! what I say
(Or rather peoples)—go on without pause!
The web of these tarantulas each day
Increases, till you shall make common cause:
None, save the Spanish fly and Attic bee,
As yet are strongly stinging to be free.

Don Juan, who had shone in the late slaughter,
Was left upon his way with the despatch,
Where blood was talk’d of as we would of water;
And carcasses that lay as thick as thatch
O’er silenced cities, merely served to flatter
Fair Catherine’s pastime—who look’d on the match
Between these nations as a main of cocks,
Wherein she liked her own to stand like rocks.

And there in a kibitka he roll’d on
(A cursed sort of carriage without springs,
Which on rough roads leaves scarcely a whole bone),
Pondering on glory, chivalry, and kings,
And orders, and on all that he had done—
And wishing that post-horses had the wings
Of Pegasus, or at the least post-chaises
Had feathers, when a traveller on deep ways is.

At every jolt—and they were many—still
He turn’d his eyes upon his little charge,
As if he wish’d that she should fare less ill
Than he, in these sad highways left at large
To ruts, and flints, and lovely Nature’s skill,
Who is no paviour, nor admits a barge
On her canals, where God takes sea and land,
Fishery and farm, both into his own hand.

At least he pays no rent, and has best right
To be the first of what we used to call
'Gentlemen farmer’—a race worn out quite,
Since lately there have been no rents at all,
And 'gentlemen’ are in a piteous plight,
And 'farmers’ can’t raise Ceres from her fall:
She fell with Buonaparte—What strange thoughts
Arise, when we see emperors fall with oats!

But Juan turn’d his eyes on the sweet child
Whom he had saved from slaughter—what a trophy
Oh! ye who build up monuments, defiled
With gore, like Nadir Shah, that costive sophy,
Who, after leaving Hindostan a wild,
And scarce to the Mogul a cup of coffee
To soothe his woes withal, was slain, the sinner!
Because he could no more digest his dinner;—

Oh ye! or we! or he! or she! reflect,
That one life saved, especially if young
Or pretty, is a thing to recollect
Far sweeter than the greenest laurels sprung
From the manure of human clay, though deck’d
With all the praises ever said or sung:
Though hymn’d by every harp, unless within
Your heart joins chorus, Fame is but a din.

Oh! ye great authors luminous, voluminous!
Ye twice ten hundred thousand daily scribes!
Whose pamphlets, volumes, newspapers, illumine us!
Whether you’re paid by government in bribes,
To prove the public debt is not consuming us—
Or, roughly treading on the 'courtier’s kibes’
With clownish heel, your popular circulation
Feeds you by printing half the realm’s starvation;—

Oh, ye great authors!—'Apropos des bottes,'—
I have forgotten what I meant to say,
As sometimes have been greater sages’ lots;
'Twas something calculated to allay
All wrath in barracks, palaces, or cots:
Certes it would have been but thrown away,
And that’s one comfort for my lost advice,
Although no doubt it was beyond all price.

But let it go:—it will one day be found
With other relics of ‘a former world,’
When this world shall be former, underground,
Thrown topsy-turvy, twisted, crisp’d, and curl’d,
Baked, fried, or burnt, turn’d inside-out, or drown’d,
Like all the worlds before, which have been hurl’d
First out of, and then back again to chaos,
The superstratum which will overlay us.

So Cuvier says;—and then shall come again
Unto the new creation, rising out
From our old crash, some mystic, ancient strain
Of things destroy’d and left in airy doubt:
Like to the notions we now entertain
Of Titans, giants, fellows of about
Some hundred feet in height, not to say miles,
And mammoths, and your winged crocodiles.

Think if then George the Fourth should be dug up!
How the new worldlings of the then new East
Will wonder where such animals could sup!
(For they themselves will be but of the least:
Even worlds miscarry, when too oft they pup,
And every new creation hath decreased
In size, from overworking the material—
Men are but maggots of some huge Earth’s burial.)

How will—to these young people, just thrust out
From some fresh Paradise, and set to plough,
And dig, and sweat, and turn themselves about,
And plant, and reap, and spin, and grind, and sow,
Till all the arts at length are brought about,
Especially of war and taxing,—how,
I say, will these great relics, when they see ‘em,
Look like the monsters of a new museum?

But I am apt to grow too metaphysical:
’The time is out of joint,'—and so am I;
I quite forget this poem’s merely quizzical,
And deviate into matters rather dry.
I ne’er decide what I shall say, and this I cal
Much too poetical: men should know why
They write, and for what end; but, note or text,
I never know the word which will come next.

So on I ramble, now and then narrating,
Now pondering:—it is time we should narrate.
I left Don Juan with his horses baiting—
Now we 'll get o’er the ground at a great rate.
I shall not be particular in stating
His journey, we 've so many tours of late:
Suppose him then at Petersburgh; suppose
That pleasant capital of painted snows;

Suppose him in a handsome uniform,—
A scarlet coat, black facings, a long plume,
Waving, like sails new shiver’d in a storm,
Over a cock’d hat in a crowded room,
And brilliant breeches, bright as a Cairn Gorme,
Of yellow casimere we may presume,
White stocking drawn uncurdled as new milk
O’er limbs whose symmetry set off the silk;

Suppose him sword by side, and hat in hand,
Made up by youth, fame, and an army tailor–
That great enchanter, at whose rod’s command
Beauty springs forth, and Nature’s self turns paler,
Seeing how Art can make her work more grand
(When she don’t pin men’s limbs in like a gaoler),—
Behold him placed as if upon a pillar! He
Seems Love turn’d a lieutenant of artillery:—

His bandage slipp’d down into a cravat;
His wings subdued to epaulettes; his quiver
Shrunk to a scabbard, with his arrows at
His side as a small sword, but sharp as ever;
His bow converted into a cock’d hat;
But still so like, that Psyche were more clever
Than some wives (who make blunders no less stupid),
If she had not mistaken him for Cupid.

The courtiers stared, the ladies whisper’d, and
The empress smiled: the reigning favourite frown’d—
I quite forget which of them was in hand
Just then; as they are rather numerous found,
Who took by turns that difficult command
Since first her majesty was singly crown’d:
But they were mostly nervous six-foot fellows,
All fit to make a Patagonian jealous.

Juan was none of these, but slight and slim,
Blushing and beardless; and yet ne’ertheless
There was a something in his turn of limb,
And still more in his eye, which seem’d to express,
That though he look’d one of the seraphim,
There lurk’d a man beneath the spirit’s dress.
Besides, the empress sometimes liked a boy,
And had just buried the fair-faced Lanskoi.

No wonder then that Yermoloff, or Momonoff,
Or Scherbatoff, or any other off
Or on, might dread her majesty had not room enough
Within her bosom (which was not too tough)
For a new flame; a thought to cast of gloom enough
Along the aspect, whether smooth or rough,
Of him who, in the language of his station,
Then held that ‘high official situation.’

O, gentle ladies! should you seek to know
The import of this diplomatic phrase,
Bid Ireland’s Londonderry’s Marquess show
His parts of speech; and in the strange displays
Of that odd string of words, all in a row,
Which none divine, and every one obeys,
Perhaps you may pick out some queer no meaning,
Of that weak wordy harvest the sole gleaning.

I think I can explain myself without
That sad inexplicable beast of prey—
That Sphinx, whose words would ever be a doubt,
Did not his deeds unriddle them each day—
That monstrous hieroglyphic—that long spout
Of blood and water, leaden Castlereagh!
And here I must an anecdote relate,
But luckily of no great length or weight.

An English lady ask’d of an Italian,
What were the actual and official duties
Of the strange thing some women set a value on,
Which hovers oft about some married beauties,
Called ‘Cavalier servente?’—a Pygmalion
Whose statues warm (I fear, alas! too true 'tis)
Beneath his art. The dame, press’d to disclose them,
Said—'Lady, I beseech you to suppose them.'

And thus I supplicate your supposition,
And mildest, matron-like interpretation,
Of the imperial favourite’s condition.
'T was a high place, the highest in the nation
In fact, if not in rank; and the suspicion
Of any one’s attaining to his station,
No doubt gave pain, where each new pair of shoulders,
If rather broad, made stocks rise and their holders.

Juan, I said, was a most beauteous boy,
And had retain’d his boyish look beyond
The usual hirsute seasons which destroy,
With beards and whiskers, and the like, the fond
Parisian aspect which upset old Troy
And founded Doctors’ Commons:—I have conn’d
The history of divorces, which, though chequer’d,
Calls Ilion’s the first damages on record.

And Catherine, who loved all things (save her lord,
Who was gone to his place), and pass’d for much
Admiring those (by dainty dames abhorr’d)
Gigantic gentlemen, yet had a touch
Of sentiment; and he she most adored
Was the lamented Lanskoi, who was such
A lover as had cost her many a tear,
And yet but made a middling grenadier.

Oh thou 'teterrima causa’ of all 'belli’—
Thou gate of life and death—thou nondescript!
Whence is our exit and our entrance,—well I
May pause in pondering how all souls are dipt
In thy perennial fountain:—how man fell I
Know not, since knowledge saw her branches stript
Of her first fruit; but how he falls and rises
Since, thou hast settled beyond all surmises.

Some call thee ‘the worst cause of war,’ but I
Maintain thou art the best: for after all
From thee we come, to thee we go, and why
To get at thee not batter down a wall,
Or waste a world? since no one can deny
Thou dost replenish worlds both great and small:
With, or without thee, all things at a stand
Are, or would be, thou sea of life’s dry land!

Catherine, who was the grand epitome
Of that great cause of war, or peace, or what
You please (it causes all the things which be,
So you may take your choice of this or that)—
Catherine, I say. was very glad to see
The handsome herald, on whose plumage sat
Victory; and pausing as she saw him kneel
With his despatch, forgot to break the seal.

Then recollecting the whole empress, nor
forgetting quite the woman (which composed
At least three parts of this great whole), she tore
The letter open with an air which posed
The court, that watch’d each look her visage wore,
Until a royal smile at length disclosed
Fair weather for the day. Though rather spacious,
Her face was noble, her eyes fine, mouth gracious.

Great joy was hers, or rather joys: the first
Was a ta’en city, thirty thousand slain.
Glory and triumph o’er her aspect burst,
As an East Indian sunrise on the main.
These quench’d a moment her ambition’s thirst—
So Arab deserts drink in summer’s rain:
In vain!- As fall the dews on quenchless sands,
Blood only serves to wash Ambition’s hands!

Her next amusement was more fanciful;
She smiled at mad Suwarrow’s rhymes, who threw
Into a Russian couplet rather dull
The whole gazette of thousands whom he slew.
Her third was feminine enough to annul
The shudder which runs naturally through
Our veins, when things call’d sovereigns think it best
To kill, and generals turn it into jest.

The two first feelings ran their course complete,
And lighted first her eye, and then her mouth:
The whole court look’d immediately most sweet,
Like flowers well water’d after a long drouth.
But when on the lieutenant at her feet
Her majesty, who liked to gaze on youth
Almost as much as on a new despatch,
Glanced mildly, all the world was on the watch.

Though somewhat large, exuberant, and truculent,
When wroth– while pleased, she was as fine a figure
As those who like things rosy, ripe, and succulent,
Would wish to look on, while they are in vigour.
She could repay each amatory look you lent
With interest, and in turn was wont with rigour
To exact of Cupid’s bills the full amount
At sight, nor would permit you to discount.

With her the latter, though at times convenient,
Was not so necessary; for they tell
That she was handsome, and though fierce look’d lenient,
And always used her favourites too well.
If once beyond her boudoir’s precincts in ye went,
Your 'fortune’ was in a fair way 'to swell
A man’ (as Giles says); for though she would widow all
Nations, she liked man as an individual.

What a strange thing is man? and what a stranger
Is woman! What a whirlwind is her head,
And what a whirlpool full of depth and danger
Is all the rest about her! Whether wed
Or widow, maid or mother, she can change her
Mind like the wind: whatever she has said
Or done, is light to what she’ll say or do;—
The oldest thing on record, and yet new!

Oh Catherine! (for of all interjections,
To thee both oh! and ah! belong of right
In love and war) how odd are the connections
Of human thoughts, which jostle in their flight!
Just now yours were cut out in different sections:
First Ismail’s capture caught your fancy quite;
Next of new knights, the fresh and glorious batch;
And thirdly he who brought you the despatch!

Shakspeare talks of ‘the herald Mercury
New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;’
And some such visions cross’d her majesty,
While her young herald knelt before her still.
'Tis very true the hill seem’d rather high,
For a lieutenant to climb up; but skill
Smooth’d even the Simplon’s steep, and by God’s blessing
With youth and health all kisses are ‘heaven-kissing.’

Her majesty look’d down, the youth look’d up—
And so they fell in love;—she with his face,
His grace, his God-knows-what: for Cupid’s cup
With the first draught intoxicates apace,
A quintessential laudanum or ‘black drop,’
Which makes one drunk at once, without the base
Expedient of full bumpers; for the eye
In love drinks all life’s fountains (save tears) dry.

He, on the other hand, if not in love,
Fell into that no less imperious passion,
Self-love– which, when some sort of thing above
Ourselves, a singer, dancer, much in fashion,
Or duchess, princess, empress, 'deigns to prove’
('Tis Pope’s phrase) a great longing, though a rash one,
For one especial person out of many,
Makes us believe ourselves as good as any.

Besides, he was of that delighted age
Which makes all female ages equal—when
We don’t much care with whom we may engage,
As bold as Daniel in the lion’s den,
So that we can our native sun assuage
In the next ocean, which may flow just then,
To make a twilight in, just as Sol’s heat is
Quench’d in the lap of the salt sea, or Thetis.

And Catherine (we must say thus much for Catherine),
Though bold and bloody, was the kind of thing
Whose temporary passion was quite flattering,
Because each lover look’d a sort of king,
Made up upon an amatory pattern,
A royal husband in all save the ring—
Which, being the damn’dest part of matrimony,
Seem’d taking out the sting to leave the honey.

And when you add to this, her womanhood
In its meridian, her blue eyes or gray
(The last, if they have soul, are quite as good,
Or better, as the best examples say:
Napoleon’s, Mary’s (queen of Scotland), should
Lend to that colour a transcendent ray;
And Pallas also sanctions the same hue,
Too wise to look through optics black or blue)—

Her sweet smile, and her then majestic figure,
Her plumpness, her imperial condescension,
Her preference of a boy to men much bigger
(Fellows whom Messalina’s self would pension),
Her prime of life, just now in juicy vigour,
With other extras, which we need not mention,—
All these, or any one of these, explain
Enough to make a stripling very vain.

And that’s enough, for love is vanity,
Selfish in its beginning as its end,
Except where 't is a mere insanity,
A maddening spirit which would strive to blend
Itself with beauty’s frail inanity,
On which the passion’s self seems to depend:
And hence some heathenish philosophers
Make love the main spring of the universe.

Besides Platonic love, besides the love
Of God, the love of sentiment, the loving
Of faithful pairs (I needs must rhyme with dove,
That good old steam-boat which keeps verses moving
'Gainst reason—Reason ne’er was hand-and-glove
With rhyme, but always leant less to improving
The sound than sense)—beside all these pretences
To love, there are those things which words name senses;

Those movements, those improvements in our bodies
Which make all bodies anxious to get out
Of their own sand-pits, to mix with a goddess,
For such all women are at first no doubt.
How beautiful that moment! and how odd is
That fever which precedes the languid rout
Of our sensations! What a curious way
The whole thing is of clothing souls in clay!

The noblest kind of love is love Platonical,
To end or to begin with; the next grand
Is that which may be christen’d love canonical,
Because the clergy take the thing in hand;
The third sort to be noted in our chronicle
As flourishing in every Christian land,
Is when chaste matrons to their other ties
Add what may be call’d marriage in disguise.

Well, we won’t analyse—our story must
Tell for itself: the sovereign was smitten,
Juan much flatter’d by her love, or lust;-
I cannot stop to alter words once written,
And the two are so mix’d with human dust,
That he who names one, both perchance may hit on:
But in such matters Russia’s mighty empress
Behaved no better than a common sempstress.

The whole court melted into one wide whisper,
And all lips were applied unto all ears!
The elder ladies’ wrinkles curl’d much crisper
As they beheld; the younger cast some leers
On one another, and each lovely lisper
Smiled as she talk’d the matter o’er; but tears
Of rivalship rose in each clouded eye
Of all the standing army who stood by.

All the ambassadors of all the powers
Enquired, Who was this very new young man,
Who promised to be great in some few hours?
Which is full soon—though life is but a span.
Already they beheld the silver showers
Of rubles rain, as fast as specie can,
Upon his cabinet, besides the presents
Of several ribands, and some thousand peasants.

Catherine was generous,—all such ladies are:
Love, that great opener of the heart and all
The ways that lead there, be they near or far,
Above, below, by turnpikes great or small,—
Love (though she had a cursed taste for war,
And was not the best wife, unless we call
Such Clytemnestra, though perhaps 't is better
That one should die, than two drag on the fetter)—

Love had made Catherine make each lover’s fortune,
Unlike our own half-chaste Elizabeth,
Whose avarice all disbursements did importune,
If history, the grand liar, ever saith
The truth; and though grief her old age might shorten,
Because she put a favourite to death,
Her vile, ambiguous method of flirtation,
And stinginess, disgrace her sex and station.

But when the levee rose, and all was bustle
In the dissolving circle, all the nations’
Ambassadors began as 'twere to hustle
Round the young man with their congratulations.
Also the softer silks were heard to rustle
Of gentle dames, among whose recreations
It is to speculate on handsome faces,
Especially when such lead to high places.

Juan, who found himself, he knew not how,
A general object of attention, made
His answers with a very graceful bow,
As if born for the ministerial trade.
Though modest, on his unembarrass’d brow
Nature had written ‘gentleman.’ He said
Little, but to the purpose; and his manner
Flung hovering graces o’er him like a banner.

An order from her majesty consign’d
Our young lieutenant to the genial care
Of those in office: all the world look’d kind
(As it will look sometimes with the first stare,
Which youth would not act ill to keep in mind),
As also did Miss Protasoff then there,
Named from her mystic office 'l’Eprouveuse,'
A term inexplicable to the Muse.

With her then, as in humble duty bound,
Juan retired,—and so will I, until
My Pegasus shall tire of touching ground.
We have just lit on a ‘heaven-kissing hill,’
So lofty that I feel my brain turn round,
And all my fancies whirling like a mill;
Which is a signal to my nerves and brain,
To take a quiet ride in some green Lane.