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Not all the blood at Talavera shed,
Not all the marvels of Barossa's fight,
Not Albuera, lavish of the dead,
Have won for Spain her well asserted right.
And thou, my friend !9-since unavailing woe
While glory crowns so many a meaner crest!
Oh, known the earliest, and esteem'd the most!
Here is one fytte of Harold's pilgrimage:
Ere Greece and Grecian arts by barbarous hands were quell'd.
NOTES TO CANTO I.
Note 1. Stanza i.
Yes! sigh'd o'er Delphi's long-deserted shrine.
The little village of Castri stands partly on the site of Delphi. Along the path of the mountain, from Chrisso, are the remains of sepulchres hewn in and from the rock: "One," said the guide, "of a king who broke his neck hunting." His Majesty had certainly chosen the fittest spot for such an achievement.
A little above Castri is a cave, supposed the Pythian, of immense depth; the upper part of it is paved, and now a cow-house.
On the other side of Castri stands a Greek monastery; some way above which is the cleft in the rock, with a range of caverns difficult of ascent, and apparently leading to the interior of the mountain: probably to the Corycian Cavern mentioned by Pausanias. From this part descend the fountain and the "Dews of Castalie."
Note 2. Stanza xx.
And rest ye at "our Lady's house of woe."
The convent of " Our Lady of Punishment," Nossa Señora de Pena,* on the summit of the rock. Below, at some distance, is the Cork Convent, where St. Honorius dug his den, over which is his epitaph. From the hills, the sea adds to the beauty of the view.
Note 3. Stanza xxi.
Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life.
It is a well-known fact, that in the year 1809, the assassinations in the streets of Lisbon and its vicinity were not confined by the Portuguese to their countrymen, but that Englishmen were daily butchered: and, so far from redress being obtained, we were requested not to interfere if we perceived any compatriot defending himself against his allies. I was once stopped in the way to the theatre at eight o'clock in the evening, when the streets were not more empty than they generally are at that hour, opposite to an open shop, and in a carriage with a friend; had we not fortunately been armed, I have not the least doubt that we should have adorned a tale, instead of telling one. The crime of assassination is not confined to Portugal: in Sicily and Malta we are knocked on the head at a handsome average nightly, and not a Sicilian or Maltese is ever punished!
Note 4. Stanza xxiv.
Behold the hall where chiefs were late convened!
The convention of Cintra was signed in the palace of the Marchese Marialva. The late exploits of Lord Wellington have effaced the follies of Cintra. He has, indeed, done wonders: he has perhaps changed the character of a nation, reconciled rival superstitions, and baffled an enemy who never retreated before his predecessors.
Since the publication of this poem, I have been informed of the misapprehension of the term Nossa Senora de Pena. It was owing to the want of the tilde, or mark over the n, which alters the signification of the word: with it, Peña signifies a rock; without it, Pena has the sense I adopted. "I do not think it necessary to alter the passage, as, though the common acceptation affixed to it is "our Lady of the Rock," I may well assume the other sense, from the severities practised there.
Note 5. Stanza xxix.
Yet Mafra shall one moment claim delay.
The extent of Mafra is prodigious; it contains a palace, convent, and most superb church. The six organs are the most beautiful I ever beheld in point of decoration; we did not hear them, but were told that their tones were correspondent to their splendour. Mafra is termed the Escurial of Portugal.
As I found the Portuguese, so I have characterised them. That they are since improved, at least in courage, is evident.
Note 7. Stanza xxxv.
When Cava's traitor-sire first call'd the band
That dyed thy mountain streams with Gothic gore!
Count Julian's daughter, the Helen of Spain. Pelagius preserved his indepenlence in the fastnesses of the Asturias, and the descendants of his followers, after some centuries, completed their struggle by the conquest of Grenada.
Note 8. Stanza xlviii.
No! as he speeds, he chaunts:-" Vivâ el Rey!"
"Viva el Rey Fernando!"-Long live King Ferdinand! is the chorus of most of the Spanish patriotic songs; they are chiefly in dispraise of the old King Charles, the Queen, and the Prince of Peace. I have heard many of them; some of the airs are beautiful. Godoy, the Principe de la Paz, was born at Badajoz, on the frontiers of Portugal, and was originally in the ranks of the Spanish Guards, till his person attracted the Queen's eyes, and raised him to the dukedom of Alcudia, &c. &c. It is to this man that the Spaniards universally impute the ruin of their country.
Bears in his cap the badge of crimson hue,
Which tells you whom to shun and whom to greet.
The red cockade, with "Fernando Septimo" in the centre.
Note 10. Stanza li.
The ball-piled pyramid, the ever-blazing match.
All who have seen a battery will recollect the pyramidal form in which shot and shells are piled. The Sierra Morena was fortified in every defile through which I passed in my way to Seville.
Note 11. Stanza Ivi.
Foil'd by woman's hand, before a batter'd wall.
Such were the exploits of the Maid of Saragoza. When the author was at Seville she walked daily on the Prado, decorated with medals and orders, by command of the Junta.
Note 12. Stanza Iviii.
The seal love's dimpling finger hath impress'd
"Sigilla in mento impressa amoris digitulo
Note 13. Stanza lx.
Oh, thou Parnassus!
These stanzas were written in Castri (Delphos), at the foot of Parnassus, now called Aiaxupa-Liakura.
Note 14. Stanza lxv.
Fair is proud Seville; let her country boast
Her strength, her wealth, her site of ancient days.
Seville was the Hispalis of the Romans.
Note 15. Stanza lxx.
Ask ye, Boeotian shades! the reason why?
This was written at Thebes, and consequently in the best situation for asking
and answering such a question; not as the birth-place of Pindar, but as the capital of Boeotia, where the first riddle was propounded and solved.
Note 16. Stanza lxxxii.
Some bitter o'er the flowers its bubbling venom flings.
Surgit amari aliquid quod in ipsis floribus angat."-Luc.
Note 17. Stanza lxxxv.
A traitor only fell beneath the feud.
Alluding to the conduct and death of Solano, the Governor of Cadiz.
Note 18. Stanza lxxxvi.
"War even to the knife!"
"War to the knife;" Palafox's answer to the French general at the siege of Saragoza.
Note 19. Stanza xci.
And thou, my friend! etc.
The honorable 1*. W**. of the Guards, who died of a fever at Coimbra. I had known him ten years, the better half of his life, and the happiest part of mine. In the short space of one month I have lost her who gave me being, and most of those who had made that being tolerable. To me the lines of Young are no fiction:
"Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?
Thy shaft flew thrice, and thrice my peace was slain,
I should have ventured a verse to the memory of the late Charles Skinner Matthews, Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, were he not too much above all praise of mine. His powers of mind, shown in the attainment of greater honours, against the ablest candidates, than those of any graduate on record at Cambridge, have sufficiently established his fame on the spot where it was acquired, while his softer qualities live in the recollection of friends who loved him too well to envy his superiority.
In Mr. Moore's Life of Byron, he says: "Originally the Page and Yeoman of the Childe were introduced to the reader's notice in the following tame stanzas; by expanding the substance of which into their present light, lyric shape, it is almost needless to remark how much the poet has gained in variety and dramatic effect :
"In place of that mournful song To Inez,' which contains some of the dreariest touches of sadness that even his pen ever let fall, he had, in the original construction of the poem, been so little fastidious as to content himself with such ordinary sing-song as the following
Oh never tell again to me
Of northern climes and British ladies!
It has not been your lot to see,
Like me, the lovely girl of Cadiz,
Although her eye be not of blue,
Nor fair her locks, like English lasses, &c. &c. &c?
COME, blue-eyed maid of heaven!--but thou, alas!
Is the dread sceptre and dominion dire
Of men who never felt the sacred glow
That thoughts of, thee and thine on polish'd breasts bestow.
Ancient of days! august Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul?
They won, and pass'd away-is this the whole?
The warrior's weapon and the sophist's stole
Are sought in vain, and o'er each mouldering tower, Dim with the mist of years, grey flits the shade of power.
Son of the morning, rise! approach you here!
Poor child of doubt and death, whose hope is built on reeds.