The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 13

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[a] {1} _For thou hast never lived to see_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[b] {2} _The Saxon maids_----.--[MS. M.]

[2] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto I. stanza lviii. lines 8, 9, _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 59, note 1.]

[3] {3} [For "Bolero," see _Poetical Works_, 1898, i. 492, note 1.]


_Or tells with light and fairy hand_ _Her beads beneath the rays of Hesper_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[d] ----_the lovely Girl of Cadiz_.--[MS. M.]

[e] {4} _Written in an Alb.u.m_.--[Editions 1812-1831.]

_Written in Mrs. Spencer S.'s_----.--[MS. M. erased]

_Written at the request of a lady in her memorandum book_.--[MS. B. M.]

"_Mrs. S. S.'s request_."--[Erased. MS. B.M.]

[4] [The possessor of the alb.u.m was, doubtless, Mrs. Spencer Smith, the "Lady" of the lines _To Florence_, "the sweet Florence" of the _Stanzas composed during a Thunderstorm_, and of the _Stanzas written in pa.s.sing through the Ambracian Gulf_, and, finally, when "The Spell is broke, the Charm is flown," the "fair Florence" of stanzas x.x.xii., x.x.xiii. of the Second Canto of _Childe Harold_. In a letter to his mother, dated September 15, 1809, Byron writes, "This letter is committed to the charge of a very extraordinary woman, whom you have doubtless heard of, Mrs. Spencer Smith, of whose escape the Marquis de Salvo published a narrative a few years ago (_Travels in the Year 1806, from Italy to England through the Tyrol, etc., containing the particulars of the liberation of Mrs. Spencer Smith from the hands of the French Police_, London: 12mo, 1807). She has since been shipwrecked, and her life has been from its commencement so fertile in remarkable incidents, that in a romance they would appear improbable. She was born at Constantinople [_circ._ 1785], where her father, Baron Herbert, was Austrian Amba.s.sador; married unhappily, yet has never been impeached in point of character; excited the vengeance of Buonaparte by a part in some conspiracy; several times risked her life; and is not yet twenty-five."

John Spencer Smith, the "Lady's" husband, was a younger brother of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, the hero of the siege of Acre. He began life as a Page of Honour to Queen Charlotte, was, afterwards, attached to the Turkish Emba.s.sy, and (May 4, 1798) appointed Minister Plenipotentiary.

On January 5, 1799, he concluded the treaty of defensive alliance with the Porte; and, October 30, 1799, obtained the freedom of the Black Sea for the English flag (see _Remains of the late John Tweddell_. London: 1815. See, too, for Mrs. Spencer Smith, _Letters_, 1898, i. 244, 245, note 1).]

[f] {5} _To_----.--[Editions 1812-1832.]

[g] {6} _Through giant Danger's rugged path_.--[MS. M.]

[h] {7} _Stanzas_--[1812.]

[5] Composed Oct^r. 11, 1809, during the night in a thunderstorm, when the guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called Pindus, in Albania. [Editions 1812-1831.]

[This thunderstorm occurred during the night of the 11th October, 1809, when Lord Byron's guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called Pindus, in Albania. Hobhouse, who had ridden on before the rest of the party, and arrived at Zitza just as the evening set in, describes the thunder as rolling "without intermission--the echoes of one peal had not ceased to roll in the mountains, before another tremendous crash burst over our heads, whilst the plains and the distant hills, visible through the cracks in the cabin, appeared in a perpetual blaze. The tempest was altogether terrific, and worthy of the Grecian Jove. Lord Byron, with the priest and the servants, did not enter our hut before three (in the morning). I now learnt from him that they had lost their way, ... and that after wandering up and down in total ignorance of their position, had, at last, stopped near some Turkish tombstones and a torrent, which they saw by the flashes of lightning. They had been thus exposed for nine hours.... It was long before we ceased to talk of the thunderstorm in the plain of Zitza."--_Travels in Albania_, 1858, i. 70, 72; _Childe Harold_, Canto II. stanza xlviii., _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 129, note 1.]

[i] {11} _Stanzas._--[1812.]

[j] {12} _Had Bards but realms along with rhymes_.--[MS. M.]

[k] _Again we'd see some Antonies_.--[MS. M.]

[l] _Though Jove_----.--[MS. M.]

[6] [Compare [_A Woman's Hair_] stanza 1, line 4, "I would not lose you for a world."--_Poetical Works_, 1898, i. 233.]

[m] _Written at Athens_.--[1812.]

[7] {13} On the 3rd of May, 1810, while the _Salsette_ (Captain Bathurst) was lying in the Dardanelles, Lieutenant Ekenhead, of that frigate, and the writer of these rhymes, swam from the European sh.o.r.e to the Asiatic--by the by, from Abydos to Sestos would have been more correct. The whole distance, from the place whence we started to our landing on the other side, including the length we were carried by the current, was computed by those on board the frigate at upwards of four English miles, though the actual breadth is barely one. The rapidity of the current is such that no boat can row directly across, and it may, in some measure, be estimated from the circ.u.mstance of the whole distance being accomplished by one of the parties in an hour and five, and by the other in an hour and ten minutes. The water was extremely cold, from the melting of the mountain snows. About three weeks before, in April, we had made an attempt; but having ridden all the way from the Troad the same morning, and the water being of an icy chillness, we found it necessary to postpone the completion till the frigate anch.o.r.ed below the castles, when we swam the straits as just stated, entering a considerable way above the European, and landing below the Asiatic, fort. [Le] Chevalier says that a young Jew swam the same distance for his mistress; and Olivier mentions its having been done by a Neapolitan; but our consul, Tarragona, remembered neither of these circ.u.mstances, and tried to dissuade us from the attempt. A number of the _Salsette's_ crew were known to have accomplished a greater distance; and the only thing that surprised me was that, as doubts had been entertained of the truth of Leander's story, no traveller had ever endeavoured to ascertain its practicability. [See letter to Drury, dated May 3; to his mother, May 24, 1810, etc. (_Letters_, 1898, i. 262, 275). Compare the well-known lines in _Don Juan_, Canto II. stanza cv.--

"A better swimmer you could scarce see ever, He could perhaps have pa.s.sed the h.e.l.lespont, As once (a feat on which ourselves we prided) Leander, Mr. Ekenhead, and I did."

Compare, too, _Childe Harold_, Canto IV. stanza clx.x.xiv. line 3, and the _Bride of Abydos_, Canto II. stanza i.: _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 461, note 2, _et post_, p. 178.]

[8] {14} [Hobhouse, who records the first attempt to cross the h.e.l.lespont, on April 16, and the successful achievement of the feat, May 3, 1810, adds the following note: "In my journal, in my friend's handwriting: 'The whole distance E. and myself swam was more than four miles--the current very strong and cold--some large fish near us when half across--we were not fatigued, but a little chilled--did it with little difficulty.--May, 6, 1810. Byron.'"--_Travels in Albania_, ii.


[9] {15} ["At Orchomenus, where stood the Temple of the Graces, I was tempted to exclaim, 'Whither have the Graces fled?' Little did I expect to find them here. Yet here comes one of them with golden cups and coffee, and another with a book. The book is a register of names....

Among these is Lord Byron's connected with some lines which I shall send you: 'Fair Albion,' etc." (See _Travels in Italy, Greece, etc._, by H. W.

Williams, ii. 290, 291; _Life_, p. 101.)]

[n] _Song_.--[1812.]

[10] [The Maid of Athens was, it is supposed, the eldest of three sisters, daughters of Theodora Macri, the widow of a former English vice-consul. Byron and Hobhouse lodged at her house. The sisters were sought out and described by the artist, Hugh W. Williams, who visited Athens in May, 1817: "Theresa, the Maid of Athens, Catinco, and Mariana, are of middle stature.... The two eldest have black, or dark hair and eyes; their visage oval, and complexion somewhat pale, with teeth of pearly whiteness. Their cheeks are rounded, their noses straight, rather inclined to aquiline. The youngest, Mariana, is very fair, her face not so finely rounded, but has a gayer expression than her sisters', whose countenances, except when the conversation has something of mirth in it, may be said to be rather pensive. Their persons are elegant, and their manners pleasing and lady-like, such as would be fascinating in any country. They possess very considerable powers of conversation, and their minds seem to be more instructed than those of the Greek women in general."--_Travels in Italy, Greece, etc._, ii. 291, 292.

Other travellers, Hughes, who visited Athens in 1813, and Walsh (_Narrative of a Resident in Constantinople_, i. 122), who saw Theresa in 1821, found her charming and interesting, but speak of her beauty as a thing of the past. "She married an Englishman named Black, employed in H.M. Consular Service at Mesolonghi. She survived her husband and fell into great poverty.... Theresa Black died October 15, 1875, aged 80 years." (See _Letters_, 1898, i. 269, 270, note 1; and _Life_, p. 105, note.)

"Maid of Athens" is possibly the best-known of Byron's short poems, all over the English-speaking world. This is no doubt due in part to its having been set to music by about half a dozen composers--the latest of whom was Gounod.]

[11] {16} Romaic expression of tenderness. If I translate it, I shall affront the gentlemen, as it may seem that I supposed they could not; and if I do not, I may affront the ladies. For fear of any misconstruction on the part of the latter, I shall do so, begging pardon of the learned. It means, "My life, I love you!" which sounds very prettily in all languages, and is as much in fashion in Greece at this day as, Juvenal tells us, the two first words were amongst the Roman ladies, whose erotic expressions were all h.e.l.lenised. [The reference is to the ??? ?a? ??? [Zoe/ kai Psyche] of Roman courtesans. _Vide_ Juvenal, lib. ii., _Sat._ vi. line 195; Martial, _Epig._ x. 68. 5.]

[12] {17} In the East (where ladies are not taught to write, lest they should scribble a.s.signations), flowers, cinders, pebbles, etc., convey the sentiments of the parties, by that universal deputy of Mercury--an old woman. A cinder says, "I burn for thee;" a bunch of flowers tied with hair, "Take me and fly;" but a pebble declares--what nothing else can. [Compare _The Bride of Abydos_, line 295--

"What! not receive my foolish flower?"

See, too, Medwin's story of "one of the princ.i.p.al incidents in _The Giaour_." "I was in despair, and could hardly contrive to get a cinder, or a token-flower sent to express it."--_Conversations of Lord Byron_, 1824, p. 122.]

[13] Constantinople. [Compare--

"Tho' I am parted, yet my mind That's more than self still stays behind."

_Poems_, by Thomas Carew, ed. 1640, p. 36.]

[14] {18} [Given to the Hon. Roden Noel by S. McCalmont Hill, who inherited it from his great-grandfather, Robert Dallas. No date or occasion of the piece has been recorded.--_Life of Lord Byron_, 1890, p.


[15] {19} [These lines are copied from a leaf of the original MS. of the Second Canto of _Childe Harold_. They are headed, "Lines written beneath the Picture of J.U.D."

In a curious work of doubtful authority, ent.i.tled, _The Life, Writings, Opinions and Times of the Right Hon. G. G. Noel Byron_, London, 1825 (iii. 123-132), there is a long and circ.u.mstantial narrative of a "defeated" attempt of Byron's to rescue a Georgian girl, whom he had bought in the slave-market for 800 piastres, from a life of shame and degradation. It is improbable that these verses suggested the story; and, on the other hand, the story, if true, does afford some clue to the verses.]

[16] {20} The song ?e?te pa?de?, [Deu~te pai~des] etc., was written by Riga, who perished in the attempt to revolutionize Greece. This translation is as literal as the author could make it in verse. It is of the same measure as that of the original. [For the original, see _Poetical Works_, 1891, Appendix, p. 792. For Constantine Rhigas, see _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 199, note 2. Hobhouse (_Travels in Albania_, 1858, ii. 3) prints a version (Byron told Murray that it was "well enough," _Letters_, 1899, iii. 13) of ?e?te pa?de?, [Deu~te pai~des,] of his own composition. He explains in a footnote that the metre is "a mixed trochaic, except the chorus." "This song," he adds, "the chorus particularly, is sung to a tune very nearly the same as the Ma.r.s.eillois Hymn. Strangely enough, Lord Byron, in his translation, has entirely mistaken the metre." The first stanza runs as follows:--

"Greeks arise! the day of glory Comes at last your swords to claim.

Let us all in future story Rival our forefathers' fame.

Underfoot the yoke of tyrants Let us now indignant trample, Mindful of the great example, And avenge our country's shame."]

[17] {21} Constantinople. "?pt???f?? [Heptalophos]."

[18] {22} The song from which this is taken is a great favourite with the young girls of Athens of all cla.s.ses. Their manner of singing it is by verses in rotation, the whole number present joining in the chorus. I have heard it frequently at our "?????" ["cho/roi"] in the winter of 1810-11. The air is plaintive and pretty.

[o] {23} _Has bound my soul to thee_----[MS. M.]

[p] _When wandering forth alone_----[MS. M.]

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The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 13 summary

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