« PreviousContinue »
Fresh feeres 1 will dry the bright blue eyes
We late saw streaming o’er.
Nor perils gathering near ;
Upon the wide, wide sea :
When none will sigh for me?
Till fed by stranger hands ;
Athwart the foaming brine ;
So not again to mine.
And when you fail my sight,
My native Land-Good Night !
On, on the vessel flies, the land is gone,
And soon on board the Lusian pilots leap,
| Feeres.] Glossary.
2. T'agus.] Spanish, Tajo ; Portuguese, Tejo -- the river of Lusitania-Portugal and Spain.
3 His fabled golden tribute. 7 According to ancient legend, flowed over sands of gold and precious stones.
Oh, Christ ! it is a goodly sight to see
With treble vengeance will his hot shafts urge
What beauties doth Lisboa first unfold ?
Who lick yet loathe the hand that waves the sword To save them from the wrath of Gaul's unsparing lord.
But whoso entereth within this town,
of high or mean degree Doth care for cleanliness of surtout or shirt, Though shenta with Egypt's plague, unkempt, unwashed, unhurt.
XVIII Poor, paltry slaves ! yet born ʼmidst noblest scenesWhy, Nature, waste thy wonders on such men ?
1 The ancient alliance between England and Portugal at this time against the French invasion under Napoleon. This alliance was the ostensible reason for the French invasion of Portugal, 1807.
% Though shent.] Though struck' by the plague of Egypt, i.e. leprosy, still retained, in 1811, all their reputed uncleanliness. For Egyptian leprosy (elephantiasis), see Bibl. Dict. and Horace, Od. 1, 37, 10
Lo! Cintra’s glorious Eden intervenes
dilates Through views more dazzling unto mortal ken
Than those whereof such things the bard relates, Who to the awe-struck world unlocked Elysium's gates ? 1
The horrid crags, by toppling convent crowned,
The vine on high, the willow branch below,
Deep in yon cave Honorius long did dwell,
And here and there, as up the crags you spring,
1 Refers to Dante, to whom reference will be made in Canto iv.
2 The sunken glen. Compare with sunless as a case of alliteration. Notice also the recurrence of the initial • The.'
3. Our Lady's house of woe.] A mistranslation of the words de la penha'-Our Lady's House of the Rock-which Byron at first took to be pena, punishment or woe. Though conscious of his mistake, he never corrected it.
For wheresoe'er the shrieking victim hath Poured forth his blood beneath the assassin's knife, Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath ; And grove and glen with thousand such are rife Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life.
On sloping mounds, or in the vale beneath, Are domes where whilome kings did make repair; But now the wild flowers round them only breathe; Yet ruined splendour still is lingering there. And yonder towers the Prince's palace fair : There thou too, Vathek !1 England's wealthiest son, Once formed thy Paradise, as not aware When wanton Wealth her mightiest deeds hath done, Meek Peace voluptuous lures was ever wont to shun.
Here didst thou dwell, here schemes of pleasure plan,
Vain are the pleasaunces on earth supplied ;
Behold the hall where chiefs were late convened ! ?
1 Vathek.] The Eastern Romance,' written in French, in 1784, by William Beckford, the son of Lord Chatham's friend, the Lord Mayor. Vathek is an Eastern caliph “sullied with a thousand crimes.'
2 Allusion to the Convention of Cintra, 1808, which allowed too favourable terms to the French in their evacuation of Portugal. Sir Arthur Wellesley refers to it in a letter to Lord Castlereagh : • Although my name is affixed to this instrument, I beg that you will not believe I negotiated it, that I approve of it, or that I had any hand in wording it.' The people of England were indignant that a defeated army of 26,000 French soldiers should, by the terms of the convention, have been landed on the French coast at the expense of the English.
With diadem hight foolscap, lo! a fiend, A little fiend that scoffs incessantly, There sits in parchment robe arrayed, and by His side is hung a seal and sable scroll, Where blazoned glare names known to chivalry, And sundry signatures adorn the roll, Whereat the Urchin points and laughs with all his soul.
Convention is the dwarfish demon styled
Woe to the conqu’ring, not the conquered host,
And ever since that martial synod met, Britannia sickens, Cintra! at thy name ; And folks in office at the mention fret, And fain would blush, if blush they could, for shame. How will posterity the deed proclaim ! Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer, To view these champions cheated of their fame, By foes in fight o'erthrown, yet victors here, Where Scorn her finger points through many a coming
So deemed the Childe, as o'er the mountains he
1 The convention was held in the house of the Marchese Marialva.
? A court of general officers was directed to inquire into the conditions of the armistice, and as a result the king expressed his disapprobation to Sir Hew Dalrymple at those conditions which affected the Portuguese interests.