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Her glance how wildly beautiful! how much Hath Phoebus wooed in vain to spoil her cheek, Which glows yet smoother from his amorous clutch! Who round the North for paler dames would seek ? How poor their forms appear! how languid, wan, and weak!
Match me, ye climes! which poets love to laud;
Match me those Houries,1 whom ye scarce allow
Oh, thou Parnassus! 2 whom I now survey,
But soaring snow-clad through thy native sky,
The humblest of thy pilgrims passing by
Would gladly woo thine Echoes with his string, Though from thy heights no more one Muse will wave her wing.
Oft have I dreamed of Thee! whose glorious name
That I in feeblest accents must adore.
1 Ye harems of the land.] Harem and Houri imply that this stanza was written in Turkey.
Harem-derived from Arabic charam,' an 'inviolable' spot. Houri-from Arabic hour' and 'ain,' a celestial beauty, the white and black in whose eyes are clearly marked.
2 Parnassus.] 'Mons Bifidus,' the sacred mount of Delphi, famed for Apollo's oracle and the Castalian fount, from which to drink was to gain inspiration.
When I recount thy worshippers of yore
In silent joy to think at last I look on Thee!
Happier in this than mightiest bards have been, Whose fate to distant homes confined their lot, Shall I unmoved behold the hallowed scene, Which others rave of, though they know it not? Though here no more Apollo haunts his grot, And thou, the Muses' seat, art now their grave, Some gentle spirit still pervades the spot, Sighs in the gale, keeps silence in the cave, And glides with glassy foot o'er yon melodious wave.1
Of thee hereafter.2-Even amidst my strain
But ne'er didst thou, fair Mount! when Greece was young,
See round thy giant base a brighter choir,
Nor e'er did Delphi, when her priestess sung
The Pythian hymn with more than mortal fire,
The song of love, than Andalusia's maids,
Ah! that to these were given such peaceful shades
1 O'er yon melodious wave.] The Castalian fount. The Pythian priestess, as the legend runs, derived her inspiration from copious draughts of its waters.
2 Of thee hereafter.] See Canto iii.
3 Daphne's deathless plant.] The hallowed bay, the poet's prize.
Fair is proud Seville; let her country boast
Calls forth a sweeter, though ignoble praise.
A Cherub-hydra round us dost thou gape,
When Paphos fell by Time-accursed Time!
To nought else constant, hither deigned to flee,
From morn till night, from night till startled Morn
1 Cadiz.] Cadiz, a Phoenician town, the seat of the Spanish Junta, besieged to no purpose by the French under General Sebastiani. Its vicious character is noted in this and the following
2 Paphos.] In the island of Cyprus-also a Phoenician settlement-and partook of that immoral character which is connected with Phoenician places and legends. (See Gladstone's 'Juventus Mundi.')
3 Constant to her native sea.] Hence her name 'Appodíry, from which sprung Anadyomena-emerging from the sea. 4 From morn till night.] Conf. Milton
'From morn till noon, from noon till dewy eve.'
5 Quaint.] See Glossary.
6 Kibes.] See Glossary,
Nought interrupts the riot, though in lieu
And love and prayer unite, or rule the hour by turns.
The Sabbath comes, a day of blessed rest :
The seventh day this; the jubilee of man.
Some o'er thy Thamis row the ribboned fair,
Some Richmond-hill ascend, some scud to Ware,
1 Description of a bull-fight on the Spanish Sunday.
2 Smug.] See Glossary.
3 Coach of Hackney.] Conf. 'The chair of Bath,' or 'The chair of Sedan.'
One-horse chaise, sometimes called a Tim
5 Baotian shades.] Written in Greece.
6 The solemn Horn has a double reference to the carouses of Sunday revellers, and to the Phallic rites of the old mysteries, in which adoration is offered to the Earth Mother, the great producer
Grasped in the holy hand of Mystery,
In whose dread name both men and maids are sworn, And consecrate the oath with draught, and dance till
All have their fooleries-not alike are thine,
Much is the VIRGIN teased to shrive them free
From crimes as numerous as her beadsmen 1 be;
Young, old, high, low, at once the same diversion share.
The lists are oped, the spacious area cleared,
Here dons, grandees, but chiefly dames abound,
Yet ever well inclined to heal the wound;
None through their cold disdain are doomed to die, As moon-struck bards complain, by Love's sad archery.
Hushed is the din of tongues-on gallant steeds,
Rich are their scarfs, their chargers featly prance : If in the dangerous game they shine to-day,
1 Beadsmen.] See Keats
'Numb were the beadsman's fingers while he told
2 Dons, grandees.] The Spanish Hidalgo, the son of somebody'
3 Ogle.] See Glossary.
4 Featly.] Cf. Spenser's 'fetisly.' The root of the word is from
fa-cio, 'faire,' to do.