The Bride of Abydos, by George Byron

Canto the First.

I.

Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle3

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, oppressed with perfume,

Wax faint o’er the gardens of Gúl4 in her bloom;

Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,

And the voice of the nightingale never is mute;5

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?6

Oh! wild as the accents of lovers’ farewell7

Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell.

II.8

Begirt with many a gallant slave,

Apparelled 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 agéd eye;

And though the face of Mussulman

Not oft betrays to standers by

The mind within, well skilled to hide

All but unconquerable pride,

His pensive cheek and pondering brow9

Did more than he was wont avow.

III.

“Let the chamber be cleared.” — The train disappeared —

“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 passed beyond the outer gate,

(Woe to the head whose eye beheld

My child Zuleika’s face unveiled!)

Hence, lead my daughter from her tower — 10

Her fate is fixed 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 looked, 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 lingered we, beguiled too long

With Mejnoun’s tale, or Sadi’s song;1112

Till I, who heard the deep tambour13

Beat thy Divan’s approaching hour,

To thee, and to my duty true,

Warned 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,14

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 woulds’t see this battlement

By Christian cannon piecemeal rent;

Nay, tamely view old Stambol’s wall

Before the dogs of Moscow fall,

Nor strike one stroke for life and 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! — reproached 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 ire15

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 returned him glance for glance,

And proudly to his Sire’s was raised16,

Till Giaffir’s quailed 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.17

That blood — he hath not heard — no more —

I’ll watch him closer than before.

He is an Arab18 to my sight,

Or Christian crouching in the fight — 19

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!20

Sweet, as the desert fountain’s wave

To lips just cooled 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.”21

VI.

Fair, as the first that fell of womankind,

When on that dread yet lovely serpent smiling,

Whose Image then was stamped upon her mind —

But once beguiled — and ever more 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 essay22

To fix one spark of Beauty’s heavenly ray?

Who doth not feel, until his failing sight23

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 unmarked by her alone —

The light of Love, the purity of Grace,24

The mind, the Music25 breathing from her face,

The heart whose softness harmonized 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 — and Giaffir felt

His purpose half within him melt:

Not that against her fancied weal

His heart though stern could ever feel;

Affection chained 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 Moslem reck not much of blood:

But yet the line of Carasman26

Unchanged, unchangeable hath stood

First of the bold Timariot bands

That won and well can keep their lands.27

Enough that he who comes to woo28

Is kinsman of the Bey Oglou:29

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 messenger30 what fate

The bearer of such boon may wait.

And now thou 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 bowed the virgin’s head;

And if her eye was filled with tears

That stifled feeling dare not shed,

And changed her cheek from pale to red,

And red to pale, as through her ears

Those wingéd 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 remembered, marked it not;

Thrice clapped his hands, and called his steed,31

Resigned his gem-adorned chibouque,32

And mounting featly for the mead,

With Maugrabeel33 and Mamaluke,

His way amid his Delis took,34

To witness many an active deed

With sabre keen, or blunt jerreed.

The Kislar only and his Moors35

Watch well the Haram’s massy doors.

IX.

His head was leant upon his hand,

His eye looked 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 turbaned band

Mix in the game of mimic slaughter,

Careering cleave the folded felt36

With sabre stroke right sharply dealt;

Nor marked the javelin-darting crowd,

Nor heard their Ollahs37 wild and loud —

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 turned,

But little from his aspect learned:

Equal her grief, yet not the same;

Her heart confessed a gentler flame:38

But yet that heart, alarmed 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 fixed:

She snatched the urn wherein was mixed

The Persian Atar-gul’s perfume,39

And sprinkled all its odours o’er

The pictured roof40 and marble floor:

The drops, that through his glittering vest41

The playful girl’s appeal addressed,

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 offered by Zuleika’s hand.”

The childish thought was hardly breathed

Before the rose was plucked 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 Bulbul42 bears;

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 altered 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?43

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, — 44

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 thou that I could bear to part

With thee, and learn to halve my heart?

Ah! were I severed 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:45

Ev’n Azrael,46 from his deadly quiver

When flies that shaft, and fly it must,47

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 stream late concealed

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,

Flashed 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,48

Starts not to more convulsive life

Than he, who heard that vow, displayed,

And all, before repressed, betrayed:

“Now thou art mine, for ever mine,

With life to keep, and scarce with life resign;49

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,50

For all the treasures buried far

Within the caves of Istakar.51

This morning clouds upon me lowered,

Reproaches on my head were showered,

And Giaffir almost called me coward!

Now I have motive to be brave;

The son of his neglected slave,

Nay, start not,’twas the term he gave,

May show, 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’s52 control;

Was he not bred in Egripo?53

A viler race let Israel show!

But let that pass — to none be told

Our oath; the rest shall 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;54

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 why55

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 meant 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 cherished 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 compelled56

To wed with one I ne’er beheld:

This wherefore should I not reveal?

Why wilt thou urge me to conceal?57

I know the Pacha’s haughty mood

To thee hath never boded good;

And he so often storms at nought,

Allah! forbid that e’er he ought!

And why I know not, but within

My heart concealment weighs like sin.58

If then such secrecy 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,59

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 warned the troops to food and sleep,

Unto thy cell with 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 words like this —— ”

“Delay not thou;60

I keep the key — and Haroun’s guard

Have some, and hope of more reward.

To-night, Zuleika, thou shalt hear

My tale, my purpose, and my fear:

I am not, love! what I appear.”

3 [The opening lines were probably suggested by Goethe’s —

“Kennst du das Land wo die citronen blühn?”]

4 “Gúl,” the rose.

5 {158} [”‘Where the Citron,’ etc. These lines are in the MS., and omitted by the Printer, whom I again request to look over it, and see that no others are omitted. — B.” (Revise No. 1, November 13, 1813.)

“I ought and do apologise to Mr. —— the Printer for charging him with an omission of the lines which I find was my own — but I also wish he would not print such a stupid word as finest for fairest.” (Revise, November 15, 1813.)

The lines, “Where the Citron,” etc., are absent from a fair copy dated November 11, but are inserted as an addition in an earlier draft.]

6

“Souls made of fire, and children of the Sun,

With whom revenge is virtue.”

Young’s Revenge, act v. sc. 2 (British Theatre, 1792, p. 84).

7 For wild as the moment of lovers’ farewell. — [MS.]

8 Canto 1^st^ The Bride of Abydos. Nov. 1^st^ 1813. — [MS.]

9 {159} The changing cheek and knitting brow. — [MS. i.]

10

Hence — bid my daughter hither come

This hour decides her future doom —

Yet not to her these words express

But lead her from the tower’s recess. — [MSS. i., ii.]

[These lines must have been altered in proof, for all the revises accord with the text.]

11 {160} With many a tale and mutual song. — [ms]

12 Mejnoun and Leila, the Romeo and Juliet of the East. Sadi, the moral poet of Persia. [For the “story of Leila and Mujnoon,” see The Gulistan, or Rose Garden of . . . Saadi, translated by Francis Gladwin, Boston, 1865, Tale xix. pp. 288, 289; and Gulistan . . . du Cheikh Sa’di . . . Traduit par W. Semelet, Paris, 1834, Notes on Chapitre V. p. 304. Sa’di “moralizes” the tale, to the effect that love dwells in the eye of the beholder. See, too, Jāmī‘s Medjnoun et Leila, translated by A. L. Chezy, Paris, 1807.]

13 Tambour. Turkish drum, which sounds at sunrise, noon, and twilight. [The “tambour” is a kind of mandoline. It is the large kettle-drum (nagaré) which sounds the hours.]

14 {161}

Must walk forsooth where waters flow

And pore on every flower below. — [MS. erased.]

15 {162} For looks of peace and hearts of ire. — [MS.]

16 And calmly to his Sire’s was raised. — [MS.]

17 {163} No — nor the blood I call my own. — [MS.]

18 The Turks abhor the Arabs (who return the compliment a hundredfold) even more than they hate the Christians.

19 Or Christian flying from the fight. — [MS.]

20 Zuleika! ever welcome here. — [MS.]

21 Who never was more blest than now. — [MS.]

22 {164} [Lines 170–181 were added in the course of printing. They were received by the publisher on November 22, 1813.]

23

Who hath not felt his very power of sight

Faint with the languid dimness of delight? — [MS.]

24

The light of life — the purity of grace

The mind of Music breathing in her face

or, Mind on her lip and music in her face.

A heart where softness harmonized the whole

And oh! her eye was in itself a Soul! — [MS.]

25 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 connection 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,{A} that mirror which Affliction dashes to the earth, and looking down upon the fragments, only beholds the reflection multiplied!

[For the simile of the broken mirror, compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza xxxiii. line 1 (Poetical Works, ii. 236, note 2); and for “the expression,” “music breathing from her face,” compare Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici, Part II. sect, ix., Works, 1835, ii. 106, “And sure there is musick, even in the beauty and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of any instrument;” and Lovelace’s “Song,” Orpheus to Beasts —

“Oh could you view the melody

Of ev’ry grace,

And music of her face!”

The effect of the appeal to Madame de Staël is thus recorded in Byron’s Journal of December 7, 1813 (Letters, 1898, ii. 369): “This morning, a very pretty billet from the Staël,” (for passage in De L’Allemagne, Part III. chap, x., and the “billet,” see Letters, ii. 354, note 1) . . . “She has been pleased to be pleased with my slight eulogy in the note annexed to The Bride.”]

{A} In this line I have not drawn from fiction but memory — that mirror of regret memory — the too faithful mirror of affliction the long vista through which we gaze. Someone has said that the perfection of Architecture is frozen music — the perfection of Beauty to my mind always presented the idea of living Music. — [MS. erased.]

26 {166} Carasman Oglou, or Kara Osman Oglou, is the principal 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.

[The “line of Carasman” dates back to Kara Youlouk, the founder of the dynasty of the “White Sheep,” at the close of the fourteenth century. Hammer–Purgstall (Hist. de l’Emp. Ottoman, iii. 151) gives sang-sue, “blood-sucker,” as the equivalent of Youlouk, which should, however, be interpreted “smooth-face.” Of the Magnesian Kara Osman Oglou (“Black Osman-son”), Dallaway (Constantinople Ancient and Modern, 1797, p. 190) writes, “He is the most powerful and opulent derè bey (‘lord of the valley’), or feudal tenant, in the empire, and, though inferior to the pashas in rank, possesses more wealth and influence, and offers them an example of administration and patriotic government which they have rarely the virtue to follow.” For the Timariots, who formed the third class of the feudal cavalry of the Ottoman Empire, see Finlay’s Greece under Othoman . . . Domination, 1856, pp. 50, 51.]

27 Who won of yore paternal lands. — [MS.]

28 Enough if that thy bridesman true. — [MS. erased.]

29 [The Bey Oglou (Begzāde) is “the nobleman,” “the high-born chief.”]

30 {167} 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 Bagdat, a brave young man, cut off by treachery, after a desperate resistance.

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

32 “Chibouque,” the Turkish pipe, of which the amber mouthpiece, and sometimes the ball which contains the leaf, is adorned with precious stones, if in possession of the wealthier orders.

33 {168} “Maugrabee” [Maghrabī, Moors], Moorish mercenaries.

34 “Delis,” bravos who form the forlorn hope of the cavalry, and always begin the action. [See Childe Harold, Canto II., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 149, note 1.]

35 [The Kizlar aghasi was the head of the black eunuchs; kislar, by itself, is Turkish for “girls,” “virgins.”]

36 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 [jarīd] is a game of blunt javelins, animated and graceful.

37 “Ollahs,” Alla il Allah [La ilāh ill ‘llāh], the “Leilies,” 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 [jarīd], or in the chase, but mostly in battle. Their animation in the field, and gravity in the chamber, with their pipes and comboloios [vide post, p. 181, note 4], form an amusing contrast.

38 {169} Her heart confessed no cause of shame. — [MS.]

39 “Atar-gul,” ottar of roses. The Persian is the finest.

40 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 principal feature is a noble contempt of perspective; below, arms, scimitars, etc., are, in general, fancifully and not inelegantly disposed.

41

The drops that flow upon his vest

Unheeded fell upon his breast. — [MS.]

42 {170} 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 mallem,” etc., if Mr. Fox was mistaken.

[Fox, writing to Grey (see Lord Holland’s Preface (p. xii.) to the History . . . of James the Second, by . . . C. J. Fox, London, 1808), remarks, “In defence of my opinion about the nightingale, I find Chaucer, who of all poets seems to have been the fondest of the singing of birds, calls it a ‘merry note,’” etc. Fox’s contention was attacked and disproved by Martin Davy (1763–1839, physician and Master of Caius College, Cambridge), in an interesting and scholarly pamphlet entitled, Observations upon Mr. Fox’s Letter to Mr. Grey, 1809.]

43

Would I had never seen this hour

What knowest thou not who loves thee best. — [MS.]

44 {171} If so by Mecca’s hidden shrine. — [MS.]

45 The day that teareth thee from me. — [MS.]

46 “Azrael,” the angel of death.

47 When comes that hour and come it must. — [MS. erased.]

48 {172}

Which thanks to terror and the dark

Hath missed a trifle of its mark. — [MS.]

[The couplet was expunged in a revise dated November 19.]

49 With life to keep but not with life resign. — [MS.]

50 {173}

That strays along that head so fair. — [MS.]

or, That strays along that neck so fair. — [MS.]

51 The treasures of the Pre–Adamite Sultans. See D’Herbelot [1781, ii. 405], article Istakar [Estekhar ou Istekhar].

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

[This table of precedence applies to Ottoman officials in Greece and other dependencies. The Musselim [Mutaselline] is the governor or commander of a city (e.g. Hobhouse, Travels in Albania, ii. 41, speaks of the “Musselim of Smyrna”); Aghas, i.e. heads of departments in the army or civil service, or the Sultan’s household, here denote mayors of small towns, or local magnates.]

53 “Egripo,” the Negropont. According to the proverb, the Turks of Egripo, the Jews of Salonica, and the Greeks of Athens, are the worst of their respective races.

[See Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, 1855, viii. 386.]

54 Like this — and more than this. — [MS.]

55 {175}

But — Selim why my heart’s reply

Should need so much of mystery

Is more than I can guess or tell,

But since thou say’st ’tis so — ’tis well. — [MS.]

[The fourth line erased.]

56

He blest me more in leaving thee.

Much should I suffer thus compelled. — [MS.]

57 {176}

This vow I should no more conceal

And wherefore should I not reveal? — [MS.]

58

My breast is consciousness of sin

But when and where and what the crime

I almost feel is lurking here. — [MS.]

59 “Tchocadar” — one of the attendants who precedes a man of authority.

[See D’Ohsson’s Tableau Générale, etc., 1787, ii. 159, and Plates 87, 88. The Turks seem to have used the Persian word chawki-dār, an officer of the guard-house, a policeman (whence our slang word “chokey”), for a “valet de pied,” or, in the case of the Sultan, for an apparitor. The French spelling points to D’Ohsson as Byron’s authority.]

60 {177} Be silent thou. — [MS.]

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31