The Bride of Abydos, by George Byron

Note to The Bride of Abydos. Canto II. Stanza XX.

After the completion of the fair copy of the Ms. of the Bride of Abydos, seventy lines were added to stanza xx. of Canto II. In both Mss. the rough and fair copies, the stanza ends with the line, “The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark!”

Seven MS. sheets are extant, which make up the greater portion of these additional lines.

The First Addition amounts to eight lines, and takes the narrative from line 880 to line 893, “Wait — wave — defend — destroy — at thy command!”

Lines 884–889 do not appear in the first MS. Fragment, but are given in three variants on separate sheets. Two of these are dated December 2 and December 3, 1813.

The Second Fragment begins with line 890, “For thee in those bright isles is built a bower,” and, numbering twenty-two lines, ends with a variant of line 907, “Blend every thought, do all — but disunite!” Two lines of this addition, “With thee all toils are sweet,” find a place in the text as lines 934, 935.

The Third Fragment amounts to thirty-six lines, and may be taken as the first draft of the whole additions — lines 880–949.

Lines 908–925 and 936–945 of the text are still later additions, but a fourth MS. fragment supplies lines 920–925 and lines 936–945. (A fair copy of this fragment gives text for Revise of November 13.) Between November 13 and November 25 no less than ten revises of the Bride were submitted to Lord Byron. In the earliest of these, dated November 13, the thirty-six lines of the Third Fragment have been expanded into forty lines — four lines of the MS. being omitted, and twelve lines, 908–919, “Once free,” — “social home,” being inserted. The text passed through five revises and remained unaltered till November 21, when eighteen lines were added to the forty, viz.: (4) “Mark! where his carnage,” — “sabre’s length;” (6) “There ev’n thy soul,” — “Zuleika’s name;” and (8) “Aye — let the loud winds,” — “bars escape.” Of these the two latter additions belong to the Fourth Fragment. The text in this state passed through three more revises, but before the first edition was issued two more lines were added — lines 938, 939,

“The deepest murmur of this lip shall be,

No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!”

Even then the six lines, “Blest — as the Muezzin’s,” — “endears,” are wanting in the text; but the four lines, “Soft — as the melody,” — “endears,” are inserted in MS. in the margin. The text as it stands first appears in the Seventh Edition.

[First Draft of 880, sq., of Canto II. Stanz xx. of the Bride of Abydos.]

For thee in those bright isles is built a bower

Blooming as {-Aden, in its earliest hour | Eden — guarded like a tower-}

A thousand swords — thy Selim’s soul and hand

Wait on thy voice, and bow to thy command

No Danger daunts — the {-pair | souls-} that Love hath blest

With {-steps still roving | feet long-wandering-} — but with hearts at rest.

{-For thee my blade shall shine — my hand shall toil-}

With thee all toils were sweet — each clime hath charms {line 934}

Earth — sea — alike — one World within our arms {line 935}

Girt by my hand — Zuleika at my side —

The Spoil of nations shall bedeck my bride

The Haram’s { slumbring | sluggish } life of listless ease

Is well exchanged for cares and joys like these

{-Mine be the lot to know where’er I rove-}

{-A thousand perils wait where-er I rove,-}

Not blind to fate I view where-er I rove

A thousand perils — but one only love —

Yet well my labor shall fond breast repay

When Fortune frowns or falser friends betray

How dear the thought in darkest hours of ill

Should all be changed to find thee faithful still

Be but thy soul like Selim’s firmly shown

{-mine in firmness-}

{-Firm as my own I deem thy tender heart-}

To thee be Selim’s tender as thine own

Exchange, or mingle every thought with his

And all our future days unite in this.

Man I may lead — but trust not — I may fall

By those now friends to me — yet foes to all —

In this they follow but the bent assigned

fatal Nature

By {-savage Nature-} to our warning kind

But there — oh, far be every thought of fear

Life is but peril at the best — and here

No more remains to win and much to fear

Yes fear — the doubt the dread of losing thee —

That dread must vanish.

[Proof and Revise. — See Letters to Murray, November 13, 17, 1813.]

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51