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To the high altar on they go;
When old Minotti's hand
The turban'd victors, the Christian band,
In one wild roar expired !
As if an earthquake pass'd
In cloud and flame athwart the heaven,
By that tremendous blastProclaim'd the desperate conflict o'er On that too long afflicted shore: Up to the sky like rockets go All that mingled there below: Many a tall and goodly man, Scorch'd and shrivell’d to a span, When he fell to earth again Like a cinder strew'd the plain: Down the ashes shower like rain; Some fell in the gulf, which received the sprinkles With a thousand circling wrinkles; Some fell on the shore, but, far away, Scatter'd o'er the isthmus lay; Christian or Moslem, which be they ? Let their mothers see and say! When in cradled rest they lay, And each nursing mother smiled On the sweet sleep of her child, Little deem'd she such a day Would rend those tender limbs away. Not the matrons that them bore Could discern their offspring more; That one moment left no trace More of human form or face Save a scatter'd scalp or bone : And down came blazing rafters, strown Around, and many a falling stone, Deeply dinted in the clay, All blacken'd there and reeking lay.
All the living things that heard
(10) Bay'd from afar complainingly, With a mix'd and mournful sound, Like crying babe, and beaten hound: With sudden wing, and ruffled breast, The eagle left his rocky nest, And mounted nearer to the sun, The clouds beneath him seem'd so dun; Their smoke assail'd his startled beak, And made him higher soar and shriek
Thus was Corinth lost and won!
Note 1, page 260, line 21.
The Turcoman hath left his herd. The life of the Turcomans is wandering and patriarchal : they dwell in tents.
Note 2, page 262, line 21.
Coumourgi-he whose closing scene. Ali Coumourgi, the favourite of three sultans, and Grand Vizier to Achmet III., after recovering Peloponnesus from the Venetians in one campaign, was mortally wounded in the next, against the Germans, at the battle of Peterwaradin (in the plain of Carlowitz), in Hungary, endeavouring to rally his guards. He died of his wounds next day. His last order was the decapitation of General Breuner, and some other German prisoners; and his last words, “Oh that I could thus serve all the Christian dogs !” a speech and act not unlike one of Caligula. He was a young man of
great ambition and unbounded presumption: on being told that Prince Eugene, then opposed to him, “ was a great general,” he said, " I shall become a greater, and at his expense."
Note 3, page 272, line 9. There shrinks no ebb in that tideless sea. The reader need hardly be reminded that there are no perceptible tides in the Mediterranean.
Note 4, page 273, line 15. And their white tusks crunch'd o'er the whiter skull. This spectacle I have seen, such as described, beneath the wall of the Seraglio at Constantinople, in the little cavities worn by the Bosphorus in the rock, a narrow terrace of which projects between the wall and the water. I think the fact is also mentioned in Hobhouse's Travels.
The bodies were probably those of some refractory Janizaries.
Note 5, page 273, line 24. And each scalp had a single long tuft of hair. This tuft, or long lock, is left from a superstition that Mahomet will draw them into Paradise by it.
Note 6, page 275, line 19. I must here acknowledge a close, though unintentional, resemblance in these twelve lines to a passage in an unpublished poem of Mr. Coleridge, called - Christabel.” It was not till after these lines were written that I heard that wild and singularly original and beautiful poem recited ; and the MS. of that production I never saw till very recently, by the kindness of Mr. Coleridge himself, who, I hope, is convinced that I have not been a wilful plagiarist. The original idea undoubtedly pertains to Mr. Coleridge, whose poem has been composed above fourteen years. Let me conclude by a hope that he will not longer delay the pub. lication of a production, of which I can only add my mite of approbation to the applause of far more competent judges.
Note 7, page 279, line 28.
There is a light cloud by the moon. I have been told that the idea expressed from lines 598 to 603 has been admired by those whose approbation is valuable. I am glad of it: but it is not original—at least not mine ; it may be found much better expressed in pages 182-3-4 of the English version of “ Vathek” (I forget the precise page of the French), a work to which I have before referred; and never reçur to, or read, without a renewal of gratification.