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Was also certain that the earth was square,
No sign that it was circular any where. His empire also was without a bound :
'T is true, a little troubled here and there, By rebel pachas, and encroaching giaours, But then they never came to the “ Seven Towers ; ”
To lodge there when a war broke out, according
Those scoundrels who have never had a sword in
Their spleen in making strife, and safely wording
Of whom ail such as came of age were stow'd,
They lived till some bashaw was sent abroad, When she, whose turn it was, wedded at once,
Sometimes at six years old—though this seems odd, 'T is true ; the reason is, that the bashaw Must make a present to his sire-in-law.
Of years to fill a bowstring or the throne,
Could yet be known unto the fates alone ;
Was princely, as the proofs have always shown:
CLIV. His majesty saluted his fourth spouse
With all the ceremonies of his rank, Who clear’d her sparkling eyes and smooth'd her brows,
As suits a matron who has play'd a prank : These must seem doubly mindful of their vows,
To save the credit of their breaking bank; To no men are such cordial greetings given As those whose wives have made them fit for heaven.
And looking, as he always look’d, perceived
At which he seem'd no whit surprised, nor grieved, But just remark'd with air sedate and wise,
While still a fluttering sigh Gulbeyaz heaved, “ I see you ’ve bought another girl ; 't is pity, That a mere christian should be half so pretty.”
The new-bought virgin, made her blush and shake. Her comrades, also, thought themselves undone :
Oh, Mahomet! that his majesty should take
Of them his lips imperial ever spake !
The women up-because, in sad reality,
Is not a thing of that astringent quality, Which in the north prevents precarious crimes,
And makes our snow less pure than our morality : The sun, which yearly melts the polar ice, Has quite the contrary effect on vice.
And wedlock and a padlock mean the same;
frame; Spoilt, as a pipe of claret is when prick’d:
But then their own polygamy 's to blame ; Why don't they knead two virtuous souls for life Into that moral centaur, man and wife ?
Though not for want of matter ; but ’t is time,
To slacken sail, and anchor with our rhyme. Let this fifth canto meet with due applause,
The sixth shall have a touch of the sublime ; Meanwhile, as Homer sometimes sleeps, perhaps You 'll pardon to my Muse a few short naps.
NOTES TO CANTO V.
Note 1. Stanza üi.
The ocean stream.
This expression of Homer has been much criticised. It hardly answers to our Atlantic ideas of the ocean, but is sufficiently applicable to the Hellespont, and the Bosphorus, with the Ægean intersected with islands.
Note 2. Stanza v.
« The Giant's Grave." “The Giant's Grave” is a height on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, much frequented by holiday parties ; like Harrow and Highgate.
Note 3. Stanza xxxii.
And running out as fast as I was able. The assassination alluded to took place on the eighth of December, 1820, in the streets of Ravenna, not a hundred paces from the residence of the writer. The circumstances were as described.
Note 4. Stanza xxxiv.
Kill’d by five bullets from an old gun-barrel. There was found close by him an old gun-barrel, sawn half off: it had just been discharged, and was still warm.
Note 5. Stanza liïi.
Prepared for supper with a glass of rum. In Turkey nothing is more common than for the Mussulmans to take several glasses of strong spirits by way of appetizer. I have seen them take as many as six of raki before dinner, and swear that they dined the better for it; I tried the experiment, but fared like the Scotchman, who having heard that the birds called kittiewiaks were admirable whets, ate six of them, and complained that “ he was no hungrier than when he began."
Note 6. Stanza lv.
Splendid but silent, save in one, where, dropping,
A marble fountain echoes. A common furniture. I recollect being received by Ali Pacha in a room containing a marble basin and fountain, &c., &c. &c.
Note 7. Stanza lxxxvii.
The gate so splendid was in all its features. Features of a gate-a ministerial metaphor; “ the feature upon which this question hinges."--See the “Fudge Family," or hear Castlereagh.
Note 8, Stanza cvi.
Though on more thorough-bred or fairer fingers. There is perhaps nothing more distinctive of birth than the hand : it is almost the only sign of blood which aristocracy can generate.
Note 9. Stanza cxlvü.
Save Solyman, the glory of their line. It may not be unworthy of remark, that Bacon, bis essay on “Empire," hints that Solyman was the last of his line; on what authority, I know not. These are his words : “ The destruction of Mustapha was so fatal to Solyman's line, as the succession of the Turks from Solyman, until this day, is suspected to be untrue, and of strange blood; for that Selymus the Second was thought to be supposititious." But Bacon, in his historical authorities, is often inaccurate. I could give half a dozen instances from his apophthegms only.
From Bacon's Apophthegms.
91. Michael Angelo, the famous painter, This was not the portrait of a cardinal, painting in the pope's chapel the por- but of the pope's master of the ceretraiture of hell and damned souls, made monies. one of the damned souls so like a cardinal that was his enemy, as every body at first sight knew it; whereupon the cardinal complained to Pope Clement, humbly praying it might be defaced. The pope said to him, Why you know very well I have power to deliver a soul out of purgatory, but not out of hell.
155. Alexander, after the battle of Grani- It was after the battle of Issus, and cum, had very great offers made him by during the siege of Tyre, and not immeDarius. Consulting with his captains diately after the passage of the Granicus, concerning them, Parmenio said, Sure, 1 that this is said to have occurred. would accept of these offers, if I were as Alexander. Alexander answered, So would 1, if I were as Parmenio.
158. Antigonus, when it was told him that
This was not said by Antigonus, but the enemy had such volleys of arrows, by a Spartan, previously to the battle that they did hide the sun, said, That of Thermopylæ. falls out well, for it is hot weather, and so we shall fight in the shade.
162. There was a philosopher that disputed This happened under Augustus Cæsar, with Adrian the emperor, and did it but and not during the reign of Adrian. weakly. One of his friends, that stood by, afterwards said unto him, Methinks you were not like yourself last day, in argument with the emperor : I could have answered better myself. Why, said the philosopher, would you have me contend with him that commands thirty legions ?
164. There was one that found a great mass This happened to the father of Herodes of money digged under ground in his Atticus, and the answer was made by the
grandfather's house, and being somewhat emperor Nerva, who deserved that his doubtful of the case, signified it to the em- name should have been stated by the peror that he had found such treasure. "greatest-wisest—meanest of mankind." The emperor made a rescript thus; Use it. He writ back again, that the sum was greater than his state or condition could use. The emperor writ a new rescript, thus; Abuse it.
178. One of the seven was wont to say,
This was said by Anacharsis the Scylaws were like cobwebs; where the small thian, and not by a Greek. flies were caught, and the great brake through.
209. An orator of Athens said to Demos- This was not said by Demosthenes, but thenes, The Athenians will kill you, if to Demosthenes by Phocion. they wax mad. Demosthenes replied, And they will kill you, if they be in good
221. There was a philosopher about Tibe. This was not said of Caius (Caligula, rius that looking into the nature of Caius, I presume, is intended by Caius), but of said of him, That he was mire mingled Tiberius himself. with blood.
There was a king of Hungary took a This reply was not made by a King bishop in battle, and kept him prisoner; of Hungary, but sent by Richard the whereupon the pope writ a monitory to first, Cæur de Lion, of England to the him, for that he had broken the privilege Pope, with the breastplate of the Bishop of holy church and taken his son : the of Beauvais king sent an embassage to him, and sent withal the armour wherein the bishop was taken, and this only in writing-vide num hæc sit vestis filii tui? Know now whether this be thy son's coat?
267. Demetrius, king of Macedon, had a pe- This did not happen to Demetrius, but tition offered him divers times by an old to Philip King of Macedon. woman, and answered he had no leisure; whereupon the woman said aloud, Why then give over to be king.
Having stated that Bacon was frequently incorrect in his citations from history, I have thought it necessary in what regards so great a name (however trifling), to support the assertion by such facts as more immediately occur to me. They are but trifles, and yet for such trifles a school-boy would be whipped (if still in the fourth form); and Voltaire for half a dozen similar errors has been treated as a superficial writer, notwithstanding the testimony of the learned Warton.—“ Voltaire, a writer of much deeper research than is imagined, and the first who has displayed the literature and customs of the dark ages with any degree of penetration and comprehension.”—Dissertation Ist. Warton. For another distinguished testimony to Voltaire's merits in literary research, see also Lord Holland's excellent Account of the Life and Writings of Lope de Vega, vol. 1, page 215, edition of 1817.
Voltaire has even been termed “a shallow fellow,” by some of the same school who called Dryden's Ode“ a drunken song ;"- -a school (as it is called, I presume, from their education being still incomplete) the whole of whose filthy trash of Epics, Ex