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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; .
Though not for want of matter ; but 'tis time,
To slacken sail, and anchor with our rhyme. Let this fifth canto meet witb 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 FIFTH.
Note 1, page 183, 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 Agean intersected with islands.
Note 2, page 184, stanza v.
“ The Giant's Grave.” “ The Giant's Grave" is a height on the Adriatic shore of the Bosphorus, much frequented by holiday parties : like Harrow and Highgate.
Note 3, page 191, stanza xxxiii.
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 R , not a hundred paces from the residence of the writer. The circumstances were as described.
Note 4, page 191, stanza xxxiv.
Killd 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, page 196, stanza liü.
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 was 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, page 196, stanza lv.
A marble fountain echoes.
Note 7, page 204, 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, page 209, stanza evi. Though on more thorough-bred of 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, page 219, stanza cxlvij.
Save Solyman, the glory of their line. It may not be unworthy of remark, that Bacon, in his essay on “ Empire,” bints 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 Solymus the Second was thought to be suppositious.” But Bacon, in his historical authorities, is often inaccurate. I could give half a dozen instances from his apophthegms only.
Being in the humour of criticism, I shall proceed, after having ventured upon the slips of Bacon, to touch on one or two as trifling in the edition of the British Poets by the justly celebrated Campbell. But I do this in good-will, and trust it will be so taken.-If any thing could add to my opinion of the talents and true feelings of that gentleman, it would be his classical, honest, and triumphant defence of Pope, against the vulgar cant of the day, and its existing Grub-street,
The inadvertencies to which I allude are,
Firstly, in speaking of Anstey, whom he accuses of having taken “his leading characters from Smollett.” Anstey's Bath Guide was published in 1766, Smollett's Humphry Clinker, (the only work of Smollett’s from which Tabitha, &c. &c. could have been taken) was written during Smollett's last residence at Leghorn, in 1770,“ Argal,” if there has been any borrowing, Anstey must be the creditor, and not the debtor. I refer Mr. Campbell to his own data in his lives of Smollett and Anstey.
Secondly, Mr. Campbell says in the life of Cowper (note to page 358, vol. 7,) that “he knows not to whom Cowper alludes in these lines :
“ Nor he who, for the bane of thousands born,
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn." The Calvinist meant Voltaire, and the church of Ferney, with its inscription, “Deo erixit Voltaire.”
Thirdly, in the life of Burns, Mr. C. quotes Shakspeare thus,
“ To gild refined gold, to paint the rose,
Or add fresh perfume to the violet." This version by no means improves the original, which is as follows:
“ To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
A great poet quoting another should be correct; he should also be accurate, when he accuses a Parnassian Brother of that dangerous charge “ borrowing:" a poet had better borrow any thing (excepting money) than the thoughts of another--they are always sure to be reclaimed; but it is very hard, having been the lender, to be denounced as the debtor, as is the case of Anstey versus Smollett.
As there is “honour amongst thieves," let there be some amongst poets, and give each his due,-none can afford to give it more than Mr. Campbell himself, who with a high reputation for originality, and a fame which cannot be shaken, is the only poet of the times (except Rogers) who can be reproached (and in him it is indeed a reproach) with having written too little.
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