The silent court, the mutilated bust, ā
Hath paused awhile, albeit in Triumph's hour,
And oft foreseen Byzantium's lessening power ;
Foreseen the day when, bow'd in ruin, all
iler pomp shall fade, and she, like Rome, shall
Unruffled scenes the present hour beguile,
And veering Fortune's too deceitful smile :
As yet no Tartar's fierce invading horde
O'er her fair plain barbaric war had pour'd ;
Though, from the North as rush'd their wild
Nile's fertile pastures yielded to their sway ;
Though Europe trembled, as, by climes allured
Where constant Spring a blissful home secured,
Their countless bands the painted warriors arm'd, ā
No gathering feuds Byzantium's peace alarm'd.
Oh ! more than happy, Greece ! thy lot had
But slothful ease the charms of power removed ;
Immersed in luxury thy race became
In evil hour regardless of their fame.
Then spread by slow degrees o'er social life
Sedition's wiles the baleful seeds of strife.
With honied speech th' unguarded ear assail'd.
And o'er the fervency of youth prevail'd.
Then the dark fiend, that work'd through fear un-
Rebellious Discord, wore a bolder mien,
'Mid startled Europe rose erect, and stirr'd
The wavering nations at her mystic word.
Near and more near the awful menace rung.
O'er Rome, o'er Greece th' impending ruin
Their servile yoke Germania's tribes disdain ;
Loud savage war-notes swell the breeze again ;
Again renew'd with twofold horror glows
The ruthless fury of barbarian foes :
Rent are confederate vows and social ties.
In adverse wrath Ausonia's legions rise ;
Fraternal bands in battle's heat engage.
And Rome's fair city sinks beneath their rage.
Woe to Byzantium ! from the tented homes
Of Arab chiefs a mightier Victor roams,
From Mecca's walls, th' Impostor's fame that
And Salem's towers, he leads his conquering host :
Relentless foe^Hyrcania's wilds accurs'd
And icy Caucasus the Tyrant nurs'd.
With dread ambition steel'd his heart to gain
Despotic sway o'er Asia's wide domain.
What various realms their mingling force combine !
Lo ! daring Egypt aids the bold design ;
From sun-burnt hills behold the Nubian race
Sigh for the zephyrs and the gioves of Thrace ;
Panchaia's fields deserted homes display,
And send their sons exulting to the fray;
Balsora's tribes disdain ignoble peace,
And join th' Invader of devoted Greece.
Queen of the World, while Fortune ruled the
Soon the mere shadow of a mighty realm,
Byzantium heard despairing from afar
The clang terrific of advancing war ;
Heard on the Deep resounding oars, and mark'd
Gigantic warriors on her waves embark'd,
View'd on her coast tlie spoiler's fierce career,
And sunk dishearten'd at the sight in fear.
Yes ā the proud Xation droops unnerved, nor heeds
Of high-born Brutus the transcendent deeds;
No more her Scipios nurse the patriot fire,
No more her Decii every breast inspire ;
Fear strikes the race that brave Caniillus own.
Low droops the nation, where a Cato shone.
Pale with the terrors of impending fate,
The mournful hour affrighted tribes await ;
Cling to their altars with enfeebled hands.
That fail to save them from aggressive bands ;
In vain tlic fury of their foes upbraid,
And sue too late indignant Heaven for aid.
O'erwhelming Ruin shakes th' embattled wall,
Dismantled turrets totter to their fall ;
'Mid forts besieged Destruction holds her reign,
And batter'd portals levels with the plain.
Reveal'd to view, behold, on every side,
The gilded mansions of imperial pride,
Of sacred fanes the marble domes behold.
And all the splendour of their shrines unroll'd :
Here pillar'd halls to hostile eyes proclaim
The earlier trophies of Byzantium's fame ;
While the fierce soldier, as his wandering gaze
Her matchless pomp diffused around surveys.
With noisome revelry her courts defiles.
And bathes in blood her consecrated aisles.
Fall'n is Hesperia! ā fled her brighter day,
And quench'd in clouds her star's effulgent ray !
Of mighty Romulus the race is o'er,
And Asia's empress lifts her head no more !
Long in the pathways of renown she trod,
While subject nations trembled at her nod ;
Now wrapt in night her darken'd glories fade,
And o'er her lustre hangs Oblivion's shade.
Oft as the stranger views in ruin wide
Each scatter'd vestige of her ancient pride,
Far from her doubtful homes he wends his way,
Nor dares unguarded 'mid her wrecks to stray.
For here no more intrepid Freedom smiles,
No more the Muse with tuneful charm beguiles ;
Flown are the Graces, Faith exists no more,
And exiled Themis wanders from the shore :
To Northern realms the Heaven-born train repair,
Teach the bold race to brave their mountain air ;
'Mid icy gales that sweep o'er Scythia's land.
With fostering love their genial wings expand.
How sad the change Byzantium mourns subdin-d ?
Fierce angry passions wake th' unceasing feud ;
Barbarian horrors unrestrain'd infest.
And e'en Religion wears a sullied vest;
Defiled with blood her bigot Priests convene,
And Superstition darkens every scene.
What though Mohammed, in triumphant hour.
O'er humbled nations wields despotic power.
Though the proud Chief luxurious ease disdains.
And fills with dread Italia's western plains.
Yet not to him are known the joys refined,
That sweeten life, and purify the mind :
No ties connubial fan the purer flame ;
Unknown to him is Friendship's hallow'd name :
In Pleasure's path uncheck'd their blind career,
Unsoothed by Hope, and uncontroU'd by Fear,
His shameless race incestuous passions move,
And cold satiety embitters Love.
Yet not alone in Pleasure's path they stray ;
Each ruthless heart malignant Hate can sway ;
In scenes of blood each savage breast delights,
And glows exulting in tumultuous fights,
When vengeful Anger prompts the deadly strife,
Fearless of danger, prodigal of life.
Oh ! not for them exists the true belief,
When mortal frames resign their load of grief.
That azure skies shall prove their bright abode,
And all the pure in heart behold their God.
No ā still they deem, uncleansed from earthly
In bowers of Paradise the soul shall reign.
Where sparkling nectar shall new joys in-
And, quaft'd the more, awaken fresh desire ;
Where gales ambrosial shall the sense delight,
Where scenes voluptuous shall enchant the sight ;
Where blue-eyed virgins every bliss improve
With charms unequall'd, and unwearied love.
Such was the race that Greece despairing view'd
Array'd in triumph o'er her realm subdued,
While startled Europe felt unwonted dread.
Lest the dire havoc all her coast o'erspread,
Lest true Religion from her fanes be driven.
And rites unholy dare the wrath of Heaven.
Yet ā though, unmindful of her ancient sway,
Byzantium falls, of Luxury the prey.
Though Othman's race no generous praise invite.
And ports deserted seem to mock the sight, ā
E'en now, 'mid relics of her early power,
Awaken'd thoughts can charm the pensive hour;
And, as the eye each hallow'd scene surveys,
Where the bold Roman won triumphal bays.
Where liberal arts a favour'd home possess'd.
And Emulation kindled every breast.
From Memory's fount the tears unbidden start.
And pleasing sorrows oft usurp the heart.
Yes ā the fond tribute oft Remembrance pays
To past renown, and deeds of other days,
Pays to each vestige, that survives to prove
The pure Religion of Redeeming Love.
But, oh ! if e'er the Muse, prophetic maid,
Of dim futurity may pierce the shade,
The time shall come, vphen e'en of Othman's line
The pomp shall vanish, and the power de-
Of Moslem terrors every trace shall cease.
And patriot ardour rouse the sons of Greece ;
The time shall come, when Liberty again
O'er happy Argos shall her sway maintain ;
No more in war shall rival bands engage,
But all be concord in a blissful age :
Then free-born tribes, to peaceful arts in-
In paths of Science shall direct the mind ;
And, as the records of the past unfold
The savage triumphs bought with blood of old,
Scarce shall their hearts, as fearful awe in-
Believe the deeds that long disgraced their sires.
Verse 62. Madura. An island, in the Indian Ocean,
of great fertility and beauty, situated to the north of
the east end of the Island of Java.
Ver. 80. Sapor. There were three kings of this
name in Persia, by the first of whom the Emperor Va-
lerian was defeated and taken prisoner. The forces
of Persia were afterwards routed by Odenatus ; the
wives and treasures of the monarch fell into the
hands of the conqueror, who penetrated, with little
opposition, into the very heart of his kingdom.
Ver. 96. Belisarius, in a degenerate age, during
the reign of .Justinian, renewed all the glorious victo-
ries, battles, and triumphs, which had rendered the
first Romans so distinguished in the time of their re-
Ver. 140. On the 29th of May, 1453, Constanti-
nople yielded to tlie assault of Mahomet II. eleventh
Sultan of the Turks, the details of which memorable
event are beautifully recorded in the great historical
work of Gibbon. The moral qualities of Mahomet II.
have been painted in the darkest colours by Christiau
writers ; and while the terror which he inspired may
have led to exaggeration, enough remains to show
that, with vigour of mind and body, and great loftiness
of enterprise, he was exceedingly perfidious, brutally
licentious, and inexorably cruel.
TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN PRIZE POEM
RECJTEn I\ THE THEATRE AT OXFORD,
A. D. 1804.
OF CORPUS CHKISTI COLLEGE.
Ye Souls illustrious, ā whose triumphant aid
On Salem's towers the glittering Cross display 'd,
Heaven's favour'd land, by Othman's race op-
liedeem'd of yore, and Judah's wrongs redress'd,
To faithful tribes Messiah's tomb restored, ā
Hail, mighty Chiefs ! the chosen of the Lord !
AVhile Paynim foes your dauntless zeal be-
Through Error's mist Religion's light prevail'd.
Taught, as she bade the strife of Battle cease.
The social ties and bounteous gifts of Peace.
But not for you did smiling fates ordain
Of tranquil bliss the long unclouded reign ;
Nor slept with Othman's race or Moslem bands
The bitter memory of their captured lands.
Still grieved the Soldan o'er his country's loss,
Mourn'd o'er his realm the triumphs of the Cross ;
On Salem's conquest dwelt in frenzy wild.
And Sion's fields with Paynim blood defiled.
How oft afar, with threat'ning sails o'erspread.
The fear-struck Tyrant view'd the Ocean's bed ;
How oft his bands, in battle's hour disraay'd.
Invoked in vain their fabled Prophet's aid !
Then, as severely raged the doubtful fight,
What gallant prowess deck'd the Christian Knight,
Let Acre tell ā let conquering banners waved
Confess his sway o'er Arab hosts enslaved !
But sadder triumphs cloud the changeful scene :
On every shore the Prophet's tribes convene ;
O'erwhelming force the Christian Isle assails,
And Moslem faith in vanquish'd Rhodes prevails.
Far from their pleasant fields, by fate pursued,
The pious train, unhoused yet unsubdued.
Bear o'er the wintry flood to realms unknown
The cherish'd relics of their fame o'erthrown ;
Long o'er the deep their mournful course they hold.
Till Malta's rocks their snowy capes unfold.
No solace there unfruitful Nature yields ;
No yellow harvests clothe the barren fields ;
No flowers spontaneous grace their bleak abodes, ā
Unknown the olives and the vines of Rhodes ;
But ravening birds their scanty prey explore.
And seals ferocious haunt the gloomy shore.
In breathless awe the savage natives stand,
View with admiring gaze the warrior band ;
Each glittering bark's unwonted splendour own.
And arms refulgent of a race unknown.
How swiftly Time the fairest scene deforms ! ā
Rent by the earthquake's rage or ocean-storms,
Wild barren tracts the rugged isle deface,
Where Nature once had lavish'd all her grace.
Where health untainted breathed in every gale.
Where solar radiance bless'd the fertile vale,
Girt with her sylvan train, in sportive mood,
Dulichium's Prince where fair Calypso woo'd.
Where flowery pastures rivall'd Tempe's plain, ā
Dark shapeless rocks o'erlook the azure main.
Yet o'er the favour 'd Isle shall glory beam ;
Her kingly chiefs shall form the Muse's theme ;
Each champion knight, of pure untarnish'd race,
Through four degrees his proud descent shall
Eight varying tongues each tribe distinct shall
Denied to all the bliss of nuptial love :
Unknown parental ties, or wedded life,
No jealous thoughts produce the party strife ;
Theirs is the freedom of the soul severe,
The heart that never yields, and scorns to fear;
One changeless faith, one high devoted aim,
Their mutual bond, their magic spur to fame.
Strict awful compacts bind the warrior host :
No ardent youth their holy zeal can boast,
Beneath their banner hope to range, or wear
The sacred emblem of their ceaseless care.
Till at the Saviour's shrine, when mortals sleep,
Alone, in arms, his midnight watch he keep.
Swear, unrepining at the fate decreed.
Of virtuous poverty the life to lead, ā
To suffering merit valour's aid afford, ā
Defend till death the Temples of the Lord, ā
For true Religion yield his forfeit life.
And wage with Moslem hosts eternal strife.
Thus early taught domestic ties to spurn.
With vengeful ire in battle's hour they burn,
When pious vows inflame the patriot bands,
Or guardian aid the sovereign Chief demands.
One solemn league the warrior tribes obey,
One peerless master's undivided sway ;
That sway beneath, again to glory known,
Shall Christian warfare shake Mohammed's
And Othman's race bewail, in peril's hour.
The baseless fabric of their Prophet's power.
Behold dismay'd his erring creed decline.
And learn to tremble for his menaced shrine.
How changed the scene ! ā where desert rocks
Embattled towers defy invading foes ;
And Paynim hosts survey, in pale affright.
Heaven's holy banner waved on Malta's height.
How changed the scene ! within the shelter'd
Returning barks their wealthy freight display;
And bounteous Commerce spreads her gather'd
From distant realms and Nile's prolific shores.
Yet not unknown the guarded port appears
In earlier traflSc, and remoter years ;
Oft hath Sicilia seen her yellow grain
Borne to these havens o'er the stormy main :
Oft hath the Roman, as his eye survey'd
By Malta's rock his wealthy fleets array 'd,
With proud ambition hoped afar to wield
His daring sceptre o'er an ampler field,
With brighter spoils to mark his fearless way,
And bow the distant Indian to his sway.
Nor yet alone the Christian Isle can boast
Defensive bulwarks frowning o'er her coast;
Associate tribes, by peaceful arts refined,
From ancient trammels free th' unletter'd mind ;
While from each spring the copious wave that
The careful tiller irrigates his fields :
Indulgent Ceres o'er the smiling land
Bids her rich gifts to solar beams expand ;
Nectareous vines the spreading elm espouse,
And blushing fruits adorn th' o'erhanging boughs;
Flowers of each hue the cultured earth supplies.
And Nature blooms beneath attemper'd skies.
Nor only these : ā in Sculpture's Attic grace
Imperial domes th' admiring eye may trace,
The marble splendours of the pillar'd hall.
The charms pictorial of the tapestried wall,
Where hostile armies urge the deadly fight,
And glittering trophies crown the Christian
'Mid regal mansions, towering high in air
What solemn awe invests the house of prayer !
At yonder porch what piety benign
Bespeaks the guardian of that holy shrine !
E'en now, reveal'd in Fancy's glowing hue,
The bold Apostle bursts upon my view;
Snatch'd from the deep at Heaven's divine com-
His power to save protects the suppliant band.
While pitying natives, awe-struck at his mien,
Gaze in mute wonder on th' unwonted scene :
How clear he seems from Sin's ungodly taint !
What meek benevolence proclaims the Saint !
Far from the Isle, dispersed at his de-
Flies the dark pestilence and foul disease;
No beast of rapine haunts the forest glade,
Or noxious reptile lurks beneath the shade ;
E'en the fierce Viper, at th' Apostle's nod.
Forgets her sting, and owns the man of God.
O guest revered ! upon thy favour'd Isle
Still deign to pour thy fond approving smile ;
Tn peril's hour a present help afford.
And fill with hope the hearers of thy word !
Still on thine aid as Christian hosts rely,
To Malta's sons the patriot fire supply.
Teach their bold hearts to scorn tyrannic rage.
And holy war with Othman's race to w^age.
Reviving glories add to Malta's fame.
And fresh renown adorns her ancient name :
No more the Turk with sanguinary views
'Midst open seas his daring course pursues;
But, while unnerved along his native shore
As Caution bids he plies the trembling oar.
With rancorous hatred to the shades below
In bitter thought he dooms his ceaseless foe.
Plans in his heart the deep revengeful snare,
And calls on Mahomet to grant his prayer.
And lo ! Byzantium's countless tribes convene ;
On all her shores behold the warlike scene !
In martial pride her daring gallies sweep
Equipp'd for vengeance o'er the foaming deep ;
The aid of Tripoli her cause demands,
And arms in Tunis her associate bands.
From the tall rocks that bound his threaten'd
Unmoved the chieftain mark'd th' invading host;
And as the bearded face or turban'd head
The restless foe of Christian flocks betray'd,
Tn bold defence his warrior train unite.
And Trust in Heaven inspires them for the
The Moslem comes : ā o'er Ocean's azure bed
IJnnumber'd sails their cloudy shadow spread;
Unnumber'd prows the foamy waves divide,
And the pale Crescent glitters on the tide ;
The Moslem comes : ā to all his wonted ire
Mistaken faith supplies increasing tire ;
Heaven's promised joys infuriate zeal create,
And bright illusions of predestined fate.
How oft, alas ! hath Eve her parting ray
Shed o'er each band unwearied in the fray ;
How oft hath Morning's orient beam renew'd
The varied fortunes of the bitter feud !
Sad was the scene ; ā from ramparts scaled in vain
Unpitied fell the dying and the slain ;
While deep-raouth'd engines on the foe beneath
Pour'd the slow tortures of impending death :
Convulsed and weltering in the crimson flood
Extended forms proclaim the waste of blood ;
Transfix'd with darts, or half-consumed with fire,
In mingled heaps unconquer'd souls expire ;
With fatal aim descend the pitchy showers,
And every limb the liquid heat devours.
Yet oh ! though brave, though prodigal of life.
The Christian phalanx urged th' unequal strife,
In vain would Valour's knightly arm have proved.
Had Spain's proud Monarch view'd the scene un-
From his paternal throne with fearful eye
He mark'd the peril of his bold ally,
Iberia's ensign on the deep display'd,
And tardy battle waged in Malta's aid.
Then to new fame the Island-fortress rose,
Dispell'd her fear, and triumph'd o'er her foes ;
Then with fresh lustre beam'd on every side
Her towery grandeur, and her martial pride ;
And high in air her Red-cross flag unfurl'd
Ruled o'er the waves, and awed th' admiring
How fair thy lot, ambition's curse unknown,
Blest, peaceful Isle ! through years revolving shone;
Unfelt the ills that frantic Warfare brings.
The storms of Faction, and the strife of Kings !
And still for thee enduring Peace had smiled.
Nor hateful Discord had thy shores defiled,
But France, unsated, to her blood-stain 'd car
In every climate yoked the fiends of war,
Spread o'er the earth Oppression's galling chains,
And Ruin's cloud o'er Heaven's polluted fanes.
From Alpine mountains, o'er whose mantled snows
Her glittering eagles, fann'd with conquest, rose,
With spoils enrich'd from fair Italia won.
Came hapless Corsica's victorious Son,
With friendship's mien the wily chief beguiles.
Veils his deep treason in dissembling smiles ;
And while his lips the hope of peace afford,
His heart designs the carnage of the sword.
Perfidious scourge of Europe's dark'ning hour !
Then trembled Malta at thy fatal power ;
Then burst again the battle's awful roar,
Then were her altars dyed again in gore ;
Reft were her temples of each gift divine,
And slain her champions at their holy shrine.
Yet not unscathed return'd th' insulting foe ;
Heaven's equal justice dealt th' avenging blow;
Bear witness, Xile ! amidst thy crimson flood,
Tell, Alexandria! on thy plain of blood.
When Albion's banner waved at Freedom's call,
How droop'd the eagles of affrighted Gaul !
Oh ! while triumphant pagans rend the air.
What mournful tliouiihts the Victor's joy impair !
With arms reversed the conquering train proceeds,
And Valour weeps, ā for Abercrombie bleeds.
Lamented Chief! thy native Isle in vain
Awaits exulting thy victorious train ;
Prepares in vain the laurel crown, and rears
The votive tablet honour'd by her tears.
Lamented Chief! while Gallic irerenew'd,
Of peace disdainful, spreads the martial feud,
Do thou, blest shade ! where Freedom's cause de-
Again inspire thy Britain's patriot bands ;
With zeal like thine bid every bosom glow.
To gain fresh triumphs o'er the treacherous foe.
The time shall come, nor far remote the hour.
When Fate shall crush th' Usurper's hateful power;
When the proud Tyrant, hurl'd from Glory's throne.
Restored to Gaul her rightful King shall own ;
And Peace returning with her blissful train
O'er realms united through the world shall reign.
And thou, bright Isle ! whose sea-girt rocks of
A generous tribe of dauntless warriors bore.
Again, fair Malta ! shalt thou gladly trace
The new-born lustre of thy ancient race ;
Again thy shores the busy scene shall boast,
And sails unnumber'd seek thy favour'd coast :
Then holy Freedom, ā not the frantic Queen,
That pants for blood on War's polluted scene,
But the meek Goddess, who, remote from strife,
Gilds with her smile the joys of peaceful life, ā
Upheld by Britain's faithful aid, shall raise
To nobler height the fame of future days.
Verse 30 ā 59. Malta was given by the Emperor
Charles V. to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem,
when driven out of Rhodes by the Turks in 1530.
They were required to be of noble birth by both pa-
rents for four generations, and were under vows of
celibacy and perpetual war with the Infidels. They
were divided into eight langues, or tongues, of which
three were French, two Spanish, one Italian, one Ger-
man, and originally one English ; but, on the Refor-
mation, succeeded by the Anglo-Bavarian.
Ver. 133. St. Paul is supposed to have been ship-
wrecked here, and to have cursed all venomous crea-
tures, which now are not to be found in the whole
Ver. 165. The siege of Malta by the Turks in 1565,
which continued for four months, will be for ever me-
morable as a display of the most heroic valour on the
part of the knights, under their Grand Master, La
Valette ; to whose determined courage and resolution
the preservation of the island was chiefly owing. At
one period a majority of the knights were of opinion
that the town was not tenable ; but at this crisis, Don
Garcia, Viceroy of Sicily, by order of the King of
Spain, sent over a body of troops, on the report of
whose arrival the Turks immediately raised the siege
Ver. 226. In 1798 Malta fell into the hands of the
French, but was soon after taken by the British, and
confirmed to them by the treaty of Paris in 1814.
Ver. 24G. Sir Ralph Abercrombie was commander-
in-chief of the expedition to Egypt, and landing, after
a severe contest, at Aboukir on the 8th of March,
1801, completely defeated the French on the 21st of
the same month .it the battle of Alexandria, in which
he was slain. His body was conveyed to Malta, and
interred beneath the Castle of St. Flmo, and a monu-
nunt was voted to him by Parliament in St. Paul's
I'KIXTliD BY A. J. VALPy,
htD LION^ COUr.T, rLLEI STREET.
NEARLY HEADY, bY THE SAME AUTHOR.