Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a depôt, to be sacrificed, in case of accidents

From the Journals of Lord Byron:
February 18. 1821.

The news are that the Neapolitans have broken a bridge, and slain four pontifical carabiniers, whilk carabiniers wished to oppose. Besides the disrespect to neutrality, it is a pity that the first blood shed in this German quarrel should be Italian. However, the war seems begun in good earnest: for, if the Neapolitans kill the Pope's carabiniers, they will not be more delicate towards the Barbarians. If it be even so, in a short time 'there will be news o' thae craws,' as Mrs. Alison Wilson says of Jenny Blane's 'unco cockernony' in the 'Tales of my Landlord.'

In turning over Grimm's Correspondence to-day, I found a thought of Tom Moore's in a song of Maupertuis to a female Laplander.
Et tous les lieux,
Où sont ses yeux,
Font la Zone brûlante.
This is Moore's,
'And those eyes make my climate, wherever I roam.'

But I am sure that Moore never saw it; for this was published in Grimm's Correspondence in 1813, and I knew Moore's by heart in 1812. There is also another, but an antithetical coincidence —
Le soleil luit,
Des jours sans nuit
Bientôt il nous destine;
Mais ces longs jours
Seront trop courts,
Passés près des Christine.
This is the thought reversed, of the last stanza of the ballad on Charlotte Lynes, given in Miss Seward's Memoirs of Darwin, which is pretty — I quote from memory of these last fifteen years.
For my first night I'll go
To those regions of snow
Where the sun for six months never shines;
And think, even then,
He too soon came again,
To disturb me with fair Charlotte Lynes.
To-day I have had no communication with my Carbonari cronies; but, in the mean time, my lower apartments are full of their bayonets, fusils, cartridges, and what not. I suppose that they consider me as a depôt, to be sacrificed, in case of accidents. It is no great matter, supposing that Italy could be liberated, who or what is sacrificed. It is a grand object — the very poetry of politics. Only think — a free Italy!!! Why, there has been nothing like it since the days of Augustus. I reckon the times of Cæsar (Julius) free; because the commotions left every body a side to take, and the parties were pretty equal at the set out. But, afterwards, it was all praetorian and legionary business — and since! — we shall see, or, at least, some will see, what card will turn up. It is best to hope, even of the hopeless. The Dutch did more than these fellows have to do, in the Seventy Years' War.

Notes to the text:

disrespect to neutrality - Ravenna and surrounding areas were Papal States (see map below). The Pope had declared these states to be neutral in the conflict between the Carbonari and Austrians. While the Austrians gave the Pope grudging respect, the Carbonari actively opposed Papal rule, so the conflict at the bridge was not out of character for them.

as Mrs. Alison Wilson says of Jenny Blane's 'unco cockernony' - "But I doubt the daughter's a silly thing — an unco cockernony she had busked on her head at the kirk last Sunday." — Mrs. Alison Wilson, in Old Mortality, chap. v. (Prothero's note).

I found a thought of Tom Moore's
- The poem is Moore's THO' THE LAST GLIMPSE OF ERIN WITH SORROW I SEE. Of the poet, wikipedia says: "Thomas Moore (28 May 1779 – 25 February 1852) was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of The Minstrel Boy and the The Last Rose of Summer." The poem:
Tho' the last glimpse of Erin with sorrow I see,
Yet wherever thou art shall seem Erin to me;
In exile thy bosom shall still be my home,
And thine eyes make my climate wherever we room.

To the gloom of some desert or cold rocky shore,
Where the eye of the stranger can haunt us no more,
I will fly with my Coulin, and think the rough wind
Less rude than the foes we leave frowning behind.

And I'll gaze on thy gold hair as graceful it wreathes;
And hang o'er thy soft harp, as wildly it breathes;
Nor dread that the cold-hearted Saxon will tear
One chord from that harp, or one lock from that hair.*
a thought of Tom Moore's in a song of Maupertuis - Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698-1759) "prétendait avoir conçu une passion violente pour une jeune Laponne qu'il avait amenée en France, et qui y est morte. Il aimait à chanter des couplets qu'il avait faits pour elle sous le pôle, et qu'il faut conserver ici —
Pour fuir l'amour,

En vain l'on court
Jusqu'au cercle polaire;
Dieux! qui croiroit
Qu'en cet endroit
On eût trouvé Cythère!

Dans les frimas
De ces climats,
Christine nous enchante;
Et tous les lieux
Où sont ses yeux
Font la zone brûlante.
Etc., etc. Grimm's Correspondance, éd. Toumeux, vol. vii. pp. 180, 181. - (Prothero's note)

the ballad on Charlotte Lynes - "At a convivial meeting of Lichfield gentlemen, most of whom could make agreeable verses, it was proposed that every person in company should give a ballad or epigram on the lady whose health he drank. Mr. Vyse toasted Miss Lynes, and, taking "out his pencil, wrote the stanzas extempore" (Seward's Memoirs of Dr. Darwin, pp. 72-74). Of the stanzas, which are nine in number, that quoted by Byron is the last. (Prothero's note)

the Seventy Years' War - From The Free Dictionary:
In the 16th century the Netherlands was ruled by the Habsburg monarchs of Spain. By the middle of the century tension was rising between the Dutch and the Spanish crown, and this increased during the reign of Philip II. Religious differences played a large part in the troubles. The Protestant Dutch resented the overbearing Roman Catholic policies of the Spanish, and the effects of the Spanish Inquisition on the freedom of faith. Even more important however was the ever-increasing government control exercised by Madrid, and the rising taxes imposed on the Dutch. In addition to this the presence of a Spanish army caused conflict.

Between 1567 and 1573 Philip II tried to restore order in the Spanish Netherlands using an army led by the Duke of Alva. However the harsh methods used by the Duke led to a Dutch revolt led by Philip's former representative in the Netherlands, William the Silent. Support for the revolt was particularly strong among Protestant groups such as the Calvinists.

The battle for independence from Spain continued with increasing success over the next 70 years. However, even though Spain had effectively lost control of the Netherlands by the end of the 16th century, it was not until 1648 that Spain was forced to recognize the independence of the Dutch in the Peace of Westphalia.

Thomas Moore

Map showing the Papal States; source: dalessandris.net

Some sources:

The Works of Lord Byron, Prothero edition.

Rome and the Neapolitan Revolution of 1820-1821

The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore

*Note to a note:
In the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Henry VIII, an Act was made respecting the habits, and dress in general, of the Irish, whereby all persons were restrained from being shorn or shaven above the ears, or from wearing Glibbes, or Coulins (long locks), on their heads, or hair on their upper lip, called Crommeal. On this occasion a song was written by one of our bards, in which an Irish virgin is made to give the preference to her dear Coulin (or the youth with the flowing locks) to all strangers (by which the English were meant), or those who wore their habits. Of this song, the air alone has reached us, and is universally
admired. -- Walker's "Historical Memoirs of Irish Bards_," p. 184. Mr. Walker informs us also, that, about the same period, there were some harsh measures taken against the Irish Minstrels. (Note by the editor of Moore's poems, William M. Rossetti)

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