Start on the fisher's eye like boat 170
Of island-pirate or Mainote;
And fearful for his light caique,
He shuns the near but doubtful creek:[lower-roman 1]
Though worn and weary with his toil,
And cumbered with his scaly spoil,
Slowly, yet strongly, plies the oar.
Till Port Leone's safer shore
Receives him by the lovely light
That best becomes an Eastern night.
Who thundering comes on blackest steed,[decimal 1]180
With slackened bit and hoof of speed?
Beneath the clattering iron's sound
The caverned Echoes wake around
In lash for lash, and bound for bound;
The foam that streaks the courser's side
Seems gathered from the Ocean-tide :
Though weary waves are sunk to rest,
There's none within his rider's breast;
And though to-morrow's tempest lower,
'Tis calmer than thy heart, young Giaour! [decimal 2]190
- He silent shows the doubtful creek.—[MS.]
- [The reciter of the tale is a Turkish fisherman, who has been employed during the day in the gulf of ^gina, and in the evening, apprehensive of the Mainote pirates who infest the coast of Attica, lands with his boat on the harbour of Port Leone, the ancient Piraeus. He becomes the eye-witness of nearly all the incidents in the story, and in one of them is a principal agent. It is to his feelings, and particularly to his religious prejudices, that we are indebted for some of the most forcible and splendid parts of the poem.—Note by George Agar Ellis, 1797-1833.]
- [In Dr. Clarke's Travels (Edward Daniel Clarke, 1769-1822, published Travels in Europe, Asia, Africa, 1810-24), this word, which means infidel, is always written according to its English pronunciation, Djour. Byron adopted the Italian spelling usual among the Franks of the Levant,—Note to Edition 1832.
The pronunciation of the word depends on its origin. If it is