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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/189

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THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.[1]





CANTO THE FIRST.

I.

Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle[2]
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime?
Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime?
Know ye the land of the cedar and vine,
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine;
Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppressed with perfume,
Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gúl[3] in her bloom;

  1. ["Murray tells me that Croker asked him why the thing was called the Bride of Abydos? It is a cursed awkward question, being unanswerable. She is not a bride, only about to become one. I don't wonder at his finding out the Bull; but the detection ... is too late to do any good. I was a great fool to make it, and am ashamed of not being an Irishman."—Journal, December 6, 1813; Letters, 1898, ii. 365.

    Byron need not have been dismayed. "The term is particularly applied on the day of marriage and during the 'honeymoon,' but is frequently used from the proclamation of the banns.... In the debate on Prince Leopold's allowance, Mr. Gladstone, being criticized for speaking of the Princess Helena as the 'bride,' said he believed that colloquially a lady when engaged was often called a 'bride.' This was met with 'Hear! Hear!' from some, and 'No! No!' from others."—N. Engl. Dict., art. "Bride."]

  2. [The opening lines were probably suggested by Goethe's—

    "Kennst du das Land wo die citronen blühn?"]

  3. "Gúl," the rose.