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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/55

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25
FAREWELL TO MALTA.

Adieu, ye packets—without letters!
Adieu, ye fools—who ape your betters!10
Adieu, thou damned'st quarantine,
That gave me fever, and the spleen!
Adieu that stage which makes us yawn, Sirs,
Adieu his Excellency's dancers![1]
Adieu to Peter—whom no fault's in,
But could not teach a colonel waltzing;
Adieu, ye females fraught with graces!
Adieu red coats, and redder faces!
Adieu the supercilious air
Of all that strut en militaire![2]20
I go—but God knows when, or why,
To smoky towns and cloudy sky,
To things (the honest truth to say)
As bad—but in a different way.


Farewell to these, but not adieu,
Triumphant sons of truest blue!
While either Adriatic shore,[3]
And fallen chiefs, and fleets no more,

  1. [Major-General Hildebrand Oakes (1754-1822) succeeded Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keates as "his Majesty's commissioner for the affairs of Malta," April 27, 1810. There was an outbreak of plague during his tenure of office (1810-13).—Annual Register, 1810, p. 320; Dict. Nat. Biog., art. "Oakes."]
  2. ["Lord Byron ... was once rather near fighting a duel—and that was with an officer of the staff of General Oakes at Malta." (1809).—Westminster Review, January, 1825, iii. 21 (by J. C. Hobhouse). (See, too, Life (First Edition, 1830, 4to), i. 202, 222.)]
  3. [On March 13, 1811, Captain (Sir William) Hoste (1780-1828) defeated a combined French and Italian squadron off the island of Lissa, on the Dalmatian coast. "The French commodore's ship La Favorite was burnt, himself (Dubourdieu) being killed." The four victorious frigates with their prizes arrived at Malta, March 31, when the garrison "ran out unarmed to receive and hail them." The Volage, in which Byron returned to England, took part in the engagement. Captain Hoste had taken a prize off Fiume in the preceding year.—Annual Register, 1811; Memoirs and Letters of Sir W. Hoste, ii. 79.]