Page images
PDF
EPUB

brother Constantine) an entirely uneducated man; in the flower and heat of his youth ; at the summit of a well-earned fame; and with unbounded influence over the sentiments and conduct of his countrymen; his thus laying aside all personal and ambitious views, and submitting himself wholly and unconditionally to a newly-formed governmentseeking and desiring to hold no bigher station in it than that of an humble agent in fulfilling its plans for achieving the liberties of his country,-evinces a self-devotion and simplicity of character rarely to be met with even under circumstances which might seem more likely to call it forth.

When Sulei was invested by a formidable Turkish foree, and every avenue of entrance or escape was shut up, Marco, who was there, contrived, with a very few of his countrymen, to effeet a passage through the Turkish camp, and to reach Messolongio; where, after having collected more troops, he took up a position at Plaka, and the memorable battle fought on that spot again testified his extraordinary skill, valour, and devotion. He fought sword in hand for a great length of time against a party of Mahomedan Albanians; when, after having killed several of their officers, and been himself severely wounded, he lost his horse and baggage, and was again compelled to retire to Messolongio.

When the Suliotes afterwards made terms with their besiegers, he was at Messolongio; and though, aware of the critical situation in which they were placed, he did not disapprove of their resolution to submit themselves conditionally to their enemies, yet he refused to follow their example and retire with them, as he might have done with honour, but resolved to remain with Prince Mavrocordato, conscious that if he had left him, he would have lost that most efficient support which he derived from the opinions of bis fellow-countrymen as to the state of their cause, and that the edifice of liberty, which seemed to be just rising from its foundation, cemented by the blood of his fellowsoldiers, would again fall to pieces and go to nought. He therefore sent away his family to Ancona, to avoid the importunities which they were urging upon him, and linked himself, for better for worse, to the fortunes of Mavrocordato and his suffering country.

The most successful, distinguished, and important epoch of Marco's exploits was that which included the siege and storming of Messolongio by the Turks. At this period, when the town was invested on all sides by a Turkish army of fifteen thousand men, he still kept possession of the weak outskirts (for they do not deserve the name of fortifications) in company with his friend Mavrocordato, and with a body of no more than three hundred men—both of them determining to perish in the ruins of the town, rather than willingly abandon it. And it may, perhaps, be attributed to this determination, that the cause of Greece at present bears an aspect of hope instead of despair. In this campaign, with the aid of some slight reinforcements, they occasioned the Turks a loss of three thousand men, and finally saved the town. This latter event was effected purely by a piece of personal valour and conduct on the part of Marco Botzari. The Turkish troops had assaulted Messolongio, and actually gained possession of the outposts of the town,overpowering for a time the chief body of troops under the command of Botzari, and compelling them to retire to the shore and endeavour

to escape in their boats, &c. Marco was compelled to follow them in this extremity; but he determined to make one gallant effort to rally them, which entirely succeeded. While they were retiring precipitately, he rushed in among them, flourishing his sword and shouting Hurras! and gave them to believe that their fellows had repulsed the Turks, and that they were flinging themselves from the walls into the ditch. His troops rallied at these sounds; he again placed bimself at their head and led them unexpectedly on the enemy, and the place was finally abandoned by the Turks, leaving behind them an immense booty in artillery, ammunition, and baggage of great value.

Botzari was in no instance known to avail himself even of the fair spoils that were taken from the enemy, but suffered them all to be divided among bis men, with whom, however, he invariably shared all the dangers and hardships of the campaign, being neither armed, attired, or fed in any way different from them. It is also well known, that he has in many cases refused large bribes offered him by the enemy, if he would retire into the Ionian Islands. Once, in particular, at Messolongio, five hundred purses were offered to him if he would quit the place. The person from whose lips these notices of his life are collected, was informed of the above through an unquestionable channel.

But the most prominent and striking illustration that can be offered of the pure patriotism that actuated Botzari in all his views, is perhaps to be found in the following fact :- The father of Marco (Kitzo Botzari) was extremely obnoxious to Ali Pacha, on account of his being one of the heads of the Suliote tribes, against which Ali had so long made war.

It was mentioned, in the commencement of this paper, that, on the fall of Sulei into the hands of Ali, Kitzo Botzari retired into the Ionian Islands. Shortly after this period, Ali made several underhand attempts on the life of Kitzo, one of which at last succeeded. Having occasion to leave the islands, and come to Arta, he was there privately shot by an agent of Ali. At the time the Greeks first rose on their oppressors, this agent in the death of Marco's father, (one Capitan Gogo, of Tzumeska) was considered as an important aid to the cause, but he was reluctant to come forward in conjunction with Marco, knowing that the latter was aware of the part he had taken (by the order of Ali) in the death of his father. But Marco voluntarily sought an interview with this person, in which he assured him that this was an epoch at which he had thought it necessary to dismiss from his breast all passions but the love of country; and he urged him to do the same; adding, “ It was not you who killed my father, it was Ali." And he actually endeavoured to bring about a marriage between some branches of their respective families, in order to strengthen the bond of union which he wished to exist between them on this occasion.

Only one more anecdote will be added, in illustration of the personal coolness and intrepidity of this distinguished chieftain. The relater of the foregoing was one day dining at the head-quarters of Marco's uncle, at Arta, and after dinner he was walking alone in the town with Marco, when several balls from the Turkish batteries fell at a very short

* A purse is 500 Turkish piastres, or about 101. sterling.

You

see,

distance from them. While the relater (who is no soldier) was endeavouring to conceal his sense of the danger that seemed to surround them, Marco observed laughingly, and pointing to the balls, 'these are the only kind of apples the Turks would send us for our dessert."

Marco Botzari was, at the period of his death, not more than thirty or thirty-one years of age, stout, but of low stature, with extremely fine bright black eyes, dark complexion, and a countenance altogether highly animated and expressive. His arms consisted of a musquet, a sabre, and a Turkish knife, and one small pistol of extremely inferior quality.

HARP OF ZION.NO. I.

Oh! how art thou fallen, thou City of God!
He hath stricken the crown from thy brow with his rod-
On thy neck is the yoke-on thy garment a stain-
And the Lion of Judah hath bow'd to the chain !
The phial of wrath on thy forehead was pour'd,
Thou hast shrunk from the withering glance of the Lord ;
Like the gourd of the Prophet, thy beauty is gone,
And thy cedars are blasted on proud Lebanon !
Thy temples are ruins—thine altars.o'erthrown-
On the Hill of thy strength is the Infidel's throne ;
And the wreck of thy glory, where'er it is hurld,
Is the scoff of the Gentiles-the scorn of the world!
O turn thee, our God ! let thy mercy awaken,
And-smile on thy Zion-deserted, forsaken!
Let the light of thy glory on Solyma burst,
And its lightning-glance wither her foes to the dust!
Oh, Zion!. his smile shall dawn on thy night
Of sorrow, and shame with a heavenly light,
As the burst of the sun-beam comes over the sea,
When the dark cloud has past, and the thunder-storms flee.

W.C.

SONG.

What absence from the heart can wrench

The thought that haunts where'er we rove?
Or what can time avail to quench

The enduring fame of youthful love?
Still, still, where'er we rest or roam,

The spirits rise of brighter hours ;
Love lingers round his early home,

And strews the grave of Hope with flowers.

J.

THE HERMIT ABROAD.* ANY one who has ever passed a September in London, a rainy day at Buxton, a winter-evening at an inn, or a week with a rich uncle in a small country town, must be feelingly alive to the virtues of an en. tertaining book, which may serve to dissipate some portion of that dreadful load of ennui which in such situations is found to “ weigh upon the heart.” It is only those persons who are acquainted with sufferings like these that can form any idea of the gratitude with which, upon its first publication, we received the precursor of the present work, “The Hermit in the Country," when it was forwarded to us per mail during a residence of some weeks with a relative,

- A dowager Of great revenue, and who hath no children, in a distant and retired part of England. The mornings we had contrived to consume with the aid of the worthy old gamekeeper, but the evenings seemed as though they would, to use Macbeth's phrase, "stretch out to the crack of doom." In spite of the excellent old lady's library, which appeared to be formed on the model of the one catalogued in the Spectator; nay, even in spite of her conversation and backgammon-board, the nights (it was in autumn) were drawn out to an almost interminable length. It would be in vain to describe the joy with which we seized upon the cargo of amusement, wherewith in our distress the provident attention of Messrs. Colburn and Co., supplied us. We could have hugged the greasy knave who carried the parcel from the neighbouring post-town, and we actually bestowed upon him a gratuity, which, we fear, tended for ever to confound in his mind the due proportion between labour and remuneration. With what hot impatience, despising the sober lessons taught us by Miss Edgeworth in

waste not, want not," did we cut the string which bound the parcel, into twenty pieces, and how eagerly did we pounce upon the contents ! Debarred as we had been of every thing like an entertaining volume for many long days, we devoured one half of the work with an appetite which astonished our respected relative—nay we even furtively conveyed a volume into our bed-chamber, and enjoyed the ineffable luxury of reading it after our couchée. We remember being particularly pleased with the paper entitled "An Elopement,” in which, according to our apprehension, considerable knowledge of the human heart is displayed." The feelings of the two guilty lovers are described with a truth and simplicity which are not found in all the Hermit's writings, who occasionally sentimentalizes a little too much for our taste. As a painting from low life (though the assertion may seem somewhat Irish) “ The Top of a Stage” has many claims to merit. We could particularize some other clever papers in the Hermit in the Country, were we not sure that our readers can tell what amuses them at least as well

as we can.

Encouraged by a perusal of his peregrinations in the country, we resolved the other day to follow the Hermit Abroad, nor have we found reason to repent of our resolution. He has helped us to kill

* By the author of the “ Hermit in London," and “ Hermit in the Country.' 4 vols. 12mo.

several heavy half-hours, of which we stood greatly in dread. We found him particularly useful in assisting us over those spare portions of the day which it is impossible wholly to avoid ; and in filling up these crevices of life, a work like the present is of considerable value. Should dinner be delayed half an hour beyond the appointed period, it is in vain to attempt to beguile the time with any grave and weighty authors. The mind and body are both in a state of irritation which requires some lenitive to soothe them; and we have more than once on such occasions resorted to the Hermit's lucubrations with success. We hold that, in these cases, a work which like the Hermit's is composed of separate papers, is more to be desired than the regular novel, which, should it be a good one, requires a continuous perusal, and is not, like a flute or a friendship, to be taken up and laid down at pleasure. Who; for instance, could have the fortitude to read “ The Bride of Lammermoor" by snatches ? who could bear to break the wonderful chain of interest which binds together that heart-moving tale? When we meet with a production singularly attractive, we make a feast of it and consume it entire, despite of all its length ; but the good Hermit has cut up his volumes into mouthfuls, of which we can swallow one or two at any spare season. Thus, when enjoying our Pekoe alone, we have sometimes enhanced its flavour by adding a few pages of the Hermit; for we hold it to be a high luxury thus to exhilarate at once both body and mind. Again, during the few agreeable sunny days with which we have been favoured this autumn, we found the Hermit a very pleasant companion beneath the shade of a certain oak-tree, whither, "as was our custom in an afternoon,” we resorted at once for air and cool. ness. It is possible that the circumstances which have thus attended our perusal of these volumes, may, in some degree, have induced a bias in their favour. Every critic knows how much depends upon the humour he is in when he first reads his author, and that if an unfortunate writer happens to fall in with his reviewer when the gall of the latter is roused, he stands no small chance of suffering from that accident. What thief would choose to be tried before a judge impatient for his dinner, or what author would wish to fall into the hands of a reviewer in a fit of choler? But we shall now endeavour to award to the Hermit what the lawyers call summum jus. The Hermit's writings, then, are well suited to their scope

and object—the whiling away of a leisure hour, and the dispersion of vapours and ennui. They exhibit much good-natured observation, and a deal of good taste in matters of principle and feeling, which are very cre. ditable to the anchorite. Sometimes they are dashed with a little affectation, and now and then, though rarely, they are slightly mawkish; but these faults are forgotten in the amusement they afford, and the improving lessons they frequently inculcate.

We hasten to select a short paper as a specimen of what may be expected from the Hermit's travels. Perhaps, “La Chaumière" will suit for the purpose. “ Etes vous seul, Monsieur ?' Are you alone, Sir? Will you

have a cabinet, or will you be served in the garden? Do you belong to a société, or are you waiting for any one? Would Monsieur wish to have some refreshment before dinner, a dijeûner à la fourchette, or a petit verre:-Mercy! how many questions to a solitary elderly inan in a black coat, without follower or

« PreviousContinue »