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THE SIEGE OF CORINTH.
The grand army of the Turks, in 1715, under the prime vizier, to open themselves a way into the heart of the Morea, and to form the siege of Napoli di Romania, thought it best in the first place to attack Corinth, upon which they made several storms. The garrison being weakened, and the governor seeing it was impossible to hold out against so mighty a force, thought fit to beat a parley : but while they were treating about the articles, one of the magazines in the Turkish camp, wherein they had six hundred barrels of powder, blew up by accident, whereby six or seven hundred men were killed : which so enraged the infidels, that they would not grant any capitulation, but stormed the place with so much fury, that they took it and put most of the garrison to the sword. This is the historical event and catastrophe which suggested the subject of Byron's poem, “ The Siege of Corinth."
“ Many a vanished year and age,
So near they came, the nearest stretched
When old Minotti's hand
The turbaned victors, the Christian band,
In one wild roar expired !
As if an earthquake passed-
By the tremendou blast
Save a scattered scalp or bone :
Thus was Corinth lost and won."--BYRON.
Mark that pale and emaciated man, with his head bowed over a book, taken from one of those stands upon which the richest libraries of Florence expose their works for sale, and beside which he is standing ! He is too poor to purchase the treasure he holds, but he devours it with his eyes, and engraves its contents in ineffaceable characters upon the tablet of his memory. The copyists of Sarbonne have sent the work bither, in hopes of obtaining a higher price than at Paris.
It was a fête day; all Florence was out ; and gay and noisy crowds thronged past the reader. The Floreutine lords, with their pompous walk, and magnificent cloaks; and beautiful high-born girls ; noble matrons on ambling palfries, with suites of valets and pages supporting their embroidered trains ; processions, followed by long tiles of the people, filling the air with their acclamations; all alike passed unheeded and unnoticed by the solitary stranger. He remained as fixed and immoveable as a statue.
His dark olive complexion, thick beard, black and curling hair; his high and deeply-furrowed forehead, aquiline nose, and strongly-compressed lips ; his noble, grave, and poetic physiognomy_all, in his person, attracted attention, and commanded respect. The crowds involuntarily shrank back as they approached him; and more than one young girl cast her pious looks toward the stone madonna, in a niche at the corner, and crossed herself, as she passed him.
“Do not disturb him, but pass quietly on," said one of these to her companion.
“ And why, Camilla ?”.
“ He is one that can descend to the infernal regions, and transport thither the objects of his hatred, at pleasure !"