Listen to the Podcast

Transcription Tuesday XVII: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage – I see before me the gladiator lie

Ariana Malthaner

Isabella’s next two stanzas from Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage concern a Gothic Gladiator and his battle at the coliseum. The only particular thing of note is that in the third line, Isabella had clearly forgotten the word ‘death’ initially and had to squeeze it in above the line.

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Canto IV CXL-CXLI

I see before me the gladiator lie:

He leans upon his hand – his manly brow

Consents to, death but conquers agony

And his droop’d head sinks gradually low-

And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow

From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,

Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now

The arena swims around him – he is gone,

Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail’d the wretch who won.

He heard it, but he heeded not – his eyes

Were with his heart, and that was far away:

He reck’d not of the life he lost nor prize,

But where his rude hut by the Danube lay

There were his young barbarians all at play,

There was their Dacian mother – he, their sire,

Butcher’d to make a Roman holiday –

All this rush’d with his blood — shall he expire

And unavenged? – Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!