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  1. #1
    mirrormirror is offline Newbie
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    Default meaning of the adjective "dark" in a particular context

    Hello!

    I'm reading Lord Byron's Pilgrimage of Child Harold and I'm trying to make a proper translation of some parts of it. My question concerns the following stanzas.


    1 Tambourg! Tambourgi! thy 'larum afar Gives hope to the valiant, and promise of war; All the sons of the mountains arise at the note, Chimariot, Illyrian, and dark Suliote! 2 Oh! who is more brave than a dark Suliote, In his snowy camese and his shaggy capote? To the wolf and the vulture he leaves his wild flock, And descends to the plain like the stream from the rock.

    So my question is: what does Byron mean there ? Does he mean dark as in "dark skin" or dark as in "stern, harsh, enigmatic, withdrawn" ?

    I know it's difficult to tell, I'm asking for your educated guesses. My question arises due to the fact that Suliotes were known to be men of few words and not very sociable. But please don't let what I said bias your answer.

    Thanks in advance for your responses.

  2. #2
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: meaning of the adjective "dark" in a particular context

    Probably dark skin - you'd have to get an annotated edition of Child Harold to find out what a Suliote is. My WAG would be an Assyrian (partly because of the wolves/flocks idea). But dark skin in literary contexts often implies an enigmatic or withdrawn character - Othello, Heathcliff...

    Incidentally, the "'larum" is related to alarm - a call to arms (probably on a brass instrument).

    b

  3. #3
    mirrormirror is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: meaning of the adjective "dark" in a particular context

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Probably dark skin - you'd have to get an annotated edition of Child Harold to find out what a Suliote is. My WAG would be an Assyrian (partly because of the wolves/flocks idea). But dark skin in literary contexts often implies an enigmatic or withdrawn character - Othello, Heathcliff...

    Incidentally, the "'larum" is related to alarm - a call to arms (probably on a brass instrument).

    b
    Thank you Bob. I do know what Suliotes were. They were a "tribe" living in Greece who were famous for their bravery and war skills, mostly active from the 17th to the 19 century.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: meaning of the adjective "dark" in a particular context

    I've just been reading what Wikipedia has to say about them: '...many of them played a prominent role in the Greek War of Independence starting in 1821' (see more here). This would've appealed to Byron, a staunch hellenophile.

    (The reason for my 'Assyrian' idea was from this: 'The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold', which is very like some aspects of lines 3 and four of your #2 (in fact, who's to say Byron didn't have that quote in the back of his mind!)

    b

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