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The city won for Allah from the Giaour,
The Giaour from Othman's race again may wrest;
And the Serai's impenetrable tower
Receive the fiery Frank, her former guest;
Or Wahab's rebel brood, who dared divest
The prophet's tomb of all its pious spoil, 36
May wind their path of blood along the West;
But ne'er will freedom seek this fated soil,
But slave succeed to slave through years of endless toil.
Yet mark their mirth-ere lenten days begin,
That penance which their holy rites prepare
To shrive from man his weight of mortal sin,
By daily abstinence and nightly prayer;
But ere his sackcloth garb repentance wear,
Some days of joyaunce are decreed to all,
To take of pleasaunce each his secret share,
In motley robe to dance at masking ball,
And join the mimic train of merry Carnival.
And whose more rife with merriment than thine,
Oh Stamboul! once the empress of their reign?
Though turbans now pollute Sophia's shrine,
And Greece her very altars eyes in vain :
(Alas! her woes will still pervade my strain!)
Gay were her minstrels once, for free her throng,
All felt the common joy they now must feign,
Nor oft I've seen such sight nor heard such song,
As woo'd the eye, and thrill'd the Bosphorus along.
Loud was the lightsome tumult of the shore,
Oft music changed, but never ceased her tone,
And timely echoed back the measured oar,
And rippling waters made a pleasant moan:
The queen of tides on high consenting shone,
And when a transient breeze swept o'er the wave,
'T was, as if darting from her heavenly throne,
A brighter glance her form reflected gave,
Till sparkling billows seem'd to light the banks they lave.
Glanced many a light caïque along the foam,
Danced on the shore the daughters of the land,
Ne thought had man or maid of rest or home,
While many a languid eye and thrilling hand
Exchanged the look few bosoms may withstand,
Or gently prest, return'd the pressure still :
Oh love! young love! bound in thy rosy band,
Let sage or cynic prattle as he will,
These hours, and only these, redeem life's years of ill!
But, midst the throng in merry masquerade,
Lurk there no hearts that throb with secret pain,
Even through the closest searment half betray'd?
To such the gentle murmurs of the main
Seem to re-echo all they mourn in vain ;
To such the gladness of the gamesome crowd
Is source of wayward thought and stern disdain ::
How do they loathe the laughter idly loud,
And long to change the robe of revel for the shroud?
This must he feel, the true-born son of Greece, If Greece one true-born patriot still can boast: Not such as prate of war, but skulk in peace, The bondsman's peace, who sighs for all he lost, Yet with smooth smile his tyrant can accost, And wield the slavish sickle, not the sword: Ah! Greece! they love thee least who owe thee most, Their birth, their blood, and that sublime record Of hero sires, who shame thy now degenerate horde!
When riseth Lacedemon's hardihood,
When Thebes Epaminondas rears again,
When Athens' children are with hearts endued,
When Grecian mothers shall give birth to men,
Then mayst thou be restored; but not till then.
A thousand years scarce serve to form a state;
An hour may lay it in the dust; and when
Can man its shatter'd splendour renovate,
Recal its virtues back, and vanquish time and fate?
And yet how lovely in thine age of woe,
Land of lost gods and godlike men, art thou!
Thy vales of ever-green, thy hills of snow
Proclaim thee Nature's varied favourite now:
Thy fanes, thy temples to thy surface bow,
Commingling slowly with heroic earth,
Broke by the share of every rustic plough:
So perish monuments of mortal birth,
So perish all in turn, save well-recorded worth:
Save where some solitary column mourns Above its prostrate brethren of the cave; Save where Tritonia's airy shrine adorns Colonna's cliff, and gleams along the wave; Save o'er some warrior's half-forgotten grave, Where the grey stones and unmolested grass Ages, but not oblivion, feebly brave; While strangers only not regardless pass, Lingering like me, perchance, to gaze, and sigh "Alas!"
Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild;
Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled,
And still his honied wealth Hymettus yields;
There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain-air ;
Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare;
Art, glory, freedom fail, but nature still is fair.
Where'er we tread 't is haunted, holy ground; No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould, But one vast realm of wonder spreads around, And all the muse's tales seem truly told. Till the sense aches with gazing to behold The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon; Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold Defies the power which crush'd thy temples gone: Age shakes Athena's towers, but spares gray Marathon.
The sun, the soil, but not the slave, the same;
Unchanged in all except its foreign lord-
Preserves alike its bounds and boundless fame
The battle-field, where Persia's victim horde
First bowed beneath the brunt of Hellas' sword,
As on the morn to distant glory dear,
When Marathon became a magic word; 39
Which utter'd, to the hearer's eye appear
The camp, the host, the fight, the conqueror's career,
The flying Mede, his shaftless broken bow;
The fiery Greek, his red pursuing spear;
Mountains above, earth's, ocean's plain below;
Death in the front, destruction in the rear !
Such was the scene-what now remaineth here?
What sacred trophy marks the hallow'd ground,
Recording freedom's smile and Asia's tear?
The rifled urn, the violated mound,
The dust thy courser's hoof, rude stranger! spurns around.
Yet to the remnants of thy splendour past
Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied, throng;
Long shall the voyager, with the Ionian blast,
Hail the bright clime of battle and of song ;
Long shall thine annals and immortal tongue
Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore;
Boast of the aged! lesson of the young!
Which sages venerate and bards adore,
As Pallas and the muse unveil their awful lore.
The parted bosom clings to wonted home,
If aught that's kindred cheer the welcome hearth;
He that is lonely, hither let him roam,
And gaze complacent on congenial earth.
Greece is no lightsome land of social mirth ;
But he whom sadness sootheth may abide,
And scarce regret the region of his birth,
When wandering slow by Delphi's sacred side,
Or gazing o'er the plains where Greek and Persian died.
Let such approach this consecrated land,
And pass in peace along the magic waste;
But spare its relics-let no busy hand
Deface the scenes, already how defaced!
Not for such purpose were these altars placed :
Revere the remnants nations once revered :
So may our country's name be undisgraced,
So mayst thou prosper where thy youth was rear'd,
By every honest joy of love and life endear'd!
For thee, who thus in too protracted song
Hast soothed thine idlesse with inglorious lays,
Soon shall thy voice be lost amid the throng
Of louder minstrels in these later days:
To such resign the strife for fading bays—
such contest now the spirit move
Which heeds nor keen reproach nor partial praise;
Since cold each kinder heart that might approve,
And none are left to please when none are left to love.
Thou too art gone, thou loved and lovely one!
Whom youth and youth's affection bound to me;
Who did for me what none beside have done,
Nor shrank from one albeit unworthy thee.
What is my being? thou hast ceased to be!
Nor staid to welcome here thy wanderer home,
Who mourns o'er hours which we no more shall see
Would they had never been, or were to come!
Would he had ne'er return'd to find fresh cause to roam!
Oh! ever loving, lovely, and beloved!
How selfish sorrow ponders on the past,
And clings to thoughts now better far removed!
But time shall tear thy shadow from me last.
All thou couldst have of mine, stern Death! thou hast; The parent, friend, and now the more than friend : Ne'er yet for one thine arrows flew so fast, And grief with grief continuing still to blend, Hath snatch'd the little joy that life had yet to lend.