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So fair, so calm, so softly seald,
The first, last look by death reveald !
Such is the aspect of this shore;
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath ;
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb,
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of Feeling past away!
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth!
Clime of the unforgotten brave!
Whose land from plain to mountain-cave
Was Freedom's home or Glory's grave!
Shrine of the mighty ! can it be,
That this is all remains of thee?
Approach, thou craven crouching slave :
Say, is not this Thermopylæ ?
These waters blue that round you lave,
Oh servile offspring of the free,
Pronounce what sea, what shore is this?
The gulf, the rock of Salamis !
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Arise, and make again your own;
Snatch from the ashes of your sires
The embers of their former fires ;
And he who in the strife expires
Will add to theirs a name of fear
That Tyranny shall quake to hear,
And leave his sons a hope, a fame,
They too wlll rather die than shame :
For Freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeath'd by bleeding Sire to Son,
Though baffled oft is ever won.
Bear witness, Greece, thy living page!
Attest it many a deathless age !
While kings, in dusty darkness hid,
Have left a nameless pyramid,
Thy heroes, though the general doom
Hath swept the column from their tomb,
A mightier monument command,
The mountains of their native land !
There points thy Muse to stranger's eye
The graves of those that cannot die !
'Twere long to tell, and sad to trace,
Each step from splendour to disgrace;
Enough—no foreign foe could quell
Thy soul, till from itself it fell;
Yes! Self-abasement paved the way
To villain-bonds and despot sway.
279. THE FLIGHT OF THE GIAOUR. On-on he hasten'd, and he drew My gaze of wonder as he flew : Though like a demon of the night He pass'd, and vanish'd from my sight, His aspect and his air impress'd A troubled memory on my breast, And long upon my startled ear Rung his dark courser's hoofs of fear. He spurs his steed; he nears the steep, That, jutting, shadows o'er the deep; He winds around; he hurries by ; The rock relieves him from mine eye; For well I ween unwelcome he Whose glance is fix'd on those that flee; And not a star but shines too bright On him who takes such timeless flight. He wound along ; but ere he pass'd One glance he snatch'd, as if his last, A moment check’d his wheeling steed, A moment breathed him from his speed, A moment on his stirrup stoodWhy looks he o'er the olive wood ?
He stood—some dread was on his face, Soon Hatred settled in its place : It rose not with the reddening flush Of transient Anger's hasty blush, But pale as marble o'er the tomb, Whose ghastly whiteness aids its gloom. His brow was bent, his eye was glazed ; He raised his arm, and fiercely raised,
And sternly shook his hand on high,
As doubting to return or fly;
Impatient of his flight delay'd,
Here loud his raven charger neighd-
Down glanced that hand, and grasp'd his blade ;
That sound had burst his waking dream,
As Slumber starts at owlet's scream.
The spur hath lanced his courser's sides ;
Away, away, for life he rides.
'Twas but an instant he restrain'd
That fiery barb so sternly rein'd;
'Twas but a moment that he stood,
Then sped as if by death pursued ;
But in that instant o'er his soul
Winters of Memory seem'd to roll,
And gather in that drop of time
A life of pain, an age of crime.
O'er him who loves, or hates, or fears,
Such moment pours the grief of years :
What felt he then, at once opprest
By all that most distracts the breast ?
That pause, which ponder'd o'er his fate,
Oh, who its dreary length shall date !
Though in Time's record nearly nought,
It was Eternity to Thought!
FROM THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.'
280. THE CLIME OF THE EAST. Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime ? Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime ! Know ye the land of the cedar and vine, Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine ; Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppress’d with perfume, Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gúl' in her bloom ; Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, And the voice of the nightingale never is mute : Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, In colour though varied, in beauty may vie, And the purple of ocean is deepest in dye;
Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,
And all, save the spirit of man, is divine ?
'Tis the clime of the East ; 'tis the land of the Sun-
Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done?
Oh! wild as the accents of lovers' farewell
Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell.
One bound he made, and gain'd the sand :
Already at his feet hath sunk
The foremost of the prying band,
A gasping head, a quivering trunk :
Another falls—but round him close
A swarming circle of his foes ;
From right to left his path he cleft,
And almost met the meeting wave :
His boat appears—not five oars' length-
His comrades strain with desperate strength-
Oh! are they yet in time to save ?
His feet the foremost breakers lave;
His band are plunging in the bay,
Their sabres glitter through the spray;
Wet-wild-unwearied to the strand
They struggle—now they touch the land !
They come—'tis but to add to slaughter-
His heart's best blood is on the water.
Escaped from shot, unharm'd by steel,
Or scarcely grazed its force to feel,
Had Selim won, betray'd, beset,
To where the strand and billows met;
There as his last step left the land,
And the last death-blow dealt his hand-
Ah! wherefore did he turn to look
For her his eye but sought in vain?
That pause, that fatal gaze he took,
Hath doom'd his death, or fix'd his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain,
How late will Lover's hope remain !
His back was to the dashing spray ;
Behind, but close, his comrades lay,
When, at the instant, hiss'd the ball-
“ So may the foes of Giaffir fall !”
Whose voice is heard ? whose carbine rang ?
Whose bullet through the night-air sang,
Too nearly, deadly aim'd to err?
'Tis thine-Abdallah's Murderer!
The father slowly rued thy hate,
The son hath found a quicker fate :
Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling,
The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling-
If aught his lips essay'd to groan,
The rushing billows choked the tone !
Morn slowly rolls the clouds away ;
Few trophies of the fight are there :
The shouts that shook the midnight-bay
Are silent; but some signs of fray
That strand of strife may bear,
And fragments of each shiver'd brand ;
Steps stamp'd; and dash'd into the sand
The print of many a struggling hand
May there be mark'd; nor far remote
A broken torch, an oarless boat; And tangled on the weeds that heap The beach where shelving to the deep
There lies a white capote !1
'Tis rent in twain-one dark-red stain
The wave yet ripples o'er in vain :
But where is he who wore ?
Ye! who would o'er his relics weep,
Go, seek them where the surges sweep
Their burthen round Sigæum's steep
And cast on Lemnos' shoře:
The sea-birds shriek above the prey,
O'er which their hungry beaks delay,
As shaken on his restless pillow,
His head heaves with the heaving billow;
That hand, whose motion is not life,
Yet feebly seems to menace strife,
Flung by the tossing tide on high,
Then levelld with the wave-
What recks it, though that corse shall lie
Within a living grave ?
The bird that tears that prostrate form
Hath only robb’d the meaner worm ;
1 A capote is an Albanese cloak,