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LXXXVI. Save where some solitary column mourns Above its prostrate brethren of the cave; 38 Save where Tritonia's airy shrine adorns Colonna's cliff, and gleams along the wavc; Save o'er some warrior's half forgotten grave, Where the gray stones and unmolested grass Ages, but not oblivion, feebly brave, While strangers only not regardless pass, Lingering like me, perchance, to gaze, and sigh
LXXXVII. Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild; Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fiel 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.
LXXXVIII. Where'er we tread 'tis 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 tower, but spares gray Ma.
LXXXIX. The sun, the soil, but not the slave, the same: Unchanged in all except its foreign lordPreserves alike its bounds and boundless fame The Battle-field, where Persia's victim horde First bow'd 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,
xc. 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
XCI. Yet to the remnants of thy splendour past Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied throng; Long shall the voyager, with th' 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.
XCII. 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 Per.
XCIII. 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:
| ACI. 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 Ill may 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
xcv. Thou too art gone, thou loved and lovely one! Whom youth and youth's affections 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
seeWould they had never been, or were to come! Would he had ne'er return'd to find fresh cause
to roam !
XCVI. 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
XCVII. Then must I plunge again into the crowd, And follow all that Peace disdains to seek ? Where Revel calls, and Laughter, vainly loud, False to the heart, distorts the hollow cheek, To leave the flagging spirit doubly weak; Still o'er the features, which perforce they cheer, To feign the pleasure or conceal the pique; Smiles form the channel of a future tear, Or raise the writhing lip with ill-dissembled sneer.
XCVIII. What is the worst of woes that wait on age ? What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow? To view each loved one blotted from life's page, And be alone on earth, as I am now. Before the Chastener humbly let me bow, O'er hearts divided and o'er hopes destroy'd: Roll on, vain days! full reckless may ye flow,
Since time hath reft whate'er my soul enjoy'd, And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloy'd.
NOTES TO CANTO II.
- despite of war and wasting fire
Stanza i. line 4. Part of the Acropolis was destroyed by the explosion of a magazine during the Venetian siege.
2. But worse than steel and flame, and ages slow, Is the dread sceptre and dominion dire Of men who never felt the sacred glow That thoughts of thee and thine on polish'd breasts bestow.
Stanza i. line 6. We can all feel, or imagine, the regret with which the ruins of cities, once the capitals of empi. res, are beheld; the reflections suggested by such objects are too trite to require recapitulation. But never did the littleness of man, and the vanity of his very best virtues of patriotism to exalt, and of valour to defend his country, appear more conspicuous than in the record of what Athens was, and the certainty of what she now is. This theatre of contention between mighty factions, of the struggles of orators, the exaltation and deposition of tyrants, the triumph and punishment of generals, is now become a scene of petty intrigue and perpetual disturbance, between the bickering agents of certain British nobility and gentry. «The wild foxes, the owls and serpents in the ruins of Babylon, were surely less degrading than such inhabitants. The Turks have the plea of conquest for their tyranny, and the Greeks have only suffered the fortune of war, incidental to the bravest;