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THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar :
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, 'and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean — roll !
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain ;
Man marks the earth with ruin - his control
Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin'd, and unknown.
His steps are not upon thy paths — thy fields
Are not a spoil for him thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his Gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth : there let him lay.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The Oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts : not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests: in all time,
Calm or convulsed in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving; — boundless, endless, and sublime —
The image of Eternity — the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made ; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wanton'd with thy breakers they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror — 'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane as I do here.
My task is done — my song hath ceased
Has died into an echo; it is fit
The spell should break of this protracted dream.
The torch shall be extinguish'd which hath lit
My midnight lamp — and what is writ is writ
Would it were worthier! but I am not now
That which I have been — and my visions Ait
Less palpably before me — - and the glow
Which in my spirit dwelt is fluttering, faint, and low.
Farewell ! a word that must be, and hath been
A sound which makes us linger; — yet farewell !
Ye! who have traced the Pilgrim to the scene
Which is his last, if in your memories dwell
A thought which once was his,
on ye swell
A single recollection, not in vain
He wore his sandal-shoon and scallop-shell ;
Farewell ! with him alone may rest the pain,
If such there were — with you, the moral of his strain.
The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phæbus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.
The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse ;
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires' “ Islands of the Blest.”
The mountains look on Marathon
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream'd that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persians' grave,
I could not deem myself a slave
A king sat on the rocky brow
Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis ;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,
And men in nations ; — all were his !
He counted them at break of day –
And when the sun set, where were they?
And where are they? and where art thou,
My country? On thy voiceless shore The heroic lay is tuneless now
The heroic bosom beats no more! And must thy lyre, so long divine, Degenerate into hands like mine?
'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,
Though link'd among a fetter'd race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush - for Greece a tear.
Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
Must we but blush? — Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylæ !
What, silent still? and silent all ?
Ah! no; — the voices of the dead
Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
· Let one living head, But one arise, - we come, we come!” 'Tis but the living who are dumb.
In vain — in vain ; strike other chords ;
Fill high the cup with Samian wine !
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
And shed the blood of Scio's vine!
Hark! rising to the ignoble call
How answers each bold Bacchanal !
You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone? Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one? You have the letters Cadmus gave – Think ye he meant them for a slave?
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !
We will not think of themes like these ;
It made Anacreon's song divine :
He served - but served Polycrates
A tyrant; but our masters then
Were still, at least, our countrymen.