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A FRAGMENT OF A TURKISH TALE.
No breath of air now breaks the wave
That rolls below the Athenian's grave,
That tomb * which, gleaming o'er the cliff,
First greets the homeward-veering skiff,
High o'er the land he saved in vain
When shall such hero live again?
Fair clime! where every season smiles
Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
Which seen from far Colonna's height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
And lend to loneliness delight.
* A tomb above the rocks on the promonitory, by some supposed the sepulchre of Themistocles.
There mildly dimpling-Ocean's cheek
Reflects the tints of many a peak
Caught by the laughing tides that lave
These Edens of the eastern wave;
And if at times a transient breeze
Break the blue chrystal of the seas,
Or sweep one blossom from the trees,
How welcome is each gentle air,
That wakes and wafts the odours there!
For there—the Rose o'er crag or vale,
Sultana of the Nightingale *,
The maid for whom his melody
His thousand songs are heard on high,
Blooms blushing to her lover's tale;
His queen, the garden queen, his Rose,
Unbent by winds, unchilld by snows,
Far from the winters of the west
By every breeze and season blest,
Returns the sweets by nature given
In softest incense back to heaven;
* The attachment of the nightingale to the rose is a well-known Persian fable if I mistake not, the “ Bulbul of a thousand tales" is one of his appellations.
And grateful yields that smiling sky
Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh.
many a summer flower is there,
And many a shade that love might share,
And many a grotto, meant for rest,
That holds the pirate for its guest;
Whose bark in sheltering cove below
Lurks for the passing peaceful prow,
Till the gay mariner's guitar *
Is heard, and seen the evening star,
Then stealing with the muffled oar,
Far shaded by the rocky shore,
Rush the night-prowlers on the prey,
And turn to groans his roundelay.
Strange—that where Nature lov'd to trace,
As if for Gods, a dwelling-place,
And every charm and grace hath mixed
Within the paradise she fixed
There man, enamour'd of distress,
Should mar it into wilderness,
* The guitar is the constant amusement of the Greek sailor by night, with a steady fair wind, and during a calm, it is accompanied always by the voice, and often by dancing.
And trample, brute-like, o’er each flower
That tasks not one laborious hour;
Nor claims the culture of his hand
To bloom along the fairy land,
But springs as to preclude his care,
And sweetly woos him—but to spare!
Strange—that where all is
There passion riots in her pride,
And lust and rapine wildly reign
To darken o'er the fair domain.
It is as though the fiends prevailid
Against the seraphs they assail'd,
And fixed, on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The freed inheritors of hell
So soft the scene, so form’d for joy,
So curst the tyrants that destroy!
He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Ere the first day of death is fled;
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress ;
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,)
And mark'd the mild angelic air-
The rapture of repose that's there
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek,
And—but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not--wins not--weeps not-now
And but for that chill changeless brow,
Where cold Obstruction's apathy *
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon-
Yes—but for these and these alone,
Some moments—aye-one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power,
So fair-so calm--so softly seal'd
The first-last look-by death revealdt!
* “ Aye, but to die and go we know not where,
“ To lie in cold obstruction.”
Measure for Measure, Act III. 130. Sc. 2, f I trust that few of my readers have ever had an opportun of witnessing what is here attempted in description, but those who have will probably retain a painful remembrance of that singular beauty which pervades, with few exceptions, the features of the dead, a few hours, and but for a few hours after “ the spirit is not there." It is to be re