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No breath of air to break 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.
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 crystal 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 oler 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, unchilled 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 ;
And grateful yields that smiling sky
Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh.
And 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 a 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,
Aud turn to groans his roundelay.
Strange-that where Nature loved to trace,
As if for Gods, a dwelling-place,
And every charm and grace
Within the paradise she fixed,
There man, enamoured of distress,
Should mar it into wilderness,"
And trample, brute-like, o'er each flower
That tasks not one laborious hour; for
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 prevailed
Against the seraphs they assailed,
And, fixed on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The frecd inheritors of hell ;
So soft the scene, so förmed 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 marked 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, wios not, weeps not, now,
And but for that chill changeless brow,
Where cold obstruction's apathy 4
Appals the gazing mourner's hearl,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells
Yes, but for these and these alone,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power ;
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,
The first, last look by death revealed ! 5
Such is the aspect of this shore;
"Tis Greece, but liviug 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 cherished 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
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 bis sons a hope, a fame,
They too will rather die than shame :
For Freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son,