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And mark'd the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fix'd 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, ay, 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 reveal'd!
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 pass'd 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 will rather die than shame: For Freedom's battle once begun, Bequeath'd by bleeding Sire to Son, Though bafiled 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.
FROM THE DRAMA OF MANFRED.
MANFRED speaks. The stars are forth, the moon above the tops Of the snow-shining mountains. Beautiful! I linger yet with Nature, for the Night Hath been to me a more familiar face Than that of man; and in her starry shade Of dim and solitary loveliness, I learn’d the language of another world. I do remember me, that in my youth, When I was wandering,-upon such a night I stood within the Coliseum's wall, 'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome; The trees which grew along the broken arches Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar The watch-dog bay'd beyond the Tiber; and
More near from out the Cæsars' palace came
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
Appear'd to skirt the horizon, yet they stood
Within a bowshot. Where the Cæsars dwelt,
And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
A grove which springs through levellid battlements,
And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,
Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth;
But the gladiators' bloody Circus stands,
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection,
While Cæsar's chambers, and the Augustan halls,
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.
And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
Which soften'd down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and fill'd up,
As't were anew,
Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old, -
The dead but sceptred sovereigns, who still rulu
Our spirits from their urns.
PEROY BYSSHE SHELLEY. Born 1792; Died 1822.
Ill-usage at school developed in Shelley the first seeds of that
hatred of society and its institutions which is visible through-
out all his poetry. He became the apostle of revolution in
religion and philosophy; and the more he fell under the bane
of society, the fiercer became his protest against it. His poetry bears the impress of his own nature in its intensity
of feeling, its wealth of imagination, and the sublimity of its thought.
To A SKYLARK.
Hail, to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart.
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightening,
Thou dost float and run ;
Like an unbodied Joy whose race is just begun,