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CIUL DE II AROLD'S

PILGRIMAGE.

CANTO THE SECOND,

CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.

CANTO THE SECOND.

I.

COME, blue-eyed maid of heaven !- but thou, alas !
Didst never yet one mortal song inspire –
Goddess of Wisdom! here thy temple was,
And is, despite of war and wasting fire, (')
And years, that bade thy worship to expire :
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. (*)

(1) Part of tho Acropolis was destroyed by the explosion of a magazine during the Venetian siege.

(2) Wo can all feel, or imagine, the regret with which the ruins of cities, onco the capitals of empires, are beheld: the reflections suggested by such objects are too triie 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 tho struggles of orators, the exallation 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. “Tho 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 ; but how are the mighty fallen, when two painters contest the privilege of plundering the Parthenon, and triumph in turn, according to tho tenor of each succeeding firman! Sylla could but punish, Philip. subduo, and Xerxes burn Athens; but it remained for the paltry antiquarian, and his despicable agents, to render her contemptible as himself and his pursuits.' The Parthenon, before its destruction in part, by firo during the Venetian siege, had been a templo, a church, and a • mosque. In each point of view it is an object of regard : it changed its worshippers; but still it was a piace of worship thrice sacred to devotion : its violation is a triplo sacrilege. But

“ Man, vain man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep."

II.

Ancient of days! august Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul ?
Gone - glimmering through the dream of things that wero :
First in the race that led to Glory's goal,
They won, and pass'd away is this the whole 3
A schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour!
The warrior's weapon and the sophist's stole

Are sought in vain, and o'er each mouldering tower,
Dim with the mist of years, gray flits the shade of power.

JII.

Son of the morning, rise! approach you here !
Come — but molest not yon defenceless urn :
Look on this spot-

a nat a's sepulchre !
Abode of gods, whose shrines no longer burn.
Even gods must yield — religions take their turn :
'Twas Jove's — 'tis Mahomet's — and other creeds
Will rise with other years, till man shall lea.n

Vainly his incense soars, his victim bleeds
Poor child of Doubt and Death, whose hope is built on reeds.

;

IV.

Bound to the earth, he lists his eye to heaven
Is't not enough, unhappy thing ! to know
Thou art ? Is this a boon so kindly given,
That being, thou would'st be again, and go,
Thou know'st not, reck'st not to what region, so
On earth no more, but mingled with the skies ?
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe?
Regard and weigh yon dust before it flies :
That little urn saith more than thousand homilies.

;

Or burst the vanish'd Hero's lofty mound
Far on the solitary shore he sleeps: (")
He fell, and falling nations mourn'd around ;
But now not one of saddening thousands weops,
Nor warlike-worshipper his vigil keeps

(1) It was not always the custom of the Greeks to burn their dead; the greater Ajax, in particular, was interred entire. Almost all the chiefs became gods after their decease; and he was indeed neglected, who had not annual games near his tomb, or festivals in honour of his memory by his countrymen, as Achilles, Brasıdas, &c. and at last even Antinous, whose death was as heroic as his life was infamous.

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