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Where demi-gods appear'd, as records tell.
Remove yon skull from out the scatter'd heaps :
Is that a temple where a God may
Why ev'n the worm at last disdains her shatter'd cell !
Look on its broken arch, its ruin'd wall,
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul :
Yes, this was once Ambition's airy hall,
The dome of Thought, the palace of the Soul :
Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
The gay recess of Wisdom and of Wit
And Passion's host, that never brook'd control:
Can all saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?
Well didst thou speak, Athena's wisest son!
“ All that we know is, nothing can be known.”
Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun?
Each hath his pang, but feeble sufferers groan
With brain-born dreams of evil all their own.
Pursue what Chance or Fate proclaimeth best;
Peace waits us on the shores of Acheron :
There no forced banquet claims the sated guest,
But Silence spreads the couch of ever welcome rest.
Yet if, as holiest men have deem'd, there be
A land of souls beyond that sable shore,
To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee
And sophists, madly vain of dubious lore ;
How sweet it were in concert to adore
With those who made our mortal labours light !
To hear each voice we fear'd to hear no more!
Behold each mighty shade reveald to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right !
There, thou! — whose love and life together fled,
Have left me here to love and live in vain -
Twined with my heart, and can I deem thee dead
When busy Memory flashes on my brain ?
Well - I will dream that we may meet again,
And woo the vision to my vacant breast :
If aught of young Remembrance then remuin,
Be as it may Futurity's behest,
For me 'twere bliss enough to know thy spirit blest !
Ilere let me sit upon this massy stone,
The marble column's yet unshaken base;
Here, son of Saturn ! was thy fav’rite throne : (")
Mightiest of many such! Hence let me trace
The latent grandeur of thy dwelling-place.
It may not be : nor ev'n can Fancy's eye
Restore what Time hath labour'd to deface.
Yet these proud pillars claim no passing sigh;
Unmoved the Moslem sits, the light Greek carols by.
But who, of all the plunderers of yon fane
On high, where Pallas linger’d, loath to floo
The latest relic of her ancient reign ;
The last, the worst, dull spoiler, who was he ?
Blush, Caledonia ! such thy son could be !
England ! I joy no child he was of thine :
Thy free-born men should spare what once was free,
Yet they could violate each saddening shrine,
And bear these altars o'er the long-reluctant brine. (*)
But most the modern Pict's ignoble boast,
To rive what Goth, and Turk, and Time hath spared ; (*)
Cold as the crags upon his native coast,
His mind as barren and his heart as hard,
Is he whose head conceived, whose hand prepared,
Aught to displace Athena's poor remains
Iler sons too weak the sacred shrine to guard,
Yet felt some portion of their mother's pains, (*)
And never knew, till then, the weight of Despot's chains.
(1) The temple of Jupiter Olympius, of which sixteen columns, entirely of marble, yet survive : originally there were 150. These columns, however, are by ma. ny supposed to belong to the Pantheon.
(2) The ship was wrecked in the Archipelago. (3) Seo Appendix to this Canto (A), for a note too long to be placed hero. (4) I cannot resist availing myself of the permission of my friend Dr. Clarke, whose name requires no comment with the public, but whose sanction will add tena fold weight to niy testimony, to insert the following extract from a very obliging leto ter of his to me, as a note to the above lines. " When the last of the Metopes w 19 taken from the Parthenon; and, in moving of it, great part of the superstructure with
What! shall it e'er be said by British tongue,
Albion was happy in Athena's tears ?
Though in thy name the slaves her bosom wrung,
Tell not the deed to blushing Europe's ears ;
The ocean queen, the free Britannia, bears
The last poor plunder from a bleeding land:
Yes, she, whose gen'rous aid her name endears,
Tore down those remnants with a harpy's hand,
Which envious Eld forbore, and tyrants left to stand.
Where was thine Ægis, Pallas ! that appall’d
Stern Alaric and Havoc on their way? (TM)
Where Peleus' son? whom Hell in vain enthrall'd,
His shade from Hades upon that dread day
Bursting to light in terrible array!
What! could not Pluto spare the chief once more,
To scare a second robber from his prey ?
Idly he wander'd on the Stygian shore,
Nor now preserved the walls he loved to shield before.
Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o'er the dust they loved ;
I)ull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best behoved
To guard those relics ne'er to be restored.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy haploss bosom gored,
And snatch'd thy shrinking Guds to northern climes abhorr'd!
But where is Harold ? shall I then forget
To urge the gloomy wanderer o'er the wave ?
Little reck'd he of all that men regret;
one of the triglyphs was thrown down by the workmen whom Lord E.gin employed, the Disdar, who beheld the mischief done to the building, took his pipe from his mouth, dropped a tear, and, in a supplicating tono of voice, said to Lusieri, Tos! - I was present.” The Disdar alluded to was the father of the present Disdar.
(1) According to Zosimus, Minerva and Achilles frightened Alaric from the Acropolis ; but others relate that the Gothic king was nearly as mischievous as the Scottish poor. Sce ChandLER.
No loved-one now in feign'd lament could rave;
No friend the parting hand extended gave,
Ere the cold stranger pass'd to other climes :
Hard is his heart whom charms may not enslave ;
But Harold felt not as in other times,
And left without a sigh the land of war and crimes.
He that has sail'd upon the dark blue sea,
Has view'd at times, I ween, a full fair sight ;
When the fresh breeze is fair as breeze
The white sail set, the gallant frigate tight;
Masts, spires, and strand retiring to the right,
The glorious main expanding o'er the bow,
The convoy spread like wild swans in their flight,
The dullest sailor wearing bravely now,
So gaily curl the waves before each dashing prow.
And oh, the little warlike world within !
The well-reeved guns, the netted canopy, (')
The hoarse command, the busy humming din,
When, at a word, the tops are mann'd on high :
Hark to the Boatswain's call, the cheering cry!
While through the seaman's hand the tackle glides ;
Or schoolboy Midshipman that, standing by,
Strains his shrill pipe as good or ill betides,
And well the docile crew that skilful urchin guides.
White is the glassy deck, without a stain,
Where on the watch the staid Lieutenant walks :
Look on that part which sacred doth remain
For the lone chieftain, who majestic stalks,
Silent and fear'd by all - not oft he talks
With aught beneath him, if he would preservo
That strict restraint, which broken, ever balks
Conquest and Fame : but Britons rarely swerve
From law, however stern, which tends their strength to nerve.
(1) The netting to prevent blocks or splinters from falling on deck during ac
Blow! swiftly blow, thou keel-compelling gale!
Till the broad sun withdraws his lessening ray;
Then must the pennant-bearer slacken sail,
That lagging barks may make their lazy way.
Ah! grievance sore, and listless dull delay,
To waste on sluggish hulks the sweetest breeze !
What leagues are lost, before the dawn of day,
Thus loitering pensive on the willing seas,
The flapping sail hauld down to halt for logs like these !
The moon is up; by Heaven, a lovely eve!
Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand;
Now lads on shore may sigh, and maids believe :
Such be our fate when we return to land !
Meantime some rude Arion's restless hand
Wakes the brisk harmony that sailors love;
A circle there of merry listeners stand,
Or to some well-known measure featly move, Thoughtless, as if on shore they still were free to rove.
Through Calpe's straits survey the steepy shore ;
Europe and Afric on each other gaze !
Lands of the dark-eyed Maid and dusky Moor
Alike beheld beneath pale Hecato's blaze :
How softly on the Spanish shore she plays,
Disclosing rock, and slope, and forest brown,
Distinct, though darkening with her waning phase ;
But Mauritania's giant-shadows frown,
From mountain-cliff to coast descending sombre dowu
'Tis night, when Meditation bids us feel
We once have loved, though love is at an end :
The heart, lone mourner of its baffled zeal,
Though friendless noiv, will dream it had a friend.
Who with the weight of years would wish to bend,
When Youth itself survives young Love and Joy?
Alas! when mingling souls forget to blend,
Death hath but little left him to destroy !
An! happy years! once more who would not be a boy!