« ForrigeFortsett »
Son of the morning, rise! approach you here!
Come—but molest not yon defenceless urn:
Look on this spot-a nation's sepulchre !
Abode of gods, whose shrines no longer burn.
Even gods must yield-religions take their turn :
'Twas Jove's—'t is Mahomet's—and other creeds
Will rise with other years, till man shall learn
Vainly his incense soars, his victim bleeds ;
Poor child of Doubt and Death, whose hope is built on
Bound to the earth, he lifts 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 banish'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 weeps,
Nor warlike-worshipper his vigil keeps
Where demi-gods appear’d, as records tell.
skull from out the scatter'd heaps : Is that a temple where a God may dwell ? Why even 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 reveal’d to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right!
There, thou !-whose love and life together fied,
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 remain,
Be as it may Futurity's behest,
For me 't were bliss enough to know thy spirit blest !
Here 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 even can Fancy's eye
Restore what Time hath labour'd to deface.
Yet these proud pillars claim no passing sigh; l'nmoved the Moslem sits, the light Greek carols by.
But who, of all the plunderers of yon fane
On high, where Pallas linger'd, loth to flee
The latest relic of her ancient reign ;
The latest, 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.