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THE SIEGE OF CORINTH.*

I.

and age,

Many a vanish'd year
And tempest's breath, and battle's rage,
Have swept o'er Corinth ; yet she stands,
A fortress form’d to Freedom's hands.
The whirlwind's wrath, the earthquake's shock,
Have left untouch'd her hoary rock,
The keystone of a land which still,
Though fall'n, looks proudly on that hill,
The land-mark to the double tide
That purpling rolls on either side,
As if their waters chafed to meet,
Yet
pause

and crouch beneath her feet.
But could the blood before her shed
Since first Timoleon's brother bled,
Or baffled Persia's despot fled,
Arise, from out the earth which drank
The stream of slaughter as it sank,
That sanguine ocean would o’erflow
Her isthmus idly spread below :
Or could the bones of all the slain,
Who perish'd there, be piled again,
That rival pyramid would rise
More mountain-like through those clear skies,
Than yon tower-capt Acropolis,
Which seems the very clouds to kiss.

II.

On dun Cithæron's ridge appears
The gleam of twice ten thousand spears ;

* In the Miscellaneous Poems, Vol. II. will be found lines intended for the opening of this Poem.

1

And downward to the Isthmian plain
From shore to shore of either main,
The tent is pitch'd, the crescent shines
Along the Moslem's leaguering lines ;
And the dusk Spahi’s bands advance
Beneath each bearded Pacha's glance ;
And far and wide as eye can reach,
The turban'd cohorts throng the beach;
And there the Arab's camel kneels,
And there his steed the Tartar wheels;
The Turcoman hath left his herd,"
The sabre round his loins to gird;
And there the volleying thunders pour,
Till grow

smoother to the roar.
The trench is dug, the cannon's breath
Wings the far-hissing globe of death ;
Fast whirl the fragments from the wall,
Which crumbles with the ponderous ball ;
And from that wall the foe replies,
O'er dusty plain and smoky skies,
With fires that answer fast and well
The summons of the Infidel.

waves

II.

But near, and nearest to the wall
Of those who wish and work its fall,
With deeper skill in war's black art
Than Othman's sons, and high of heart
As
any

chief that ever stood
Triumphant in the fields of blood;
From post to post, and deed to deed,
Fast spurring on his reeking steed,
Where sallying ranks the trench assail,
And make the foremost Moslem quail;
Or where the battery, guarded well,
Remains as yet impregnable,
Alighting cheerly to inspire
The soldier slackening in his fire:
The first and freshest of the host
Which Stamboul's sultan there can boast,
To guide the follower o'er the field,
To point the tube, the lance to wield,
Or whirl around the bickering blade,-
Was Alp, the Adrian renegade !

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IV.

From Venice-once a race of worth
His gentle sires—he drew his birth;

But late an exile from her shore,
Against his countrymen he bore
The arms they taught to bear; and now
The turban girt his shaven brow.
Through many a change had Corinth pass'd
With Greece to Venice' rule at last;
And here, before her walls, with those
To Greece and Venice equal foes,
He stood a foe, with all the zeal
Which

young and fiery converts feel,
Within whose heated bosom throngs
The memory of a thousand wrongs.
To him had Venice ceased to be
Her ancient civic boast—" the Free;"
And in the palace of St. Mark
Unnamed accusers in the dark
Within the “ Lion's Mouth” had placed
A charge against him uneffaced :
He fled in time, and saved his life,
To waste his future years in strife,
That taught his land how great her loss
In him who triumph'd o'er the Cross,
'Gainst which he rear'd the Crescent high,
And battled to avenge or die.

V.

Coumourgi-he whose

closing scene
Adorn'd the triumph of Eugene,
When on Carlowitz' bloody plain,
The last and mightiest of the slain,
He sank, regretting not to die,
But curst the Christians' victory-
Coumourgi—can his glory cease,
That latest conqueror of Greece,
Till Christian hands to Greece restore
The freedom Venice gave of yore?
A hundred years

have roll’d away Since he refix'd the Moslem's

sway ; And now he led the Mussulman, And

gave the guidance of the van
To Alp, who well repaid the trust
By cities levellid with the dust;
And proved, by many a deed of death,
How firm his heart in novel faith.

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VI.

The walls grew weak, and fast and hot
Against them pour'd the ceaseless shot,

With unabating fury sent
From battery to battlement;
And, thunder-like, the pealing din
Rose from each heated culverin;
And here and there some crackling dome
Was fired before the exploding bomb;
And as the fabric sank beneath
The shattering shell's volcanic breath,
In red and wreathing columns flash'd
The flame, as loud the ruin crash'd,
Or into countless meteors driven,
Its earth-stars melted into heaven;
Whose clouds that day grew doubly dun,
Impervious to the hidden sun,
With volumed smoke, that slowly grew
To one wide sky of sulphurous hue.

VII.

:

But not for vengeance, long delay'd,
Alone, did Alp, the renegade,
The Moslem warriors sternly teach
His skill to pierce the promised breach:
Within these walls a maid was pent
His hope would win, without consent
Of that inexorable sire,
Whose heart refused him in its ire,
When Alp, beneath his Christian name,
Her virgin hand aspired to claim.
In happier mood and earlier time,
While unimpeach'd for traitorous crime,
Gayest in gondola or hall,
He glitter'd through the Carnival,
And tuned the softest serenade
That e'er on Adria's waters play'd
At midnight to Italian maid.

VIII.

And many deem'd her heart was won;
For, sought by numbers, given to none,
Had
young

Francesca's hand remain'd
Still by the church's bonds unchain'd:
And when the Adriatic bore
Lanciotto to the Paynim shore,
Her wonted smiles were seen to fail,
And pensive wax'd the maid and pale;
More constant at confessional,
More rare at masque and festival :

:

Or seen at such, with downcast

eyes, Which conquer'd hearts they ceased to prize With listless looks she seems to gaze ; With humbler care her form arrays; Her voice less lively in the song; Her step, though light, less fleet

among The pairs, on whom the morning's glance Breaks, yet unsated with the dance.

IX.

Sent by the state to guard the land
(Which, wrested from the Moslem's hand,
While Sobieski tamed his pride
By Buda's wall and Danube's side,
The chiefs of Venice wrung away
From Patra to Eubæa's bay),
Minotti held in Corinth's towers
The Doge's delegated powers,
While yet the pitying eye of peace
Smiled o'er her long-forgotten Greece,
And, ere that faithless truce was broke
Which freed her from the unchristian yoke.
With him his gentle daughter came :
Nor there, since Menelaus' dame
Forsook her lord and land to prove
What woes await on lawless love,
Had fairer orm adorn'd the shore
Than she, the matchless stranger, bore.

X.

The wall is rent, the ruins yawn,
And, with to-morrow's earliest dawn,
O'er the disjointed mass shall vault
The foremost of the fierce assault.
The bands are rank'd; the chosen van
Of Tartar and of Mussulman,
The full of hope, misnamed “ forlorn,”
Who hold the thought of death in scorn,
And win their way with falchions' force,
Or
pave

the path with many a corse,
O’er which the following brave may rise,
Their stepping-stone--the last who dies !

XI.

'T is midnight, on the mountains brown
The cold round moon shines deeply down:
Blue roll the waters, blue the sky
Spreads like an ocean hung on high,

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