Page images

For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering, scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery ; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects-saw, and shrieked, and died
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean, all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless, lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal ; as they dropped
They slept on the abyss without a surge-
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon their mistress had expired before ;

And the clouds perished; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them-She was the universe.


The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strewn.

For the angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed on the face of the foe as he passed ;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride :
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are laid in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal ;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord !


Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle

Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime, Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,

Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime ? Know ye the land of the cedar and vine, Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine; Where the light wings of Zephyr,oppressed with perfume,, Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gúl in her bloom ; Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, And the voice of the nightingale never is mute ; Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, In colour though varied, in beauty may vie, And the purple of ocean is deepest in die; Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,

'Tis the clime of the East ; 'tis the land of the Sun
Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done?
Oh! wild as the accents of lovers' farewell,
Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which


The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece !

Where burning Sappho loved and sung, Where grew the arts of war and peace

Where Delos rose, and Phæbus sprungi

But all, except their sun, is set.

The Scian and the Teian muse,

The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse;

Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires' Islands of the Blest.'

And Marathon looks on the sea; And musing there an hour alone,

I dreamt that Greece migalt still be free; For, standing on the Persians' grave, I could not deem myself a slave,

A king sate on the rocky brow,

Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis ; And ships by thousands lay below,

And men in nations; all were his ! He counted them at break of dayAnd when the sun set, where were they?

And where are they ? and where art thou,

My country ? On thy voiceless shore The heroic lay is tuneless now

And must thy lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine ?

'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,

Though linked among a fettered race, To feel at least a patriot's shame,

Even as I sing suffuse my face; For what is left the poet here? For Greeks a blush--for Greece a tear.

Must we but weep o'er days more blest?

Must we but blush ?-Our fathers bled. Earth! render back from out thy breast

A remnant of our Spartan dead! Of the three hundred grant but three, To make a new Thermopylæ !

What, silent still ? and silent all ?'

Ah! no ;-the voices of the dead Sound like a distant torrent's fali,

And answer, “ Let one living head,-. But one arise--we come, we come!" 'Tis but the living who are dumh.

« PreviousContinue »