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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 weeps,
Nor warlike-worshipper his vigil keeps
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 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?
VII. 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 has 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 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 remain,
Be as it may Futurity's behest,
For me 'twere 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;
Unmoved 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 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,
id 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 :
Her 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.
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 generous 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 appallid
Stern Alaric and Havoc on their way?
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 ;
Dull 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 hapless bosom gored,
And snatch'd thy shrinking Gods 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;
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 may be,
The white sail set, the gallant frigate tight;
Masts, spires, and strand retiring to the right,
The glorious main expanding o'er the bow,
he convoy spread like wild swans in their flight,
The dullest sailer wearing bravely now,
So gaily curl the waves before each dashing prow.