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I love the fair face of the maid in her youth,
Her caresses shall lull me, her music shall sooth;
Let her bring from the chamber her many-toned lyre,
And sing us a song on the fall of her sire.
Remember the moment when Previsa fell,
The shrieks of the conquer'd, the conquerors' yell;
The roofs that we fired, and the plunder we shared,
The wealthy we slaughter’d, the lovely we spared.
I talk not of mercy, I talk not of fear;
He neither must know who would serve the Vizier :
Since the days of our prophet the Crescent ne'er saw
A chief ever glorious like Ali Pashaw.
Dark Muchtar his son to the Danube is sped,
Let the yellow-hair’d* Giaourst view his horse-tail | with dread;
When his Delhisą come dashing in blood o'er the banks,
How few shall escape from the Muscovite ranks !
Selictar! || unsheath then our chief's scimitar :
Tambourgi! thy 'larum gives promise of war.
Ye mountains, that see us descend to the shore,
Shall view as victors, or view us no more!
Fair Greece! sad relic of departed worth !
Immortal, though no more ; though fallen, great!
Who now shall lead thy scatter'd children forth,
And long accustom’d bondage uncreate ?
Not such thy sons who whilome did await,
The hopeless warriors of a willing doom,
In bleak Thermopylæ’s sepulchral strait-
Oh! who that gallant spirit shall resume,
Leap from Eurotas' banks, and call thee from the tomb?
Spirit of freedom! when on Phyle's brow
Thou sat’st with Thrasybulus and his train,
Couldst thou forebode the dismal hour which now
Dims the green beauties of thine Attic plain?
Not thirty tyrants now enforce the chain,
But every carle can lord it o’er thy land;
Nor rise thy sons, but idly rail in vain,
Trembling beneath the scourge of Turkish hand,
From birth till death enslaved; in word, in deed unmann'd.
In all save form alone, how changed! and who
That marks the fire still sparkling in each eye,
Who but would deem their bosoms burn'd anew
With thy unquenched beam, lost Liberty !
And many dream withal the hour is nigh
That gives them back their fathers' heritage:
For foreign arms and aid they fondly sigh,
Nor solely dare encounter hostile rage,
Or tear their name defiled from Slavery's mournful page.
Hereditary bondsmen! know ye not
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?
By their right arms the conquest must be wrought ?
Will Gaul or Muscovite redress ye? no !
True, they may lay your proud despoilers low,
But not for you will Freedom's altars flame.
Shades of the Helots ! triumph o'er your foe!
Greece! change thy lords, thy state is still the same;
Thy glorious day is o'er, but not thine years of shame.
The city won for Allah from the Giaour,
The Giaour from Othman's race again may wrest :
And the Serai's impenetrable tower
Receive the fiery Frank, her former guest ;
Or Wahab's rebel brood who dared divest
The prophet's tomb of all its pious spoil,
May wind their path of blood along the West ;
But ne'er will Freedom seek this fated soil,
But slave succeed to slave through years of endless toil.
Yet mark their mirth-ere lenten days begin,
That penance which their holy rites prepare
To shrive from man his weight of mortal sin,
By daily abstinence and nightly prayer ;
But ere his sackcloth garb Repentance wear,
Some days of joyaunce are decreed to all,
To take of pleasaunce each his secret share,
In motley robe to dance at masking ball,
And join the mimic train of merry Carnival.
And whose more rife with merriment than thine,
O Stamboul ! once the empress of their reign?
Though turbans now pollute Sophia's shrine,
And Greece her very altars eyes in vain :
(Alas ! her woes will still pervade my strain !)
Gay were her minstrels once, for free her throng,
All felt the common joy they now must feign,
Nor oft I've seen such sight, nor heard such song,
As woo'd the eye, and thrill’d the Bosphorus along.
Loud was the lightsome tumult of the shore,
Oft Music changed, but never ceased her tone,
And timely echo'd back the measured oar,
And rippling waters made a pleasant moan :
The Queen of tides on high consenting shone,
And when a transient breeze swept o’er the wave,
'Twas, as if darting from her heavenly: throne,
A brighter glance her form reflected gave,
Till sparkling billows seem’d to light the banks they lave.
Glanced many a light caique along the foam,
Danced on the shore the daughters of the land,
Ne thought had man or maid of rest or home,
While many a languid eye and thrilling hand
Exchanged the look few bosoms may withstand,
Or gently prest, return’d the pressure still:
Oh Love ! young Love! bound in thy rosy band,
sage or cynic prattle as he will, These hours, and only these, redeem Life's years of ill !
But, midst the throng in merry masquerade,
Lurk there no hearts that throb with secret pain,
Even through the closest searment half betray'd ?
To such the gentle murmurs of the main
Seem to re-echo all they mourn in vain ;
To such the gladness of the gamesome crowd
Is source of wayward thought and stern disdain :
How do they loathe the laughter idly loud,
And long to change the robe of revel for the shroud !