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LXXXIII. This must he feel, the true-born son of Greece, If Greece one true-born patriot still can boast : Not such as prate of war, but skulk in peace, The bondsman's peace, who sighs for all he lost, Yet with smooth smile his tyrant can accost, And wield the slavish sickle, not the sword: Ah! Greece! they love thee least who owe thee most ;
Their birth, their blood, and that sublime record Of hero sires, who shame thy now degenerate horde !
When riseth Lacedemon's hardihood,
When Thebes Epaminondas rears again,
When Athens' children are with hearts endued,
When Grecian mothers shall give birth to men,
Then may’st thou be restored; but not till then.
A thousand years scarce serve to form a state;
An hour may lay it in the dust: and when
Can man its shatter'd splendour renovate,
Recal its virtues back, and vanquish Time and Fate?
And yet how lovely in thine age of woe, ,
Land of lost gods and godlike men ! art thou !
Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow, ,
Proclaim thee Nature's varied favourite now:
Thy fanes, thy temples to thy surface bow,
Commingling slowly with heroic earth,
Broke by the share of every rustic plough:
So perish monuments of mortal birth,
So perish all in turn, save well-recorded Worth;
Save where some solitary column mourns
Above its prostrate brethren of the cave;
Save where Tritonia's airy shrine adorns
Colonna's cliff, and gleams along the wave;
Save o'er some warrior's half-forgotten grave,
Where the gray stones and unmolested grass
Ages, but not oblivion, feebly brave,
While strangers only not regardless pass,
Lingering like me, perchance, to gaze, and sigh“ Alas!”
Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild ;
Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled,
And still his honeyed wealth Hymettus yields ;
There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The free-born wanderer of thy mountain-air ;
Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendeli’s marbles glare ;
Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair.
Where'er we tread 'tis haunted, holy ground;
No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould,
But one vast realm of wonder spreads around,
And all the Muse's tales seem truly told,
Till the sense aches with gazing to behold
The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt
upon : Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold
Defies the power which crush'd thy temples gone : Age shakes Athena's tower, but spares gray Marathon.
The sun, the soil, but not the slave, the same;
Unchanged in all except its foreign lord-
Preserves alike its bounds and boundless fame
The Battle-field, where Persia's victim horde
First bow'd beneath the brunt of Hellas' sword,
As on the morn to distant Glory dear,
When Marathon became a magic word ;
Which utter'd, to the hearer's eye appear
The camp, the host, the fight, the conqueror's career,
The flying Mede, his shaftless broken bow;
The fiery Greek, his red pursuing spear ;
Mountains above, Earth’s, Ocean's plain below;
Death in the front, Destruction in the rear !
Such was the scene—what now remaineth here?
What sacred trophy marks the hallow'd ground,
Recording Freedom's smile and Asia's tear?
The rifled urn, the violated mound,
The dust thy courser's hoof, rude stranger! spurns around.
Yet to the remnants of thy splendour past
Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied, throng;
Long shall the voyager, with the Ionian blast,
Hail the bright clime of battle and of song;
Long shall thine annals and immortal tongue
Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore;
Boast of the aged ! lesson of the young !
Which sages venerate and bards adore,
As Pallas and the Muse unveil their awful lore.
The parted bosom clings to wonted home,
If aught that's kindred cheer the welcome hearth;
He that is lonely hither let him roam,
And gaze complacent on congenial earth.
Greece is no lightsome land of social mirth ;
But he whom Sadness sootheth may abide,
And scarce regret the region of his birth,
When wandering slow by Delphi's sacred side,
Or gazing o'er the plains where Greek and Persian died.
Let such approach this consecrated land,
And pass in peace along the magic waste ;
But spare its relics—let no busy hand
Deface the scenes, already how defaced !
Not for such purpose were these altars placed :
Revere the remnants nations once revered:
So may our country's name be undisgraced,
So mayst thou prosper where thy youth was rear'd, By every honest joy of love and life endear'd !