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That only heaven to which earth's children may aspire. GOD! was thy globe ordain'd for such to win and lose?
'T was on a Grecian autumn's gentle eve
Childe Harold hail'd Leucadia's cape afar:
A spot he long'd to see, nor cared to leave :
Oft did he mark the scenes of vanish'd war,
Actium, Lepanto, fatal Trafalgar ;13
Mark them unmoved, for he would not delight
(Born beneath some remote inglorious star)
In themes of bloody fray, or gallant fight,
From the dark barriers of that rugged clime,
Even to the centre of Illyria's vales,
Childe Harold pass'd o'er many a mount sublime,
Through lands scarce noticed in historic tales;
Yet in famed Attica such lovely dales
Are rarely seen; nor can fair Tempe boast
A charm they know not; loved Parnassus fails,
Though classic ground and consecrated most,
But loathed the bravo's trade, and laugh'd at martial To match some spots that lurk within this lowering coast.
Monastic Zitza! 30 from thy shady brow,
Thou small, but favour'd spot of holy ground!
Where'er we gaze, around, above, below,
What rainbow tints, what magic charms are found!
Rock, river, forest, mountain all abound,
And bluest skies that harmonize the whole:
Amidst the grove that crowns yon tufted hill,
Which, were it not for many a mountain nigh
Rising in lofty ranks, and loftier still,
Might well itself be deem'd of dignity,
The convent's white walls glisten fair on high:
Here dwells the caloyer," nor rude is he,
Nor niggard of his cheer; the passer by
Is welcome still; nor heedless will he flee
From hence, if he delight kind nature's sheen to see.
Here in the sultriest season let him rest,
Fresh is the green beneath those aged trees;
Here winds of gentlest wing will fan his breast,
From heaven itself he may inhale the breeze:
The plain is far beneath-oh! let him seize
Pure pleasure while he can; the scorching ray
Here pierceth not, impregnate with disease:
Then let his length the loitering pilgrim lay,
And gaze, untired, the morn, the noon, the eve away.
Epirus' bounds recede, and mountains fail;
Tired of up-gazing still, the wearied eye
Reposes gladly on as smooth a vale
As ever spring yclad in
Even on a plain no humble beauties lie,
Where some bold river breaks the long expanse,
And woods along the banks are waving high,
Whose shadows in the glassy waters dance,
Beneath, the distant torrent's rushing sound
Tells where the volumed cataract doth roll
Between those hanging rocks, that shock yet please the Or with the moon-beams sleep in midnight's solemn
Dusky and huge, enlarging on the sight,
Nature's volcanic amphitheatre, 22
Chimera's Alps extend from left to right:
Beneath, a living valley seems to stir;
Flocks play, trees wave, streams flow, the mountain fir
Nodding above: behold black Acheron! 23
Once consecrated to the sepulchre.
Oh! where, Dodona! is thine aged grove,
Prophetic fount, and oracle divine?
What valley echoed the response of Jove?
What trace remaineth of the Thunderer's shrine?
All, all forgotten-and shall man repine
That his frail bonds to fleeting life are broke?
Cease, fool! the fate of gods may well be thine:
Wouldst thou survive the marble or the oak?
Ne city's towers pollute the lovely view;
Unseen is Yanina, though not remote,
Veild by the screen of hills! here men are few,
Scanty the hamlet, rare the lonely cot;
But, peering down each precipice, the goat
Browseth: and, pensive o'er his scatter'd flock,
The little shepherd in his white capote 24
Doth lean his boyish form along the rock,
Or in his cave awaits the tempest's short-lived shock.
When nations, tongues, and worlds must sink beneath the stroke!
Richly caparison'd, a ready row
Of armed horse, and many a warlike store
Circled the wide-extending court below:
Above, strange groups adorn'd the corridor;
And oft-times through the Area's echoing door
Some high-capp'd Tartar spurr'd his steed away:
The Turk, the Greek, the Albanian, and the Moor,
Here mingled in their many-hued array,
Pluto! if this be hell I look upon,
Close shamed Elysium's gates, my shade shall seek for While the deep war-drum's sound announced the close
The sun had sunk behind vast Tomerit, 25
And Laos wide and fierce came roaring by; 26
The shades of wonted night were gathering yet,
When, down the steep banks winding warily,
Childe Harold saw, like meteors in the sky,
The glittering minarets of Tepalen,
Whose walls o'erlook the stream; and drawing nigh,
He heard the busy hum of warrior-men
Swelling the breeze that sigh'd along the length'ning glen.
He pass'd the sacred haram's silent tower,
And, underneath the wide o'erarching gate,
Survey'd the dwelling of this chief of power,
Where all around proclaim'd his high estate.
Amidst no common pomp the despot sate,
While busy preparations shook the court,
Slaves, eunuchs, soldiers, guests, and santons wait;
Within, a palace, and without, a fort:
Here men of every clime appear to make resort.
The wild Albanian kirtled to his knee,
With shawl-girt head and ornamented gup,
And gold-embroider'd garments, fair to see;
The crimson-scarfed men of Macedon;
The Delhi with his cap of terror on,
And crooked glaive; the lively, supple Greek;
And swarthy Nubia's mutilated son;
The bearded Turk, that rarely deigns to speak,
Master of all around, too potent to be meek,
Are mix'd conspicuous: some recline in groups,
Scanning the motley scene that varies round;
There some grave Moslem to devotion stoops,
And some that smoke, and some that play, are found;
Here the Albanian proudly treads the ground;
Half whispering there the Greek is heard to prate;
Hark! from the mosque the nightly solemn sound,
The Muezzin's call doth shake the minaret,
Fierce are Albania's children, yet they lack
Not virtues, were those virtues more mature.
Where is the foe that ever saw their back?
Who can so well the toil of war endure?
Their native fastnesses not more secure
Than they in doubtful time of troublous need:
Their wrath how deadly! but their friendship sure,
When gratitude or valour bids them bleed,
<<There is no god but God!—to prayer-lo! God is great!»> Unshaken rushing on where'er their chief may lead.
The deeds that lurk beneath, and stain him with disgrace. Doth lesson happier men, and shames at least the bad.
And pleasure, leagued with pomp, the zest of both For many a joy could he from night's soft presence glean.
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?
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!
Till sparkling billows seem'd to light the banks they lave. Lingering like me, perchance, to gaze, and sigh « Alas!»
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, Let sage or cynic prattle as he will
These hours, and only these redeem life's years of ill!
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 honied wealth Ilymettus yields;
There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The freeborn 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.