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And many a dew, and many a noxious damp,
The daily labor, and the nightly lamp,
Have reft away, forever reft, from hin,
The liquid accent, and the buoyant limb.
Yet still within him aspirations swell
Which time corrupts not, sorrow cannot quell:
The changeless Zeal, which on, from land to land,
Speeds the faint foot, and nerves the wither'd hand,
And the mild Charity, which day by day,
Weeps every wound and every stain away,
Rears the young bud on every blighted steni,
And longs to comfort, where she must condemn.
With these, through storms, and bitterness and wrath,
In peace and power he holds his onward path,
Curbs the fierce soul, and sheathes the murd’rous steel,
And calms the passions he hath ceased to feel.
Yes! he hath triumph'd !—while his lips relate
The sacred story of his Saviour's fate,
While to the search of that tumultuous horde
He opens wide the Everlasting Word,
And bids the soul drink deep of wisdom there,
In fond devotion, and in fervent prayer,
In speechless awe the wonder-stricken throng
Check their rude feasting and their barbarous song:
Around his steps the gathering myriads crowd,
The chief, the slave, the timid, and the proud ;
Of various features, and of various dress,
Like their own forest-leaves, confused and numberless.
Where shall your temples, where your worship be,
Gods of the air, and Rulers of the sea !
In the glad dawning of a kinder light,
Your blind adorer quits your gloomy rite,
And kneels in gladness on his native plain,
A happier votary at a holier fane.
Beautiful Land, farewell !—when toil and strife,
And all the sighs, and all the sins of life
Shall come about me, when the light of Truth
Shall scatter the bright mists that dazzled youth,
And Memory muse in sadness on the past,
And mourn for pleasure far too sweet to last;
How often shall I long for some green spot,
Where, not remembering, and remembered not
With no false verse to deck my lying bust,
With no fond tear to vex my mould'ring dust,
This busy brain may find its grassy shrine,
And sleep, untroubled, in a shade like thine!
“ High towers, faire temples, goodly theaters,
Strong walls, rich porches, princelie pallaces,
Large strectes, brave houses, sacred sepulche. s,
Sure gates, sweete gardens, stately galleries,
Wrought with fair pillours and fine imageries, -
All those (O pitie !) now are turned to dust,
And overgrowne with black oblivion's rust."
SPENSER, The Ruines of Time.
Muse of old Athens! strike thine ancient lute!
Are the strings broken ? is the music mute ?
Hast thou no tears to gush, no prayers to flow,
Wails for her fate, or curses for her foe ?
If still, within some dark and drear recess,
Clothed with sad pomp and spectral loveliness,
Though pale thy cheek, and torn thy flowing hair,
And reft the roses passion worshipp'd there,
Thou lingerest, lone, beneath thy laurel bough,
Glad in the incense of a poet's vow,
Bear me, oh, bear me, to the vine-clad hill,
Where nature smiles, and Beauty blushes still,
And Memory blends her tale of other years
With earnest hopes, deep sighs, and bitter tears!
* This Poem obtained the Chancellor's Medal at the Cambridge Commencement, July, 1824.
Desolate Athens! though thy gods are fled,
Thy temples silent, and thy glory dead,
Though all thou hadst of beautiful and brave
Sleep in the tomb, or moulder in the wave,
Though power and praise forsake thee and forget,
Desolate Athens, thou art lovely yet!
Around thy walls, in every wood and vale,
Thine own sweet bird, the lonely nightingale,
Still makes her home: and when the moonlight hour
Flings its soft magic over brake and bower,
Murmurs her sorrows from her ivy shrine,
Or the thick foliage of the deathless vine.
Where erst Megæra chose her fearful crowii,
The bright narcissus hangs his clusters down;
And the gay crocus decks with glittering dew
The yellow radiance of his golden hue.
Still thine own olive haunts its native earth,
Green as when Pallas smiled upon its birth;
And still Cephisus pours his sleepless tide,
So clear and calm, along the meadow side,
That you may gaze long hours upon the stream,
And dream at last the poet's witching dream,
That the sweet Muses, in the neighboring bowers,
Sweep their wild harps, and wreath their odorous flowers,
And laughing Venus o'er the level plains
Waves her light lash, and shakes her gilded reins.
How terrible is Time! his solemn years,
The tombs of all our hopes and all our fears,
în silent horror roll !—the gorgeous throne,
The pillar'd arch, the monumental stone,
Melt in swift ruin; and of mighty climes,
Where Fame told tales of virtues and of crimes,
Where Wisdom taught, and Valor woke to strife,
And Art's creations breathed their mimic life,
And the young Poet, when the stars shone high,
Drank the deep rapture of the quiet sky,
Naught now remains, but Nature's placid scene,
Heaven's deathless blue, and Earth's eternal green,
The showers that fall on palaces and graves,
The suns that shine for freemen and for slaves :
Science may sleep in ruin, man in shame,
But Nature lives, still lovely, still the same!
The rock, the river,—these have no decay!
The city and its masters, - where are they?
Go forth, and wander through the cold remains
Of fallen statues, and of tottering fanes,
Seek the loved haunts of poet and of sage
The gay palæstra, and the gaudy stage!
What sigus are there ? a solitary stone,
A shatter'd capital with grass o’ergrown,
A mouldering frieze, half hid in ancient dust,
A thistle springing o'er a nameless bust;-
Yet this was Athens! still a holy spell
Breathes in the dome, and wanders in the dell,
And vanish'd times and wondrous forms appear,
And sudden echoes charm the waking ear:
Decay itself is drest in glory's gloom,
For every hillock is a hero's tomb,
And every breeze to fancy's slumber brings
The mighty rushing of a spirit's wings.