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Of involuted periods; ye who love
Majestic Nature, and delight to trace
Her solitary steps amidst the wilds
Of rude magnificence, attend my song,
And I will lead you by a varied way 60
O'er riven rocks, that lean upon the breast
Of the dark billow, by the yawning gulph
Of hideous caverns, thro'the shade of woods,
And scenes immortalis'd in Grecian strains.
How bleak and vast these mountains overhang 6 5
Wave their dun foliage on his rugged banks,
Strew'd o'er with juniper, and wither'd leaves,
Seems blasted by no mortal tread. The clouds,
Ting'd by the ruddy glare of ev'ning, cast
Their dusky shadows far into the vale,
Or from the purple peak of mountain cliff,
Rolling in floods of vapour, wave o'er wave
Fall heavily; beneath their lurid shroud
The lake of Acherusia slumbers, veil'd
With stern incumbent horrors, melting now
Into impervious shade, and now illum'd
By a broad gleam of liquid radiance
Shot from the op'ning skies. This is the place
Sung by the ancient masters of the lyre,
Where disembodied spirits, ere they left
Their earthly mansions, linger'd for a time
Upon the confines of eternal night,
Mourning their doom; and oft th' astonish'd hind,
As home he journey'd at the fall of eve,
View'd unknown forms flitting across his path,
And in the breeze that wav'd the sighing boughs,
Heard shrieks of woe; the Spirit that delights
To rack the heart with terror's fiercest pangs
E'en yet survives, and with the satellites 100
Of Tyranny encircled, jays to hear
The cries of grief deep-sounding o'er the lake.
Hark! from yon bastion'd tow rs, whose shadows lie On the smooth water, shrill discordant notes From trumpet and from attahal proclaim 105 The hour of audience. The Seraglio's court, Late silent, lest the busy tread might break The Tyrant's slumbers, echoes now with hum Of moving vassals; e'en the drowsy guard, Who at the gateway, stretch'd upon his mat, 110 Nods o'er his long chibouque,1 awak'ning starts, And rolls his heavy eyes, then sleeps again. In strange and motley garb the varied groupes Mingle together; to the loud guitar The Arnaut2 sings his mountain tale, and charms 11 5 His long-hair'd comrades with the martial notes. Beneath yon palm the white-rob'd Dervisch tells His beads of amber, tranquil, undisturb'd, Though close beside him a vocif'rous Greek, With shrug and leer, and hands to Heav'n uprais'd, 120 1 (Chibouque.) Long Turkish pipe. * (Arnaut.) Albanian soldier.
Clamours aloud. The grave and solemn Turk
Seems not to view the passing scene, intent
Upon the nice adjustment of his beard,
Or breathing forth from nostril, ear, and mouth
The fragrant cloud, in silent ecstasy. 125
Loud clattering hoofs ring in the portal's arch——
A Tatar3 comes—dusty and faint, he spurs
Once more his jaded steed, then springs to earth,
And plucks the fatal firman from his breast,
Mandate of death; th' appalled multitude ISO
Read its dire purport in his gloomy brow
And harden'd visage. Wild and uncouth forms
Crowd round yon door; Bostandjis,* Thocadars,6
Spahis,6 and fur-capp'd Greeks, expecting wait
Until the Tcaouch7 with his silver wand 13 5
3 (Tatar.) The couriers of the Porte, and of the different Pachas. They are distinguished by a high black cap, surmounted by a yellow pad.
4 (Bostandjis.) Literally gardeners. They are a kind of body guard to the Grand Seignor, and are I believe sent on messages of trust to the provinces. I met a party of them near Larissa.
5 (Thocadars.) Attendants who walk on foot by the side of the Grand Seignor's or Vizir's horse.
6 (Spahis.) Turkish cavalry.
r (Tcaouch.) The officer who introduces to an audience. He carries in his hand a short wand, adorned at the top with silver chains and bells.
Waves the red curtain,8 and admits the crowd.
The trembling slaves, with heads low bending down,
And hands across their bosoms laid, approach
The low divan, where, underneath his sword,
Ali reposes: white upon his vest, 140
Spangled with gems, his beard descends, and smiles
Play on those lips which breathe but to destroy.
Despot of Greece! who here hast fix'd thy throne,
Raise tributary songs of servile praise
To blast the germs of science and of art? 150
No—she shall ne'er degrade her sacred trust;
But from the view of thy barbaric pomp,
Thy baths, thy harems, and thy palaces,
Thy painted kiosks, and thy orange groves,
She turns indignant to the bleeding form 155
8 In Turkey a curtain, generally of red cloth, is suspended over the door of the chamber.