Page images


Introduction.—Marathon—Tomb of the Athenians—Voyage by Sunium and iEgina to Nauplia—Tiryns and Argos—Mycenae—Arcadia—A ruined Temple—Story of Alexi and Teresa—The Vintage—Arcadian Shepherd's Cottage — Laconia — Sparta—Maina — Course of the River Alpheus— Olympia—Influence of the Olympic Games on the Arts — Xenophon's Retirement at Scilluns—Coast of Achaia—Corinth—Probable future Condition of Greece—Conclusion.



Remorseless Time! thy dark and baleful glance

Blasts the fair works of man: the marble arch

Of Triumph shrinks beneath thy pond'rous step:

Thy giant arm o'erturns the temple's shaft

From off its ruiu'd base, and crushes down 5

The massy architrave upon the dust.

Art yields her richest treasures to thy grasp;

But where the mind has conquer'd, and the breast

Of Valour shed his blood in Virtue's cause,

Thy pow'r prevails not, and thy blasts which rock 10

The shatter'd column lightly kiss the flow'rs

Which deck the hero's grave. Say not he dies,

The warrior, who in battle's foremost ranks,

Bearing defiance on his crested brow,

Falls where he rais'd his shield-encircled arm 15

To save his country; say not that when age

Has levell'd low the mound which guards his bones,

He lacks a sepulchre; or that his name

Sinks in oblivion when the verse which told

His dauntless enterprise, effac'd and worn 20

From the frail tablet, speaks his deeds no more.

Fancy still points out to enquiring crowds

The ground on which he fell, and sings his dirge

With ev'ning melodies of whisp'ring breeze,

Or dashing wave; the whole earth is his tomb, 25

His epitaph the praises of good men.

So mus'd I as I pass'd along the plain Of Marathon, and press'd heroic dust. Ye, whom Imagination never fir'd,

Who never slumber'd by the mountain-stream 30 To some aerial harper's melodies;

Ye, round whose brows the Grecian Muse ne'er twin'd Her blooming wreaths of history or song,

Seek not these shores, nor with unhallow'd steps

Tread consecrated ground. Ye may repose 3 5

Upon this earthen tomb with blue-bells cloth'd;

The reedy marsh, the river's stony bed,

Yon trophied marble shrouded o'er with weeds,

The dark-blue sea, the distant azure isles,

And the empurpled mountain's cloud-wreath'd peak 40

May for a while attract you; but ye ne'er

Will view what he the child of Fancy views,

The iron throng of battle crowding close

You narrow vale, or with its bristling front

Of sword and spear, dun sweeping o'er the plain 45

Like the storm's shadow, 'midst a mangled heap

Of horse and horsemen, cars and blood-stain'd helms;

Ye will not see the Conqu'ror's arm entwin'd

In the long ringlets of his crouching foe,

Nor mingling warriors with protruded shields 50

Rang'd foot to foot around the hero's corpse;

Nor will ye pause at midnight's hour to hear

The neigh of steeds, and hum of fighting men.

Beneath this simple mound th' heroic few Are laid; that soil on which they plac'd 5 5 Their firm feet, link'd against th'■assaulting foe,

Covers them lightly, and their armour, bruis'd

By hostile lances in the bloody fight,

Spreads round their limbs the warrior's noblest shroud.

The peasant, as he drives at fall of eve 60

His flocks from pasture, lingers to behold

Their tomb, and venerates the magic pow'r

By which it rose; the seaman, when he guides

His bark along the whit'ning billows, furls

The sail, and points out to his crew its form 6 5

Tow'ring above the plain, and throwing far

Its dusky shadow; they with senseless gaze

Wonder and pass it by. Not so the man

Whom knowledge and reflection have illum'd;

He calls it Valour's altar; Freedom's shrine; 70

The rock which turn'd aside the vollied shafts

Of barb'rous rule; the barrier pil'd against

Destroying pow'r; the landmark whence the flood

That would have swept fair science from the earth,

Roll'd back its broken waves. * Illustrious dead! 7 5

'Who moulder here,' (he cries) 4 ye rush'd to save

'Genius, and Taste, and Fancy, when the host

« PreviousContinue »