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But most the modern Pict's ignoble boast,
To rive what Goth, and Turk, and time hath spared:
Cold as the crags upon his native coast,
His mind as barren and his heart as hard,
Is he whose head conceived, whose hand prepared,
Aught to displace Athena's
Her sons too weak the sacred shrine to guard,
Yet felt some portion of their mother's pains,
And never knew, till then, the weight of despot's chains.
What! shall it e'er be said by British tongue,
Albion was happy in Athena's tears?
Though in thy name the slaves her bosom wrung,
Tell not the deed to blushing Europe's ears;
The ocean queen, the free Britannia bears
The last poor plunder from a bleeding land :
Yes, she, whose generous aid her name endears,
Tore down those remnants with a harpy's hand,
Which envious Eld forebore, and tyrants left to stand.
Where was thine ægis, Pallas ! that appallid
Stern Alaric and havoc on their way? 8
Where Peleus' son ? whom hell in vain enthrallid,
His shade from Hades upon that dread day
Bursting to light in terrible array!
What! could not Pluto spare the chief once more,
To scare a second robber from his prey ?
Idly he wander'd on the Stygian shore,
Nor now preserved the walls he loved to shield before.
Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o'er the dust they loved ;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best behoved
To guard those relics ne'er to be restored.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
And snatch'd thy shrinking gods to northern climes abhorr'd!
But where is Harold ? shall I then forget
urge the gloomy wanderer o'er the wave ?
Little reck'd he of all that men regret :
No loved-one now in feign'd lament could rave;
No friend the parting hand extended gave,
Ere the cold stranger pass'd to other climes :
Hard is his heart whom charms may not enslave;
But Harold felt not as in other times,
And left without a sigh the land of war and crimes.
He that has sail'd upon the dark blue sea
Has view'd at times, I ween, a full fair sight;
When the fresh breeze is fair as breeze may be,
The white sail set, the gallant frigate tight;
Mast, spires, and strand retiring to the right,
The glorious main expanding o'er the bow,
The convoy spread like wild swans in their flight,
The dullest sailer wearing bravely now,
So gaily curl the waves before each dashing prow.
And oh, the little warlike world within !
The well-reeved guns, the netted canopy,
The hoarse command, the busy humming din,
When, at a word, the tops are mann'd on high:
Hark to the boatswain's call, the cheering cry!
While through the seaman's hand the tackle glides :
Or schoolboy midshipman that, standing by,
Strains his shrill pipe as good or ill betides,
And well the docile crew that skilful urchin guides.
White is the glassy deck, without a stain,
Where on the watch the staid lieutenant walks:
Look on that part which sacred doth remain
For the lone chieftain, who majestic stalks,
Silent and fear'd by all-not oft he talks
With aught beneath him, if he would preserve
That strict restraint, which broken, ever balks
Conquest and fame : but Britons rarely swerve
From law, however stern, which tends their strength to nerve.
Blow! swiftly blow, thou keel-compelling gale !
Till the broad sun withdraws his lessening ray ;
Then must the pennant-bearer slacken sail,
That lagging barks may make their lazy way.
Ah! grievance sore, and listless dull delay,
To waste on sluggish hulks the sweetest breeze !
What leagues are lost before the dawn of day,
Thus loitering pensive on the willing seas,
The flapping sail haul'd down to halt for logs like these !
The moon is up; by Heaven a lovely eve!
Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand;
Now lads on shore may sigh, and maids believe :
Such be our fate when we return to land !
Meantime some rude Arion's restless hand
Wakes the brisk harmony that sailors love ;
A circle there of merry listeners stand,
Or to some well-known measure featly move, Thoughtless, as if on shore they still were free to rove.
Through Calpe’s straits survey the steepy shore;
Europe and Afric on each other gaze!
Lands of the dark-eyed maid and dusky Moor
Alike beheld beneath pale Hecate's blaze:
How softly on the Spanish shore she plays,
Disclosing rock, and slope, and forest brown,
Distinct, though darkening with her waning phase ;
But Mauritania's giant-shadows frown,
From mountain-cliff to coast descending sombre down.
'T is night, when meditation bids us feel
We once have loved, though love is at an end :
The heart, lone mourner of its baffled zeal,
Though friendless now, will dream it had a friend.
Who with the weight of years would wish to bend,
When youth itself survives young love and joy?
Alas! when mingling souls forget to blend,
Death hath but little left him to destroy!
Ah! happy years! once more, who would not be a boy?
Thus bending o'er the vessel's laving side,
To gaze on Dian's wave-reflected sphere,
The soul forgets her schemes of hope and pride,
And flies' unconscious o'er each backward year.
None are so desolate but something dear,
Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd
A thought, and claims the homage of a tear;
A flashing pang! of which the
breast Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean-
This is not solitude; 't is but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unroll’d.
But ’midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless ;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
More blest the life of godly eremite,
Such as on lonely Athos
Watching at eve upon the giant height,
Which looks o'er waves so blue, skies so serene,
That he who there at such an hour hath been
Will wistful linger on that hallow'd spot ;
Then slowly tear him from the 'witching scene,
Sigh forth one wish that such had been his lot,
Then turn to hate a world he had almost forgot.
Pass we the long, unvarying course, the track
Oft trod, that never leaves a trace behind;
Pass we the calm, the gale, the change, the tack,
And each well-known caprice of wave and wind;
Pass we the joys and sorrows sailors find,
Coop'd in their winged sea-girt citadel;
The foul, the fair, the contrary, the kind,
As breezes rise and fall and billows swell,
Till on some jocund morn-lo, land! and all is well.
But not in silence pass Calypso’s isles, "o
The sister tenants of the middle deep;
There for the weary still a haven smiles,
Though the fair goddess long hath ceased to weep,
And o'er her cliffs a fruitless watch to keep
For him who dared prefer a mortal bride :
Here, too, his boy essay'd the dreadful leap
Stern Mentor urged from high to yonder tide; '
While, thus of both bereft, the nymph-queen doubly sigh'd.
Her reign is past, her gentle glories gone;
But trust not this; too easy youth, beware!
A mortal sovereign holds her dangerous throne,
And thou mayst find a new Calypso there.
Sweet Florence! could another ever share
This wayward, loveless heart, it would be thine :
But check'd by every tie, I may not dare
To cast a worthless offering at thy shrine,
Nor ask so dear a breast to feel one pang for mine.
Thus Harold deem'd, as on that lady's eye
He look’d, and met its beam without a thought,
Save admiration glancing harmless by:
Love kept aloof, albeit not far remote,
Who knew his votary often lost and canght,
But knew him as his worshipper no more,
And ne'er again the boy bis bosom sought:
Since now he vainly urged him to adore,
Well deem'd the little god his ancient sway was o'er.