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Come, blue-eyed maid of heaven! but thou, alas!
Didst never yet one mortal song inspire
Goddess of Wisdom! here thy temple was,
And is, despite of war and wasting fire,
And years, that bade thy worship to expire :
But worse than steel, and flame, and ages slow,
Is the dread sceptre and dominion dire
Of men who never felt the sacred glow
That thoughts of thee and thine on polished breasts bestow.
Ancient of days! august Athena ! wbere,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul ?
Gone--glimmering through the dream of things that were :
First in the race that led to Glory's goal,
They won, and passed away—is this the whole ?
A school-boy's tale, the wonder of an hour!
The warrior's weapon and the sophist's stole
Are sought in vain, and o’er each mouldering tower, Dim with the mist of years, grey flits the shade of power.
Son of the morning, rise! approach you here!
Come-but molest not yon defenceless ura :
Look on this spot-a nation's sepulchre!
Abode of gods, whose shrines no longer burn.
Even gods must yield—religions take their turn :
'Twas Jove's~ 'tis Mahomet's—and other creeds,
Will rise with other years, till man shall learn
Vainly his incense soars, bis victim bleeds ;
Poor child of Doubt and Death, whose hope is built on reeds.
Bound to the earth, he lifts his eye to heaven-
Is't not enough, unhappy thing! to know
Thou art? Is this a boon so kindly given,
That being, thou would'st be again, and go,
Thou know’st not, reck’st not to what region, so
On earth no more, but mingled with the skies?
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe?
Regard and weigh yon dust before it flies :
That little urn saith more than thousand homilies.
Or burst the vanished' Hero's lofty mound;
Far on the solitary shore be sleeps :
He fell, and falling nations mourned around;
But now not one of saddening thousands weeps,
Nor warlike-worshipper his vigil keeps
Where demi-gods appeared, as records tell.
Remove yon skull from out the scattered heaps :
Is that a temple where a God may dwell?
Why ev'n the worm at last disdains her shattered cell!
Look on its broken arch, its ruined wall,
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul :
Yes, this was once Ambition's airy hall,
The dome of Thought, the palace of the Soul :
Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
The gay recess of Wisdom and of Wit,
And passion's host, that never brooked control :
Can all, saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?
Well didst thou speak, Athena's wisest son!
« All that we know is, nothing can be known. »
Why should we sbrink from what we cannot shun?
Each has his pang, but feeble sufferers groan
With brain-born dreams of evil all their own.
Pursue what Chance or Fate proclaimeth best ;
Peace waits us on the shores of Acheron :
There no forced banquet claims the sated guest,
But Silence spreads the conch of ever welcome rest.
Yet if, as holiest men have deemed, there be,
A land of souls beyond that sable shore,
To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee
And sophists, madly vain of dubious lore;
How sweet it were in concert to adore
With those who made our mortal labours light!
To hear each voice we feared to hear no more!
Behold each mighty sbade revealed to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right!
There, thou ! - whose love and life together fled,
Have left me here to love and live in vain-
Twined with my heart, and can I deem thee dead,
When busy Memory flashes on my brain?
Well, I will dream that we may meet again,
And woo the vision to my vacant breast :
If aught of young remembrance then remain,
Be as it may futurity's behest,
For me 'twere bliss enough to know thy spirit blest!
Here let me sit upon this massy stone,
The marble column's yet unshaken base;
Here, son of Saturn! was thy fav’rite throne :
Mightiest of many such! Hence let me trace .
?'he latent grandeur of thy dwelling place.
It may not be : nor cv'n can Fancy's eye
Restore what Time hath laboured to deface.
Yet these proud pillars claim no passing sigh; Unmoyed the Moslem sits, the light Greek carols by.
But who, of all the plunderers of yon fane
On high, where Pallas lingered, loth to flee
The latest relic of her ancient reign;
The last, the worst, dull spoiler, who was he?
Blush , Caledonia ! such thy son could be!
England! I joy no child he was of thine :
Thy free-born men should spare what once was free
Yet they could violate each saddening shrine,
And bear these altars o'er the long-reluctant brine.
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 be whose head conceived, whose hand prepared,
Aught to displace Athena's poor remains :
Her sons too weak the sacred shrine to guard,
Yet felt some portion of their mother's pains,
And never kņew, till then, the weight of Despot's chains.
XIII. 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, shę, whose gen'rous aid her name endears,
Tore down those remnants with a Harpy's hand, Which envious Eld forbore, and tyrants left to stand.
XIV. Where was thine Ægis, Pallas! that appalled Stern Alaric and Havoc on their way? Where Peleus' son? whom Hell in vain enthralled, 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 wandered on the Stygian shore, Nor now preserved the walls he loved to shield before.