Slike strani

Hung tyranny; beneath, sat deified The sister pest, congregator of slaves;

Into the shadow of her pinions wide, Anarchs and priests who feed on gold and blood Till with the stain their inmost souls are dyed, Drove the astonished herds of men from every side.


The nodding promontories, and blue isles,

And cloud-like mountains, and dividuous waves Of Greece, basked glorious in the open smiles Of favouring heaven; from their enchanted caves Prophetic echoes flung dim melody

On the unapprehensive wild.

The vine, the corn, the olive mild, Grew, savage yet, to human use unreconciled; And like unfolded flowers beneath the sea,

Like the man's thought dark in the infant's brain,

Like aught that is which wraps what is to be, Art's deathless dreams lay veiled by many a vein

Of Parian stone; and, yet a speechless child,
Verse murmured, and Philosophy did strain
Her lidless eyes for thee; when o'er the
Ægean main


Athens arose ; a city such as vision

Builds from the purple crags and silver towers Of battlemented cloud, as in derision

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Of kingliest masonry: the ocean floors
Pave it; the evening sky pavilions it;
Its portals are inhabited

By thunder-zoned winds, each head
Within its cloudy wings with sun-fire garianded,
A divine work! Athens diviner yet

Gleamed with its crest of columns, on the will

Of man, as on a mount of diamond, set;

For thou wert, and thine all-creative skill Peopled, with forms that mock the eternal dead In marble immortality, that hill

Which was thine earliest throne and latest oracle.

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Within the surface of Time's fleeting river
Its wrinkled image lies, as then it lay
Immovably unquiet, and for ever

It trembles, but it cannot pass away!
The voices of thy bards and sages thunder
With an earth-awakening blast
Through the caverns of the past ;
Religion veils her eyes; Oppression shrinks

A winged sound of joy, and love, and wonder,
Which soars where Expectation never flew
Rending the veil of space and time asunder!

One ocean feeds the clouds, and streams,
and dew;

One sun illumines heaven; one spirit vast

With life and love makes chaos ever new, As Athens doth the world with thy delight



Then Rome was, and from thy deep bosom fairest,

Like a wolf-cub from a Cadmean Mænad,* She drew the milk of greatness, though thy dearest From that Elysian food was yet unweaned; And many a deed of terrible uprightness

By thy sweet love was sanctified; And in thy smile, and by thy side, Saintly Camillus lived, and firm Atilius died. But when tears stained thy robe of vestal whiteness,

And gold profaned thy Capitolian throne, Thou didst desert, with spirit-winged lightness, The senate of the tyrants: they sunk prone Slaves of one tyrant. Palatinus sighed

Faint echoes of Ionian song; that tone
Thou didst delay to hear, lamenting to disown.


From what Hyrcanian glen or frozen hill,
Or piny promontory of the Arctic main,
Dr utmost islet inaccessible,

Didst thou lament the ruin of thy reign, Teaching the woods and waves, and desert rocks,

*See the Bacchæ of Euripides.

Naiad's ice-cold urn,

To talk in echoes sad and stern,

Of that sublimest lore which man had dared un-

For neither didst thou watch the wizard flocks Of the Scald's dreams, nor haunt the Druid's sleep.

What if the tears rained through thy shattered locks

Were quickly dried? for thou didst groan,

not weep,

When from its sea of death to kill and burn,
The Galilean serpent forth did creep,

And made thy world an undistinguishable heap.


A thousand years the Earth cried, Where art thou?

And then the shadow of thy coming fell On Saxon Alfred's olive-cinctured brow:

And many a warrior-peopled citadel,
Like rocks, which fire lifts out of the flat deep,
Arose in sacred Italy,

Frowning o'er the tempestuous sea

Of kings, and priests, and slaves, in tower-crowned

majesty ;

That multitudinous anarchy did sweep

And burst around their walls like idle foam, Whilst from the human spirit's deepest deep, Strange melody with love and awe struck


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Dissonant arms; and Art which cannot die, With divine want traced on our earthly home Fit imagery to pave heaven's everlasting dome.


Thou huntress swifter than the Moon! thou terror Of the world's wolves! thou bearer of the quiver,

Whose sun-like shafts pierce tempest-winged Error,

As light may pierce the clouds when they dis


In the calm regions of the orient day!

Luther caught thy wakening glance: Like lightning from his leaden lance Reflected, it dissolved the visions of the trance In which, as in a tomb, the nations lay;

And England's prophets hailed thee as their queen,

In songs whose music cannot pass away, Though it must flow for ever: not unseen Before the spirit-sighted countenance

Of Milton didst thou pass, from the sad scene Beyond whose night he saw, with a dejected mien.


The eager hours and unreluctant years

As on a dawn-illumined mountain stood, Trampling to silence their loud hopes and fears, Darkening each other with their multitude,

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