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When Grecian mothers shall give birth to men, Then may'st thou be restored; but not till then. A thousand years scarce serve to form a state ; An hour may lay it in the dust: and when
Can man its shatter'd splendour renovate, Recall its virtues back, and vanquish Time and Fate?
LXXXV. And yet how lovely in thine age of wo, Land of lost gods and godlike men ! art thou! Thy vales of ever-green, thy hills of snow (37) Proclaim thee Nature's varied favourite now: Thy fanes, thy temples to thy surface bow, Commingling slowly with heroic earth, Broke by the share of every rustic plough:
So perish monuments of mortal birth, so perish all in turn, save well-recorded Worth ;
LXXXVI. Save where some solitary column mourns Above its prostrate brethren of the cave ; (38) Save where Tritonia's airy shrine adorns Colonna's cliff, and gleams along the wave; Save o'er some warrior's half-forgotten grave, Where the gray stones and unmolested grass Ages, but not oblivion, feebly brave,
While strangers only not regardless pass, Lingering like me, perchange, to gaze, and sigh
“ Alas !
LXXXVII. Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild ; Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields, Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smil'd, And still his honied wealth Hymettus yields; There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds, The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain-air ;
Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendeli’s marbles glare ; Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair,
LXXXVIII. Where'er we tread 'tis haunted, holy ground; No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould, But one vast realm of wonder spreads around, And all the Muse's tales seem truly told, Till the sense aches with gazing to behold The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon : Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold
Defies the power which crush'd thy temples gone; Age shakes Athena's tower, but spares gray Ma.
LXXXIX. The sun, the soil, but not the slave, the same; Unchang'd in all except its foreign lordPreserves alike its bounds, and boundless fame The Battle-field, where Persia's victim horde First bow'd beneath the brunt of Hella's sword, As on the morn to distant Glory dear, When Marathon became a magic word; (39)
Which utter'd, to the hearer's eye appear The camp, the host, the fight, the conqueror's career.
. XC. The Aying Mede, his shaftless broken bow; The fiery Greek, his red pursuing spear; Mountains above, Earth's, Ocean's plain below; Death in the front, Destruction in the rear! Such was the scene-what now remaineth here? What sacred trophy marks the hallow'd ground, Recording Freedom's smile and Asia's tear?
The rifled urn, the violated mound, The dust thy courser's hoof, rude stranger! spurns
XCI. Yet to the remnants of thy splendour past Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied throng ; Long shall the voyager, with th' Ionian blast, Hail the bright clime of battle and of song; Long shall thine annals and immortal tongue Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore ; Boast of the aged ! lesson of the young ! Which sages venerate and bards adore, As Pallas and the Muse unveil their awful lore.
The parted bosom clings to wonted home,
XCIII. Let such approach this consecrated land, And pass in peace along the magic waste: But spare its relics-let no busy hand Deface the scenes, already how defaced ! Not for such purpose were these altars placed : Revere the remnants nations once rever'd : So may our country's name be undisgraced, So mayʻst thou prosper where thy youth was
rear'd, By every honest joy of love and life endear'd!
• thou hast;
And grief with grief continuing still to blend, Hath snatch'd the little joy that life had yet to lend,
XCVII. Then must I plunge again into the crowd, And follow all that Peace disdains to seek ? Where Revel calls, and Laughter, vaivly loud, False to the heart, distorts the hollow cheek, To leave the flagging spirit doubly weak; Still 'o'er the features, which perforce they
cheer, I'o feign the pleasure or conceal the pique ;
Smiles form the channel of a future tear, Or raise the writhing lip with ill-dissembled sneer.
XCVIII. What is the worst of woes that wait on age ? What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow ? To view each loved one blotted from life's page, And be alone on earth, as I am now. Before the Chastener humbly let me bow, O'er hearts divided and o'er hopes destroy'd : Roll on, vain days ! full reckless may ye flow,
Since Time hath reft whate'er my soul enjoy'd, And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloy'd.
END OF CANTO II,