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276. THE ISLES OF GREECE. The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung, Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phæbus sprung!
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Their place of birth alone is mute
The mountains look on Marathon
And Marathon looks on the sea; And musing there an hour alone,
I dreamed that Greece might still be free; For standing on the Persians' grave, I could not deem myself a slave.
A king sate on the rocky brow
Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
And men in nations; - all were his !
And where are they? and where art thou,
My country? On thy voiceless shore The heroic lay is tuneless now —
The heroic bosom beats no more! And must thy lyre, so long divine, Degenerate into hands like mine?
'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,
Though linked among a fettered race,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
Must we but blush? Our fathers bled. Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead !
On my arrival at Venice, in the year 1816, I found my mind in a state which required study, and study of a nature which should leave iittle scope for the imagination, and furnish some difficulty in the pursuit.
At this period I was much struck - in common, I believe, with every other traveller — with the society of the Convent of St. Lazarus, which appears to unite all the advantages of the monastic institution, without any of its vices.
The neatness, the comfort, the gentleness, the unaffected devotion, the accomplishments, and the virtues of the brethren of the order, are well fitted to strike the man of the world with the conviction that 6. there is another and a better” even in this life.
These men are the priesthood of an oppressed and a noble nation, which has partaken of the proscription and bondage of the Jews and of the Greeks, without the sullenness of the former or the servility of the latter. This people has attained riches without usury, and all the
honors that can be awarded to slavery without intrigue. But they have long occupied, nevertheless, a part of the “House of Bondage,” who has lately multiplied her many mansions. It would be difficult, perhaps, to find the annals of a nation less stained with crimes than those of the Armenians, whose virtues have been those of peace, and their vices those of compulsion. But whatever may have been their destiny — and it has been bitter — whatever it may be in future, their country must ever be one of the most interesting on the globe; and perhaps their language only requires to be more studied to become more attractive. If the Scriptures are rightly understood, it was in Armenia that Paradise was placed - Armenia, which has paid as dearly, as the descendants of Adam for that fleeting participation of its soil in the happiness of him who was created from its duşt. It was in Armenia that the flood first abated, and the dove alighted. But with the disappearance of Paradise itself may be dated almost the unhappiness of the country; for though long a powerful kingdom, it was scarcely ever an independent one, and the satraps of Persia and the pachas of Turkey have alike desolated the region where God created man in his own image.
THOMAS MOORE. 1779–1852. (Manual, pp. 404-411.)
FROM "LALLA ROOKH."
278. PARADISE AND THE PERI.
One morn a Peri at the gate
Of Life within, like music flowing,
Through the half-open portal glowing,
'Mid flowers that never shall fade or fall;
One blossom of Heaven outblooms them all!
And sweetly the founts of that Valley fall;
How the waters of Heaven outshine them all!
“Go, wing thy flight from star to star, From world to luminous world, as far
As the universe spreads its flaming wall: Take all the pleasures of all the spheres, And multiply each through endless years,
One minute of Heaven is worth them all!"
From Eden's fountain, when it lies
Blooms nowhere but in Paradise !
The Peri yet may be forgiven Who brings to this Eternal gate
The Gift that is most dear to Heaven ! Go seek it, and redeem thy sin 'Tis sweet to let the Pardoned in!”
Cheered by this hope she bends her thither;
Still laughs the radiant eye of Heaven,
Nor have the golden bowers of Éven In the rich West begun to wither;. When, o'er the vale of Balbec winging
Slowly, she sees a child at play,
As rosy and as wild as they ;
From his hot steed, and on the brink
Impatient Aling him down to drink. Then swift his haggard brow he turned
To the fair child, who fearless sat,
Upon a brow more fierce than that,
In which the Peri's eye could read
Yet tranquil now that man of crime,
Met that unclouded, joyous gaze,
Encounter morning's glorious rays.
But hark! the vesper call to prayer,
As slow the orb of daylight sets,
From Syria's thousand minarets !
Kneels, with his forehead to the south
From purity's own cherub mouth, And looking, while his hands and eyes Are lifted to the glowing skies, Like a stray babe of Paradise, Just lighted on that flowery plain, And seeking for its home again! O, 'twas a sight - that Heaven - that Child A scene, which might have well beguiled E'en haughty Eblis of a sigh For glories lost and peace gone by!
And how felt he, the wretched Man