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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.' 1
Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun?
Each hath 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 : 2
There no forced banquet claims the sated guest,
But Silence spreads the couch of ever welcome rest.3


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 shade revealed to sight,


The Bactrian, Samian3 sage, and all who taught the right!

1 All that we know is, nothing can be known.] This is rather teaching of the Ionian school, návτa peî, or of the sophists, than of the wisest of Athens' sons-Socrates-or of his disciple Plato, who admitted the possibility of a knowledge of that which was real and immutable-Tò öv or voúμevov. See the 'Nosce teipsum' of Socrates. 2 Acheron.] See stanza li. note 2.


5 Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.'

4 Bactrian.] Zoroaster, who recognised and taught the principle of the dualism of good and evil, about 500 B.C.

5 Samian.] Pythagoras, about 583 B.C., one of whose most


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 1 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! 2 was thy favourite throne:
Mightiest of many such! Hence let me trace
The latent grandeur of thy dwelling-place.
It may not be nor ev'n can Fancy's eye
Restore what time hath laboured to deface.
Yet these proud pillars claim no passing sigh;
Unmoved 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.*

practical tenets was by tradition reputed to be the importance of daily self-examination.

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i Vacant.] Conf. Horace, Od. i. 5, 10, Qui semper vacuam unoccupied by any other love, constant.

2 Son of Saturn.] The temple of Zeus Olympius.

3 Where Pallas lingered.] The Parthenon, for the spoliation of which Byron thus vituperates Lord Elgin, the Pict,' who sold 'the Elgin marbles' obtained from Athens, to the British nation in 1816. Byron classes Elgin with Alaric in 'Curse of Minerva.'

4 Long-reluctant brine.] The ship conveying them was wrecked in the Archipelago.


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 poor remains :

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 gen'rous aid her name endears,
Tore down those remnants with a harpy's hand,
Which envious Eld forbore, and tyrants left to stand.


Where was thine Ægis, Pallas! that appalled

Stern Alaric1 and Havoc on their

way ?

Where Peleus'1 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.


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

1 Alaric.] The Goth, was driven out of Greece by Stilicho, A.D. 402. The popular story is here alluded to, that Athens was defended by the shade Achilles, Peleus' son,' released from the Stygian shore.

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 snatched thy shrinking Gods to northern climes abhorred !


But where is Harold? shall I then forget
To urge the gloomy wanderer o'er the wave?
Little recked he of all that men regret ;

No loved-one now in feigned lament could rave;
No friend the parting hand extended gave
Ere the cold stranger passed 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 sailed upon the dark blue sea
Has viewed 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;
Masts, 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 sailer1 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,3 The hoarse command, the busy humming din, When, at a word, the tops are manned 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.

1 The dullest sailer.] The slowest vessel skimming quickly on. 2 Well-reeved.] Carefully secured by ropes.

The netted canopy.] The awning intended to ward off splinters from those on deck.


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 feared 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




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 hauled 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's1 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 2 survey the steepy shore;
Europe and Afric on each other gaze!

1 Arion.] The story is told by Herodotus of Arion, the inventor of the dithyramb (in honour of Dionysus), and the sailors who threw him into the sea in place of putting him to a more violent death, being won by the power of his song. A dolphin conveyed him to Corinth.

2 Calpe's straits.] Gibraltar.

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