Snatch from the ashes of your sires
The embers of their former fires;
And he who in the strife expires
Will add to theirs a name of fear
That Tyranny shall quake to hear,
And leave his sons a hope, a fame,
They too will rather die than shame:
For Freedom’s battle once begun,
Bequeathed by bleeding Sire to Son,
Though baffled oft is ever won.
Bear witness, Greece, thy living page!
Attest it many a deathless age!
While kings, in dusty darkness hid,
Have left a nameless pyramid,
Thy heroes, though the general doom
Hath swept the column from their tomb,
A mightier monument command,
The mountains of their native land!
There points thy Muse to stranger’s eye
The graves of those that cannot die!
’Twere long to tell, and sad to trace,
Each step from splendour to disgrace,
Enough—no foreign foe could quell
Thy soul, till from itself it fell;
Yes! Self-abasement paved the way
To villain-bonds and despot sway.
[Notes: Lord Byron, born 1788, died 1824. The most powerful English poet of the early part of this century.
Thermapylae. The pass at which Leonidas and his Spartans resisted the approach of the Persians (B.C. 480).
Salamis. Where the Athenians fought the great naval battle which destroyed the Persian fleet, and secured the liberties of Greece.]
* * * * *
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
The Temple shakes, the sounding
Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold,
Raised on a thousand pillars wreathed around
With laurel-foliage and with eagles crowned;
Of bright transparent beryl were the walls,
The friezes gold, and gold the capitals:
As heaven with stars, the roof with jewels glows,
And ever-living lamps depend in rows.
Full in the passage of each spacious gate
The sage historians in white garments wait:
Graved o’er their seats, the form of Time was found,
His scythe reversed, and both his pinions bound.
Within stood heroes, who through loud alarms
In bloody fields pursued renown in arms.
High on a throne, with trophies charged, I viewed
The youth that all things but himself subdued;
His feet on sceptres and tiaras trode,
And his horned head belied the Libyan god.
There Caesar, graced with both Minervas, shone;
Caesar, the world’s great master, and his own;
Unmoved, superior still in every state,
And scarce detested in his country’s fate.
But chief were those, who not for empire fought,