Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
II. Freedom
Fallen Greece
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
From “The Giaour”

CLIME of the unforgotten brave!
Whose land, from plain to mountain-cave,
Was Freedom’s home or Glory’s grave!
Shrine of the mighty! can it be
That this is all remains of thee?        5
Approach, thou craven, crouching slave;
  Say, is not this Thermopylæ?
These waters blue that round you lave,
  O servile offspring of the free,—
Pronounce what sea, what shore is this?        10
The gulf, the rock of Salamis!
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Arise, and make again your own;
Snatch from the ashes of your sires
The embers of their former fires;        15
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;        20
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:        25
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,        30
The mountains of their native land!
There points thy Muse to stranger’s eye
The graves of those that cannot die!
’T were long to tell, and sad to trace,
Each step from splendor to disgrace:        35
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.
 
What can he tell who treads thy shore?        40
  No legend of thine olden time,
No theme on which the Muse might soar,
High as thine own in days of yore,
  When man was worthy of thy clime.
The hearts within thy valleys bred,        45
The fiery souls that might have led
  Thy sons to deeds sublime,
Now crawl from cradle to the grave,
Slaves—nay, the bondsmen of a slave,
  And callous save to crime.        50
 
 
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