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270

EMPLOYMENT

EMPLOYMENT.

George Herbert.

IF, as a flower doth spread and die,

Thou wouldst extend me to some good, Before I were by frost's extremity

Nipt in the bud,

The sweetness and the praise were thine ;

But the extension and the room, Which in thy garland I should fill, were mine

At thy great doom.

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For as thou dost impart thy grace,

The greater shall our glory be.
The measure of our joys is in this place,

The stuff with thee.

Let me not languish, then, and spend
A life as barren to thy praise
As is the dust, to which that life doth tend,

But with delays.

All things are busy; only I

Neither bring honey with the bees, Nor flowers to make that, nor the husbandry

To water these.

I am no link of thy great chain,

But all my company is as a weed. Lord, place me in thy concert, give one strain

To my poor reed.

THE ISLES OF GREECE.

271

THE ISLES OF GREECE. – Byron.

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 Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.

The Scian and the Teian Muse,

The hero's harp, the lover's lute, llave found the fame

your

shores refuse;
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo farther west
Than your sires' “ Islands of the Blest."

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 sat on the rocky brow

Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis ;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,

And men in nations ; all were his !
He counted them at break of day,
And when the sun set, where were they?

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!

272

THE ISLES OF GREECE.

And must thy lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine?

"T is something, in the dearth of fame,

Though linked among a fettered race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,

Even as I sing, suffuse my face ;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush, for Greece a tear.

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 !
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylæ.

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What, silent still? and silent all ?

Ah! no;— the voices of the dead
Sound like a distant torrent's fall,

And answer, “Let one living head, But one, arise, - we come, we come!” 'T is but the living who are dumb.

In vain, - in vain ; strike other chords;

Fill high the cup with Samian wine!
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,

And shed the blood of Scio's vine !
Hark! rising to the ignoble call,
How answers each bold bacchanal !

You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,

Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone ? Of two such lessons, why forget

The nobler and the manlier one?

THE ISLES OF GREECE.

273

You have the letters Cadmus gave,
Think ye he meant them for a slave ?

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !

We will not think of themes like these !
It made Anacreon's song

divine :
He served — but served Polycrates —
A tyrant; but our masters then
Were still, at least, our countrymen.

The tyrant of the Chersonese

Was freedom's best and bravest friend ;
That tyrant was Miltiades !

O, that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind !
Such chains as his were sure to bind.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !

On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore,
Exists the remnant of a line

Such as the Doric mothers bore ;
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,
The Heracleidan blood might own.
Trust not for freedom to the Franks,-

They have a king who buys and sells.
In native swords and native ranks

The only hope of courage dwells ;
But Turkish force and Latin fraud
Would break your shield, however broad.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !

Our virgins dance beneath the shade,-
I see their glorious black eyes shine ;

But, gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.

.

274

EXPOSTULATION AND REPLY.

Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,

Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;

There, swan-like, let me sing and die.
A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine,
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine !

EXPOSTULATION AND REPLY.- Wordsworth.

“ Why, William, on that old gray stone,

Thus for the length of half a day, Why, William, sit you thus alone, And dream

your

time

away?

“Where are your books ? — that light bequeathed

To beings else forlorn and blind ! Up! up! and drink the spirit breathed

From dead men to their kind.

“ You look round on your mother earth,

As if she for no purpose bore you ; As if you were her first-born birth,

And none had lived before you !

One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,

When life was sweet, I knew not why,
To me my good friend Matthew spake,
And thus I made reply :-

66 The eye,

it cannot choose but see; We cannot bid the ear be still ; Our bodies feel, where'er they be,

Against or with our will.

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