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The Tale which these disjointed fragments present is founded upon circumstances now less common in the East than formerly ; either because the ladies are more circumspect than in the “olden time,” or because the Christians have better fortune, or less enterprise. The story, when entire, contained the adventures of a female slave, who was thrown, in the Mussulman manner, into the sea for infidelity, and avenged by a young Venetian, her lover, at the time the Seven Islands were possessed by the Republic of Venice, and soon after the Arnauts were beaten back from the Morea, which they had ravaged for some time subsequent to the Russian invasion. The desertion of the Mainotes, on being refused the plunder of Misitra, led to the abandonment of that enterprise, and to the desolation of the Morea, during which the cruelty exercised on all sides was unparalleled even in the annals of the faithful.
No breath of air to break the wave
That rolls below the Athenian's grave,
That tomb (1) which, gleaming o'er the cliff,
First greets the homeward-veering skiff
High o'er the land he saved in vain :
When shall such hero live again?
Fair clime! where every season smiles
Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
Which, seen from far Colonna's height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
And lend to loneliness delight.
There, mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek
Reflects the tints of many a peak
Caught by the laughing tides that lave
These Edens of the eastern wave ;
And if at times a transient breeze
Break the blue crystal of the seas,
Or sweep one blossom from the trees,
How welcome is each gentle air
That wakes and wafts the odours there!
For there — the Rose o'er crag or vale,
Sultana of the Nightingale, (*)
The maid for whom his melody,
His thousand songs are heard on high,
Blooms blushing to her lover's tale :
His queen, the garden queen, his Rose,
Unbent by winds, unchilld by snows,
Far from the winters of the west,
By every breeze and season blest,
Returns the sweets by Nature given,
In softest incense back to heaven;
(1) A tomb above the rocks on the promontory, by some supposed the sepulchre of Themistocles,
(2) The attachment of the nightingale to the rose is a well-known Persian fable. Ilì mistake not, the “ Bulbul of a thousand tales" is one of his appellations.
And grateful yields that smiling sky
Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh.
And many a summer flower is there,
And many a shade that love might share,
And many' a grotto, meant for rest
That holds the pirate for a guest;
Whose bark in sheltering cove below
Lurks for the passing peaceful prow,
Till the gay mariner's guitar (")
Is heard, and seen the evening star
Then stealing with the muffled oar
Far shaded by the rocky shore,
Rush the night-prowlers on the prey,
And turn to groans his roundelay.
Strange that where Nature loy'd to trace
As if for Gods, a dwelling-place,
And every charm and grace hath mix'd
Within the paradise she fix'd,
There man, enamour'd of distress,
Should mar it into wilderness,
And trample, brute-like, o'er each flower
That takes not one laborious hour;
Nor claims the culture of his hand
To bloom along the fairy land,
But springs as to preclude his care
And sweetly woos him but to spare
Strange that where all is peace beside,
There passion riots in her pride,
And lust and rapine wildly reign
To darken o'er the fair domain.
It is as though the fiends prevail'd
Against the seraphs they assail'd,
And, fixed on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The freed inheritors of hell ;
So soft the scene, so form’d for joy,
So curst the tyrants that destroy !
He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,) (1) The guitar is the constant amusement of the Greek sailor by night: with a steady fair wind, and during a calm, it is accompanied always by the voice, and often by dancing.