George Gordon, Lord Byron
The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delosrose 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,
Have found thefame your shores refuse:
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Then your sires’ “Islands of the Blest.”
The mountains look on Marathon—And Marathon looks on to sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream’d that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persians’ grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.
4A king sate on the rocky brow
Which looks o’er the 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 nomore!
And must thy lyre, so long devine,
Degenerate into hands like mine?
’Tis something, in the dearth of fame,
Though link’d among a fetter’d race,
To feel at least apatriot’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 webut 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 Thermoplyae!
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!”