The Flowers Of Helicon
The solitudes of Helicon
Are rife with gay and scented flowers,
Shining the marble rocks upon,
Or 'mid the valley's oaken bowers;
And ever since young Fancy placed
The Hieron of the Muses here,
Have ceaseless generations graced
This airy Temple year by year.
But those more bright, more precious, flowers
With which old Greece the Muses woo'd,
The Art whose varied forms and powers
Charmed the poetic multitude,
The Thought that from each deep recess
And fissure of the teeming mind
Sent up its odorous fruitfulness--
What have those glories left behind?
For from those generous calices
The vegetative virtue shed,
Flew over distant lands and seas,
Waking wide nations from the dead;
And e'er the parent plants o'erthrown
Gave place to rank and noisome weed,
The giant Roman world was sown
Throughout with that ennobling seed.
And downward thence to latest days
The heritage of Beauty fell,
And Grecian forms and Grecian lays
Prolonged their humanising spell,
Till, when new worlds for man to win
The Atlantic's riven waves disclose,
The wildernesses there begin
To blossom with the Grecian rose.
And all this while in barren shame
Their native land remote reclines,
A mocked and miserable name
Round which some withered ivy twines:
Where, wandering 'mid the broken tombs,
The remnant of the race forget
That ever with such royal blooms
This Garden of the Soul was set.
O breezes of the wealthy West!
Why bear ye not on grateful wings
The seeds of all your life has blest
Back to their being's early springs?
Why fill ye not these plains with hopes
To bear the treasures once they bore,
And to these Heliconian slopes
Transport civility and lore?
For now, at least, the soil is free,
Now that one strong reviving breath
Has chased that Eastern tyranny
Which to the Greek was ever death:
Now that, though weak with age and wrongs,
And bent beneath the recent chain
This motherland of Greece belongs
To her own western world again.
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