Grecian Liberty

Glorious Vision! who art thou,
With thy starry crown of light,
Like the diadem of night
On the Æthiop monarch's brow?
And why art thou descending
From thy bright Olympian throne,
And thy lavish glory lending,
Like the ever-rolling sun,
To the self-devoted band
On the threshold of their land?
Few, but hardy, are their ranks,
And they never will retire,
Though ten thousand on their flanks
Hurl a storm of steel and fire,—
Though an iron tempest rain
Death and darkness, till the day
Pass in dim eclipse away,—
Though the thunderbolts of war
Plough their furrows in the plain,
And the echoing mountains bay
To the tumult from afar.

O, bright and glorious creature,
Winged and mailed and armed for fight!
Though beautiful in feature,
Like a spirit of delight,
Yet the arching of thy brow,
And thy proud and gallant form,
Tell of one who rides the storm,
When the sternest warriors bow
And the bravest yield their breath
At the summoning of death.
There thou standest on the mountains,
And the sparkle of thy spear,
Like a sunbeam on the fountains
To the gallant few below,
Is a sign of wrath and fear
To the blind and brutal foe:
Like a beacon, let it blaze
Broad and flaring, till it daze
All who come with foot profane
To this consecrated plain,
Where thy pure and perfect shrine
Youths and maidens loved to twine
With the laurel and the myrtle,
And the shadow of thy grove,
Haunt of innocence and love,
Heard the winged arrows hurtle
From the flowery-wreathen bow,
With a whisper like the flow
Of a brook, that winds afar
Underneath the evening star.

O, they were happy days,
When, reposing in the shade,
Elms and vines and poplars made,
It was all thy joy to gaze
On the races and the dances,
Twining hands and burning glances,
Where Passion went and came,
Like an arrow tipped with flame.
Though thou didst often lie
With a pleased and placid eye,
As thy children took their pleasure,
And the merry flute and viol
Told, in light and airy measure,
All the joys and sports of leisure;
Not the less, to meet the trial,
Thou wouldst gird thy warlike arms,
And with bare and eager blade,
On, through dangers and alarms,
To the wreath of Victory wade.
Thou couldst leave thy pleasant woods,
And the harvest of the plain,
And along the torrent floods
To the frozen mountains climb,
Where they reared their fronts sublime;
Or, scorning Slavery's chain,
Make thy dwelling on the main.
From the Dorian rocks and caves,
When the gorged and glutted foe
Lay in careless ease below,
Like an Alpine stream that raves
When the autumn rains are pouring,
And the pines in mist are towering,—
So thou didst rush and sweep
To the dark, remorseless deep,
With thy fury and thy force,
Shield and chariot, man and horse,
And thy sword wrought far and wide,
Till the land was purified.

And now thou dost awake,
And thy dream of ages break.
From the halls of ice and snow,
Whence thy classic rivers flow;
From thy palace in the clouds,
Where the light of evening runs
On the rolling wreath that shrouds
The last refuge of thy sons,—
Peaks, that never Turk has trod,
Where the armed and ardent Klepht
Found his shelter, when he left,
For a prey to wasting fires,
All the temples of his God,
And the dwellings of his sires;
From thy caverns in the rock,
From thy dark and hidden hold,
Thou hast nerved thee to the shock,
And thy warning shout has rolled,—
Height from height has caught the sound,
And thy foes in haste retire;
Now the tumult rises higher,—
'T is a nation's cry of joy,—
“None to ravage and destroy,—
Not a foreign foot is found
On our consecrated ground.”
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