The Greek Mountaineers

Now bind in myrtle wreaths the avenging sword,
Like him who, at the Panathenian games,
With the bold heart no tyrant quells nor tames,
The bosom of the proud usurper gored.
We have a sterner foe to wake our wrath,—
Centuries of darkness have not dimmed us quite,—
We have the heart to feel, the hand to smite.
Wo to the wretch who dares to cross our path!
Our souls are gathered to the effort,—free
We have been, and we will be, and our sires
Shall look from heaven, and see us light the fires
On thy eternal altars, Liberty!
Though the proud fanes of ancient glory lie
Crushed by the hand of havoc and of time,
Still tower, with front as lofty and sublime,
Yon hoary peaks, the pillars of the sky.
There lived the Suliote free, when all below
Bowed to the Ottoman,—the Mainote there
Wandered as wildly as his mountain air,
And dealt at will his vengeance on his foe.
These are thy temples, Liberty!—these heights
Nursed the first hardy Dorian in his cave;
And there, when Sparta sank, the free and brave
Hung on the unconquered rocks their beacon lights.
There stood thy altars, and the eternal flame
Burns round the cloudy summits, with a glow
As bright as when it cheered the plains below,
And lit the sacred band to death and fame.
We too will have our glory,—we will light
Our torches in the fire that never dies;
And with a terrible and solemn rite
Devote us to our country's liberties.
We bind our swords in myrtle, and we go
To meet the proud oppressor on his way:
Let but the tyrant sink beneath the blow,
Gladly we die,—our foes can only slay.
They cannot rob us of that wreath of fame,
The glorious chiefs of ancient Athens bear:
O, how they come to meet us in the air,
Borne on their chariots and steeds of flame!
We hasten to our vengeance and we die,—
Wide to the winds our blood, our lives, are given;
In the mid-joy of fight they hurry by,
Seize us, and bear us to the Patriot's Heaven.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.