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Thy rites are closed, and thy cross lies low,
And the changeful hours breathe o'er thee now!
Yet if at thine altar one holy thought
In man's deep spirit of old hath wrought ;
peace to the mourner hath here been given, Or prayer, from a chasten'd heart, to Heaven, Be the spot still hallow'd while Time shall reign, Who hath made thee nature's own again!
“ In the Elysium of the ancients, we find none but heroes and persons who had either been fortunate or distinguished on earth; the children, and apparently the slaves and lower classes, that is to say, Poverty, Misfortune, and Innocence, were banished to the infernal regions."
Chateaubriand, Génie du Christianisme:
Fair wert thou, in the dreams
Of elder time, thou land of glorious flowers,
And summer-winds, and low-ton'd silvery streams,
Dim with the shadows of thy laurel-bowers !
Where, as they pass’d, bright hours
Left no faint sense of parting, such as clings
To earthly love, and joy in loveliest things !
Fair wert thou, with the light
On thy blue hills and sleepy waters cast,
From purple skies ne'er deepening into night,
Yet soft, as if each moment were their last
Of glory, fading fast
Along the mountains !-but thy golden day
Was not as those that warn us of decay.
And ever, through thy shades,
A swell of deep Eolian sound went by,
From fountain-voices in their secret glades,
And low reed-whispers, making sweet reply
To summer's breezy sigh !
And young leaves trembling to the wind's light breath,
Which ne'er had touch'd them with a hue of death!
And the transparent sky
Rung as a dome, all thrilling to the strain
Of harps that, ʼmidst the woods, inade harmony
Solemn and sweet; yet troubling not the brain
With dreams and yearnings vain,
And dim remembrances, that still draw birth
From the bewildering music of the earth.
And who, with silent tread,
Mov'd o'er the plains of waving Asphodel ?
Who, of the hosts, the night-o'erpeopling dead,
Amidst the shadowy Amaranth-bowers might dwell,
And listen to the swell
Of those majestic hymn-notes, and inhale
The spirit wandering in th' immortal gale ?
They of the sword, whose praise,
With the bright wine at nations' feasts, went round!
They of the lyre, whose unforgotten lays
On the morn's wing had sent their mighty sound,
And in all regions found
Their echoes 'midst the mountains !-and become
In man's deep heart, as voices of his home!
They of the daring thought !
Daring and powerful, yet to dust allied ;
Whose flight through stars, and seas, and depths had sought
The soul's far birth-place—but without a guide!
Sages and seers, who died,
And left the world their high mysterious dreams,
Born 'midst the olive-woods, by Grecian streams.
But they, of whose abode
'Midst her green valleys earth retain'd no trace,
Save a flower springing from their burial-sod,
A shade of sadness on some kindred face,
A void and silent place
In some sweet home ;-thou hadst no wreaths for these,
Thou sunny land ! with all thy deathless trees!
The peasant, at his door Might sink to die, when vintage-feasts were spread, And songs on every wind !-From thy bright shore No lovelier vision floated round his head,
Thou wert for nobler dead ! He heard the bounding steps which round him fell, And sigh’d to bid the festal sun farewell !
The slave, whose very tears
Were a forbidden luxury, and whose breast
Shut up the woes and burning thoughts of years,
, As in the ashes of an urn compress’d;
-He might not be thy guest !
No gentle breathings from thy distant sky
Came o'er his path, and whisper'd “Liberty !"
Calm, on its leaf-strewn bier,
Unlike a gift of nature to decay,
Too rose-like still, too beautiful, too dear,
The child at rest before its mother lay ;
E'en so to pass away,
With its bright smile !-Elysium ! what wert thou,
To her, who wept o'er that young slumberer's brow?