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Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.
A brighter Hellas rears its mountains
A new Peneus rolls his fountains
Against the morning star.
Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
And loves, and weeps, and dies.
Oh, write no more the tale of Troy,
Although a subtler Sphinx renew
Riddles of death Thebes never knew.
Another Athens shall arise,
And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
And leave, if nought so bright may live,
Saturn and Love their long repose Shall burst, more bright and good Than all who fell, than One who rose, Than many unsubdued:
Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers, But votive tears and symbol flowers.
Oh, cease; must hate and death return?
Of bitter prophecy.
The world is weary of the past,
(1) The quenchless ashes of Milan (p. 115).
ILAN was the centre of the resistance of the Lombard league against the Austrian tyrant. Frederic Barbarossa burnt the city to the ground, but liberty lived in its ashes, and it rose like an exhalation from its ruin. See Sismondi's "Histoire des Républiques Italiennes," a book which has done much toward awakening the Italians to an imitation of their great ancestors.
(2) The Chorus (p. 114).
The popular notions of Christianity are represented in this chorus as true in their relation
to the worship they superseded, and that which in all probability they will supersede, without considering their merits in a relation more universal. The first stanza contrasts the immortality of the living and thinking beings which inhabit the planets, and, to use a common and inadequate phrase, clothe themselves in matter, with the transience of the noblest manifestations of the external world.
The concluding verses indicate a progressive state of more or less exalted existence, according to the degree of perfection which every distinct intelligence may have attained. Let it not be supposed that I mean to dogmatize upon a subject concerning which all men are equally ignorant, or that I think the Gordian knot of the origin of evil can be disentangled by that or any similar assertions. The received hypothesis of a Being resembling men in the moral attributes of his nature, having called us out of non-existence, and after inflicting on us the misery of the commission of error, should superadd that of the punishment and the privations consequent upon it, still would remain inexplicable and incredible. That there is a true solution of the riddle, and that in our
present state that solution is unattainable by us, are propositions which may be regarded as equally certain: meanwhile, as it is the province of the poet to attach himself to those ideas which exalt and ennoble humanity, let him be permitted to have conjectured the condition of that futurity toward which we are all impelled by an inextinguishable thirst for immortality. Until better arguments can be produced than sophisms which disgrace the cause, this desire itself must remain the strongest and the only presumption that eternity is the inheritance of every thinking being.
(3) No hoary priests after that Patriarch (p. 126).
The Greek Patriarch, after having been compelled to fulminate an anathema against the insurgents, was put to death by the Turks.
Fortunately the Greeks have been taught that they cannot buy security by degradation, and the Turks, though equally cruel, are less cunning than the smooth-faced tyrants of Europe. As to the anathema, his Holiness might as well have thrown his mitre at Mount Athos for any effect that it produced. The chiefs of the Greeks are almost all men of comprehen