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The little builder man; by thee refin'd,
And, smiling high, to full perfection brought.
Such thy sure rules, that Goths of every age,
Who scorn’d their aid, have only loaded earth
With labour'd heavy monuments of shame.
Not those gay domes that o'er thy splendid shore
Shot, all proportion, up. First unadorn’d,
And nobly plain, the manly Doric rose;
The' Ionic then, with decent matron grace,
Her airy pillar heav'd ; luxuriant last,
The rich Corinthian spread her wanton wreath.
The whole so measurd true, so lessen'd off
By fine proportion, that the marble pile,
Form’d to repel the still or stormy waste
Of rolling ages, light as fabrics look'd
That from the magic wand aerial rise.
These were the wonders that illumin'd Greece,
From end to end- -Here interrupting warm,
“Where are they now?(I cry'd) say, Goddess, where?
“ And what the land thy darling thus of old ?”
Sunk! she resum’d; deep in the kindred gloom
Of Superstition, and of Slavery, sunk!
No glory now can touch their hearts, benumb'd
By loose dejected sloth and servile fear:
No science pierce the darkness of their minds ;
No nobler art the quick ambitious soul
Of imitation in their breast awake.
Even to supply the needful arts of life,
Mechanic toil denies the hopeless hand.
Scarce any trace remaining, vestige grey,
Or nodding column on the desert shore,
To point where Corinth, or where Athens stood.
A faithless land of violence, and death !
Where commerce parleys, dubious, on the shore;
And his wild impulse curious search restrains,
Afraid to trust the inhospitable clime.
Neglected nature fails; in sordid want
Sunk, and debas'd, their beauty beams no more.
The sun himself seems, angry, to regard,
Of light unworthy, the degenerate race;
And fires them oft with pestilential rays:
While earth, blue poison steaming on the skies,
Indignant, shakes them from her troubled sides.
But as from man to man, Fate's first decree,
Impartial Death the tide of riches rolls,
So states must die and Liberty go round.
Fierce was the stand, ere Virtue, Valour, Arts,
And the soul fir'd by me, (that often, stung
With thoughts of better times and old renown,
From hydra-tyrants try'd to clear the land)
Lay quite extinct in Greece, their works effac'd
And gross o'er all unfeeling bondage spread.
Sooner I mov'd my much-reluctant flight, (Greece
Poisid on the doubtful wing : when Greece with
Embroil'd in foul contention fought no more
For common glory, and for common weal:
But false to Freedom, sought to quell the free;
Broke the firm band of Peace, and sacred Love,
That lent the whole irrefragable force;
And, as around the partial trophy blush'd,
Prepard the way for total overthrow. (scorn'd,
Then to the Persian power, whose pride they
When Xerxes pour'd his millions o'er the land,
Sparta, by turns, and Athens, vilely sue'd ;
Sue'd to be venal parricides, to spill
Their country's bravest blood, and on themselves
To turn their matchless mercenary arms.
Peaceful in Susa, then, sat the '3 Great King ;
Is So the kings of Persia were called by the Greeks.
And by the trick of treaties, the still waste
Of sly corruption, and barbaric gold,
Effected what his steel could ne'er perform.
Profuse he gave them the luxurious draught,
Inflaming all the land : unbalanc'd wide
Their tottering states; their wild assemblies ruld,
As the winds turn at every blast the seas:
And by their listed orators, whose breath
Still with a factious storm infested Greece,
Rous'd them to civil war, or dash'd them down
To sordid peace— '4 Peace! that, when Sparta shook
Astonish'd Artaxerxes on his throne,
Gave up, fair-spread o'er Asia's sunny shore,
Their kindred cities to perpetual chains.
What could so base, so infamous a thought
In Spartan hearts inspire? Jealous, they saw
Respiring 's Athens rear again her walls :
And the pale fury fir’d them, once again
To crush this rival city to the dust.
For now, no more the noble social soul
Of Liberty my families combin'd;
But by short views, and selfish passions, broke,
Dire as when friends are rankled into foes,
They mix'd severe, and wage'd eternal war:
Nor felt they, furious, their exhausted force;
Nor, with false glory, discord, madness blind,
Saw how the blackening storin from Thracia came.
10 Long years rolld on, by many a battle stain'd,
The blush and boast of Fame! where courage, art,
And military glory shone supreme :
But let detesting ages, from the scene
Of Greece self-mangled, turn the sickening eye.
At last, when bleeding from a thousand wounds,
She felt her spirits fail; and in the dust
Her latest heroes, Nicias, Conon, lay,
Agesilaus, and the '7 Theban friends :
The Macedonian vulture mark'd his time,
By the dire scent of 18 Cheronæa lard,
And, fierce-descending, seiz'd his bapless prey.
Thus tame submitted to the victor's yoke
Greece, once the gay, the turbulent, the bold;
For every grace, and muse, and science born;
With arts of War, of Government, elate;
To tyrants dreadful, dreadful to the best ;
Whom I myself could scarcely rule: and thus
The Persian fetters, that inthrall’d the mind,
Were turn'd to formal and apparent chains.
Unless Corruption first deject the pride,
And guardian vigour of the free-born soul,
All crude attempts of Violence are vain ;
For firm within, and while at heart untouch'd,
Ne'er yet by Force was Freedom overcome.
But soon as Independence stoops the head,
• To Vice enslav'd, and vice-created Wants ;
Then to some foul corrupting hand, whose waste
These heighten'd wants with fatal bounty feeds :
From man to man the slackening ruin runs,
Till the whole state unnerv'd in Slavery sinks."