Page images
PDF
EPUB

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !

We will not think of themes like these ! It made Anacreon's song divine :

He served—but served Polycrates-
A tyrant; but our masters then
Were still at least our countrymen.

The tyrant of the Chersonese

Was freedom's best and bravest friend : That tyrant was Miltiades !

Oh! that the present hour would lend Another despot of the kind ! Such chains as his were sure to bind.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !

On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore, Exists the remnant of a line

Such as the Doric mothers bore ; And there, perhaps, some seed is sown, The Heracleidan blood might own.

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !

Our virgins dance beneath the shade I see their glorious black eyes shine ;

But gazing on each glowing maid, My own the burning tear-drop laves, To think such breasts must suckle slaves.

Place me on Sunium's marbled steep

Where nothing, save the waves and I, May hear our mutual murmurs sweep ;

There, swan-like, let me sing and die : A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

DESCRIPTION OF A GRECIAN HOLIDAY.

He saw his white walls shining in the sun,

His garden trees all shadowy and green : He heard his rivulet's light bubbling run,

The distant dog-bark : and perceived between The umbrage of the wood so cool and dun

The moving figures, and the sparkling sheen Of arms

-(in the East all arm)—and various

dyes Of colour'd garbs, as bright as butterflies.

And as the spot where they appear he nears,

Surprised at these unwonted signs of idling, He hears-alas! no music of the spheres,

But an unhallow'd earthly sound of fiddling! A melody which made him doubt his ears,

The cause being past his guessing or unriddling ; A pipe, too, and a drum, and shortly after, A most unoriental roar of laughter.

And still more nearly to the place advancing,

Descending rather quickly the declivity, Through the waved branches o’er the green sward

glancing 'Midst other indications of festivity. Seeing a troop of his domestics dancing

Like dervises, who turn as on a pivot, he Perceived it was the Pyrrhic dance so martial, To which the Levantines are very partial.

And further on, a group of Grecian girls,

The first and tallest her white kerchief waving,

Were strung together like a row of pearls ;
Link'd hand in hand, and dancing ; each too

having Down her white neck long floating auburn curls

(The least of which would set ten poets raving); Their leader sang-and bounded to her song, With choral step and voice, the virgin throng.

And here, assembled cross-legg'd round their

trays, Small social parties just began to dine; Pilaus and meats of all sorts met the gaze,

And flasks of Samian and of Chian wine, And sherbet cooling in the porous vase ;

Above them their desert grew on its vine, The orange and pomegranate nodding o'er, Dropp'd in their laps scarce pluck'd, their mellow

store.

A band of children, round a snow-white ram,

There wreath his venerable horns with flowers; While peaceful as if still an unwean'd lamb,

The patriarch of the flock all gently cowers His sober head, majestically tame,

Or eats from out the palm, or playful lowers His brow, as if in act to butt, and then Yielding to their small hands, draws back again.

Their classical profiles, and glittering dresses,

Their large black eyes, and soft seraphic cheeks, Crimson as cleft pomegranates, their long tresses,

The gesture which enchants, the eye that speaks, The innocence which happy childhood blesses,

Made quite a picture of these little Greeks;

So that the philosophical beholder
Sigh'd for their sakes—that they should e'er grow

older.

The dinner made about a hundred dishes;

Lamb and pistachio nuts-in short, all meats, And saffron soups, and sweetbreads; and the

fishes Were of the finest that e'er flounced in nets; Drest to a Sybarite's most pamper'd wishes ;

The beverage was of various sherbets Of raisin, orange, and pomegranate juice, Squeezed through the rind, which makes it best

for use.

These were ranged round, each in its crystal ewer, And fruits and date-bread loaves closed the re

past, And Mocha's berry, from Arabia pure,

In small fine China cups, came in at last; Gold cups of filagree made to secure The hand from burning underneath them

placed, Cloves, cinnamon, and saffron too were boil'd Up with the coffee, which (I think) they spoil'd.

The hangings of the room were tapestry, made

Of velvet pannels, each of different hue, And thick with damask flowers of silk inlaid ;

And round them ran a yellow border too ; The upper border, richly wrought display'd,

Embroider'd delicately o'er with blue, Soft Persian sentences, in lilac letters, From poets, or the moralists their betters,

These oriental writings on the wall,

Quite common in those countries, are a kind Of monitors adapted to recall,

Like skulls at Memphian banquets, to the mind The words which shook Belshazzar in his hall, And took his kingdom from him ; you will

find, Though sages may pour out their wisdom's trea

sure, There is no sterner moralist than pleasure.

Haidee and Juan carpeted their feet

On crimson satin, border'd with pale blue ; Their sofa occupied three parts complete

Of the apartment-and appear'd quite new; The velvet cushions-(for a throne more meet)

Were scarlet, from whose glowing centre grew A sun emboss'd in gold, whose rays of tissue, Meridian-like, were seen all light to issue.

Crystal and marble, plate and porcelain,

Had done their work of splendour ; Indian mats And Persian carpets, which the heart bled to stain,

Over the floors were spread ; gazelles and cats, And dwarfs and blacks, and such like things, that

gain Their bread as ministers and favourites (that's To say, by degradation)—mingled there As plentiful as in a court or fair.

There was no want of lofty mirrors, and

The tables, most of ebony inlaid
With mother-of-pearl or ivory, stood at hand,

Or were of tortoise-shell or rare woods made,

« PreviousContinue »