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O'er the chill marble, where the startling tread
Thrills the lone heart like echoes from the dead.
Long had I mused, and treasured every trace
The wreck of Greece recorded of her race,
When, lo! a giant form before me strode,
And Pallas hail'd me in her own abode !
Yes, 'twas Minerva's self; but, ah! how changed,
Since o'er the Dardan field in arms she ranged!
Not such as erst, by her divine command,
Her form appear'd from Phidias' plastic hand:
Gone were the terrors of her awful brow,
Her idle ægis bore no Gorgon now;
Her helm was dinted, and the broken lance
Seem'd weak and shaftless e'en to mortal glance;
The olive branch, which still she deign'd to clasp,
Shrunk from her touch, and wither'd in her grasp;
And, ah! though still the brightest of the sky,
Celestial tears bedimm'd her large blue eye;
Round the rent casque her owlet circled slow,
And mourn'd his mistress with a shriek of woe!
"Mortal!"-'twas thus she spake-"that blush of shame Proclaims thee Briton, once a noble name;
First of the mighty, foremost of the free,
Now honour'd less by all, and least by me:
Chief of thy foes shall Pallas still be found.
Seek'st thou the cause of loathing?-look around.
Lo! here, despite of war and wasting fire,
I saw successive tyrannies expire.
'Scaped from the ravage of the Turk and Goth,
Thy country sends a spoiler worse than both."
Survey this vacant, violated fane;
Recount the relics torn that yet remain:
These Cecrops placed, this Pericles adorn'd,6
That Adrian rear'd when drooping Science mourn'd.
What more I owe let gratitude attest-
Know, Alaric and Elgin did the rest.
That all may learn from whence the plunderer came,
The insulted wall sustains his hated name:7
For Elgin's fame thus grateful Pallas pleads,
Below, his name-above, behold his deeds!
Be ever hail'd with equal honour here
The Gothic monarch and the Pictish peer:
Arms gave the first his right, the last had none,
But basely stole what less barbarians won.
So when the lion quits his fell repast,
Next prowls the wolf, the filthy jackal last:
Flesh, limbs, and blood the former make their own,
The last poor brute securely gnaws the bone.
Yet still the gods are just, and crimes are cross'd:
See here what Elgin won, and what he lost!
Another name with his pollutes my shrine:
Behold where Dian's beams disdain to shine!
Some retribution still might Pallas claim,
When Venus half avenged Minerva's shame." 8
She ceased awhile, and thus I dared reply,
To soothe the vengeance kindling in her eye:
"Daughter of Jove! in Britain's injured name,
A true-born Briton may the deed disclaim.
Frown not on England; England owns him not:
Athena, no! thy plunderer was a Scot.
Ask'st thou the difference? From fair Phyles' towers
Survey Boeotia ;-Caledonia's ours.
And well I know within that bastard land 9
Hath Wisdom's goddess never held command;
A barrel soil, where Nature's germs, confined
To stern sterility, can stint the mind;
Whose thistle well betrays the niggard earth,
Emblem of all to whom the land gives birth;
Each genial influence nurtured to resist ;
A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist.
Each breeze from foggy mount and marshy plain
Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain,
Till, burst at length, each wat'ry head o'erflows,
Foul as their soil, and frigid as their snows.
Then thousand schemes of petulance and pride
Despatch her scheming children far and wide:
Some east, some west, some every where but north,
In quest of lawless gain, they issue forth.
And thus-accursed be the day and year!
She sent a Pict to play the felon here.
Yet Caledonia claims some native worth,
As dull Boeotia gave a Pindar birth;
So may her few, the letter'd and the brave,
Bound to no clime, and victors of the grave
Shake off the sordid dust of such a land,
And shine like children of a happier strand;
As once, of yore, in some obnoxious place,
Ten names (if found) had saved a wretched race."
"Mortal!" the blue-eyed maid resumed, "once more Bear back my mandate to thy native shore. Though fallen, alas! this vengeance yet is mine, To turn my counsels far from lands like thine. Hear then in silence Pallas' stern behest; Hear and believe, for time will tell the rest.
"First on the head of him who did this deed My curse shall light,-on him and all his seed: Without one spark of intellectual fire,
Be all the sons as senseless as the sire:
If one with wit the parent brood disgrace,
Believe him bastard of a brighter race:
Still with his hireling artists let him prate,
And Folly's praise repay for Wisdom's hate;
Long of their patron's gusto let them tell,
Whose noblest, native gusto is--to sell:
To sell, and make-may shame record the day !---
The state receiver of his pilfer'd prey.
Meantime, the flattering, feeble dotard, West,
Europe's worst dauber, and poor Britain's best,
With palsied hand shall turn each model o'er,
And own himself an infant of fourscore.10
Be all the bruisers cull'd from all St. Giles',
That art and nature may compare their styles,
While brawny brutes in stupid wonder stare,
And marvel at his lordship's 'stone shop' there."
Round the throng'd gate shall sauntering coxcombs creep,
To lounge and lucubrate, to prate and peep;
While many a languid maid, with longing sigh,
On giant statues casts the curious eye;
The room with transient glance appears to skim,
Yet marks the mighty back and length of limb;
Mourns o'er the difference of now and then;
Exclaims, 'These Greeks indeed were proper men!'
Draws slight comparisons of these with those,
And envies Laïs all her Attic beaux.
When shall a modern maid have swains like these!
Alas! Sir Harry is no Hercules !
And last of all, amidst the gaping crew,
Some calm spectator, as he takes his view,
In silent indignation mix'd with grief,
Admires the plunder, but abhors the thief.
Oh, loath'd in life, nor pardon'd in the dust,
May hate pursue his sacrilegious lust!
Link'd with the fool that fired the Ephesian dome,
Shall vengeance follow far beyond the tomb,
And Eratostratus and Elgin shine
In many a branding page and burning line;
Alike reserved for aye to stand accurs'd,
Perchance the second blacker than the first.
"So let him stand, through ages yet unborn,
Fix'd statue on the pedestal of Scorn;
Though not for him alone revenge shall wait,
But fits thy country for her coming fate:
Hers were the deeds that taught her lawless son
To do what oft Britannia's self had done.
Look to the Baltic-blazing from afar,
Your old ally yet mourns perfidious war.12
Not to such deeds did Pallas lend her aid,
Or break the compact which herself had made;
Far from such councils, from the faithless field
She fled-but left behind her Gorgon shield;
A fatal gift that turn'd your friends to stone,
And left lost Albion hated and alone.
"Look to the East, where Ganges' swarthy race
Shall shake your tyrant empire to its base;
Lo! there Rebellion rears her ghastly head,
And glares the Nemesis of native dead;
Till Indus rolls a deep purpureal flood,
And claims his long arrear of northern blood.
So may ye perish !-Pallas, when she gave
Your free-born rights, forbade ye to enslave.
"Look on your Spain !-she clasps the hand she hates, But boldly clasps, and thrusts you from her gates. Bear witness, bright Barossa! thou canst tell
Whose were the sons that bravely fought and fell.
But Lusitania, kind and dear ally,
Can spare a few to fight, and sometimes fly.
Oh glorious field! by Famine fiercely won,
The Gaul retires for once, and all is done!
But when did Pallas teach, that one retreat
Retrieved three long olympiads of defeat?
"Look last at home-ye love not to look there;
On the grim smile of comfortless despair:
Your city saddens : loud though Revel howls,
Here Famine faints, and yonder Rapine prowls.
See all alike of more or less bereft;
No misers tremble when there's nothing left.
'Blest paper credit; '13 who shall dare to sing?
It clogs like lead Corruption's weary wing.
Yet Pallas pluck'd each premier by the ear,
Who gods and men alike disdain'd to hear;
But one, repentant o'er a bankrupt state,
On Pallas calls,-but calls, alas! too late :
Then raves for**; to that Mentor bends,
Though he and Pallas never yet were friends.
Him senates hear, whom never yet they heard,
Contemptuous once, and now no less absurd.
So, once of yore, each reasonable frog
Swore faith and fealty to his sovereign 'log.'
Thus hail'd your rulers their patrician clod,
As Egypt chose an onion for a god.
"Now fare ye well! enjoy your little hour;
Go, grasp the shadow of your vanish'd power;
Gloss o'er the failure of each fondest scheme;
Your strength a name, your bloated wealth a dream.
Gone is that gold, the marvel of mankind,
And pirates barter all that's left behind.14
No more the hirelings, purchased near and far,
Crowd to the ranks of mercenary war.
The idle merchant on the useless quay
Droops o'er the bales no bark may bear away;
Or, back returning, sees rejected stores
Rot piecemeal on his own encumber'd shores :
The starved mechanic breaks his rusting loom,
And desperate mans him 'gainst the coming doom.
Then in the senate of your sinking state
Show me the man whose counsels may have weight.
Vain is each voice where tones could once command;
E'en factions cease to charin a factious land: