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Monday, October 25, 2010


Cape Sounion in Attica

Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion

"Tis something, in the dearth of fame,
Though linked among a fettered race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush--for Greece a tear....

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

(George Gordon, Lord Byron, The Isles of Greece)

"Maid of Athens, ere we part,
Give, oh! give me back my heart."

Monument to Lord Byron in Athens
Hellas to Byron (1896)

"Yet to the remnants of thy splendor past
Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied throng;
Long shall the voyager, with th' Ionian blast,
Hail the bright clime of battle and of song;
Long shall thy annals and immortal tongue
Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore;
Boast of the aged! lesson of the young!
Which sages venerate and bards adore,
As Pallas and the Muse unveil their awful lore!"

(Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 1812-1818)

View from Sounion down on the Aegean