Chorus Of Greek Matrons Poem by Joanna Baillie

Chorus Of Greek Matrons



TIME, the Dawn of the Day. --SCENE, Cape Mastic, in Scio.
HAIL ! once again, great fount of life, and light,
Hail, holy symbol of a holier source!
Thou shinest forth unalterably bright,
Thou risest still to run thy destin'd course;
Alone in beauty--all around is changed--
No turrets brighten in thy kindling ray;
The vale o'er which our eyes delighted ranged,
No longer gaily hails the Lord of day.
Tho' carnage taint the citron's vernal breath,
He shines on Scio, now a nation's grave,
Whose latest harvest was a crop of death,
When Moslem sabres mowed her young and brave.
In vain spring clothes the mastic's fragrant bough,
Dances no more will sweep those orange bowers--
Brave youths, and beauteous maids, where are ye now?
These in the grave, and those in Stambol's towers.

Yon radiant sun, this green and bursting spring,
Make us more deeply feel our country's woe--
Oh! may their Great Creator deign to bring
Help to his flock, and lay the oppressor low.
We murmur not--if 'tis thy will to chasten,
Grant us but strength to bear a parent's rod--
If we have borne sufficient sorrow, hasten
To whelm our foes and thine, Almighty God!

SEMICHORUS.
Hark! the Turkish thunders roar
Down the Anatolian shore,
From a hundred brazen throats,
Where the Capoudana floats;
Græcia's volley feebly rattles --
Save our country, God of battles!
Let the oppressor feel thine ire;
Speak in thunder, smite with fire.
Grecians! think with rage and pride--
Tumbaz lives and Lambro died!

Rights to gain, and wrongs to pay,
Consecrate this awful day.
Hark! what wild and fearful yell,
Broke from out that floating hell;
Hark! that crash--'twas Freedom spoke,
Bursting Græcia's iron yoke.
Kara's caick ploughs the water,
Choaked with corses, red with slaughter.
Burning fragments strew his path,--
Can he scape the avenger's wrath?
Yes, the Moslems gain the strand,
Bearing him who smote our land.
Wrath and pride were on his brow;
Pain and grief are painted now.
Costliest furs adorn'd his vest,
Diamonds beam'd around his crest.--
Now he lies in mean attire,
Drench'd in gore, and singed by fire.
Turban'd Odas round him swept,
Scio's offspring vainly wept;
Now, in turn, let Moslems weep,
O'er their Pasha's death-like sleep.


Aged Sciotes yet remain,
Glad to greet that chief again.
Now Kara Aly gasps for breath,
Aged eyes devour his death;
Aged ears enraptured hear
Groans that make even dæmons fear.
Scio lies in ruin low,
Nothing now can work us woe;
Kara's corse is at our feet,
Life has nothing left so sweet.
Moslems! we alone remain,
Saved by age from slavery's chain:
Wither'd frames and hearts survive,
Spared to see your chief arrive,--
Female eyes can gaze on death
When a tyrant gasps for breath;
Female ears unmoved drink,
Groans that make the dæmons shrink,
While the life-blood ebbs away,
And Satan waits to claim his prey;
Snatch'd from life, and pride, and power,
Thus we barb the parting hour.
Be each Moslem fiend or man,
Thus we brave his ataghan.--


Fate can deal no heavier blow,
Than this circling waste of woe;
Earth will yield no sight so sweet,
As the wretch beneath our feet.
Nought to embitter life remain'd,
When those dregs of grief were drain'd:
Now, this draught of vengeance tasted,
Life and thought alike are wasted;
Greece may triumph, Freedom smile--
Can her touch revive our isle?
Mahmoud's gory throne be shaken--
But can victory's pæans waken
Livid limbs and glazing eye,
Where our sons and fathers lie?
Can they burst each dongeon keep,
Where our daughters vainly weep?
Fatal ties--affection plighted,--
Blossoms scarcely blown--and blighted.

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