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So humble a petition was not offered up in vain : the plague followed the scarcity, and the contagion completed what the famine had begun. The human form was swept away from the surface of the land, like the shadows of darkness which the dawn puts to flight. Towns, and villages, and hamlets innumerable, were bereft of their tenants to a man. The living became too few to bury the dead. Their own houses remained their cemeteries. Where long strings of coffins at first had issued forth, not a solitary funeral any longer appeared. Hundreds of families, who had fled from famine to Syria, were overtaken by the plague in the midst of their journey, and with their dead bodies marked their route through the desert. Egypt, smitten by the twofold visitation, almost ceased to appear inhabited ; and both plagues at last disappeared, for want of further victims to slay.
In common with the abhorred sons of Othman, I believe that every event is determined by an irreversible decree. Exiled from the country of my fore
* The first draught of the above tale appeared in the Edinburgh Magazine, under the title of An Adventure in Athens. It has since been rewritten and much improved ; and the compiler of this volume has great pleasure in giving it publicity, as one of a series of tales preparing for the press by its ingenious author.
fathers from that beloved, oppressed, unhappy, but still glorious Greece, “ the clime of the unforgotten brave”-and condemned to pass the few miserable days that remain to me on the face of the earth, an outcast from the communion of men, one on whose forehead every passer-by may discover the mark of Cain—I yet feel something resembling a throb or pulse of delight quivering about my heart, when I call to mind not that the guilt of my individual crimes must be laid to the immutable ordination of that secret power which rules over all, but—that - Greece may yet be free,"—that the hour, the long looked for hour of her deliverance and renovation is at hand.
Yes, by the awful spirits of our renowned ancestors, who bled at Marathon, at Salamis, at Thermopylæ, at Platæa, Greece shall yet raise her head once more among the nations; and minds now obscured or enthralled by a despotism the most sanguinary and remorseless ever established by violence, or maintained by terror, shall come alive, as it were, from the dead, burst the fetters of their bondage, and, like giants freshened and invigorated by long repose, break forth upon the world in the fulness of their strength. The broken and scattered fragments of the glorious monuments of ancient days shall yet be gathered together, and barbarian iconoclasts and plunderers shall be compelled to surrender the sacrilegious despoilings of the Temples of Freedom. The Genius of Greece shall, phoenix
like, arise from her ashes, and the brilliant sun of liberty shine on those mountains, vallies, and streams, which patriotism has illustrated and poetry immortalized. The sacred dust of the tenantless sepulchres shall give forth the spirits of those whose bodies were once entombed in them; the dead in superstition and debasement shall awake from the trance of ages; the slave shall cease to crouch beneath the rod or the frown of the turbaned des. pot, the feeble shall become strong, the dastardly brave, the vanquished victorious; and when the day decreed by fate" comes—and come it will — the hand of the mighty that achieved the triumph shall exact a fearful but just retribution for the tears of blood shed, the misery and oppression suffered, during centuries of sorrow, humiliation, and despair. All-righteous Heaven, and feeble man the instrument of its will, shall combine for the destruction of the accursed Moslemins, and the overthrow of a crazy, cruel despotism, reared in an age of degeneracy and darkness, maintained by savage ignorance and terror, and alternately courted and feared by the selfishness, pusillanimity, or weakness of surrounding nations. I think I feel within me a prophetic intimation, that one of those mighty cycles, imagined by the divine spirit of our sublime Plato, has nearly completed its grand revolution; that the hopes and the prayers of past ages are destined to be fulfilled in the present. This, even if it were a delusive, is at least a splendid
vision, from which there flows forth a halo of anticipated glory, bright enough to irradiate even a darker spirit than mine. Δείτε παιδες των Ελληνών και “ Arise, awake, or be for ever fallen !"
But no vision of future regeneration and renown can dispel or charm away the present dreadful reality. Greece, in the crisis of her death struggle, is bleeding at every pore; while the best and bravest of her sons are daily falling victims to the savage and despairing fury of her barbarian oppressors, Scio! what ineffable horrors rise before the imagination at the mention of that name! Even my heart sinks within me, when I think of the price which must be paid for freedom. Extermination or deliverance !-such is now the fearful alternative. Oh, that I could yet strike a blow for life and death against the remorseless Moslemins! Oh, that some hero would arise, gifted with that resistless force of genius, which sways the willing spirits of men, knits together every heart, unites every hand, fires the soul with the love of glory, inspires it with the contempt of death, and electrifies it by the vision of imperishable renown!
The tyrant of the Chersonese,
Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
Oh! that the present hour would lend
Such chains as his were sure to bind.
and troubled spirits like mine; for, under such a “ tyrant,” it would be endurable to drain the bitter cup of existence to the very dregs, and ecstacy itself to meet death in the field of battle, where it would be brightened at once and sweetened by glory and revenge. Men only who have acted or felt like me, can either sympathize with, or forgive these wild but soothing extravagances of a distempered yet lofty spirit, that has forgone all usage of rest, and seeks for a momentary delirious calm by feeding the disease that consumes it.
You will doubtless remember that I formerly gave you my promise of gratifying the desire you expressed to be made acquainted with the exact particulars of the daring, desperate, and successful act of vengeance, which marked me out for destruction to the worshippers of the Prophet, and excited, as the Franks say, so great a sensation throughout the whole of Greece. I am the more anxious to redeem this pledge, and to put you in possession of every circumstance connected with the bold and perilous deed now alluded to, as the employment of writing, by controlling my associations, and diverting the morbid current of my thoughts, may act like oil on the wave to my restless and perturbed spirit, constantly tending to destruction from perpetual commerce with its own gloomy and desponding imaginations; while I shall, at the same time, be enabled to correct some false impressions, which I have reason to know