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Ah! who would think that form had past
Through Danger's most destructive path, Had braved the death-wing'd tempest's blast,
And 'scaped a tyrant's fiercer wrath ? Lady! when I shall view the walls
Where free Byzantium once arose ; And Stamboul's Oriental halls
The Turkish tyrants now enclose ; Though mightiest in the lists of fame,
That glorious city still shall be ;
As spot of thy nativity:
When I behold that wond'rous scene,
WRITTEN IN PASSING THE AMBRACIAN GULF,
NOVEMBER 14, 1809.
1. Through cloudless skies, in silvery sheen,
Full beams the moon on Actium's coast : And on these waves, for Egypt's queen,
The ancient world was won and lost.
2. And now upon the scene I look,
The azure grave of many a Roman ; Where stern Ambition once forsook
His wavering crown to follow woman.
3. Florence ! whom I will love as well
As ever yet was said or sung, (Since Orpheus sang his spouse from hell)
Whilst thou art fair and I am young;
4. Sweet Florence! those were pleasant times,
When worlds were staked for ladies' eyes : Had hards as many realms as rhymes,
Thy charms might raise new Anthonies.
Though Fate forbids such things to be,
Yet, by thine eyes and ringlets curld ! I cannot lose a world for thee,
But would not lose thee for a world.
Composed October 11th, 1809, during the night, in a thunder
storm, when the guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called Pindus, in Albania.
Where Pindus' mountains rise,
The vengeance of the skies.
And lightnings, as they play,
Or gild the torrent's spray.
When lightning broke the gloom-
'Tis but a Turkish tomb.
I hear a voice exclaim-
On distant England's name.
Another-'tis to tell
And lead us where they dwell.
Oh! who in such a night will dare
To tempt the wilderness ?
Our signal of distress ?
7. And who that heard our shouts would rise
To try the dubious road ?
That outlaws were abroad.
8. Clouds burst, skies flash, oh, dreadful hour!
More fiercely pours the storm!
To keep my bosom warm.
9. While wand'ring through each broken path,
O'er brake and craggy brow; While elements exhaust their wrath,
Sweet Florence, where art thou ?