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fascination in the scene of some great convulsion, like the mysterious impulse which goads men to Aling themselves into an abyss, or allow themselves to be sucked into the vortex of a whirlpool ; and many among them would have said, in the words of the most illustrious of them all
"If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live ?
The land of honourable death
Away thy breath!
And take thy rest."*
-but they struggled on. The bravest of their heroes, Marco Bozzaris, had fallen in the first disastrous siege of Missolonghi ; but they called on all to follow his example, and struggled on. Troop after troop arrived from Turkey to replace those which they had swept away. The izier Mahmoud Pasba had only now come, followed by countless numbers, to conduct the war, and the Greeks had no means of reinforcement. They could not call back from their graves those who had already given up their lives. Men, even for Greece, could die but once ; but they armed the women and children, and dragged out the old men in their extremity, to strike a last blow as they expired—and so they struggled on!
It is not to be wondered at, that such a spectacle as this should have aroused men, even strangers to the land, to come forward and proffer their most needful aid ; and from all parts of the world they were now arriving, to enlist under this noble banner. Byron was already in the Ionian Islands, and on him the highest hopes were placed. Vasili, an Olympian, had by proclamation gathered round him a hundred and fifty Philellenists, among whom was included the shattered fragment of the Hieros Lochos, and this was the company now en camped on the plain of Argos. But although, amongst these volunteers, who were principally Swiss, German, and English, many were really actuated by that which was the ostensible motive of all--a generous desire to succour the oppressed; yet not a few were lured hither by very different hopes, and reasons less pure, than these. Some came with views of personal ambition, and they had their reward, for the tombs wherein their senseless dust is laid are decked with laurels even now; some came from motives of cupidity, and they, too, bad their recompense, for in inost cases their gold perished with them; and there were others, over whose young lives some shadow had past so dark and deep, that it had rendered that life an intolerable burden, from which they had here an opportunity to escape, they were most thankful to accept, though they dared not rid themselves of it by their own immediate act. There seems to be for such a strange
Of these latter was Lester, the Englishman who now stood among the ruins of Mycenae. His previous history may be told in very few words. He was a man of independent fortune, an only son, whose parents had died while he was in his infancy. Cast on the world, with no special aim or purpose in life, and without a single tie to bind him, he naturally chose out for himself an object on which to expend those instinctive affections, which must somewhere find an aliment. Of this object he made an idol, and therefore was his idol taken from him. Before the fair young bride, who was to him what nothing merely human ought to be to an immortal soul, had become the wife he thought to cherish with a love imperishable, he was called uponi to lay her down out of his own arms, powerless to retain her, in her quiet, early grave, and as the coffin lid closed over the serene face, lovely in its holy peace, it shut in also for ever the light of his mortal existence.
Lester was a man of generous impulses, and reflective mind; nor was he altogether without principle, although he was, indeed, very far from knowing ought of that glorious independence, that unspeakable calm with which earthly sorrow and earthly joy alike are met by the soul which is, as it were, enshrined in one immutable, eternal hope. Thus, though his mind had so far a right bias that he could perceive, in an act of self-destruction, a most deadly crime ; yet he did but compromise the matter, by turning resolutely to this “ land of honourable death,” there to yield up the life, doubtless given for some holy purpose, which he thought he thus
Poem by Lord Byron, written at Missolonghi shortly before his death.
might sacrifice with impunity. To lay night and day so thick and heavy the ruins of Mycenæ he had been at- in the shade of the waving trees. tracted by the influence of his classical Repulsing that mournful recollecassociations; but as he stood amongst tion, and earnestly purposing to live them, in the sublime quiet of that star- henceforward as one whose life, having lit night, thoughts more solemn and been corroded by misery, had devoted oppressive took possession of his mind, the residue of it to relieve the suffer. when slowly his soul began to tread ings of others, Lester left the ruins, back on her pilgrimage through the and turned towards the tomb of Agapast, making a stepping-stone of each memnon, little thinking how soon his generation, where millions had lived, good and wise resolution was to be put struggled, and perished, to reach a to the test. He approached that imperiod so remote, that it was like a posing sepulchre (by some supposed, dream to look on the monuments which and on no good grounds, to be rather were its tangible vestiges. Then there the treasury of Atreus), and guided by came over him that indescribable awe the starlight, he passed down the steep —that crushing sense of utter insigni- entrance hewn in the rock which led ficance-of weakness, of nothingness, to it, and entered through the door, which bows to the very dust the mor- formed by three blocks of most extratal holding by so frail a tenure, so va- ordinary magnitude. pour-like an existence—when, for one This vast and most kingly tomb is a moment, he is enabled to catch a com- conical vault some fifty feet in height, prehensible glimpse of the workings of and the same in diameter, round whose the stupendous scheme of the universe, dim walls, which no sunbeam has ever the mighty system of ever-perishing, touched, has gathered the mould
and the ever-renewing life.
rust of three thousand years. Strange Lester was stricken with shame, echoes seem to float within its still, thick as he stood gazing on those marble air-strange ashes are beneath the feet blocks, whose triangular form, re- of those who tread within it-ashes presenting the sun's rays, was sym- that were instinct with life, and bolical of the mysterious creed of the thought, and passion, and feeling, in ancient fire-worshippers, and thus open- the days when the sun was worshipped ed out to him a field of bewildering at his rising and his setting, and the thought ; he was stricken with shame, moon adored as she walked in her to think that he, a stray leaf, blown by brightness, and idols honoured in their the breath of eternity — the unseen gorgeous temples, and dreadful sacri. winds of destiny - over this mortal fices offered in the mystic groves ; and shore, should have dared to call in beyond this vault there is an inner re. question the mercy of any heaven-sent cess, where, doubtless, stood the royal decree affecting his own transitory sarcophagus, beneath the light of everbeing, or used the great words of des. burning lamps. Groping in the darkpair, and utter misery and desolation, ness, Lester was about to strike a because of the perishing of one ephe- light, that he might penetrate into this meral hope in his most ephemeral ex- inner chamber, when suddenly, from istence. The thought was salutary, the narrow doorway, a long ray of for before he retired from that ancient light shot pale and quivering, and cast city, he had determined, while his brief a faint glare over the huge dark stones life lasted, rather to seek to do what of that mysterious structure. At that good he, even he, might accomplish in still hour, and in this spot, ever so his generation, than longer to allow des profoundly desolate, this was a most pondency to grow, like mildew, over startling occurrence ; and Lester as his soul, whilst he brooded hopelessly he wandered through the Cyclopean over the one blighting vision that had city, had been holding such close com. ever risen
before him, alike in the munion with the ghostly population of darkness of the night or glory of the the past, that he was strongly predisnoonday, in the burning desert or the posed to the indulgence of supersti. fairest landscapes—the sad vision of tious feeling ; indeed, in that vast, the old Gothic arch, which formed the cold sepulchre, the presence of one deportico of his village church, with one parted would have seemed more real green, lowly mound, raised close beside and natural than the stir of a living it, where the long grass waved so gent- thing, warm with human passion, so ly in the sighing wind, and the dews that for a moment he felt inclined to believe that even yet a watcher came may be sent, or this fierce grief, which by night to mourn over the ashes of is as fire at my heart, will consume my the heathen monarch, and shed around very life away." And as the aged that strange and flickering light; for woman wept and prayed, Lester felt he well knew that to affections which his warmest sympathies so strongly outlive the tomb (if such there be, and moved towards her, that he forgot to aught that is stained with earthly pas- wonder how it chanced that this feeble, sion can escape the purifier, death) no helpless being, was in so strange a place lapse of centuries could bring decrease at such an hour. He believed that, or change. But this wild thought like himself, she sorrowed for one who, vanished, when from that illuminated in unwilling egotism, had early turned chamber there came a sound of lamen- from this troubled sphere to seek the tation—the sound of human lamenta. blessed rest which cannot fail; and tion, which, long before these stupen- seemed in her vivid oriental expresdous blocks were raised by hands whose sions to describe so perfectly his own strength seems not of this world, had feelings, that he hastily advanced togrown to be the very voice of earth wards her, impelled by that deep in. herself, because each one of her children terest which springs from a commufails not to swell the mournful chorus. nity of sorrows. As his shadow
He drew near and looked within. darkened the threshold, it was her turn The light proceeded from a taper, to start and shriek aloud in terror, fixed on the angle of a large rough imagining, as he had done, that none stone; the voice of mourning from but a supernatural being could haunt an aged woman, prostrate before it that abode of gloom at dead of night. in an attitude of intense devotion, “ Ipage opiso mou, Satana! (get thee who at intervals lifted up her shrivel- behind me, Satan),” she exclaimed, led hands in supplication, and cried crossing herself with trembling hands ; out, weeping, “ Cyllene, oh, Cyllene." "it must be a vampire or a ghoul in Lester had acquired a very sufficient human form." knowledge of the Greek language in “No,” said Lester, softly; “ do not the Ionian islands, and knowing that fear; I am mortal like yourself, and, this word “Cyllene" implied the moon, like yourself, I mourn for one beloved he was onee more almost staggered and lost. Do not tremble so; I am a into the belief that he saw before him living man." one of the ancient fire-worshippers, the “ A living man,” she said, while the emblems of whose mysterious faith terror imprinted on her countenance were all around him ; but as she con. gave way to a wondering awe no less tinued to lament, and he to listen, he superstitious. “ Can it be that heaven perceived that she mourned that which has heard my prayer and sent me a it is at once fittest and most anomalous deliverer? A living man in the giant should be mourned by a human being
tomb at such an hour-it is-it must the loss of one subject to decay and be so; the saints have prayed for me, fragile as herself. Cyllene was evi- indeed, and therefore is he sent. Oh, dently a being whom she had loved deliverer,” she continued, rushing toand lost, for she continued to call on wards him, with the vehemence of feelheaven with passionate entreaty to re- ing so peculiar to the Greeks, “heaven. store to her the treasure of her soul. sent deliverer, delay not, but restore “ My bosom was her cradle,” she ex- to me my child.” claimed, with bitter tears, " and where “ Poor mother,” said Lester, comdoes she lay her fair head now? My passionately, “your bitter sorrow has fond heart was her home, and who is
I cannot give you now so desolate and lonely. My love back your child. If human love could was round her like an adamantine wall, ever have recalled the dead, I had not to guard her from one breath of sor- stood alone before you now, for I row, and yet my gentle one alone hath thought that heaven, from its wealth of met the deadliest blasts of evil. Oh, angels, might well have spared me Cyllene, Cyllene, what can I say more to prove mine agony unspeakable, than But my daughter is not dead,” this? Thou wert my only child, and shrieked the aged woman, grasping I have lost thee. Ye holy saints, who his hands, “and you can restore her on this earth, like us, have loved and if you will, for you have youth and suffered, pray for me, that a deliverer strength, and doubtless riches also;
and I lived only in her presence, and her by the power of irresistible affecwas rich only in her goodness and ber tion. beauty, so that now, with all my love, They came to Nauplia– I was there I am most powerless, wretched, and as soon; I saw her sold; I saw them feeble. Oh, were she dead, it is not give their gold for my sweet, gentle thus that I would mourn for her ; I child, with her warm, loving heart, and would not pray or weep, for when did pious soul, that, like an angel, ever death heed prayers or tears? but I found in prayer swift wings to bear it would look my last of her sweet eyes, up to beaven_and then I saw no llore. and bind her hair with flowers of spot- But when I woke, to weep that ever I less white, and then take her in my did wake, they told me she was gone! arıns and lie down with her in her
-gone far over that terrible sea, which quiet grave, so that her last sleep, like vainly indeed these feeble steps would her first, should be upon this loving seek to pass. Then I sold all I bad, breast."
house, and jewels, and land, to buy “ But if she be not dead," said from a sordid Turk, who alone knew Lester, “why do you say that she is it, the secret of her destination, and lost ?"
from him I learned that she had been « Because she is a slave,” she an- bought by the principal sultanå of Kosswered, with a burst of anguish—"a reff Pasha's harem, and that they had slave to our worst enemies, the cruel taken her to his palace on the coast of and hateful Turks. Oh, stranger, if Asia. Since then, what could I do you will not succour us this day-if but crawl from church to church, and you refuse the task for which the saints wear the stones with kneeling there to have sent you here to-night, I never pray for succour. To-night I was on shall behold Cyllene more. Think, a pilgrimage to the chapel of St. Sophia's think what it is I say—a living mother on Mount Chaon, but my strength never to look again upon her living failed me, so I made a temple of this child !”
awful tomb, and knelt down here, and 6 Do not doubt that I will help you, behold the Hearer of Prayer is every. if it is in my power," replied Lester ; where, for you are sent in answer to “ but can you tell me even where she my supplications." is ?—when was she taken from you ?" Assheceased, the old woman looked up
“ Not long since, and yet how many to Lester with a gaze of imploring earages," said the mother—“six weary nestness which it would have been diffimonths. I had upon this earth a hus- cult to resist ; nor had he any wish to band and a child-all that it was given do so, for this adventure seemed to have me to love in this world, and I per- come most opportunely, to try the formed well that blessed duty, for look strength of the determination he had so to what boundless agony that boundless lately made, rather to use his life for the love has turned. My husband took his good of others, than impiously to fing life from me to give it to his country—he it from him in his selfish sorrow, and it died for Greece. I saw him buried in mattered little to him in what channel be his honourable tomb, and night and directed the energies and the powers day my heart called out to him that I of endurance and courage which he would not leave him lonely in his had hitherto wasted so lavishly. gloomy couch ; but she stood between “ It would indeed appear," he said, me and that grave_Cyllene; I could “as though heaven willed I should not pass her by to seek bim there, and assist you, for to-morrow 1 set sail for leave her in her helpless innocence to Smyrna, which cannot be far distant wander through a world so vile. I from the dwelling of Kosreff Pasha. lived for her ; but when the Turkish That prince is so well known, that I soldiers, fierce and merciless, came can easily obtain access to him, and if thundering down upon our peaceful gold can buy her, or if they will take home, and tore her from my feeble my life in exchange for her liberty, arms, then for her I vainly would have your daughter shall
be restored to you. died. They dragged her from me, The aged woman sunk at his feet, and I followed in the track of their speechless from excess of gratitude. horses' feet, till exhausted, bleeding, She was so firmly conviuced that the fint, I could but crawl along among stranger's arrival at the very moment the stones and dust-still, when my very of her ardent pleading for succour, life was expiring within me, drawn after had been caused by a miraculous inter
position, that she did not for one in- felt as though her child were already stant doubt the success of his enterprise, restored to her, and when Lester had or the truth of his promise. She was obtained from her all the information possessed, in common with most of her she could give, he was obliged to leave countrymen, of that simple, unques- her in order to rejoin his companions, tioning faith, which is the greatest of for she obstinately refused to follow treasures in this twilight world where him to some place of shelter, designing, we wander !-a pearl beyond all price as is very customary among the Greeks, to the human soul, encompassed about to pass the night in prayer, and all the with such thick clouds, and darkness, more determined so to do, that her and mists, through which, too often, supplication was changed to thanksshine only the false meteors' glare. She giving.
CHAPTER II.—THE VOYAGE OF THE PHILELLENISTS TO SMYRNA.
The day was dawning, as Lester ap- let loose over this ill-fated and lovely proached the spot where the band of country. The Greeks had long turned Philellenists had bivouacked for the their best energies, as well as their night. The bright sunlight-so much warmest hopes, to the acquisition of more sad and dreary than the darkest this important stronghold; but it night, to those who, while life endures, was strongly garrisoned and stoutly must let their soul keep watch in silence defended by the Turks, under the over one deep-buried and ever living command of Selim Pasha, and the sorrow that sunlight had already almost inaccessible fortress of the begun to render visible the ravages Palamede, which stands on a rock which the once luxuriant plain of Argos nearly eight hundred feet high, had had sustained, during the long and enabled them to resist repeated and dreadful siege of Nauplia.
most energetic attacks. At length, In looking over the records of this however, the brave old chief, Coloco. world, whilst we cannot but admit that troni took a solemn vow, that he man has his lucid intervals, we are, at would gain possession of the citadel, the same time, almost constrained to or perish, and encamped with a force believe, that he is actuated in most of his greatly inferior to that of the enemy, proceedings by a strange and unnatural on the hill of St. Elias, among the madness; and in none more so than Cyclopean ruins of Tyrins. Coloco. when he conjures up the demon, war, troni was an able general, and knowwith its attendants, rapine, murder, and ing well that his numbers were quite destruction, out of the unfathomable inadequate to give him even a chance abyss of his own evil passions, and de- of success, he called in to his aid those livers up to them, as a hapless prey, this two powerful agents, famine and pesfair and goodly earth, where all things tilence-he succeeded in so dextrously were given him richly to enjoy. The closing and guarding the issues from beautiful flower-gardens and fragrant the besieged town, that the Turks lemon-groves, which surrounded the were, from the commencement, reonce celebrated capital of the Argolide, duced solely to the slender provision had given place to a dreary waste, of food actually collected for their blackened by fire, and serving as the immediate wants. unhallowed sepulchre of heaps of cor- With so enormous a garrison, this rupting dead.
supply was necessarily soon exhaustThe siege of the modern town of ed—for three long months did the Nauplia, which was
a strong and Greek chief obstinately blockade the important place of defence, and con- fortress, and the Moslems as obsidered quite as the key to the Mo- stinately defend it, although during rea, had terminated only a few days this period, they passed from stage to before, presenting in its details a series stage of the most horrible sufferings. of horrors which, in another time and Having devoured everything in the place, would have been thought un- shape of animals which the place conequalled; though, during the Greek tained, they lived for weeks on the revolution, they had become sufficiently leaves of the prickly pear, and were common to induce us almost to fancy finally reduced to subsist, or rather to that the very powers of evil had been fail in subsisting, on boiled leather