Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/185

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Hereditary Bondsmen! know ye not
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?
By their right arms the conquest must be wrought?[1]
Will Gaul or Muscovite redress ye? No!
True—they may lay your proud despoilers low,
But not for you will Freedom's Altars flame.
Shades of the Helots! triumph o'er your foe!
Greece! change thy lords, thy state is still the same;
Thy glorious day is o'er, but not thine years of shame.


The city won for Allah from the Giaour
The Giaour from Othman's race again may wrest;
And the Serai's impenetrable tower
Receive the fiery Frank, her former guest;N35
Or Wahab's[2] rebel brood who dared divest
The Prophet's tomb of all its pious spoil,N36
May wind their path of blood along the West;
But ne'er will Freedom seek this fated soil,
But slave succeed to slave through years of endless toil.

  1. [Compare The Age of Bronze, vi. lines 39-46.]
  2. [The Wahabees, who took their name from the Arab sheik Mohammed ben Abd-el-Wahab, arose in the province of Nedj, in Central Arabia, about 1760. Half-socialists, half-puritans, they insisted on fulfilling to the letter the precepts of the Koran. In 1803-4 they attacked and ravaged Mecca and Medinah, and in 1808 they invaded Syria and took Damascus. During Byron's residence in the East they were at the height of their power, and seemed to threaten the very existence of the Turkish empire.]