Where meek Cephisus pours his scanty tide;1210
The cypress saddening by the sacred Mosque,
The gleaming turret of the gay Kiosk;
And, dun and sombre 'mid the holy calm,
Near Theseus' fane yon solitary palm,
All tinged with varied hues arrest the eye—
And dull were his that passed them heedless by.
Again the Ægean, heard no more afar,
Lulls his chafed breast from elemental war;
Again his waves in milder tints unfold
Their long array of sapphire and of gold,1220
Mixed with the shades of many a distant isle,
That frown—where gentler Ocean seems to smile.
Not now my theme—why turn my thoughts to thee?
Oh! who can look along thy native sea.
Nor dwell upon thy name, whate'er the tale,
So much its magic must o'er all prevail?
Who that beheld that Sun upon thee set,
Fair Athens! could thine evening face forget?
Not he—whose heart nor time nor distance frees,
Spell-bound within the clustering Cyclades!1230
- The Kiosk is a Turkish summer house: the palm is without the present walls of Athens, not far from the temple of Theseus, between which and the tree, the wall intervenes.—Cephsus' stream is indeed scanty, and Ilissus has no stream at all.
[E. Dodwell (Classical Tour, 1819, i. 371) speaks of "a magnificent palm tree, which shoots among the ruins of the Ptolemaion," a short distance to the east of the Theseion. There is an illustration in its honour. The Theseion—which was "within five minutes' walk" of Byron's lodgings (Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 259)—contains the remains of the scholar, John Tweddell, died 1793, "over which a stone was placed, owing to the exertions of Lord Byron" (Clarke's Travels, Part II. sect. i. p. 534). When Byron died, Colonel Stanhope proposed, and the chief Odysseus decreed, that he should be buried in the same spot.—Life, p. 640.]