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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/117

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THE GIAOUR.





No breath of air to break the wave
That rolls below the Athenian's grave,
That tomb[1] which, gleaming o'er the cliff,
First greets the homeward-veering skiff
High o'er the land he saved in vain;
When shall such Hero live again?

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  1. A tomb above the rocks on the promontory, by some supposed the sepulchre of Themistocles.

    ["There are," says Cumberland, in his Observer, "a few lines by Plato upon the tomb of Themistocles, which have a turn of elegant and pathetic simplicity in them, that deserves a better translation than I can give—

    "'By the sea's margin, on the watery strand,
    Thy monument, Themistocles, shall stand:
    By this directed to thy native shore,
    The merchant shall convey his freighted store;
    And when our fleets arc summoned to the fight
    Athens shall conquer with thy tomb in sight.'"

    Note to Edition 1832.

    The traditional site of the tomb of Themistocles, "a rock-hewn grave on the very margin of the sea generally covered with water," adjoins the lighthouse, which stands on the westernmost promontory of the Piræus, some three quarters of a mile from the entrance to the harbour. Plutarch, in his Themistocles (cap. xxxii.), is at pains to describe the exact site of the "altar-like tomb," and quotes the passage from Plato (the comic poet, B.C. 428-389) which Cumberland paraphrases. Byron and Hobhouse "made the complete circuit of the peninsula of Munychia," January 18, 1810.—Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 317, 318.]