Collected Poems of Henry Derozio: Preface by Manu Samriti Chander; Edited by Amardeep Singh


'At midday on the 23rd, the fire of the  Turks having ceased, we saw behind the battery nearest to the town, two women, several men, and some children, their prisoners, whom they had spitted, and were roasting at a slow fire. They placed these wretched beings at the head of their batteries, as a sort of trophy. And will Europe hear of such an atrocity with indifference? These unfortunate persons had been taken in an excursion, made by them into the Canton of Venetiko. Heavens! what have we done to be abandoned to the ferocity of a race so barbarous!' --Hellenic Chronicle of Missolonghi.

[Editor's Note]

Will Europe hear?—Aye, calmly hear— 
   No arm is stretched to save: 
Why need'st thou aid ? art thou not Greece, 
   The glorious, and the brave? 

Art thou not Greece, the hallowed land, 
   The mistress of the seas? 
Where are the breasts that bled for thee? 
   Where sleeps Miltiades? 

Where are the few whose tales we hear, 
   A hero every one, 
Who fought, and fell, victorious still— 
   The men of Marathon? 

Where is the godlike Spartan prince 
  Of famed Thermopylae, 
Who nobly scorning life in chains, 
  Deemed 'better not to be'?
Chains !—O! the very thought was death, 
   A thought they could not bear; 
Their lofty spirits were as free 
   As their own mountain air! 

Hast thou forgotten, Salamis! 
   The triumph on thy wave? 
Thy rocky shore can testify 
   Th' Athenian was no slave. 

But Athens hath forgot his name, 
   His deeds are past away; 
And o'er her broken temples now 
   Hath lowered a darker day. 

The flame that on her altars glowed 
   Now glows, alas! no more! 
And that bright fire is quenched which warmed 
   Her heroes' hearts of yore. 

And Corinth, city of the sea, 
   In dust and ashes weeps; 
Why is she now not great and free? 
   Alas! Timoleon sleeps! 

King Agis was a Spartan king, 
   A crown was on his brow; 
But Liberty that chaplet wove: 
   Such king hath Sparta now? 

An oracle did once declare, 
   The prince who first was dead 
Should save his state—and know ye not 
   How nobly Codrus bled? 

There was a hero once in Thebes 
   Who spurned a tyrant's power; 
Did he but live, Thebes would not be 
   In slavery one short hour!

They're gone to their eternal rest, 
   Untroubled and serene; 
Their country is a tyrant's now, 
   As if they ne'er had been! 

O Greece! thy race of gods on earth 
   Would soon have set thee free 
By some unequalled deed of worth, 
   Befitting them, and thee. 

But though they sleep, hast thou no sons 
   To seize the flaming brand, 
And bravely grasp the freeman's sword 
   With patriotic hand? 

Will Europe hear? Ah! no—ah! no-- 
   She coldly turns from thee; 
Thine own right arm, and battle-blade 
   Must win the victory. 

And then will Europe hear ?—she shall, 
   But not a mournful strain; 
The world will hear exultingly 
   That Greece is free again! 

March, 1827. 

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