The Shores of Greece by Byron

He who hath bent him o'er the dead

Ere the first day of death is fled;

The first dark day of nothingness.

The last of danger and distress:

Before Decay's effacing fingers,

Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,

And mark'd the mild, angelic air,

The rapture of repose that's there;

The fix'd, yet tender traits that streak

The languor of the placid cheek.

Subterranean Chapel, Greece.

And, but for that sad shrouded eye,

That fires not—wins not—weeps not—now;

And, but for that chill, changeless brow,

Whose touch thrills with mortality,

And curdles to the gazer's heart,

As if to him it could impart

The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon:

Yes, but for these, and these alone

Some moments—ay, one treacherous hour—

He still might doubt the tyrant's power;

So fair, so calm, so softly seal'd,

The first, last look by death reveal'd.

Such is the aspect of this shore;

'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!

So coldly sweet—so deadly fair—

We start, for soul is wanting there:

Hers is the loveliness in death

That parts not quite with parting breath;

But beauty, with that fearful bloom,

That hue which haunts it to the tomb:

Expression's last receding ray,

A gilded halo hovering round decay,

The farewell beam of feeling past away!

Spark of that flame—perchance of Heavenly birth,

Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth!

Byron.