For Greece and Crete

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Storm and shame and fraud and darkness fill the nations full with night:
Hope and fear whose eyes yearn eastward have but fire and sword in sight:
One alone, whose name is one with glory, sees and seeks the light.
Hellas, mother of the spirit, sole supreme in war and peace,
Land of light, whose word remembered bids all fear and sorrow cease,
Lives again, while freedom lightens eastward yet for sons of Greece.
Greece, where only men whose manhood was as godhead ever trod,
Bears the blind world witness yet of light wherewith her feet are shod:
Freedom, armed of Greece was always very man and very God.
Now the winds of old that filled her sails with triumph, when the fleet
Bound for death from Asia fled before them stricken, wake to greet
Ships full-winged again for freedom toward the sacred shores of Crete.
There was God born man, the song that spake of old time said: and there
Man, made even as God by trust that shows him nought too dire to dare,
Now may light again the beacon lit when those we worship were.
Sharp the concert wrought of discord shrills the tune of shame and death,
Turk by Christian fenced and fostered, Mecca backed by Nazareth:
All the powerless powers, tongue-valiant, breathe but greed's or terror's breath.
Though the tide that feels the west wind lift it wave by widening wave
Wax not yet to height and fullness of the storm that smites to save,
None shall bid the flood back seaward till no bar be left to brave.

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