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LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

59

GREEK FUNERAL CHANT OR MYRIO.

LOGUE.

"Les Chants Funèbres par lesquels on déplore en Grèce la mo de ses proches, prennent le nom particulier de Myriologia, comme qui dirait, Discours de lamentation, complaintes. Un malade vieniii de rendre le dernier soupir, sa femme, sa mère, ses filles, ses seurs, celles, en un mot, de ses plus proches parentes qui sont là, lui ferment les yeux et la bouche, en épanchant librement, chacune selon son naturel et sa mesure de tendresse pour le défunt, la douleur qu' elle ressent de sa perte. Ce premier devoir rempli, elles se retirent toutes chez une de leurs parentes ou de leurs amies. Là elles changent de vêtemens, s'habillent de blanc, comme pour la cérémonie nuptiale, avec cette difference, qu'elles gardent la tête vue, les cheveux épars et pendants. Ces apprêts terminés, les parentes reviennent dans leur parure de deuil; toutes se rangent en circle autour du mort, et leur douleur s'exhale de nouveau, et, comme la première fois, sans règle et sans contrainte. A ces plaintes spontanées succèdent bientôt des lamentations d'une autre espèce : ce sont les Myriologues. Ordinairement c'est la plus proche parente qui prononce le sien la première ; après elle les autres parentes, les amies, les simples voisines. Les Myriologues sont toujours composés et chantés par les femmes. Ils sont toujours improvisés, toujours en vers, et toujours chantés sur un air qui diffère d'un lieu à un autre, mais qui, dans un lieu donné, reste invariablement consacré à ce genre de poësie."

Chants Populaires de la Grèce Moderne, par C. Fauriel.

the rest,

A wall was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the young, Amidst her tears the Funeral Chant a mournful mother sung. -" Ianthis ! dost thou sleep ?Thou sleep'st!--but this is not The breathing and the rosy calm, 1 have pillow'd on my

breast ! Ilulld thee not to this repose, Ianthis! my sweet son! As in thy glowing childhood's time by twilight I have done ! How is it that I bear to stand and look upon thee now? And that I die not, seeing death on thy pale glorious brow?

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LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

“ I look upon thee, thou that wert of all most fair and brave!
I see thee wearing still too much of beauty for the grave!
Though mournfully thy smile is fix'd, and heavily thine eye
Hath shut above the falcon-glance that in it loved to lie !
And fast is bound the springing step, that seem'd on breezes

borne, When to thy couch I came and said, -- Wake, hunter, wake!

'tis morn! Yet art thou lovely still, my flower ! untouch'd by slow decay, -And I, the wither'd stem, remain—I would that grief might

slay ! “Oh! ever when I met thy look, I knew that this would be! I knew too well that length of days was not a gift for thee! I saw it in thy kindling cheek, and in thy bearing high ;A voice came whispering to my soul, and told me thou must

die ! That thou must die, my fearless one! where swords were

flashing red.-Why doth a mother live to say--my first-born and my dead? They tell me of thy youthful fame, they talk of victory won-Speak thou, and I will hear ! my child, Ianthis! my sweet

son!

A wail was heard around the bed, the deathbed of the young, A fair-hair'd bride the Funeral Chant amidst her weeping

sung: " Ianthis! look'st thou not on me? Can love indeed be

fled? When was it wo before to gaze upon thy stately head? I would that I had follow'd thee, Ianthis, my beloved ! And stood as woman oft hath stood where faithful hearts are

proved! That I had bound a breastplate on, and battled at thy sideIt would have been a blessed thing together had we died! " But where was I when thou didst fall beneath the fatal

sword ? Was I beside the sparkling fount, or at the peaceful board ? Or singing some sweet song of old, in the shadow of the vine, Or praying to the saints for thee, before the holy shrine ? And thou wert lying low the while, the life-drops from thy

heart Fast gushing like a mountain-spring !-and couldst thou thus

depart? Couldst thou depart, nor on my lips pour out thy fleeting

breath? Oh! I was with thee but in joy, that should have been in

death!

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

61

6. Yes! I was with thee when the dance through mazy rings

was led, And when the lyre and voice were tuned, and when the feast

was spread ; But not where noble blood flow'd forth, where sounding

javelins flew -Why did I hear love's first sweet words, and not its last

adieu ? What now can breathe of gladness more, what scene, what

hour, what tone ? The blue skies fade with all their lights, they fade, since

thou art gone! Ev’n that must leave me, that still face, by all my tears un.

moved - Take me from this dark world with thee, Ianthis! my

beloved !" A wail was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the

young Amidst her tears the Funeral chant a mournful sister sung. "Ianthis! brother of my soul !-oh! where are now the days That laugh'd among the deep green hills, on all our infant

plays ? When we two sported by the streams, or track_d them to

their source, And like a stag's, the rocks along, was thy fleet fearless

I see the pines there waving yet, I see the rills descend, I see thy bounding step no more my brother and " I come with flowers-for spring is come ! --Ianthis! art

thou here? I bring the garlands she hath brought, I cast them on thy

bier ! Thou shouldst be crown'd with victory's crown-but oh!

more meet they seem, The first faint violets of the wood, and lilies of the stream! More meet for one so fondly loved, and laid thus early low

-Alas! how sadly sleeps thy face amidst the sunshine's glow : The golden glow that through thy heart was wont such joy to

send, -Wo, that it smiles, and not for thee my brother and my

friend !"

course !

my friend!

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LAYS OF MANY LANGS.

THE PARTING SONG.

This piece is founded on a tale related by Fauriel in his" Chari sons Populaires de la Grèce Moderne," and accompanied by some very interesting particulars respecting the extempore parting songs, or songs of expatriation, as he informs us they are called, in which the modern Greeks are accustomed to pour forth their feelings on bidding farewell to their country and friends.

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A youth went forth to exile, from a home
Such as to early thought gives images,
The longest treasur'd and most oft recallid,
And brightest kept, of love ;-a mountain home,
That, with the murmur of its rocking pines
And sounding waters, first in childhood's heart
Wakes the deep sense of nature unto joy,
And half unconscious prayer :-a Grecian home,
With the transparence of blue skies o'erhung,
And, through the dimness of its olive shades,
Catching the flash of fountains, and the gleam
Of shining pillars from the fanes of old.
And this was what he left!-Yet many leave
Far more :-the glistening eye, that first from theirs
Calld out the soul's bright smile; the gentle hand,
Which through the sunshine led forth intant steps
To where the violets lay; the tender voice
That earliest taught them what deep melody
Lives in affection's tones. He left not these.
-Happy the weeper, that but weeps to part
With all a mother's love ! A bitterer grief
Was his---To part unloved !of her unloved,

That should have breathed upon his heart, like Spring,
Fostering its young faint flowers !

Yet had be friends,
And they went forth to cheer him on his way
Unto the parting spot-and she too went,
That mother, tearless for her youngest-born.
The parting spot was reach'd :-a lone deep glep,
Holy, perchance, of yore, for care and fount
Were there, and sweet-voiced echoes ; and above,

ܪ

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

63

The silence of the blue, still, upper Heaven
Hung round the crags of Pindus, where they wore
Their crowning snows.-Upon a rock he sprung,
The unbeloved one, for his bome to gaze
Through the wild laurels back ; but then a light
Broke on the stern proud sadness of his eye,
A sudden quivering light, and from his lips
A burst of passionate song.

“ Farewell, farewell ! " I hear thee, o thou rushing stream!--thou ’rt from my,

native dell, Thou 'rt bearing thence a mournful sound—a murmur of fare

well! And fare thee well-flow on, my stream flow on, thou

bright and free! I do but dream that in thy voice one tone laments for me ; But I have been a thing unloved, from childhood's loving

years, And therefore turns my soul to thee, for thou hast known my

tears ; The mountains, and the caves, and thou, my secret tears bave

known: The woods can tell where he hath wept, that ever wept alone!

“ I see thee once again, my home ! thou 'rt there amidst thy

vines, And clear upou thy gleaming roof the light of summer shines. It is a joyous hour when eve comes whispering through thy

groves, The hour that brings the son from toil, the bour the mother

loves ! The hour the mother loves !-for me beloved it hath not

been ;

Yet ever in its purple smile, thou smil'st, a blessed scene ! Whose quiet beauty o'er my soul through distant years will Yet what but as the dead, to thee, shall I be then, my home?

come

“ Not as the dead !-no, not the dead We speak of them

we keep Their names, like light that must not fade, within our bosoms

deep! We hallow ev'n the lyre they touch’d, we love the lay they

sung, We pass with softer step the place they fill'd our band among!

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