Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
Asia Minor: Miletus
Ode to Miletos
Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864)
 
  MAIDEN there was whom Jove
  Illuded into love,
    Happy and pure was she;
  Glorious from her the shore became,
    And Helle lifted up her name        5
  To shine eternal o’er the river-sea.
 
    And many tears are shed
    Upon thy bridal-bed,
Star of the swimmer in the lonely night!
    Who with unbraided hair        10
    Wipedst a breast so fair,
Bounding with toil, more bounding with delight.
 
  But they whose prow hath past thy straits
  And, ranged before Byzantion’s gates,
Bring to the God of sea the victim due,        15
  Even from the altar raise their eyes,
  And drop the chalice with surprise,
And at such grandeur have forgotten you.
 
  At last there swells the hymn of praise,
  And who inspires those sacred lays?        20
    “The founder of the walls ye see.”
  What human power could elevate
  Those walls, that citadel, that gate?
    “Miletos, O my sons! was he.”
 
Hail then, Miletos! hail, beloved town,        25
    Parent of me and mine!
But let not power alone be thy renown,
    Nor chiefs of ancient line.
 
  Nor visits of the Gods, unless
    They leave their thoughts below,        30
  And teach us that we most should bless
    Those to whom most we owe.
 
  Restless is Wealth; the nerves of Power
    Sink, as a lute’s in rain:
  The Gods lend only for an hour        35
    And then call back again
 
  All else than Wisdom; she alone,
    In Truth’s or Virtue’s form,
  Descending from the starry throne
    Through radiance and through storm,        40
 
  Remains as long as godlike men
    Afford her audience meet,
  Nor Time nor War tread down agen
    The traces of her feet.
 
Alway hast thou, Miletos, been the friend,        45
  Protector, guardian, father, of the wise;
Therefor shall thy dominion never end
  Till Fame, despoiled of voice and pinion, dies.
 
“With favoring shouts and flowers thrown fast behind,
    Arctinos ran his race,        50
No wanderer he, alone and blind—
    And Melesander was untorn by Thrace.
 
          There have been, but not here,
      Rich men who swept aside the royal feast
          On child’s or bondman’s breast,        55
      Bidding the wise and aged disappear.
 
          Revere the aged and the wise,
      Aspasia! but thy sandal is not worn
          To trample on these things of scorn;
      By his own sting the fire-bound scorpion dies.        60
 
 
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