Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
 
Portugal: Lisbon (Lisboa)
The Earthquake of Lisbon, 1755
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)
 
(From Agnes)

AT length they see the waters gleam
  Amid the fragrant bowers
Where Lisbon mirrors in the stream
  Her belt of ancient towers.
 
Red is the orange on its bough,        5
  To-morrow’s sun shall fling
O’er Cintra’s hazel-shaded brow
  The flush of April’s wing.
 
The streets are loud with noisy mirth,
  They dance on every green;        10
The morning’s dial marks the birth
  Of proud Braganza’s queen.
 
At eve beneath their pictured dome
  The gilded courtiers throng;
The broad moidores have cheated Rome        15
  Of all her lords of song.
 
Ah! Lisbon dreams not of the day,
  Pleased with her painted scenes,
When all her towers shall slide away
  As now these canvas screens!        20
 
The spring has passed, the summer fled,
  And yet they linger still,
Though autumn’s rustling leaves have spread
  The flank of Cintra’s hill.
*        *        *        *        *
Three hours the first November dawn        25
  Has climbed with feeble ray
Through mists like heavy curtains drawn
  Before the darkened day.
 
How still the muffled echoes sleep!
  Hark! hark! a hollow sound,—        30
A noise like chariots rumbling deep
  Beneath the solid ground.
 
The channel lifts, the water slides
  And bares its bar of sand,
Anon a mountain billow strides        35
  And crashes o’er the land.
 
The turrets lean, the steeples reel
  Like masts on ocean’s swell,
And clash a long discordant peal,
  The death-doomed city’s knell.        40
 
The pavement bursts, the earth upheaves
  Beneath the staggering town!
The turrets crack, the castle cleaves,
  The spires come rushing down.
 
Around, the lurid mountains glow        45
  With strange unearthly gleams;
While black abysses gape below,
  Then close in jagged seams.
 
The earth has folded like a wave,
  And thrice a thousand score,        50
Clasped, shroudless in their closing grave,
  The sun shall see no more!
 
 
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