Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Asia Minor: Abydos


By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(From The Bride of Abydos, Canto II)

THE WINDS are high on Helle’s wave,

As on that night of stormy water,

When Love, who sent, forgot to save

The young, the beautiful, the brave,

The lonely hope of Sestos’ daughter.

O, when alone along the sky

Her turret-torch was blazing high,

Though rising gale and breaking foam

And shrieking sea-birds warned him home

And clouds aloft and tides below,

With signs and sounds, forbade to go,

He could not see, he would not hear,

Or sound or sign foreboding fear;

His eye but saw that light of love,

The only star it hailed above;

His ear but rang with Hero’s song,

“Ye waves, divide not lovers long!”

That tale is old, but love anew

May nerve young hearts to prove as true.

The winds are high, and Helle’s tide

Rolls darkly heaving to the main;

And night’s descending shadows hide

That field with blood bedewed in vain,

The desert of old Priam’s pride;

The tombs, sole relics of his reign,

All,—save immortal dreams that could beguile

The blind old man of Scio’s rocky isle!

O yet,—for there my steps have been!

These feet have pressed the sacred shore,

These limbs that buoyant wave hath borne,—

Minstrel! with thee to muse, to mourn,

To trace again those fields of yore,

Believing every hillock green

Contains no fabled hero’s ashes,

And that around the undoubted scene

Thine own “broad Hellespont” still dashes,

Be long my lot! and cold were he

Who there could gaze denying thee!