Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX. 1876–79.

Greece: Athens


By Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)

(From Erechtheus)

LO, I stand

Here on this brow’s crown of the city’s head

That crowns its lovely body, till death’s hour

Waste it; but now the dew of dawn and birth

Is fresh upon it from thy womb, and we

Behold it born how beauteous; one day more

I see the world’s wheel of the circling sun

Roll up rejoicing to regard on earth

This one thing goodliest, fair as heaven or he,

Worth a god’s gaze or strife of gods; but now

Would this day’s ebb of their spent wave of strife

Sweep it to sea, wash it on wreck, and leave

A costless thing contemned; and in our stead,

Where these walls were and sounding streets of men,

Make wide a waste for tongueless water-herds

And spoil of ravening fishes; that no more

Should men say, Here was Athens.