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

Greece: Corinth


By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(From The Siege of Corinth)

MANY a vanished year and age,

And tempest’s breath, and battle’s rage,

Have swept o’er Corinth; yet she stands

A fortress formed to Freedom’s hands.

The whirlwind’s wrath, the earthquake’s shock,

Have left untouched her hoary rock,

The keystone of a land which still,

Though fallen, looks proudly on that hill,

The landmark to the double tide

That purpling rolls on either side,

As if their waters chafed to meet,

Yet pause and crouch beneath her feet.

But could the blood before her shed

Since first Timoleon’s brother bled,

Or baffled Persia’s despot fled,

Arise from out the earth which drank

The stream of slaughter as it sank,

That sanguine ocean would o’erflow

Her isthmus idly spread below:

Or could the bones of all the slain

Who perished there be piled again,

That rival pyramid would rise

More mountain-like through those clear skies,

Than yon tower-capped Acropolis,

Which seems the very clouds to kiss.