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

Asia Minor: Crete (Candia), the Island


By William Falconer (1732–1769)

(From The Shipwreck)

ETERNAL powers! what ruins from afar

Mark the fell track of desolating war:

Here arts and commerce with auspicious reign

Once breathed sweet influence on the happy plain:

While o’er the lawn, with dance and festive song,

Young Pleasure led the jocund hours along:

In gay luxuriance Ceres too was seen

To crown the valleys with eternal green:

For wealth, for valor, courted and revered,

What Albion is, fair Candia then appeared.

Ah! who the flight of ages can revoke?

The free-born spirit of her sons is broke,

They bow to Ottoman’s imperious yoke.

No longer fame their drooping heart inspires,

For stern oppression quenched its genial fires:

Though still her fields, with golden harvests crowned,

Supply the barren shores of Greece around,

Sharp penury afflicts these wretched isles,

There hope ne’er dawns, and pleasure never smiles;

The vassal wretch contented drags his chain,

And hears his famished babes lament in vain.

These eyes have seen the dull reluctant soil

A seventh year mock the weary laborer’s toil.

No blooming Venus, on the desert shore,

Now views with triumph captive gods adore;

No lovely Helens now with fatal charms

Excite the avenging chiefs of Greece to arms;

No fair Penelopes enchant the eye,

For whom contending kings were proud to die;

Here sullen beauty sheds a twilight ray,

While sorrow bids her vernal bloom decay;

Those charms, so long renowned in classic strains,

Had dimly shone on Albion’s happier plains!


The sun’s bright orb, declining all serene,

Now glanced obliquely o’er the woodland scene;

Creation smiles around; on every spray

The warbling birds exalt their evening lay;

Blithe skipping o’er yon hill, the fleecy train

Join the deep chorus of the lowing plain;

The golden lime and orange there were seen

On fragrant branches of perpetual green;

The crystal streams that velvet meadows lave,

To the green ocean roll with chiding wave.

The glassy ocean, hushed, forgets to roar,

But trembling murmurs on the sandy shore;

And, lo! his surface lovely to behold,

Glows in the west, a sea of living gold!

While all above a thousand liveries gay

The skies with pomp ineffable array.

Arabian sweets perfume the happy plains;

Above, beneath, around, enchantment reigns!

While glowing Vesper leads the starry train,

And night slow draws her veil o’er land and main,

Emerging clouds the azure east invade,

And wrap the lucid spheres in gradual shade;

While yet the songsters of the vocal grove

With dying numbers tune the soul to love.