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

India: Ellora


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

ELLORA’S wonders half unearthly seem,

Born as of fancy, dazzling as a dream.

Shaped from the living stone, vast halls appear,

Their massive grandeur sculptured columns rear;

Ranged round the shrine, unnumbered gods are seen,

From Lashmi fair to Siva’s blood-stained queen;

From wisdom’s Lord, proud Ganesa, to him

The child of love, the god of mirth and whim.

Who carved this grand cathedral? ask yon sage

That haunts these ruins, bowed like them with age;

A king, he says, in earth’s pure, happy prime,

Ere China was, or Hebrews reckon time;

And then he kneels, o’er brighter days to grieve,

And simple hearts the fabling tale believe.