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

Introductory to Greece


By James Thomson (1834–1882)

(From Liberty)

HAIL, Nature’s utmost boast! unrivalled Greece!

My fairest reign! where every power benign

Conspired to blow the flower of human kind,

And lavished all that genius can inspire.

Clear, sunny climates by the breezy main,

Ionian or Ægean, tempered kind:

Light, airy soils: a country rich, and gay

Broke into hills with balmy odors crowned,

And, bright with purple harvest, joyous vales:

Mountains, and streams, where verse spontaneous flowed;

Whence deemed by wondering men the seat of gods,

And still the mountains and the streams of song.

All that boon Nature could luxuriant pour

Of high materials, and my restless arts

Frame into finished life. How many states,

And clustering towns, and monuments of fame,

And scenes of glorious deeds, in little bounds?

From the rough tract of bending mountains, beat

By Adria’s here, there by Ægean waves;

To where the deep adorning Cyclade Isles

In shining prospect rise, and on the shore

Of farthest Crete resounds the Libyan main.