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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

The Barbary States: Carthage

Hannibal’s Oath

By Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)

AND the night was dark and calm,

There was not a breath of air,

The leaves of the grove were still,

As the presence of death were there;

Only a moaning sound

Came from the distant sea,

It was as if, like life,

It had no tranquillity.

A warrior and a child

Passed through the sacred wood,

Which, like a mystery,

Around the temple stood.

The warrior’s brow was worn

With the weight of casque and plume;

And sunburnt was his cheek,

And his eye and brow were gloom.

The child was young and fair,

But the forehead large and high,

And the dark eyes’ flashing light

Seemed to feel their destiny.

They entered in to the temple,

And stood before the shrine,

It streamed with the victim’s blood,

With incense and with wine.

The ground rocked beneath their feet,

The thunder shook the dome,

But the boy stood firm and swore

Eternal hate to Rome.

There ’s a page in history

O’er which tears of blood were wept,

And that page is the record

How that oath of hate was kept.