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

Polynesia: Sandwich Islands


By William Gibson (1826–1887)


AN OCEAN-PLANET, rounded by a glory,

The billowy glory of the great Pacific,

Withdrawn in spheres remote of rolling blue.

An island, central with inferior groupings,

Like Jupiter, in the cerulean distance,

Magnificent among his circling moons.

Planet-like poiséd half submerged in ocean:

One hemisphere above the water-level

Apparent, belted by three climate-zones.

The heavy mango droops, the slim palm towers,

By intertropical shores; gleam silver summits

(Through wind-clouds) Arctic with eternal frost.

Crowned with the vast white dome of Mauna Loa,

Escarpments rich with the pandanus, rávines,

Cascades and rainbows, form thy globular shell.

A hollow globe; beneath the snow, the verdure,

The ambient ocean, live, primordial fires,

Which have created, dwell—and may destroy.


Hush,—hence the theme! ’T is torrid noon, with freshness

On lake and waterfall, soft vowels and laughter

From brown amphibious girls in Eden’s guise.

And, as I gaze and write, glorious Hawáii!

I see no terror in thy soaring beauty,

Thy sky of lazuli and sapphire sea.