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

Turkey in Europe, and the Principalities: Dardanelles (Hellespont)

Hero and Leander

By Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805)

Translated by C. T. Brooks

MARK ye how yon time-worn towers,

In the golden noontide hours,

Greet each other o’er the straits,

Where the Hellespont rolls thundering

Through the Dardanelles, wide sundering

In his march their rocky gates?

Hear ye how the stormy surges,

Moaning, lash the naked rock,

Asia’s coast from Europe rending?

Love fears not their sullen shock.

Long had Hero and Leander,

Pierced by Love’s resistless arrow,

Nursed a sweet and secret pang;

Hero, fair as Hebe blooming,

He, through wild and mountain roaming,

Where the chase tumultuous rang.

Fearful feuds, their sires dividing,

Frowned upon the lovers’ bliss,

And the fruit of sweet affection

Hung o’er danger’s wild abyss.

There, on Sestos’ rocky tower,

Where tempestuously each hour

Wild the Euxine moans and swells,

Sat the maiden, lone and weary,

Gazing o’er the waters dreary,

Where the fondly loved one dwells.

Ah, no bridge across those billows

Shall her trembling footsteps stay;

No bold vessel stems the surges;

Love alone hath found the way.


Darkly now the waves were flowing,

And she bade the torch bright-glowing

From the lofty window gleam.

The lone swimmer, faint and weary,

Mid the waste of waters dreary

Soon shall hail its guiding beam.

Wildly curl the blackening billows;

Every star is quenched on high,

And the moan of sullen breakers

Hoarsely speaks the tempest nigh.

Wide o’er Pontus’ plains extending

Night now broods, and floods descending

Burst from every angry cloud;

Forked lightnings rend the heavens,

And from out their rocky caverns

All the storms howl wild and loud.

Now the gloomy, giant billows

To the skies in fury swell,

And now yawn the deep abysses,

Like the hungry jaws of Hell.


And the tempest’s wild lash urges

Mountain-high the thundering surges

Up the cliff and o’er the rock;

Sullen moan the whitening breakers;

E’en the oak-ribbed vessel staggers,

Nor unshattered ’scapes the shock.

Flickering in the wind that moment,

Dies the torch’s beacon-light;

And the billows and the landing

With wild horrors mock the sight.


And the wild winds cease their blowing,

And the steeds of Morn, bright-glowing,

Climb their eastern path on high.

Peaceful on his bed old Ocean

Flows along with shining motion,

Smiling to the smiling sky.

And the waves with gentlest whisper

Greet the rock and kiss the strand;

And at length a corpse comes floating

In their light wake up the sand.

Ay, ’t is he,—one glance reveals him,—

He, who e’en in death is faithful!

Faithful to his solemn vow!

Not a groan,—no sigh she utters,—

Not a tear her pale cheek moistens,—

Marble-cold she stands there now.

O’er the dreary deep she gazes,

Looks despairing to the sky,

And a kindling fire illumines

Her pale cheek and fading eye.


In the breeze her loose robes flutter,—

From the battlement she plunges

Down into the sounding wave;

And the God of ocean proudly

Bears on high the holy corpses,

And himself prepares their grave.

Then triumphantly the billows

With their proud prey onward sweep,

From the never-failing fountains

Of the unfathomable deep.