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

The Barbary States: Carthage


By Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880)

Suggested by a Painting by Vanderlyn, of Marius Seated among the Ruins of Carthage

PILLARS are fallen at thy feet,

Fanes quiver in the air,

A prostrate city is thy seat,

And thou alone art there.

No change comes o’er thy noble brow,

Though ruin is around thee;

Thine eye-beam burns as proudly now,

As when the laurel crowned thee.

It cannot bend thy lofty soul,

Though friends and fame depart;

The car of fate may o’er thee roll,

Nor crush thy Roman heart.

And Genius hath electric power,

Which earth can never tame;

Bright suns may scorch, and dark clouds lower,

Its flash is still the same.

The dreams we loved in early life

May melt like mist away;

High thoughts may seem, mid passion’s strife,

Like Carthage in decay.

And proud hopes in the human heart

May be to ruin hurled,

Like mouldering monuments of art

Heaped on a sleeping world.

Yet there is something will not die,

Where life hath once been fair;

Some towering thoughts still rear on high,

Some Roman lingers there!