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

Introductory to Mexico


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

FAIR Mexico, that, trembling in her chains,

Saw ruthless strangers waste her peaceful plains,

Where are the stately domes she reared of old,

Her terraced shrines that blazed with gems and gold?

Where her white-feathered chiefs that lined each steep,

Like foamy waves which crest the breezy deep?

Alas! her tale is traced in tears and flame;

Let History blush to write a Cortes’ name;

Lo! where the fires ascend from yonder vale!

Ye hear the stake-bound victims’ dying wail.

Doth not a groan each turf-clad barrow yield,

From those who fell on red Otumba’s field?

While on each murmuring wind that wanders by

Floats royal Montezuma’s fruitless sigh.