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

South America: Panama (Darien)

On a Headland in the Bay of Panama

By Bryan Waller Procter (1787–1874)

VAGUE mystery hangs on all these desert places!

The fear which hath no name hath wrought a spell!

Strength, courage, wrath, have been, and left no traces!

They came,—and fled; but whither? who can tell?

We know but that they were,—that once (in days

When ocean was a bar ’twixt man and man),

Stout spirits wandered o’er these capes and bays,

And perished, where these river-waters ran.

Methinks they should have built some mighty tomb,

Whose granite might endure the century’s rain,

White winter, and the sharp night-winds that boom

Like spirits in their purgatorial pain.

They left, ’t is said, their proud unburied bones

To whiten on this unacknowledged shore;

Yet naught besides the rocks and worn sea-stones

Now answers to the great Pacific’s roar!

A mountain stands where Agamemnon died:

And Cheops hath derived eternal fame,

Because he made his tomb a place of pride;

And thus the dead Metella earned a name.

But these,—they vanished as the lightnings die

(Their mischiefs over) in the surging deep;

And no one knoweth underneath the sky,

What heroes perished here, nor where they sleep.