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

Greece: Parnassus, the Mountain


By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)

O THOU Parnassus! whom I now survey,

Not in the frenzy of a dreamer’s eye,

Not in the fabled landscape of a lay,

But soaring snow-clad through thy native sky,

In the wild pomp of mountain majesty!

What marvel if I thus essay to sing!

The humblest of thy pilgrims passing by

Would gladly woo thine echoes with his string,

Though from thy heights no more one Muse will wave her wing.

Oft have I dreamed of thee! whose glorious name

Who knows not, knows not man’s divinest lore:

And now I view thee, ’t is, alas! with shame

That I in feeblest accents must adore.

When I recount thy worshippers of yore

I tremble, and can only bend the knee;

Nor raise my voice, nor vainly dare to soar,

But gaze beneath thy cloudy canopy

In silent joy to think at last I look on thee!

Happier in this than mightiest bards have been,

Whose fate to distant homes confined their lot,

Shall I unmoved behold the hallowed scene,

Which others rave of, though they know it not?

Though here no more Apollo haunts his grot,

And thou, the Muses’ seat, art now their grave,

Some gentle spirit still pervades the spot,

Sighs in the gale, keeps silence in the cave,

And glides with glassy foot o’er yon melodious wave.