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

South America: Rio Janeiro, Brazil

Rio Janeiro

By John Dunmore Lang (1799–1878)


ROCKS piled on rocks immense, mountains afar,

Their outline bold, drawn on the lofty sky.

Dom Pedro, thou art safe! Thy bulwarks are

Impregnable, Brazilian liberty!

Faction may ruin thee, but foreign war

Can ne’er assail thy strongholds. Live and die

Free, then, Brazilian! See how bounteous Heaven

For thy defence ramparts of rock hath given!

Ye pyramids of Egypt, what are ye

To Nature’s pyramids, unnumbered here?

Some stand like watch-towers distant in the sea,

As ’t were to signal give of danger near.

Others on land all riven! Perchance they be

Remnants of giant strife full many a year

Forgot. It may be they were rent asunder

By Titans and by antediluvian thunder.

Rocks piled on rocks in wild confusion rise,

Mountains uprear their snow-clad peaks afar,

And on each headland bold, strong batteries

Bespeak the infant Empire ripe for war.

Then the broad bay that, like some Scotch loch, lies

Encircled by steep hills, but lovelier far;

Its thousand isles clothed with rich verdure seem

All beauteous as the landscape of a dream.