Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

India: Salsette, the Island


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

HARK! from Salsette’s once fair and flowery shore

The jackal’s cry, the tiger’s hollow roar;

Where dark-eyed Nautch-girls danced in beauty’s pride,

The toad spits venom now, and serpents glide;

The marble steps are clothed with waving grass,

No sun-bright streams purl music as ye pass;

Yon altars own no more the prophet’s sway;

The Eden that once bloomed hath passed away.

Yet here, mid scenes luxuriant as sublime,

Was Buddha worshipped, pride of elder time,

Classed with those spirits centuries only bring,

To raise their kind, and clear Truth’s darkening spring;

Blessed sage of Ind! but Persecution’s brand

His followers smote,—they fled their native land;

Their creed, their rites the hapless exiles bore

To many a foreign wild and mountain shore;

And fast their doctrines spread,—to Buddha now,

Like leaves in autumn, countless millions bow.