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

Asia Minor: Smyrna


By Seymour Green Wheeler Benjamin (1837–1914)

  • Smyrna contested, with much plausibility, for the honor of being the birthplace of the blind minstrel. A cave in the vicinity is marked by tradition as Homer’s retreat.

  • THE SUNSET gun has died along the sea,

    It is the evening of Bairami’s fête.

    The torches on each tapering minaret

    Flash in the rippling waters of the bay,

    And purple vapor dims the droning town.

    From Smyrna’s dewy gardens floats the scent

    Of myrtle, rose, and citron, softly blent,

    Like votive incense by each zephyr blown

    Around Mæonides’ cave. Since he began

    His deathless song, weird city of the dead!

    Aged Smyrna! thou hast heard the busy tread

    Of buried millions, where the caravan

    Now wends its tinkling way by Meles’ stream,

    Where ramparts moulder in the moonlight beam.