Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  South America

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

Introductory to South America

South America

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

(From The Missionary)

WHEN o’er the Atlantic wild, rocked by the blast,

Sad Lusitania’s exiled sovereign passed,

Reft of her pomp, from her paternal throne

Cast forth, and wandering to a clime unknown,

To seek a refuge on that distant shore,

That once her country’s legions dyed with gore;—

Sudden, methought, high towering o’er the flood,

Hesperian world! thy mighty genius stood;

Where spread, from cape to cape, from bay to bay,

Serenely blue, the vast Pacific lay;

And the huge Cordilleras to the skies

With all their burning summits seemed to rise.

Then the stern spirit spoke, and to his voice

The waves and woods replied: Mountains, rejoice!

Thou solitary sea, whose billows sweep

The margin of my forests, dark and deep,

Rejoice! the hour is come: the mortal blow,

That smote the golden shrines of Mexico,

In Europe is avenged; and thou, proud Spain,

Now hostile hosts insult thy own domain;

Now Fate, vindictive, rolls, with refluent flood,

Back on thy shores the tide of human blood,

Think of my murdered millions! of the cries

That once I heard from all my kingdoms rise;

Of Famine’s feeble plaint, of Slavery’s tear;—

Think, too, if Valor, Freedom, Fame, be dear,

How my Antarctic sons, undaunted, stood,

Exacting groan for groan, and blood for blood;

And shouted, (may the sounds be hailed by thee!)

Tyrants, the virtuous and the brave are free!