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

Greece: Sunium (Colonna), the Cape


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

HIGH o’er the billows Sunium glances now,

An airy temple gleaming on its brow.

Fair mount! the first, the last to greet the eyes

Of those who sail beneath blue Attic skies,

How many a banished Greek, in ancient days,

Hath viewed yon rocks with sadly wistful gaze!

There Simon looked in silence: o’er these seas

Heaved many a sigh the wronged Themistocles;

And he whom gold ne’er tempted, fear ne’er moved,

Exiled by foes he saved, by friends he loved,

Prayed for the land fast fading from his view,

Gazed, while his veteran soul all weakness grew,

Called on the gods,—ah! not to curse, but bless,

Till blinding tears relieved his heart’s distress.

What though no more on Sunium’s sacred steep

Altars shall blaze, and light the midnight deep,

Or hymns resound at morning’s opening smile,

Answered by songs from neighboring cape and isle,

While clouds of incense floating through the calm,

Sweeten the sea, and fill all heaven with balm;

Those snow-white columns ages still shall brave,

Charm seamen’s eyes, and gleam across the wave,

Dead Art’s sweet spirit watching on that shore

Which Glory owns and gods protect no more.