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

Greece: Athens

The Acropolis

By Thomas Kibble Hervey (1804–1859)

BLUE-EYED Athena! what a dream wert thou!

O, what a glory hovered o’er thy shrine,—

Thy hill, where darker error nestles, now!

Yet art thou hallowed, though no more divine!

The worship of all noblest hearts is thine,—

Though the dull Moslem haunts the sacred earth

Where sprung the olive o’er its bower of vine,

And watched above thine own Cecropia’s birth!

Truth that should chase such dreams were surely little worth!

For, O, thou art the very purest thought

That fable e’er conceived! and on thy hill,—

Thine own blue hill, where time and Turk have wrought

In vain to break the spell that lingers still,—

The heart that owns a better faith may kneel,

Nor wrong his creed, while bending o’er the sod

Where gods, and men like gods in act and will,

Are made immortal, by the wizard rod

Of him whose every thought aspired to be a god!

Mount of the free, Olympus of the earth!

Fair as a temple, lonely as a tomb!

Shall the dark robber rear his household hearth,

Where fabled gods contended for a home!

Those bright abstractions of a truth to come!

No, by the gift Trazene’s monarch gave!

No, by thy withered olive’s early bloom!

The sea-god’s offering calls upon thy brave,

Mount, and replant the tree, once more, upon the Moslem’s grave!