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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


The Grecian Temples at Pæstum

By Rossiter W. Raymond (1840–1918)

IN Pæstum’s ancient fanes I trod,

And mused on those strange men of old,

Whose dark religion could infold

So many gods, and yet no God!

Did they to human feelings own,

And had they human souls indeed,

Or did the sternness of their creed

Frown their faint spirits into stone?

The southern breezes fan my face;—

I hear the hum of bees arise,

And lizards dart, with mystic eyes,

That shrine the secret of the place!

These silent columns speak of dread,

Of lovely worship without love;

And yet the warm, deep heaven above

Whispers a softer tale instead!