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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.

Introductory to Greece

The Greek Boy

By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

GONE are the glorious Greeks of old,

Glorious in mien and mind;

Their bones are mingled with the mould,

Their dust is on the wind;

The forms they hewed from living stone

Survive the waste of years, alone,

And, scattered with their ashes, show

What greatness perished long ago.

Yet fresh the myrtles there,—the springs

Gush brightly as of yore;

Flowers blossom from the dust of kings,

As many an age before.

There nature moulds as nobly now,

As e’er of old, the human brow;

And copies still the martial form

That braved Platæa’s battle storm.

Boy! thy first looks were taught to seek

Their heaven in Hellas’ skies;

Her airs have tinged thy dusky cheek,

Her sunshine lit thine eyes;

Thine ears have drunk the woodland strains

Heard by old poets, and thy veins

Swell with the blood of demigods,

That slumber in thy country’s sods.

Now is thy nation free—though late—

Thy elder brethren broke—

Broke, ere thy spirit felt its weight,

The intolerable yoke.

And Greece, decayed, dethroned, doth see

Her youth renewed in such as thee;

A shoot of that old vine that made

The nations silent in its shade.