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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Chinese Empire: Mecon, the River

The River Mecon

By Luís de Camões (c. 1524–1580)

  • (From The Lusiad)
    Translated by W. J. Mickle
  • Don Constantine de Braganza was now viceroy of India, and Camões, desirous to return to Goa, resigned his charge. In a ship freighted by himself he set sail, but was shipwrecked in the gulf near the month of the river Mecon, in Cochin-China. All he had acquired was lost in the waves: his poems, which he held in one hand, while he saved himself with the other, were all he found himself possessed of when he stood friendless on the unknown shore.

  • CAMBOYA there the blue-tinged Mecon laves,

    Mecon the eastern Nile, whose swelling waves,

    Captain of rivers named, o’er many a clime

    In annual period pour their fattening slime.

    The simple natives of these lawns believe

    That other worlds the souls of beasts receive;

    Where the fierce murderer wolf, to pains decreed,

    Sees the mild lamb enjoy the heavenly mead.

    O gentle Mecon, on thy friendly shore,

    Long shall the Muse her sweetest offerings pour!

    When tyrants ire-chafed by the blended lust

    Of pride outrageous, and revenge unjust,

    Shall on the guiltless exile burst their rage,

    And maddening tempests on their side engage,

    Preserved by heaven the song of Lusian fame,

    The song, O Vasco, sacred to thy name,

    Wet from the whelming surge shall triumph o’er

    The fate of shipwreck on the Mecon’s shore,

    Here rest secure as on the Muse’s breast!

    Happy the deathless song, the bard, alas, unblest!