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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: Delphi (Castri)

The Tomb of Laius

By Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)

WHERE Delphi’s consecrated pass

Bœotia’s misty region faces,

Rises a tomb-like stony mass

Amid the bosky mountain-bases;

It seems no work of human care,

But many rocks split off from one:

Laius, the Theban king, lies there,—

His murderer Œdipus, his son.

No pilgrim to the Pythian shrine

But marked the spot with decent awe,

In presence of a power divine,

O’erruling human will and law:

And to some thoughtful hearts that scene,—

Those paths, that mound, those browsing herds,

Were more than e’er that tale had been,

Arrayed in Sophoclean words.

So is it yet,—no time or space

That ancient anguish can assuage,

For sorrow is of every race,

And suffering due from every age;

That awful legend falls to us,

With all the weight that Greece could feel,

And every man is Œdipus,

Whose wounds no mortal skill can heal.

O, call it Providence or fate,

The Sphinx propounds the riddle still,

That man must bear and expiate

Loads of involuntary ill:

So shall endurance ever hold

The foremost rank mid human needs,

Not without faith that God can mould

To good the dross of evil deeds.