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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: Platæa (Laspi)

The Tombs of Platæa

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

AND there they sleep!—the men who stood

In arms before the exulting sun,

And bathed their spears in Persian blood,

And taught the earth how freedom might be won.

They sleep!—the Olympic wreaths are dead,

The Athenian lyres are hushed and gone;

The Dorian voice of song is fled,—

Slumber, ye mighty! slumber deeply on!

They sleep, and seems not all around

As hallowed unto glory’s tomb?

Silence is on the battle-ground,

The heavens are loaded with a breathless gloom.

And stars are watching on their height,

But dimly seen through mist and cloud,

And still and solemn is the light

Which folds the plain, as with a glimmering shroud.

And thou, pale night-queen! here thy beams

Are not as those the shepherd loves,

Nor look they down on shining streams,

By Naiads haunted, in their laurel groves:

Thou seest no pastoral hamlet sleep,

In shadowy quiet, midst its vines;

No temple gleaming from the steep,

Midst the gray olives or the mountain-pines:

But o’er a dim and boundless waste

Thy rays, e’en like a tomb-lamp’s, brood,

Where man’s departed steps are traced

But by his dust, amid the solitude.

And be it thus! What slave shall tread

O’er freedom’s ancient battle-plains?

Let deserts wrap the glorious dead,

When their bright land sits weeping o’er her chains:

Here, where the Persian clarion rung,

And where the Spartan sword flashed high,

And where the Pæan strains were sung,

From year to year swelled on by liberty!

Here should no voice, no sound, be heard,

Until the bonds of Greece be riven,

Save of the leader’s charging word,

Or the shrill trumpet, pealing up through heaven!

Rest in your silent homes, ye brave!

No vines festoon your lonely tree!

No harvest o’er your war-fields wave,

Till rushing winds proclaim,—the land is free!