Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The View from Castri

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX. 1876–79.

Greece: Castri (Delphi)

The View from Castri

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

THERE have been bright and glorious pageants here,

Where now gray stones and moss-grown columns lie;

There have been words, which earth grew pale to hear,

Breathed from the cavern’s misty chambers nigh;

There have been voices, through the sunny sky,

And the pine woods, their choral hymn-notes sending,

And reeds and lyres, their Dorian melody,

With incense-clouds around the temple blending,

And throngs, with laurel-boughs, before the altar bending;

There have been treasures of the seas and isles

Brought to the day-god’s now forsaken throne;

Thunders have pealed along the rock-defiles,

When the far-echoing battle-horn made known

That foes were on their way!—the deep-wind’s moan

Hath chilled the invader’s heart with secret fear,

And from the Sibyl-grottos, wild and lone,

Storms have gone forth, which, in their fierce career,

From his bold hand have struck the banner and the spear.

The shrine hath sunk!—but thou unchanged art there!

Mount of the voice and vision, robed with dreams!

Unchanged, and rushing through the radiant air,

With thy dark-waving pines, and flashing streams,

And all thy founts of song! their bright course teems

With inspiration yet; and each dim haze,

Or golden cloud which floats around thee, seems

As with its mantle, veiling from our gaze

The mysteries of the past, the gods of elder days!

Away, vain fantasies!—doth less of power

Dwell round thy summit, or thy cliffs invest,

Though, in deep stillness now, the ruin’s flower

Wave o’er the pillars mouldering on thy breast?

Lift through the free blue heavens thine arrowy crest!

Let the great rocks their solitude regain!

No Delphian lyres now break thy noontide rest

With their full chords: but silent be the strain!

Thou hast a mightier voice to speak the Eternal’s reign!