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

Greece: Thebæ (Thebes)


By Seneca (c. 3 B.C.–65 A.D.)

Translated by J. B. Patterson

THEBES! who shall weep aright for thee,

No more the valiant and the free?

Thou cradle-land of many a god,

Stoop’st thou beneath a tyrant’s rod?

She,—from whose fields together rose

The sworded bands of spell-born foes,

Whose walls to rear, Amphion’s tones

Led, as in dance, the charmed stones;

For whom so oft eternal Jove

Hath left his radiant seats above:

To whom in former years was given

To shrine her favorites in heaven;

Who, haply, gods will yet create,—

She bows beneath the cankering weight

Of iron bondage and disgrace.

How are ye fallen, Cadmean race!

Shall a proud outcast vilely spurn

Your freedom’s rights, ye dragon-born?

Shall he usurp your country’s throne,

A sordid exile from his own?

Whose crimes affront the land and main,

Shall he Herculean Thebes profane?