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

Asia Minor: Troy


By Lucan (39–65 A.D.)

(From Pharsalia)
Translated by Nicholas Rowe

WHEN sated with joy which slaughters yield,

Retiring Cæsar left Emathia’s field;

His other cares laid by, he sought alone

To trace the footsteps of his flying son.

Led by the guidance of reporting fame,

First to the Thracian Hellespont he came.

Here young Leander perished in the flood,

And here the tower of mournful Hero stood:

Here with a narrow stream the flowing tide

Europe from wealthy Asia does divide.

From hence the curious victor passing o’er,

Admiring, sought the famed Sigæan shore.

There might he tombs of Grecian chiefs behold,

Renowned in sacred verse by bards of old.

There the long ruins of the walls appeared,

Once by great Neptune and Apollo reared:

There stood old Troy, a venerable name,

Forever consecrate to deathless fame.

Now blasted mossy trunks with branches sear,

Brambles and weeds, a loathsome forest rear;

Where once in palaces of regal state

Old Priam and the Trojan princes sate.

Where temples once, on lofty columns borne,

Majestic did the wealthy town adorn,

All rude, all waste and desolate is laid,

And even the ruined ruins are decayed.

Here Cæsar did each storied place survey,

Here saw the rock where, Neptune to obey,

Hesione was bound the monster’s prey.

Here, in the covert of a secret grove,

The blest Anchises clasped the Queen of Love:

Here fair Œnone played, here stood the cave

Where Paris once the fatal judgment gave;

Here lovely Ganymede to heaven was borne;

Each rock and every tree recording tales adorn.

Here all that does of Xanthus’ stream remain

Creeps a small brook along the dusty plain.

Whilst careless and securely on they pass,

The Phrygian guide forbids to press the grass:

This place, he said, forever sacred keep,

For here the sacred bones of Hector sleep.

Then warns him to observe where, rudely cast,

Disjointed stones lay broken and defaced:

Here his last fate, he cries, did Priam prove;

Here, on this altar of Hercæan Jove.

O Poesy divine! O sacred song!

To thee bright fame and length of days belong;

Thou, Goddess! thou eternity canst give,

And bid secure the mortal hero live.