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

Turkey in Europe, and the Principalities: Dardanelles (Hellespont)


By Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

(From The Vanity of Human Wishes)

IN gay hostility and barbarous pride,

With half mankind embattled at his side,

Great Xerxes comes to seize the certain prey,

And starves exhausted regions in his way;

Attendant Flattery counts his myriads o’er,

Till counted myriads soothe his pride no more;

Fresh praise is tried till madness fires his mind,

The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind;

New powers are claimed, new powers are still bestowed,

Till rude resistance lops the spreading god;

The daring Greeks deride the martial show,

And heap their valleys with the gaudy foe;

The insulted sea with humbler thoughts he gains,

A single skiff to speed his flight remains;

The incumbered oar scarce leaves the dreaded coast

Through purple billows and a floating host.