Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
Asia Minor: Scio (Chios)
Mithridates at Chios
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)
 
    KNOW’ST thou, O slave-cursed land!
  How, when the Chian’s cup of guilt
    Was full to overflow, there came
    God’s justice in the sword of flame
  That, red with slaughter to its hilt,        5
Blazed in the Cappadocian victor’s hand?
 
    The heavens are still and far;
  But, not unheard of awful Jove,
    The sighing of the island slave
    Was answered, when the Ægean wave        10
  The keels of Mithridates clove,
And the vines shrivelled in the breath of war.
 
    “Robbers of Chios! hark,”
  The victor cried, “to Heaven’s decree!
    Pluck your last cluster from the vine,        15
    Drain your last cup of Chian wine;
  Slaves of your slaves, your doom shall be,
In Colchian mines by Phasis rolling dark.”
 
    Then rose the long lament
  From the hoar sea-god’s dusky caves;        20
    The priestess rent her hair and cried,
    “Woe! woe! The gods are sleepless-eyed!”
  And, chained and scourged, the slaves of slaves,
The lords of Chios into exile went.
 
    “The gods at last pay well,”        25
  So Hellas sang her taunting song,
    “The fisher in his net is caught,
    The Chian hath his master bought”;
  And isle from isle, with laughter long,
Took up and spread the mocking parable.        30
 
    Once more the slow, dumb years
  Bring their avenging cycle round,
    And, more than Hellas taught of old,
    Our wiser lesson shall be told,
  Of slaves uprising, freedom-crowned,        35
To break, not wield, the scourge wet with their blood and tears.
 
 
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