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.
 
India: Golconda
The Tombs of the Kings of Golconda
Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)
 
MORNING is round the shining palace,
Mirrored on the tide,
Where the lily lifts her chalice
With its gold inside,
          Like an offering from the waves.        5
Early wakened from their slumbers,
Stand the glittering ranks;
Who is there shall count the numbers
On the river’s banks?
          Forth the household pours the slaves        10
          Of the kings of fair Golconda,
          Of Golconda’s ancient kings.
 
Wherefore to the crimson morning
Are the banners spread,
Daybreak’s early colors scorning        15
With a livelier red?
          Pearls are wrought on each silk fold.
Summer flowers are flung to wither
On the common way.
Is some royal bride brought hither        20
With this festival array,
          To the city’s mountain-hold
          Of the kings of old Golconda,
          Of Golconda’s ancient kings?
 
From the gates the slow procession,        25
Troops and nobles come.
This hour takes the king possession
Of an ancient home,—
          One he never leaves again.
Musk and sandalwood and amber        30
Fling around their breath:
They will fill the murky chamber
Where the bride is Death.
          Where the worm hath sole domain
          O’er the kings of old Golconda,        35
          O’er Golconda’s ancient kings.
 
Now the monarch must surrender
All his golden state,
Yet the mockeries of splendor
On the pageant wait        40
          That attends him to the tomb.
Music on the air is swelling,
’T is the funeral song,
As to his ancestral dwelling,
He is borne along,        45
          They must share life’s common doom,
          The kings of fair Golconda,
          Golconda’s ancient kings.
 
What are now the chiefs that gather?
What their diamond mines?        50
What the heron’s snowy feather
On their crest that shines?
          What their valleys of the rose?
For another is their glory,
And their state and gold;        55
They are a forgotten story,
Faint and feebly told,—
          Breaking not the still repose
          Of the kings of fair Golconda,
          Of Golconda’s ancient kings.        60
 
Glorious is their place of sleeping,
Gold with azure wrought,
And embroidered silk is sweeping,
Silk from Persia brought
          Round the carvéd marble walls.        65
Not the less the night owl’s pinion
Stirs the dusky air,
Not the less is the dominion
Of the earth-worm there.
          Not less deep the shadow falls        70
          O’er the kings of fair Golconda,
          O’er Golconda’s ancient kings.
 
Not on such vain aids relying,
Can the human heart
Triumph o’er the dead and dying.        75
It must know its part
          In the glorious hopes that wait
The bright openings of the portal
Far beyond the sky,
Faith whose promise is immortal,        80
Life that cannot die;—
          These are stronger than the state
          Of the kings of fair Golconda,
          Of Golconda’s ancient kings.
 
 
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