Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
Japan: Niphon (Nippon), the Island
From the Japanese
Anonymous translation
  “After the separation of chaos into earth and heaven (an idea borrowed from China, and interwoven in the legend with the purely Japanese story) the god Izanagi and the goddess Izanami, descendants of the original primeval god, stood on the Bridge of Heaven, and with a staff made of coral stirred up the ocean lying far beneath. The drops of brine as they fell from the staff on its withdrawal congealed and became land, and thus was created the main island of Nippon, the other islands of the Japanese Empire being after-creations, concerning which various legends are extant.”—Westminster Review, XXXVIII. 328.

HEAVEN above from earth below
Long ago the God hath parted.
Now aloft in the sky hath set
His divine abode, and now
In the realm of endless joy        5
Inly pondering muses he,
Walking in the world of dreams,
Viewing through the evening shades
Our Nippon’s pleasant shores,
Leading in his dreamy vision        10
His divine twain offspring towards
Yon the hoariest of shrines,
And within the rock-hewn portal
Of their vast abode that ne’er
Hath the utter darkness known        15
Of primeval chaos deigning
Godlike symbols there to leave.

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