Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
 
Portugal: Tagus (Tejo), the River
Camoens
William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)
 
(From The Spirit of Discovery by Sea)

                    WHAT lofty meed awaits
The triumph of his victor conch, that swells
Its music on the yellow Tagus’ side,
As when Arion, with his glittering harp
And golden hair, scarce sullied from the main,        5
Bids all the high rocks listen to his voice
Again! Alas, I see an aged form,
An old man worn by penury, his hair
Blown white upon his haggard cheek, his hand
Emaciated, yet the strings with thrilling touch        10
Soliciting; but the vain crowds pass by:
His very countrymen, whose fame his song
Has raised to heaven, in stately apathy
Wrapped up, and nursed in pride’s fastidious lap,
Regard not. As he plays, a sable man        15
Looks up, but fears to speak, and when the song
Has ceased, kisses his master’s feeble hand.
Is that cold wasted hand, that haggard look,
Thine, Camoens? O, shame upon the world!
And is there none, none to sustain thee found,        20
But he, himself unfriended, who so far
Has followed, severed from his native isles,
To scenes of gorgeous cities, o’er the sea,
Thee and thy broken fortunes!
                        God of worlds!
O, whilst I hail the triumph and high boast        25
Of social life, let me not wrong the sense
Of kindness, planted in the human heart
By man’s great Maker, therefore I record
Antonio’s faithful, gentle, generous love
To his heart-broken master, that might teach,        30
High as it bears itself, a polished world
More charity.
 
 
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