Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Greece
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX.  1876–79.
 
Greece: Athens
Academe
Sir Edwin Arnold (1832–1904)
 
PLEASANTER than the hills of Thessaly,
Nearer and dearer to the poet’s heart
Than the blue ripple belting Salamis,
Or long grass waving over Marathon,
Fair Academe, most holy Academe,        5
Thou art, and hast been, and shalt ever be.
I would be numbered now with things that were,
Changing the wasting fever of to-day
For the dear quietness of yesterday:
I would be ashes, underneath the grass,        10
So I had wandered in thy platane walks
One happy summer twilight,—even one:
Was it not grand and beautiful and rare,
The music and the wisdom and the shade,
The music of the pebble-paven rills,        15
And olive boughs, and bowered nightingales,
Chorussing joyously the joyous things
Told by the gray Silenus of the grove,
Low-fronted and large-hearted Socrates!
O, to have seen under the olive blossoms        20
But once,—once only in a mortal life,
The marble majesties of ancient gods!
And to have watched the ring of listeners,
The Grecian boys gone mad for love of truth,
The Grecian girls gone pale for love of him        25
Who taught the truth, who battled for the truth;
And girls and boys, women and bearded men,
Crowding to hear and treasure in their hearts
Matter to make their lives a happiness,
And death a happy ending.
*        *        *        *        *
        30
 
 
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