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.
India: Elephanta, the Island
The Cave of Elephanta
Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)
WHAT know ye of them? Nothing,—there they stand
Gloomy as night, inscrutable as fate,
Altars no more divine, and shrines which know
Nor priests, nor votaries, nor sacrifice;
The stranger’s wonder all their worship now.        5
And yet coeval as the naked rock
Seem they with mother earth,—immutable;
Time, tempest, warfare, ordinary decay
Is not for these. The memory of man
Has lost their rise, although they are his work.        10
Two senses here are present,—one of power,
And one of nothingness; doth it not mock
The mighty mind to see the meaner part,
The task it taught its hands, outlast itself?
The temple was a type, a thing of stone        15
Built by laborious days which made up years;
The creed which hallowed it was of the soul;
And yet the creed hath passed,—the temple stands.
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