Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Americas
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX.  1876–79.
South America: Panama (Darien)
On a Headland in the Bay of Panama
Bryan Waller Procter (1787–1874)
VAGUE mystery hangs on all these desert places!
  The fear which hath no name hath wrought a spell!
Strength, courage, wrath, have been, and left no traces!
  They came,—and fled; but whither? who can tell?
We know but that they were,—that once (in days        5
  When ocean was a bar ’twixt man and man),
Stout spirits wandered o’er these capes and bays,
  And perished, where these river-waters ran.
Methinks they should have built some mighty tomb,
  Whose granite might endure the century’s rain,        10
White winter, and the sharp night-winds that boom
  Like spirits in their purgatorial pain.
They left, ’t is said, their proud unburied bones
  To whiten on this unacknowledged shore;
Yet naught besides the rocks and worn sea-stones        15
  Now answers to the great Pacific’s roar!
A mountain stands where Agamemnon died:
  And Cheops hath derived eternal fame,
Because he made his tomb a place of pride;
  And thus the dead Metella earned a name.        20
But these,—they vanished as the lightnings die
  (Their mischiefs over) in the surging deep;
And no one knoweth underneath the sky,
  What heroes perished here, nor where they sleep.

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