Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Greece
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX.  1876–79.
Turkey in Europe, and the Principalities
Dardanelles (Hellespont)
The Flight of Xerxes
Maria Jane Jewsbury (1800–1833)
I SAW him on the battle-eve,
  When like a king he bore him,—
Proud hosts in glittering helm and greave,
  And prouder chiefs before him;
The warrior, and the warrior’s deeds,        5
The morrow, and the morrow’s meeds,
  No daunting thoughts came o’er him;
He looked around him, and his eye
Defiance flashed to earth and sky.
He looked on ocean,—its broad breast        10
  Was covered with his fleet;
On earth,—and saw from east to west
  His bannered millions meet;
While rock and glen and cave and coast
Shook with the war-cry of that host,        15
  The thunder of their feet!
He heard the imperial echoes ring,—
He heard, and felt himself a king.
I saw him next alone: nor camp
  Nor chief his steps attended;        20
Nor banner blazed, nor courser’s tramp
  With war-cries proudly blended.
He stood alone, whom fortune high
So lately seemed to deify;
  He who with heaven contended        25
Fled like a fugitive and slave!
Behind, the foe; before, the wave.
He stood—fleet, army, treasure, gone—
  Alone, and in despair!
But wave and wind swept ruthless on,        30
  For they were monarchs there;
And Xerxes, in a single bark,
Where late his thousand ships were dark,
  Must all their fury dare.
What a revenge,—a trophy, this,—        35
For thee, immortal Salamis!

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