Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
Asia Minor: Rhodes, the Island
The Song of the Swallow
From the Greek
 
        
Anonymous translation
  At Rhodes children greeted the swallow, as herald of the spring, in a little song. Troops of them, carrying about a swallow, sang this from door to door, collecting provisions in return.

THE SWALLOW is come!
The swallow is come!
O, fair are the seasons, and light
Are the days, that she brings
With her dusky wings,        5
And her bosom snowy white.
And wilt thou not dole
From the wealth that is thine,
The fig and the bowl
Of rosy wine,        10
And the wheaten meal, and the basket of cheese,
And the omelet cake, which is known to please
The swallow, that comes to the Rhodian land?
Say, must we be gone with an empty hand,
Or shall we receive        15
The gift that we crave?
If thou give, it is well;
But beware, if thou fail,
Nor hope that we ’ll leave thee,
Of all we ’ll bereave thee.        20
We ’ll bear off the door,
Or its posts from the floor,
Or we ’ll seize thy young wife who is sitting within,
Whose form is so airy, so light, and so thin,
And as lightly, be sure, will we bear her away.        25
Then look that thy gift be ample to-day,
And open the door, open the door,
To the swallow open the door!
No graybeards are we
To be foiled in our glee,        30
But boys, who will have our will
This day,
But boys, who will have our will.
 
 
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