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.
 
Introductory to India
Alexander in India
William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)
 
(From The Spirit of Discovery by Sea)

                    IT was thine,
Immortal son of Macedon! to hang
In the high fane of maritime renown
The fairest trophies of thy fame, and shine,
Then only like a god, when thy great mind        5
Swayed in its master council the deep tide
Of things, predestining the eventful roll
Of commerce, and uniting either world,
Europe and Asia, in thy vast design.
  ’T was when the victor, in his proud career,        10
O’er ravaged Hindostan, had now advanced
Beyond Hydaspes; on the flowery banks
Of Hyphasis, with banners thronged, his camp
Was spread. On high he bade the altars rise,
The awful records to succeeding years        15
Of his long march of glory, and to point
The spot where, like the thunder rolled away,
His army paused. Now shady eve came down;
The trumpet sounded to the setting sun,
That looked from his illumed pavilion, calm        20
Upon the scene of arms, as if, all still,
And lovely as his parting light, the world
Beneath him spread; nor clangors, nor deep groans,
Were heard, nor victory’s shouts, nor sighs, nor shrieks,
Were ever wafted from a bleeding land,        25
After the havoc of a conqueror’s sword.
So calm the sun declined; when from the woods,
That shone to his last beam, a Brahmin old
Came forth. His streaming beard shone in the ray,
That slanted o’er his feeble frame; his front        30
Was furrowed. To the sun’s last light he cast
A look of sorrow, then in silence bowed
Before the conqueror of the world. At once
All, as in death, was still. The victor chief
Trembled, he knew not why; the trumpet ceased        35
Its clangor, and the crimson streamer waved
No more in folds insulting to the Lord
Of the reposing world. The pallid front
Of the meek man seemed for a moment calm,
Yet dark and thronging thoughts appeared to swell        40
His beating heart. He paused,—and then abrupt:
    Victor, avaunt! he cried,
Hence! and the banners of thy pride
Bear to the deep! Behold on high
Yon range of mountains mingled with the sky!
                        It is the place
        45
Where the great Father of the human race
Rested, when all the world and all its sounds
Ceased; and the ocean that surrounds
The earth, leaped from its dark abode
Beneath the mountains, and enormous flowed,        50
The green earth deluging! List, soldier, list!
And dread His might no mortal may resist.
 
 
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