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.
 
India: Malabar
Ode to an Indian Gold Coin
John Leyden (1775–1811)
 
SLAVE of the dark and dirty mine!
  What vanity has brought thee here?
How can I love to see thee shine
  So bright, whom I have bought so dear?
  The tent-ropes flapping lone I hear        5
For twilight converse, arm in arm,
  The jackal’s shriek bursts on mine ear
When mirth and music wont to charm.
 
By Clerical’s dark, wandering streams,
  Where cane-tufts shadow all the wild,        10
Sweet visions haunt my waking dreams,
  Of Teviot loved while still a child,
  Of castled rock, stupendous piled
By Esk or Eden’s classic wave,
  Where loves of youth and friendship smiled,        15
Uncursed by thee, vile, yellow slave!
 
Fade, day-dreams sweet, from memory fade!
  The perished bliss of youth’s first prime,
That once so bright on fancy played,
  Revives no more in after-time:        20
  Far from my sacred natal clime,
I haste to an untimely grave;
  The daring thoughts that soared sublime
Are sunk in Ocean’s Southern wave.
 
Slave of the mine! thy yellow light        25
  Gleams baneful as the tomb-fire drear;
A gentle vision comes by night
  My lonely widow’s heart to cheer:
  Her eyes are dim with many a tear,
That once were guiding-stars to mine;        30
  Her fond heart throbs with many a fear!
I cannot bear to see thee shine.
 
For thee, for thee, vile, yellow slave,
  I left a heart that loved me true,
I crossed the tedious ocean wave,        35
  To roam in climes unkind and new.
  The cold wind of the stranger blew
Chill on my withered heart; the grave
  Dark and untimely met my view,—
And all for thee, vile, yellow slave!        40
 
Ha! com’st thou now so late to mock
  A wanderer’s banished heart forlorn,
Now that his frame the lightning-shock
  Of sun-rays tipped with death has borne
  From love? from friendships, country torn,        45
To memory’s fond regrets the prey?
  Vile slave, thy yellow dross I scorn!
Go mix thee with thy kindred clay!
 
 
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