Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Americas
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX.  1876–79.
 
West Indies: Cuba, the Island
Gan-Eden, the Queen of the Antilles
Mary Bayard Clarke (1827–1886)
 
KNOWEST thou that isle of flowers,
  Where the softest breezes blow,
And the Frost-king never spreadeth
  O’er the earth his pall of snow?
 
Where, like gray old marble vases,        5
  Crowned with feathery turfs of green,
Royal palm-trees rise majestic,
  With the cocoas in between?
 
Where the purple-sheathed banana
  Mingles with the sugar-cane,        10
And the fragrant coffee sheddeth
  Scarlet berries on the plain?
 
Where the guava-apple ripens,
  And zapotes, rough and brown,
With the mamey and the mango,        15
  Cast their luscious sweetness down?
 
Where whole fields of ripening anas
  With their fragrance load the breeze,
And the golden orange glistens
  Mid the blossoms on the trees;        20
 
And the ever green pomegranate
  Swings its coral flower-bells,
When its ruby grains are bursting
  From their russet-colored shells?
 
’T is the Queen of the Antilles,        25
  Seated on her emerald throne,
Crowned with ever-blooming flowers,
  And a beauty all her own.
 
With a grace that ’s truly regal
  Sits she in her lofty seat,        30
Watching o’er her subject islands
  In the ocean at her feet.
 
While its waters, blue as heaven,
  Laughing leap upon her breast,
Where all nature ever seemeth        35
  For a happy bridal drest.
 
Truly is it called Gan-Eden,—
  ’T is a garden of delight;
But, alas, the serpent’s trailing
  O’er its beauty casts a blight.
*        *        *        *        *
        40
 
 
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