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.
 
Introductory to South America
South America
Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)
 
(From Ruins of Many Lands)

O LAND of wonders! full of all that ’s fair,
Sublime, and beautiful, in earth and air,
As thus, thou new-found world! from main to main,
We sweep, with Fancy’s eye, vast hill and plain,
On every side still countless ruins start,        5
To trace whose grandeur mocks the poet’s art.
From far Magellan’s Straits to rich Peru,
Where Cuzco’s palaces the desert strew;
Along the Andes piled, where modern man
Hath rarely climbed the awful scenes to scan;        10
From Amazon and Plata’s sun-bright streams,
To Northern woods where scarcely daylight gleams;
Thence to the Western lakes, and mountain peaks,
Where, in his cloud-rocked home, the eagle shrieks;
Relics of men unknown, and times of old,        15
Raising our awe, our wonder, we behold.
Mound, stately pyramid, and pictured wall,
That Asia’s creed and Egypt’s art recall;
Embattled towers, with ivy-banners gay,
And shrines that reptiles halve with grim Decay;        20
These nameless wrecks, to darkness long consigned,
Prompt to strange thought the curious, musing mind;
When built? and who their founders?—patient lore
To solve the question fails, the task gives o’er;
E’en daring Fancy scarce attempts to raise        25
The shadowy veil of long-departed days.
 
 
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