Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Greece
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX.  1876–79.
 
Greece: Athens
Athens
John Milton (1608–1674)
 
(From Paradise Regained, Book IV)

LOOK once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
Westward, much nearer by southwest behold
Where on the Ægean shore a city stands
Built nobly, pure the air and light the soil,
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts        5
And eloquence, native to famous wits
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
City or surburban, studious walks and shades;
See there the olive grove of Academe,
Plato’s retirement, where the Attic bird        10
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There, flowery hill, Hymettus, with the sound
Of bees’ industrious murmur, oft invites
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whispering stream: within the walls then view        15
The schools of ancient sages; his, who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit        20
By voice or hand, and various-measured verse,
Æolian charms, and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer called,
Whose poem Phœbus challenged for his own.        25
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In chorus or iambic, teachers best
Of moral prudence, with delight received
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life;        30
High actions and high passions best describing;
Thence to the famous orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece,        35
To Macedon and Artaxerxes’ throne.
 
 
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