On a Headland in the Bay of Panama

Bryan Waller Procter

Vague mystery hangs on all these desert places!   
  The fear which hath no name hath wrought a spell!   
Strength, courage, wrath, have been, and left no traces!   
  They came,—and fled; but whither? who can tell?   
We know but that they were,—that once (in days           
  When ocean was a bar ’twixt man and man),   
Stout spirits wandered o’er these capes and bays,   
  And perished, where these river-waters ran.   
Methinks they should have built some mighty tomb,   
  Whose granite might endure the century’s rain,           
White winter, and the sharp night-winds that boom   
  Like spirits in their purgatorial pain.   
They left, ’t is said, their proud unburied bones   
  To whiten on this unacknowledged shore;   
Yet naught besides the rocks and worn sea-stones           
  Now answers to the great Pacific’s roar!   
A mountain stands where Agamemnon died:   
  And Cheops hath derived eternal fame,   
Because he made his tomb a place of pride;   
  And thus the dead Metella earned a name.           
But these,—they vanished as the lightnings die   
  (Their mischiefs over) in the surging deep;   
And no one knoweth underneath the sky,   
  What heroes perished here, nor where they sleep.

Main Location:

Panama Bay, Panama