Nicholas Michell

The dense wild wood that hid the royal seat,
The lofty palms that choked the winding street,
Man's hand hath felled, and now, in day's fair light,
Uxmal's broad ruins burst upon the sight.*
City ! whose date, whose builders are unknown,
Gracing the wild, mysterious and alone,
Unchronicled thy name on History's page,
No legend left our fancies to engage;
Gazing around, we task the busy brain,
And who thy dwellers were, demand in vain:
The painted snakes that gleam on yonder wall,
The Hivites' worship haply might recall,
When, driv'n by Israel from their father-land,
They steered the seas, and sought some Western strand.
That house, where burned the sacred fire, may tell
Of Eastern climes, where Magi wove their spell;
While the tall pyramid, with temple crowned,
And sculptured forms with flowing girdles bound,
Speak of the Nile — vain dreams! the mind is lost,
And on a shoreless sea of fancies tossed.
Yet Uxmal's ruins no dark aspect wear,
Beauty and grace with Time are struggling there.
The smooth stone palace rears its front of white,
Its chequered floors, broad courts, are bathed in light;
Flowers deck the pyramid's high mouldering side —
On many a wall the aloe lifts its pride;
Fluttering in air, or glittering on some tomb,
The bird of monarchs* spreads its purple plume.
So sweetly sad, so silently serene,
The shades of ancients well might haunt the scene,
Or elves by moonlight hold their revels here,
Play with the beams, and drink the violet's tear;
Dance round the rose, or climb the lily's stem,
Deeming that shadowy city built for them.

*Author's note: Bird of monarchs: the plumage of the Quetzal was only only used by royals.

Uxmal is one of the most spectacular of Mayan Ruined cities.

Other poems about Mexico on Poetry Atlas.

History of Uxmal
by Jesse Harasta

Main Location:

Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

The Building of the Columns, Uxmal, Mexico