Nicholas Michell

From Alpine mountains view the world below,
Towns, waving woods, and streams meandering slow;
Dim is the scene to that which greets thee here,
Prompting to worship, waking Rapture's tear.
Yes, rise, fair mount! the bright blue heavens to kiss,
Stoop not thy pride, august Acropolis!
Thy brow still wears its crown of columns gray,
Beauteous in ruin, stately in decay.
Two thousand years o'er earth have spread their pall,
Not yet, thy boast, Minerva's shrine shall fall:
In spite of rapine, fire, and War's red arm,
Enough remains to awe us, and to charm;
Glory and Phidias' shade the relic keep,
Shield as they watch, and strengthen as they weep.
The Doric columns, wrought from fairest stone,
Severe but graceful, round the cella thrown,
The lofty front, the frieze where sculptures shine,
The long, long architrave's majestic line,
Dazzle the eye with Beauty's rich excess,
O'erpower the mind by too much loveliness.
Here let me stand, where, once aloft displayed,
Flamed the bright arms of heaven's immortal maid;*
And while I sigh o'er Athens' modern hour,
O'er ruined fane, crushed wall, and mouldering tower,
Let Fancy up the stream of ages glide,
And view the scene of ancient pomp and pride.
Beneath my feet the columned causeway sweeps,
And many a shrine in dazzling sunlight sleeps.

Author's Note: The helm and spear of the colossal statue of Minerva could be seen towering above the Parthenon at the distance of many miles. — Pausanias.

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Main Location:

Acropolis, Athens, Greece

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece