Nicholas Michell

We wander by Mycenae's gray remains;
Why bounds the blood so quickly through our veins?
Do vast halls raised by Cyclopean skill,
The gate of Lions,* bid the bosom thrill?
Do Atreus' chambers, Agamemnon's tomb,
Startle with age, or awe the mind by gloom?
Beyond all these, the deathless spells we own
Which lore has wrought, and genius round us thrown:
Here, "king of men," did Homer's hero reign,
Conqueror of Troy, yet by weak woman slain;*
Here Sophocles hath sung, in strains of fire,
Blood-stained Orestes' wrongs and sleepless ire,
With fair Electra's sorrows filled all ears,
Charmed with her beauty, melted by her tears.
Each spot is made immortal ; courts forlorn
Men built a thousand years ere Christ was born;
The huge dark stones that guard the Treasure-cave,
The Lion-gate, the hero's lofty grave, —
All breathe the burning tales of ancient time,
The seats of glory, yet the haunts of crime.

Author's notes:

The gate of Lions* The two lions which stand with a pillar between them over the great gate of Mycense, form probably the most ancient piece of sculpture in Europe. It has been thought the genuine work of a Pelasgian artist, before the more polished Hellenic races expelled the Pelasgi, the original settlers, from Greece.

Weak woman: The hero is King Agamemnon, his murderess, his wife Clytemnestra.

Main Location:

Ancient Mycenae, Greece