Nicholas Michell

But where stood Sparta, covering hill and vale,
That made e'en Athens bend, and Persia quail?
What! are these stones, yon column's broken shaft,
Where moss-crowned Ruin long hath sat and laughed,
These shattered steps, these walls that earthward bow,
All Sparta's Royal Square can boast of now?
What! in the streets which swept on every side,
Do but wild poppies lift their crimson pride?
Plant of Oblivion! well thou here may'st bloom,
Type of unlettered Sparta's hastening doom! —
The Stoa's walls with Persian trophies graced,
The circling course where brazen chariots raced,
The pillar, where each name ye once might see
Of those who fell at red Thermopylae;
Juno's bright shrine — the city's glittering eye —
Ramparts below, and frowning towers on high, —
All, all are gone, like forms in troubled sleep,
Blooms in the spring, or foam upon the deep.
Alone unchanged by battle, time, or blast,
Fresh as when born, Eurotas wanders past,
Breaks in soft kisses on the silver sands.
Trod in old times by Valour's conquering bands,
Mirrors the banks where temples shone of yore,
But ah! the bath of Beauty's train no more; —
And further down, where snow-white lilies gleam —
The drooping Naiads of the classic stream —
To choiring winds the bubbling waters sigh,
Like Memory's wail for glories long gone by.

Main Location:

Ancient Sparta, Greece