Two Sonnets



HE DID not stand aside when armies came
Out of the dangerous east to Athens’ shore
But marched to Marathon, and charged, and bore
The Persians to their ships; and thought it fame
Worthy to stand beside a poet’s name,
Even his, who in the bound Prometheus saw
Man’s spirit still unbound, whom not the law
Of destiny nor the tyrant Zeus could tame.
He scorned to exult upon the Persians drowned
Who floated past the ships that once they manned,
Knowing the pride that made them choose again
Return and Salamis. He heard the sound
Of weeping in far cities where women scanned
Each face for news, and scanned each face in vain.


WHEN first I went to Greece I went as one
Who after long exile come home again
Sees that the places of his mind remain
But changed a little by some trick of the sun
That makes them yet more dear. Here once had run
Pheidippides; here Phaedrus once had lain
By cool Ilissus; on this stage did reign
The blind incestuous King; and there was won
Salamis — and all Europe on that day
Put on her splendid youth. But when I go
Back to those dusty valleys I shall stand
Where Greeks in my own time, no less than they
Who fought the Persian hordes here long ago,
Gave glory that we remember in their land.