Friday, March 15, 2013

#74 / The Glory That Was Greece

That famous phrase, the "glory that was Greece," as celebrated in the poem by Edgar Allen Poe (below), or in the book by J.C. Stobart (illustrated), recognizes the timeless and enduring contributions of Hellenic culture to our own civilization. 

We celebrate still, in all its glory, the art of Greece, its architecture, its sculpture, and its philosophy. The poignancy of the phrase, however, "the glory that was Greece," comes from the telling use of the past tense. While much is remembered, and some retained, the glory that was Greece, however great, is gone. 

To Helen

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
to his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have broght me home
To glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo! in yon brilliant window niche
How statuelike I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!

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