Hellas by Sir Rennell Rodd

It is not only that the sun
Loves best these southern lands,
It is not for the trophies won
Of old by hero hands,
That nature wreathed in softer smiles
Was here the bride of art;
A closer kinship claims these isles,
The love-land of the heart.
It is because the poet's dream
Still haunts each happy vale,
That peopled every grove and stream
To fit his fairy tale.
There may be greener vales and hills
Less bare to shelter man;
But still they want the naiad rills,
And miss the pipe of Pan.
There may be other isles as fair
And summer seas as blue,
But then Odysseus touched not there
Nor Argo beached her crew.
The Nereid-haunted river shore,
The Faun-frequented dell,
Possess me with their magic more
Than sites where Caesars fell:
And where the blooms of Zante blow
 Their incense to the waves;
Where Ithaca's dark headlands show
The legendary caves;
Where in the deep of olive groves
The summer hardly dies;
Where fair Phaeacia's sun-brown maids
Still keep their siren eyes;
Where Chalcis strains with loving lips
Towards the little bay,
The strand that held the thousand ships,
The Aulis of delay;
Where Oeta's ridge of granite bars
The gate Thermopylae,
Where huge Orion crowned with stars
Looks down on Rhodope;
Where once Apollo tended flocks
On Phera's lofty plain,
Where Peneus cleaves the stubborn rocks
To find the outer main;
Where Argos and Mycenae sleep
With all the buried wrong,
And where Arcadian uplands keep
The antique shepherd song,
There is a spirit haunts the place
All other lands must lack,
A speaking voice, a living grace,
That beckons fancy back.
Dear isles and sea-indented shore,
Till songs be no more sung,
The singers that have gone before
 Will keep your lovers young:
And men will hymn your haunted skies,
And seek your holy streams,
Until the soul of music dies,
And earth has done with dreams.