Sonnets from the Crimea/The Ruins of Balaclava
THE RUINS OF BALACLAVA
Oh, thankless Crimean land! in ruin laid
Are now the castles that were once your pride!
Here serpents and the owls from daylight hide,
And robbers arm them for the nightly raid.
Upon the lettered marble boasts are made,
Brave words on battered arms in gold descried,
And broken splendor years have scattered wide,
Beside the dead who made them are arrayed.
The Greek set shining, columned marble here.
The Latin put the Mongol horde to flight,
And Mussulmans prayed eastward morn and night.
The owl and vulture of dark wing and drear
Are fluttering like black banners overhead
In cities where the pest piles high the dead.