Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TWO TOWNS, by RALPH LINTON



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TWO TOWNS, by            
First Line: There was a mighty city
Last Line: Your fate is in their hands.
Subject(s): Crete; Greece; Homer (10th Century B.c.); Mythology - Classical; Poetry & Poets; Troy; Ulysses; Greeks; Iliad; Odyssey; Odysseus


There was a mighty city
Upon the isle of Crete.
Its palace had a thousand rooms,
The captains of its fleet
Took tribute from all lands that lay
About the narrow seas;
The merchandise of half the world
Was piled upon its quays.
It stood for twice a thousand years,
Then passed in night and flame --
This much the scholars' spades have shown;
But no man knows its name.

There was a town called Ilium,
A village on a hill,
Where yellow-haired barbarians came
To barter wool and fill
Their open boats with beads and bronze
And oily skins of wine.
A little place, a humble place,
With nothing great or fine --
But Ilium's name is ringing still
Like one clear bugle blown,
And all the chiefs of Ilium
Still walk beside our own.

O great forgotten city,
Sleep in your nameless tomb!
Nor ships, nor gold, nor fighting men
Could turn aside your doom.
O little town of Ilium,
You live among the dead
Because a blind man made a song
With which to win his bread.
Take warning, mighty cities,
And kings of splendid lands:
Be good to singing beggars;
Your fate is in their hands.





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