“On Seeing Numidia” by Alexander Robertson
On Seeing Numidia
From Last Poems of Alexander Robertson, 1918
The land of fierce Jugurtha and his foes
And theirs, the Vandals who with Genseric came
From the far north to gain it and a name
Of scorn for ever; great Justinian’s blows
Avenged an Empire’s shame, until the horde
Undid that vengeance, who with conquering zeal
From Asia round these waters to Castile
Swept and the blood of Christian men outpoured.
So many a dominion here hath been,
Barbaric and imperial—yet no change
Would one behold in sea or mountain range
Or cloudless sky, though long since he had seen
The march of cohorts or had heard the cry
Of those who had seen their crown in agony.
Written while sailing on a troopship to Egypt.