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Deform and desolate the fainting land!
All nature droops, and withered life expires!
Outstretched within upon the silent plains
Than e'er were traced by man's divinest art,
Far to the south what scenes of ruin lie, What sad confusion opens to the eye! There shattered columns swell with giant train, Line after line along the crowded plain, The loosened arch, the roofless colonnade
Where midday crowds imbibed the cooling shade.
John Henry Bright.
TADMOR OF THE WILDERNESS.
ENEATH the arch of eastern skies,
Where oft the scowling sand-storm flies,
How beautiful to catch the sight
Of Tadmor's mountain purple height!
And while the flush of evening glows
How sweet to hear the camel-train
Gigantic loom the "desert ships,"
As steadily they come; While joyfully the Kabyl skips
Along his houseless home,
And shakes his spear with childlike glee,
And cries, "The boundless waste for me!"
The boundless waste, the fruitless sea,
Where scorching rays are cast,
The steed that with the wind can flee,
When danger gathers fast,
The scanty tent, the brackish spring,
The solitude where footprints die,
And sink to sleep and wake to know
And now, behold, from towering hill,
In silver moonlight sleeping still,
No sadder sight has earth than this:
'Tis Tadmor of the Wilderness.
Half buried in the flowerless sand
And o'er her gates of solid stone
Palmyra thou wert great indeed,
And found a rest at last
From Samiel's breath, and war's alarms,
Zenobia, mistress of the East,
'Neath yonder porch she held her feast,
And oft the silver strain came up,
And here she oped her portals wide,
And Arab chief and Rabbin hung
On gray-haired wisdom's silver tongue.
When Rome's fierce thousands hither came,
O'er yonder sands she fled,
And here returned in grief and shame,
While loud her people's wail arose
And when the gleaming cohorts flung
And cymbals clashed and clarions rung,
Then died thy race, and sank thy towers,
Jesse Erskine Dow.
Quarantania, the Mount.
OT in the lightning's flash, nor in the thunder,
But part invisible these boughs asunder,
And move and murmur, as the wind upheaves
Not as a terror and a desolation,
But in soft tones of sweetness and persuasion,
He sitteth there in silence, worn and wasted
For forty days and nights he hath not tasted
Wherefore dost thou in penitential fasting