Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Mesopotamia: Bagdad


By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Thalaba the Destroyer, Book V)

THOU, too, art fallen, Bagdad! City of Peace,

Thou too hast had thy day;

And loathsome Ignorance and brute Servitude

Pollute thy dwellings now,

Erst for the mighty and the wise renowned.

O, yet illustrious for remembered fame,—

Thy founder the Victorious,—and the pomp

Of Haroun, for whose name by blood defiled,

Yahia’s, and the blameless Barmecides’,

Genius hath wrought salvation,—and the years

When Science with the good Al-Maimon dwelt;

So one day may the Crescent from thy mosques

Be plucked by Wisdom, when the enlightened arm

Of Europe conquers to redeem the East!

Then Pomp and Pleasure dwelt within her walls;

The merchants of the East and of the West

Met in her arched bazaars;

All day the active poor

Showered a cool comfort o’er her thronging streets;

Labor was busy in her looms;

Through all her open gates

Long troops of laden camels lined the roads,

And Tigris bore upon his tameless stream

Armenian harvests to her multitudes.