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

Mesopotamia: Bagdad


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

STILL on we press, and now the ruddy beam

To amber turns swift Tigris’ arrowy stream,

Shines on famed Bagdad’s walls, and bathes with fire

Each gilded dome, and crescent-mounted spire.

Romantic Bagdad! name to childhood dear,

Awaking terror’s thrill and pity’s tear;

For there the sorcerer gloomed, the genii dwelt,

And Love and Worth to good Al Rashid knelt;

Prince of the Thousand Tales! whose glorious reign

So brightly shines in fancy’s fair domain!

Whose noble deeds still Arab minstrels sing,

Who rivalled all but Gallia’s knightly king.

Yonder where fountains gush and yew-trees weep,

Watch o’er his harem-queen doth Azrael keep;

Yes, morn’s rich hues illume that sacred pile,

Like beams shed down by some blest angel’s smile,—

Where fair Zobeida, shrined in odor, lies:

Her soul long since in starry Paradise.