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

Mesopotamia: Babylon

Benina to Belshazzar

By Henry Hart Milman (1791–1868)

(From Belshazzar)

I HEAR abroad

The exultation of unfettered earth!

From east to west they lift their trampled necks,

The indignant nations: earth breaks out in scorn;

The valleys dance and sing; the mountains shake

Their cedar-crownéd tops! The strangers crowd

To gaze upon the howling wilderness,

Where stood the Queen of Nations. Lo! even now,

Lazy Euphrates rolls his sullen waves

Through wastes, and but reflects his own thick reeds.

I hear the bitterns shriek, the dragons cry;

I see the shadow of the midnight owl

Gliding where now are laughter-echoing palaces!

O’er the vast plain I see the mighty tombs

Of kings, in sad and broken whiteness gleam

Beneath the o’ergrown cypress,—but no tomb

Bears record, Babylon, of thy last lord;

Even monuments are silent of Belshazzar!