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

Afghanistan: Cabul (Cabool)


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

OH, who Cabul’s sweet region may behold,

When Spring laughs out, or Autumn sows her gold,

The meadows, orchards, streams that glide in light,

Nor deem lost Irem charms again his sight,

That wondrous garden rivalling Eden’s bloom,

Too blessed for man to view, this side the tomb?

Flowers here, of every scent and form and dye,

Lift their bright heads, and laugh upon the sky,

From the tall tulip with her rich streaked bell,

Where, throned in state, Queen Mab is proud to dwell,

To lowly wind-flowers gaudier plants eclipse,

And pensile harebells with their dewy lips.

There turns the heliotrope to court the sun,

And up green stalks the starry jasmines run:

The hyacinth in tender pink outvies

Beauty’s soft cheek, and violets match her eyes;

Sweet breathe the henna-flowers that harem girls

So love to twine among their glossy curls;

And here the purple pansy springs to birth,

Like some gay insect rising from the earth.

One sheet of bloom the level greensward yields,

And simple daisies speak of England’s fields;

Drawn by sweet odor’s spell, in humming glee,

Flits round the gloomy stock the robber bee,

While to the gorgeous musk-rose, all night long,

The love-sick bulbul pours his melting song;

Then, too, the fruits through months that hang and glow,

Tempting as those which wrought our mother’s woe;

Soft shines the mango on its stem so tall,

Rich gleams beneath the melon’s golden ball;

How feasts the eye upon the bell-shaped pear!

Bright cherries look like corals strung in air;

The purple plum, the grape the hand may reach,

Vie with the downy-skinned and blushing peach;

Though small, its place the luscious strawberry claims,

Mid snowy flowers the radiant orange flames;

To quench the thirst the cooling guava see,

And ripe pomegranates melting on the tree.

And here, too, England’s favorite fruit is seen,

The red-cheeked apple, veiled by leaves of green;

Ah! at the sight sweet thoughts of home awake,

And foreign lands are welcomed for its sake.

Thrice genial clime! O favored, sweet Cabul!

Well art thou named the blessed, the beautiful!

With snow-peaked hills around thee,—guarding arms!

Ah! would thy sons were worthy of thy charms!