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

Syria: Capernaum


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

BUT near where Jordan, rippling, joins the lake,

And towering hills a wilder aspect take,

Dark groups of ruin draw the traveller’s eye,

And while they prompt reflection ask a sigh.

Frieze, cornice, pillar, lie in mouldering heaps,

Where in the sun the listless adder sleeps.

With ivies hung by Ruin’s mocking hand,

A huge black pile o’erlooks the wave-kissed sand;

Here frowns a building, pierced with arches gray,

Temple or royal palace, who may say?

Within those courts their tents wild Arabs spread,

Or some fell robber hides his dastard head:

Bright pleasure’s town, where sorrow shed no tear,

’T is proud Capernaum, all thou see’st here!