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

Arabia: Desert of Arabia

Fly to the Desert

By Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

(From Lalla Rookh)

FLY to the desert, fly with me,

Our Arab tents are rude for thee;

But, oh, the choice what heart can doubt,

Of tents with love, or thrones without?

Our rocks are rough, but smiling there

The acacia waves her yellow hair,

Lonely and sweet, nor loved the less

For flowering in a wilderness.

Our sands are bare, but down their slope

The silvery-footed antelope

As gracefully and gayly springs

As o’er the marble courts of kings.

Then come,—thy Arab maid will be

The loved and lone acacia-tree,

The antelope, whose feet shall bless

With their light sound thy loneliness.

Oh, there are looks and tones that dart

An instant sunshine through the heart,—

As if the soul that minute caught

Some treasure it through life had sought;

As if the very lips and eyes,

Predestined to have all our sighs,

And never be forgot again,

Sparkled and spoke before us then!

So came thy every glance and tone,

When first on me they breathed and shone;

New, as if brought from other spheres,

Yet welcome as if loved for years.

Then fly with me,—if thou hast known

No other flame, nor falsely thrown

A gem away, that thou hadst sworn

Should ever in thy heart be worn.

Come, if the love thou hast for me

Is pure and fresh as mine for thee,

Fresh as the fountain under ground,

When first ’t is by the lapwing found.

But if for me thou dost forsake

Some other maid, and rudely break

Her worshipped image from its base,

To give to me the ruined place;

Then, fare thee well,—I ’d rather make

My bower upon some icy lake

When thawing suns begin to shine,

Than trust to love so false as thine!