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

Persia: Gheber’s Cliff

Gheber’s Cliff

By Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

(From Lalla Rookh)

THERE stood—but one short league away

From old Harmozia’s sultry bay—

A rocky mountain, o’er the Sea

Of Oman beetling awfully;

A last and solitary link

Of those stupendous chains that reach

From the broad Caspian’s reedy brink

Down winding to the Green Sea beach.

Around its base the bare rocks stood,

Like naked giants, in the flood,

As if to guard the Gulf across;

While on its peak, that braved the sky,

A ruined temple towered, so high

That oft the sleeping albatross

Struck the wild ruins with her wing,

And from her cloud-rocked slumbering

Started—to find man’s dwelling there

In her own silent fields of air!

Beneath, terrific caverns gave

Dark welcome to each stormy wave

That dashed like midnight revellers in,—

And such the strange, mysterious din

At times throughout those caverns rolled,—

And such the fearful wonders told

Of restless sprites imprisoned there,

That bold were Moslem, who would dare,

At twilight hour, to steer his skiff

Beneath the Gheber’s lonely cliff.