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

Syria: Padan-aram

Jacob’s Dream

By George Croly (1780–1860)

THE SUN was sinking on the mountain-zone

That guards thy vales of beauty, Palestine!

And lovely from the desert rose the moon,

Yet lingering on the horizon’s purple line,

Like a pure spirit o’er its earthly shrine.

Up Padan-aram’s height abrupt and bare

A pilgrim toiled, and oft on day’s decline

Looked pale, then paused for eve’s delicious air:

The summit gained, he knelt, and breathed his evening prayer.

He spread his cloak and slumbered,—darkness fell

Upon the twilight hills; a sudden sound

Of silver trumpets o’er him seemed to swell;

Clouds heavy with the tempest gathered round,

Yet was the whirlwind in its caverns bound,

Still deeper rolled the darkness from on high,

Gigantic volume upon volume wound,

Above, a pillar shooting to the sky,

Below, a mighty sea, that spread incessantly.

Voices are heard,—a choir of golden strings,

Low winds, whose breath is loaded with the rose;

Then chariot-wheels,—the nearer rush of wings;—

Pale lightning round the dark pavilion glows,

It thunders,—the resplendent gates unclose;

Far as the eye can glance, on height o’er height,

Rise fiery waving wings, and star-crowned brows,

Millions on millions, brighter and more bright,

Till all is lost in one supreme, unmingled light.

But two beside the sleeping pilgrim stand,

Like cherub-kings, with lifted, mighty plume,

Fixed, sun-bright eyes, and looks of high command:

They tell the Patriarch of his glorious doom;

Father of countless myriads that shall come,

Sweeping the land like billows of the sea,

Bright as the stars of heaven from twilight’s gloom,

Till He is given whom angels long to see,

And Israel’s splendid line is crowned with Deity.