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

Syria: Jerusalem


By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)

FAIR shines the moon, Jerusalem,

Upon the hills that wore

Thy glory once, their diadem

Ere Judah’s reign was o’er:

The stars on hallowed Olivet

And over Zion burn,

But when shall rise thy splendor set?

Thy majesty return?

The peaceful shades that wrap thee now

Thy desolation hide;

The moonlit beauty of thy brow

Restores thine ancient pride;

Yet there, where Rome thy Temple rent,

The dews of midnight wet

The marble dome of Omar’s tent,

And Aksa’s minaret.

Thy strength, Jerusalem, is o’er,

And broken are thy walls;

The harp of Israel sounds no more

In thy deserted halls:

But where thy Kings and Prophets trod,

Triumphant over Death,

Behold the living Son of God,—

The Christ of Nazareth!

The halo of his presence fills

Thy courts, thy ways of men;

His footsteps on thy holy hills

Are beautiful as then;

The prayer, whose bloody sweat betrayed

His human agony,

Still haunts the awful olive shade

Of old Gethsemane.

Woe unto thee, Jerusalem!

Slayer of Prophets, thou,

That in thy fury stonest them

God sent, and sends thee now:—

Where thou, O Christ! with anguish spent,

Forgav’st thy foes, and died,

Thy garments yet are daily rent,—

Thy soul is crucified!

They darken with the Christian name

The light that from thee beamed,

And by the hatred they proclaim

Thy spirit is blasphemed;

Unto thine ear the prayers they send

Were fit for Belial’s reign,

And Moslem cimeters defend

The temple they profane.

Who shall rebuild Jerusalem?

Her scattered children bring

From Earth’s far ends, and gather them

Beneath her sheltering wing?

For Judah’s sceptre broken lies,

And from his kingly stem

No new Messiah shall arise

For lost Jerusalem!

But let the wild ass on her hills

Its foal unfrighted lead,

And by the source of Kedron’s rills

The desert adder breed:

For where the love of Christ has made

Its mansion in the heart,

He builds in pomp that will not fade

Her heavenly counterpart.