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

Arabia: Medina


By Semen Sergeevich Bobrov (c. 1763–1810)

From the Khersonida

Translated by J. Bowring

THOU wondrous brother of the Prophet, sun!

So brightly on Medina’s temple burning;

And scarce less beautiful the crescent moon,

When moving gently o’er the shadows dun

Of evening, and their verge to silver turning.

Oh, what a lovely, soft tranquillity

Rests on the earth and breathes along the sea!

Here is no cedar bent with misery;

No holy cypress sighs or weeps, as seen

In other lands, where his dark branches green

Mourn in the desert o’er neglected graves:

Here his all-sheltering boughs he calmly waves

In the dim light, the sacred vigils keeping

O’er the blest ashes on earth’s bosom sleeping.

Picture of God! upon the prophet’s shrine

Shine brightly,—brightly, beautifully shine

Upon those holy fields where once he trod,

And flowers sprung up beneath his innocent feet,

Tulips and aloes and narcissus, sweet,

A lovely carpet for the child of God!

There have our privileged, pilgrim footsteps been,

This have we seen,—yes, brother! this have seen:

The grave, the life, the ashes, and the dome

Eternal, and the heavens: and there have bought

The grace of God and found the joy we sought,

A certain entrance to our final home.

And now, be short our houseward way!

Our fathers’ habitations now appear!

Oh, with what transports shall we hear them say,

With what loud greetings, “Welcome, welcome here!”

The swelling-bosomed wife, the black-haired son

And black-eyed daughter greet our joyous train,

Rushing from our own doors they hither run,

And songs of rapture loudly hail us then.

Their trembling hands the fragrant aloe bear,

Which joyful o’er our wearied limbs they throw;

Home of our fathers! now appear,

Our houseward path be shortened now!