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

Syria: Olivet, the Mount

Mount Olivet

By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

FAREWELL! on Olivet’s famed mount we stand,

And view once more this sad but glorious land;

Here, lost in thought, the bard might linger long,

But we must break our dream, and close our song.

The sun with purple paints the western hills,

And earth and heaven a holy quiet fills;

Calm in her desolation Salem sleeps,

Round Omar’s mosque the tall green cypress weeps;

Soft gleam the rays on church and convent-spire,

And each slight minaret is tipped with fire:

Peace, like an angel, midst the coming gloom

O’er Calvary hangs, and wraps Messiah’s tomb.

A spell on that dim city seems to lie,

And hush the hills around, and crimson sky;

It is not age or mystery or despair,

It is not death which casts a shadow there,

But sadness for a blighted, fallen race,

A once proud nation that has lost its place,—

A sorrow that invests each ancient spot,

By feeling reverenced, memory ne’er forgot,

And as we muse and think of brighter years,

The eye still gazes on, and fills with tears.