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

Syria: Jerusalem

Ode to Jerusalem

By Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)

JERUSALEM, Jerusalem!

If any love thee not, on them

May all thy judgments fall;

For every hope that crowns our earth,

All birth-gifts of her heavenly birth,

To thee she owes them all!

Deep was thy guilt, and deep thy woe;

The brand of Cain upon thy brow,

Each shore has felt thy tread:

No altar now is thine; no priest;

Upon thy hearth no paschal feast:

The paschal moon is dead.

When from their height the nations fall,

The kind grave o’er them strews her pall;

They die as mortals die:

But He who looked thee in the face

Stamped there that look no years erase,

His own on Calvary.

Awe-struck on thee men gaze, and yet

Confess thy greatness, own our debt,

And trembling still revere

The royal family of man,

Supporting thus its blight and ban

With constancy austere.

Those sciences by us so prized

The sternness of thy strength despised,

Devices light and vain

Of men who lack the might to live

In that repose contemplative

Which Asian souls maintain.

By thee the Book of Life was writ;

And, wander where it may, with it

Thy soul abroad is sent:

Wherever towers a Christian church,

Palace of earth, Heaven’s sacred porch,

It is thy monument.

Thy minstrel songs, like sounds wind-borne

From harps on Babel boughs forlorn,

O’er every clime have swept;

And Christian mothers yet grow pale

With echoes faint of Rachel’s wail;

Our maids with Ruth have wept.

Thou bind’st the present with the past,

The prime of ages with the last;

The golden chain art thou,

On which alone all fates are hung

Of nations springing or upsprung,

Earthward once more to bow.

Across the world’s tumultuous gate

Thou fling’st thy shadow’s giant weight;—

The mightiest birth of Time;

For all her pangs she may not bear

Until her feast she bids thee share

And mount her throne sublime.

Far other gaze than that he pours

On empires round thee sunk, and shores

That once in victory shone,

Far other gaze and paler frown

The great Saturnian star bends down

On cedared Lebanon.

He knows that thou, obscured and dim,

Thus wrestling all night long with him,

Shalt victor rise at last;

Destined thy brows tower-crowned to rear

More high than his declining sphere

When, downward on the blast,

God’s mightiest angel leaps, and stands

A shape o’ershadowing seas and lands,

And swears by him who swore

A faithful oath and kind to man

Ere worlds were shaped or years began,

That “Time shall be no more.”