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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

Introductory to Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia

Snow in Abyssinia

By William Pitt Palmer (1805–1884)

(From The Wonder That Might Have Been)

BRUCE of Kinnaird could scarce repress the smile

That twitched the bearded ambush of his mouth,

When, in his quest of the mysterious Nile,

Amid the perilous wilds of the swart South,

An old man told him, with a grave surprise

Which made his childlike wonder almost grand,

How, in his youth, there fell from out the skies

A feathery whiteness over all their land,

A strange, soft, spotless something, pure as light,

For which their questioned language had no name,

That shone and sparkled for a day and night,

Then vanished all as weirdly as it came,

Leaving no vestige, gleam, or hue, or scent,

On the round hills or in the purple air,

To satisfy their mute bewilderment

That such a presence had indeed been there!