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

Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia: Nile, the River

The Delta of the Nile

By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

THE STREAM that late turned busy towns to isles

Hath curbed its flood: again the landscape smiles;

The meads are full of flowers, the groves of birds,

Through blooming clover stray the lowing herds;

High waves the flax, the yellow lupin blows,

Mid bright green leaves the ripening melon glows.

The fellah, clad in blue loose-floating vest,

Sings as he toils, with rude contentment blest.

But chief from Delta’s gardens Zephyr brings

Luxurious sweetness on his balmy wings;

For there her head the golden lily rears,

The soft-eyed violet sheds her odorous tears,

While the red rose unfolds his musky breast,

And wooes the hovering sylph to fragrant rest.

The bright kingfisher skims the level stream,

His wings of purple glittering in the beam;

And when the sun goes down o’er Damiat’s vales,

Burst into song a myriad nightingales.

Beauty in every form that meets the eye,

Freshness on earth, and splendor in the sky,

Man’s spirit scarce for Eden’s bowers might pine,

While scenes like these around him live and shine;

Land of hoar tombs! dark home of Pharaoh’s race!

Thou ’rt old in all things save sweet Nature’s face.