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

Introductory to Asia

The East

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(From The Bride of Abydos)

KNOW ye the land where the cypress and myrtle

Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime,

Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,

Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime?

Know ye the land of the cedar and vine,

Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine;

Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppressed with perfume,

Wax faint o’er the gardens of Gúl in her bloom;

Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,

And the voice of the nightingale never is mute;

Where the tints of the earth and the hues of the sky,

In color though varied, in beauty may vie,

And the purple of ocean is deepest in dye;

Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,

And all, save the spirit of man, is divine?

’T is the clime of the East; ’t is the land of the Sun,—

Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done?

O, wild as the accents of lovers’ farewell,

Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell.