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

Mesopotamia: Euphrates, the River

The Euphrates

By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

BRIGHT stream! whose wavelets flowed through Eden’s bowers,

Watering its trees, and incense-breathing flowers,

Soothing with murmurs Eve’s enraptured ear,

And all her heavenly charms reflecting clear:

River! whose mountain-born and rapid flood

Swept Shinar’s plain, where sky-topped Babel stood,

Wound, like a huge snake glittering in the sun,

Through Earth’s first city, mighty Babylon!

And saw, along those wild and palmy banks,

The first dread conqueror range his blood-stained ranks!

All hail, Euphrates! stream of hoary time,

Fair as majestic, sacred as sublime!

What thoughts of Earth’s young morning dost thou bring!

What hallowed memories to thy bright waves cling!—

The bowers are crushed where Eve in beauty shone,

The woods are wastes, the towers are overthrown;

Ages have whelmed, beneath their ruthless tide,

Assyria’s glory and Chaldæa’s pride:

But thou, exhaustless river! rollest still,

Raising thy lordly voice by vale and hill;

Sparkling through palm-groves, washing empires’ graves,

And gladdening thirsty deserts with thy waves;

Mirroring the heavens, that know no change, like thee,

A glittering dream, a bright-leaved history!