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

Central and Southern Africa: Soudan

The Phœnix

By Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876)

Translated by B. Taylor

WHEN over Niger’s banks is breaking

Another century’s morning star,

The new-born Phœnix, first awaking,

Expands his purple pinions far!

He gazes, from the mountain towers

On which his ancient eyry stands,

Towards east and west, o’er cinnamon bowers,

And o’er the desert’s arid sands!

He sees the red sirocco wheeling

Its sandy clouds along the waste,

And streams through palmy valleys stealing,

Where the plumed ostrich speeds in haste.

There waves the Moorish flag of battle;

There sound at night the jackal’s cries;

There caravans are chased as cattle,

By storms that far beneath him rise!

Southward, he sees the Caffre rangers,

In gathering hordes, for fight arrayed;

Northward, the tents of hostile strangers

Are pitched beneath the fig-tree’s shade!

There swords are red, where, far-extending,

Their squadrons combat on the sand,

And France’s battle-cries are blending

With those of Abdel Kader’s band!

These views the Phœnix, troubled never

With War’s wild rage, or Party’s sway,

But from his nest, with proud endeavor,

Fans their polluting dust away!

And still, where vales in sunshine brighten,

He gathers spices round his form,

And bids his glorious pinion lighten

Above the thunder and the storm!