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

Syria: Siloam, the Pool of

The Pool of Siloam

By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

WEND o’er the waste where now no floweret springs,

But bloomed of yore the “Garden of the Kings”;

Ye reach an opening pierced in Ophel’s side,

While high beyond the huge mosque lifts its pride,—

’T is cool Siloam’s fount; when palms grew round,

Here Jewish minstrels woke their harps’ sweet sound,

And Hebrew sages, on these rocks reclined,

Taught listening crowds, and scattered pearls of mind,

This rugged path the blessed Apostles trod,

Beneath yon arch once stood their King, their God;

And here the wretch whose eyes were sealed in night,

At Mercy’s word received the gift of sight.

Now, on these steps worn smooth by countless feet,

Young Arab maids at eve are wont to meet,

Their fair heads bearing pitchers, and their hands

Wreathing the well’s dark sides with flowery bands.

Thou blessed fount! whose crystal waters still

Bubble unchanged beneath that holy hill,—

Fire, war, and ruin, wasting on each side,

Have left untouched thy pure and sparkling tide,

A living coolness in that cell below,

Health in thy dew, and music in thy flow.

Sure angels, while deserting Salem’s towers,

And Zion’s Mount, and David’s perished bowers,

Might hither come, and sorrowing vigil keep,

Glide through the shade, above those waters weep,

And fold their wings, resolving ne’er to flee,

The lingering guardians, hallowed fount! of thee.