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

Arabia: Desert of Arabia

The Ship of the Desert

By William Motherwell (1797–1835)

“ONWARD, my camel!—on, though slow;

Halt not upon these fatal sands!

Onward, my constant camel, go,—

The fierce simoom hath ceased to blow,

We soon shall tread green Syria’s lands!

“Droop not, my faithful camel! Now

The hospitable well is near!

Though sick at heart and worn in brow,

I grieve the most to think that thou

And I may part, kind comrade, here!

“O’er the dull waste a swelling mound,

A verdant paradise, I see;

The princely date-palms there abound,

And springs that make it sacred ground

To pilgrims like to thee and me!”

The patient camel’s filmy eye,

All lustreless, is fixed in death!

Beneath the sun of Araby

The desert wanderer ceased to sigh,

Exhausted on its burning path.

Then rose upon the wilderness

The solitary driver’s cry;

Thoughts of his home upon him press,

As, in his utter loneliness,

He sees his burden-bearer die.

Hope gives no echo to his call,—

Ne’er from his comrade will he sever!

The red sky is his funeral pall;

A prayer, a moan,—’t is over, all,—

Camel and lord now rest forever!

A three-hours’ journey from the spring

Loved of the panting caravan,

Within a little sandy ring,

The camel’s bones lie whitening,

With thine, old, unlamented man!