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

Syria: Quarantania, the Mount

The Temptation

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

(From The Divine Tragedy)

NOT in the lightning’s flash, nor in the thunder,

Not in the tempest, nor the cloudy storm,

Will I array my form;

But part invisible these boughs asunder,

And move and murmur, as the wind upheaves

And whispers in the leaves.

Not as a terror and a desolation,

Not in my natural shape, inspiring fear

And dread, will I appear;

But in soft tones of sweetness and persuasion,

A sound as of the fall of mountain streams,

Or voices heard in dreams.

He sitteth there in silence, worn and wasted

With famine, and uplifts his hollow eyes

To the unpitying skies;

For forty days and nights he hath not tasted

Of food or drink, his parted lips are pale,

Surely his strength must fail.

Wherefore dost thou in penitential fasting

Waste and consume the beauty of thy youth?

Ah, if thou be in truth

The Son of the Unnamed, the Everlasting,

Command these stones beneath thy feet to be

Changed into bread for thee!