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

India: Cashmere

The Vale of Cashmere

By Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

WHO has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere,

With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave,

Its temples, and grottos, and fountains as clear

As the love-lighted eyes that hung over their wave?

Oh, to see it at sunset,—when warm o’er the lake

Its splendor at parting a summer eve throws,

Like a bride, full of blushes, when lingering to take

A last look of her mirror at night ere she goes!

When the shrines through the foliage are gleaming half shown,

And each hallows the hour by some rites of its own.

Here the music of prayer from a minaret swells,

Here the magian his urn, full of perfume, is swinging,

And here, at the altar, a zone of sweet bells

Round the waist of some fair Indian dancer is ringing.

Or to see it by moonlight,—when mellowly shines

The light o’er its palaces, gardens, and shrines;

When the waterfalls gleam, like a quick fall of stars,

And the nightingale’s hymn from the Isle of Chenars

Is broken by laughs and light echoes of feet

From the cool, shining walks where the young people meet.

Or at morn, when the magic of daylight awakes

A new wonder each minute, as slowly it breaks.

Hills, cupolas, fountains, called forth every one

Out of darkness, as if but just born of the Sun.

When the Spirit of Fragrance is up with the day,

From his harem of night-flowers stealing away;

And the wind, full of wantonness, wooes like a lover

The young aspen-trees, till they tremble all over.

When the east is as warm as the light of first hopes,

And Day, with his banner of radiance unfurled,

Shines in through the mountainous portal that opes,

Sublime, from that valley of bliss to the world!