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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 Kashmeer

By Togray (12th Century)

Translated by L. S. Costello

HAIL to the city from whose bowers—

The glowing paradise of flowers!—

Soft zephyrs waft the rose’s breath,

By moonlit night and blushing morn,

Even to the ruby, hid beneath

The golden hills of Badakhshân!

Whose gale with perfume-laden wing,

O’er Arab deserts hovering,

A tint as radiant can bestow

As beams that in the emerald glow.

Upon thy mountains fresh and green

The velvet turf is scarcely seen,

So close the jasmines twine around,

And strew, with star-like flowers, the ground.

The ruddy glow of sunset lies

Within thy rich pomegranate’s eyes;

And flashing midst the tulip-beds,

A blaze of glory round them sheds.

Night dwells amidst thy spicy groves:

Thy saffron fields the star of morning loves;

Thy violets have tales of eyes as fair;

Thy hyacinths of waving, dusky hair;

Thy glittering sunflowers make the year all spring;

Thy bees their stores are ever gathering;

And from the rose’s branches, all day long,

Pours the melodious nightingale her song;

Amidst the leaves her bark-like nest is tost,

In melody, and love, and beauty lost.

The rich narcissus, quaffing dewy wine,

Clings to thy breast, where buds unnumbered twine:

No eye can see the bound where end thy bowers,

No tongue can number half thy gem-like flowers.

Such freshness lingers in thy air of balm,

That even the tulip’s burning heart confesses

The life its sigh bestows at evening’s calm,

When the glad cypress shakes her graceful tresses.

The waves of each rejoicing river

Murmur melody forever,

And to the sound, in wild amaze,

On their glad crests the dancing bubble plays.

While lotus flowers, just opened, there

Look with bright eyes towards heaven in prayer.

So clear thy waters that, reflected bright,

The dusky Ethiop’s skin is pearly white.

So cool, that as the sun his fingers laves,

They shiver on the surface of thy waves.

The immortal lily, pure as angels’ plumes,

All day, all night, the grove with light illumes;

The grove, where garlands, by the roses made,

Like clustering Pleiads, glimmer through the shade,

And hide am’dst their leaves the timid dove,

Whose ringéd neck proclaims the slave of love.

Tell me what land can boast such treasures?

Is aught so fair, is aught so dear?

Hail! Paradise of endless pleasures!

Hail! beautiful, beloved Kashmeer!