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

Syria: Tyre (Soor)


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

AND this is Tyre,—the mighty mart of old,

City of merchants! conquering kings with gold!

Through whose long streets that knew no dull repose,

Like stormy waves, the voice of Commerce rose,

While palaces, each worthy Ocean’s queen,

O’erlooked in dazzling pride the busy scene.

Here Afric brought her ivory and rich plumes,

Ophir her gems, Arabia her perfumes;

The adventurous Tyrian sent his daring sail,

Where’er might roll the waves or sweep the gale;


Strange that to power no state or people grew,

From age to age their glory to renew;

But like the sun they gain meridian height,

Blaze their appointed time, then sink in night;


And so Tyre fell,—her riches could not save;

The city of the proud is now a grave,

Swept, like her daughter Carthage, by the wings

Of ages, from the list of living things.

And so Tyre fell,—where rose her granite towers,

And shone her palaced streets, and jewelled bowers,

The goatherd heedless roves, nor asks her name,

Nor recks her glories past and ancient fame.

He sees bowed arch, an aqueduct, and well,

But who their builders were he cannot tell.

The wave, unsympathizing, beats the strand,

Moss clothes black fragments buried deep in sand,

And sea-birds, stooping in their ocean flight,

Pass with wild shrieks the vanished city’s site.