At last, the sunset’s knell forebodes the ceasing day—
The merchants in their silken garments trudge their way
Along, with Turkish camels and Koranic tunes.
Diurnal light retreats from dromedary’s dunes,
And Bedouins arrive, commencing ev’ning hours
And drive their caravans across Saharan bow’rs
Where fading clouds announce the lukewarm air and grounds,
With Libya’s glowing sands. Where foliage abounds,
(Beneath the halo of the wav’ring date-palm’s shade,)
The Bedouin reclines where fellow tribesmen made
A goatherd’s tent, where nomads silently repine
Upon the torrid sand dunes’ recurrent decline.

Repine? for wars will close their hallow’d ev’ning’s rim;
The strife which give the eastern sphere a prospect grim,
Where butchery and ails command the travellers’ scene.
Abandonment has made their hopes all the less sanguine:
Nomadic tribes are brought to states of disarray,
Remov’d from where both Art and Virtue were at play.
Where once a mighty desert offspring proudly sways,
Across the humid heat of sultry noontide rays,
Does now exist in such a saddened state forlorn,
And foreigners upon them look with pompous scorn!
For these exotic men, their calls have not been heard,
Though on their honest lips dwells their lamenting word.

Seek pride, free sons! in refuge seek Arabia’s breast,
And place your solace in her isolated nest;
Your native home, from river Nile to Nefta palms
Remains bereft of all her necessary alms.
With bold address—for once you mount your gallant steed—
You shall regain your trades that Mother Earth decreed.
Your peaceful mien has been assailed by warlike foes:
The adversaries who have brought you countless woes.
Alas, you vital force! your glory will be found,
When the fair morn’s alarm procures its bellow’d sound,
And when the sickle moon subsides for waiting day,
You then shall carry proudly on in your foray!

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2 Responses

  1. Beau Ecs Wilder

    This poem has a quiet, nostalgic tone that hovers between Gray and Arnold, with echoes of Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson and Robinson. The gaze and attitude are distilled Victorian.

  2. David Hollywood

    This poem has an easy steady pace, not unlike a caravan crossing the desert while recounting a depth of culture and a necessary story about the Arab and nomadic experience.


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