Aaron's Tomb

Nicholas Michell

Where famed Mount Hor lifts high his barren peak,
And, king of air, the eagle whets his beak,
I climb in awe, pass many a nameless cave,
And reach at length the Hebrew's holy grave.
And here he sleeps, above the world serene;
As thus against the mouldering slabs I lean,
And gaze on yonder heaven, whose dewy tears
Have wet these blocks for dark uncounted years,
My bosom thrills, and heated Fancy's eye
Sees Aaron's ancient spirit hovering nigh,
Calm waiting, till Heaven's final thunders roll,
And call the dust to join th' undying soul.*
Beneath me spreads a mighty sea of sand,
With hills flung round by dire Confusion's hand;
Brown pinnacles, and valleys lone and stern,
Where Nature dies, and withering sunbeams burn;
You deem that plain once heaved a lava-flood,
Then, fixed by spells, in rough-piled masses stood.
Here, ages since, did Israel march along,
Blow their loud trumps, and chant their desert song;
There smoked their incense, burned their altar's flame,
And from the smitten rock the waters came; 
But lo! fierce Edom, sallying forth, appears,
Raising against their march a wall of spears;
The Hebrews turn, like meteors, still to stray,
And round these deserts drag their weary way.

Author's Note: A ruinous building stands on the summit of Mount Hor, and which, according to a popular tradition, covers the bones of Aaron. Both Jews and Mohammedans hold the spot in great reverence.