Mount Lebanon

Nicholas Michell

Gradual as mists roll off the bounding hills,
A rosier light the widening prospect fills,
And graceful planes that skirt the vale are seen,
And mulberry groves extend their living green.
From yon high rock looks down the shy gazelle,
And bright- winged birds flit oft across the dell:
The eagle mounts like some dark ghoul above,
The thrush 'mid flowers begins his lay of love.
But see! Day's king, with robes of glory on,
The sun hath climbed sky-piercing Lebanon!
Like thousand arrows dipped in ruby light,
Beams dart from rock to rock — all heaven is bright;
The hanging pines shake off their sombre sleep,
With freshened breath the mountain breezes sweep;
The cascades, dashing joyous, catch the ray,
And leap from crag to crag in silvery spray.
Nestling in dells, the hamlet hides from view,
Smoke o'er the deep green foliage curling blue,
But high above, on rocks exposed and bare,
Grey convents hang, as poised in upper air:*
The matin bell with music loads the gale,
And listening Echo answers from the vale.
O'er all, the mountains lift their crests of snow,
Nature's grand crown where stainless jewels glow;
E'en the huge cedars, standing dark and lone,*
That years and storms have bowed, but not o'erthrown,
Whose shade might hallow priest or prophet's tomb,
Hail morning's smile, and half forget their gloom.

Mount Lebanon is actually a range of mountains that run the length of the country of Lebanon, parallel to the sea. Their highest point is Qurnat al-Sawda, at 3088 metres.

Author's Notes:

* There are among the mountains of Lebanon nearly two hundred convents of Maronite Christians.

* Of the renowned cedars of Lebanon seven remain standing, which, from their immense size, favour the opinion that they are the identical trees celebrated by Ezekiel and Solomon.