Nicholas Michell

Deserted Tadmor! queen of Syria's wild!
Well may'st thou fill with rapture Fancy's child;*
Yet not by day — too garish, harsh, and rude —
The eye should scan thy fairy solitude;
But when the still moon pours her hallowing beam,
And crumbling shrine and palace whitely gleam,
Then pause beneath the lofty arch, and there
Survey the mouldings rich and sculptures fair;
See how like spectral giants columns stand,
And cast long shadows o'er the yellow sand;
How the soft light on marble tracery plays,
And busts look life-like through that silvery haze!
Tread the long colonnade, where Traffic's throng,
And chief and sage were wont to sweep along;
Ruin on ruin mouldering, still and lone,
Arch following arch, Jane, massy wall o'erthrown,
And still beyond, some line of columns gray,
In long perspective stretching far away, —
These will the stars in desolation show,
Shedding o'er all a soft ethereal glow,
Till beauty scarce of earth around us beams,
And like the home of spirits Tadmor seems;
Or half we think that Eastern story true,
Which tells of old his spell th' enchanter threw,
And built by genii, in one glorious night,
Those shrines of pride and palaces of light.

Author's Note: * Tadmor, or Palmyra — each word signifies a palm-tree, indi cating that this tree once flourished where now all is sterility. The first view of Palmyra is overwhelmingly grand. The pillars at Baalbec, though of great size, are very limited in number, but here the columns seem to defy every attempt to count them. Unob structed by other buildings, and of the purest white marble, they extend in one direction nearly a mile and a-half. " There," writes Volney, in his travels, "we see them (the pillars) ranged in rows of such length, that, similar to rows of trees, they deceive the sight, and assume the appearance of continued walls."