Nicholas Michell

Persia! time-honoured land! who looks on thee
A desert, yet a Paradise, will see,
Vast chains of hills where not a shrub appears,
Wastes where no dews distil their diamond tears,
The only living things foul birds of prey,
Who whet their beaks, or court the solar ray,
And wolves that fill with howlings midnight's vale,
Turning the cheek of far-off traveller pale: —
Anon, the ravished eye delighted dwells
On chinar-groves and brightly-watered dells;
Blooming where man and art have nothing done,
Pomegranates hang their rich fruit in the sun;
Grapes turn to purple many a rock's tall brow,
And globes of gold adorn the citron's bough;
'Mid rose-trees hid, or perched on some high palm,
The bulbul sings through eve's delicious calm;
While girt by planes, or washed by cooling streams,
On some green flat the stately city gleams. —
'Tis as a demon there had cast his frown,
And here an angel breathed a blessing down;
As if in nature as the human soul,
The god of darkness spurned heaven's bright control,
Good struggling hard with Evil's withering spell,
A smiling Eden on the marge of hell.*

Author's Note: * Ormuzd is the god of light, the beneficent deity, and Ariman, the god of darkness, in the ancient mythology of Persia, now called by the natives Iran.

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