River Jordan

Nicholas Michell

Few ruins now those willowy banks disclose,
But fresh as in old days the current flows;
Here lofty reeds and palms shut out the beam,
And there romantic rocks o'erhang the stream.
Rare flowers, man trains not, deck the mossy ground,
And each slight breeze wafts almond-blooms around;
The bee secure along the lilied shore
Winds her blithe horn, and steals her honeyed store;
Blue skies look down on bluer waves, the air
Is soft and fragrant, as some angel there,
Just flown from Paradise, had spread his plume,
Hushing the earth, and shaking round perfume.
Sweet Jordan! surely here sad hearts might rest,
And calm Religion love a scene so blest.

The banks of the River Jordan here are still lined by their dense thicket of willow and tamarisk. This impeneterable tangle of  undergrowth was the haunt of wild beasts, including lions and bears. So famous was it that Jeremiah even used it in his prophecies. eg: Jer 49:19 and 50:44.