Mount Tabor

Nicholas Michell

Esdraelon's plain still boasts its myrtle bowers,
Golden with corn, or carpeted with flowers:
How like a sainted mind that seeks the skies,
Crowned with a glory, Tabor's tops arise!
From base to summit groves are waving green,
While many a hoary ruin peeps between.
Here mouldered church, and fallen convent, show
How warm was zeal a thousand years ago;
In yon stone cell the hermit knelt to pray,
And passed in dreams his martyr life away.
Jasmine's white bells, and henna's yellow bloom,
Breathe out their sweets till rocks e'en drink perfume;
In viewless clouds those odours mount the air,
And Tabor stands like some rich altar there.

Author's Note: Tabor is by far the most beautiful mountain in Palestine. It rises in the north-east extremity of Esdraelon to the height of a thousand feet, and from its circular form and isolated position is a very striking object. Almost every variety of shrub and flower known in the Holy Land is said to flourish on this hill. The summit displays some old fortifications; on the east side are the ruins of a Christian church of the middle ages, and cells where ascetics once hid themselves from the world are very numerous. Here is supposed to have taken place the Configuration of Christ, and the friars of the neighbouring convent every year, in August, say mass on the mountain, and raise bonfires through the night.