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By Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)
January 7, 2002
The Iranian


LAND of bright eye and lofty brow!

..Whose every gale is balmy breath

..Of incense from some sunny flower,

Which on tall hill or valley low,

..In clustering maze or circling wreath,

..Sheds perfume; or in blooming bower

Of Schiraz or of Ispahan,

In bower untrod by foot of man,

Clasps round the green and fragrant stem

..Of lotos, fair and fresh and blue,

And crowns it with a diadem

Of blossoms, ever young and new;

Oh! lives there yet within thy soul

..Ought of the fire of him who led

Thy troops, and bade thy thunder roll

..O'er lone Assyria's crownless head?

..I tell thee, had that conqueror red

..From Thymbria's plain beheld thy fall

When stormy Macedonia swept

..Thine honours from thee one and all,

He would have wail'd, he would have wept,

That thy proud spirit should have bow'd

To Alexander, doubly proud.

Oh! Iran! Iran! had he known

The downfall of his mighty throne,

Or had he seen that fatal night,

..When the young king of Macedon

..In madness led his veterans on,

And Thais held the funeral light,

Around that noble pile which rose

..Irradiant with the pomp of gold,

..In high Persepolis of old,

Encompass'd with its frenzied foes;

He would have groan'd, he would have spread

The dust upon his laurell'd head,

To view the setting of that star,

Which beam'd so gorgeously and far

O'er Anatolia, and the fane

Of Belus, and Caister's plain,

..And Sardis, and the glittering sands

..Of bright Pactolus, and the lands

Where Croesus held his rich domain:

On fair Diarbeck's land of spice,

Adiabene's plains of rice,

Where down th' Euphrates, swift and strong,

The shield-like kuphars bound along;

And sad Cunaxa's field, where, mixing

..With host to adverse host oppos'd,

'Mid clashing shield and spear transfixing,

..The rival brothers sternly clos'd.

And further east, where, broadly roll'd,

Old Indus pours his stream of gold;

And there, where tumbling deep and hoarse,

Blue Ganga leaves her vaccine source;

Loveliest of all the lovely streams

That meet immortal Titan's beams,

And smile upon their fruitful way

Beneath his golden orient ray:

And southward to Cilicia's shore,

Where Cydnus meets the billows' roar,

And where the Syrian gates divide

The meeting realms on either side;

E'en to the land of Nile, whose crops

..Bloom rich beneath his bounteous swell,

..To hot Syene's wondrous well,

Nigh to the long-liv'db AEthiops.

Click Here to Pay Learn More Amazon Honor SystemAnd northward far to Trebizonde,

..Renown'd for kings of chivalry,

Near where old Hyssus, from the strand,

..Disgorges in the Euxine sea --

The Euxine, falsely nam'd, which whelms

..The mariner in the heaving tide,

To high Sinope's distant realms,

..Whence cynics rail'd at human pride.

Thanks to John Mohammadi for searching and forwarding the contents of this page.

Comment for The Iranian letters section

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