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Poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

The Traveller at the Source of the Nile

IN sunsets light oer Afric thrown,
	A wanderer proudly stood 
Beside the well-spring, deep and lone,
	Of Egypts awful flood; 
The cradle of that mighty birth, 
So long a hidden thing to earth.
He heard its lifes first murmuring sound,
	A low mysterious tone; 
A music sought, but never found
	By kings and warriors gone; 
He listend  and his heart beat high    
That was the song of victory!
The rapture of a conquerors mood 
	Rushd burning through his frame,
The depths of that green solitude 
	Its torrents could not tame,
Though stillness lay, with eves last smile,
Round those calm fountains of the Nile.
Night came with stars:  across his soul
	There swept a sudden change, 
Even at the pilgrims glorious goal,
	A shadow dark and strange, 
Breathd from the thought, so swift fall 
Oer triumphs hour  And is this all?
No more than this!  what seemd it now
	First by that spring to stand? 
A thousand streams of lovelier flow
	Bathed his own mountain land! 
Whence, far oer waste and ocean track,
Their wild sweet voices calld him back.
They calld him back to many a glade,
	His childhoods haunt of play, 
There brightly through the beechen shade
	Their waters glanced away; 
They calld him, with their sounding waves, 
Back to his fathers hills and graves.
But darkly mingling with the thought
	Of each familiar scene, 
Rose up a fearful vision, fraught
	With all that lay between; 
The Arabs lance, the deserts gloom, 
The whirling sands, the red simoom!
Where was the glow of power and pride? 
	The spirit born to roam?
His weary heart within him died 
	With yearnings for his home; 
All vainly struggling to repress 
That gush of painful tenderness.
He wept  the stars of Africs heaven
	Beheld his bursting tears, 
Even on that spot where fate ha given
	The meed of toiling years. 
 Oh happiness! how far we flee 
Thine own sweet paths in search of thee!

Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Poem Themes: Nile, Rivers

Felicia Dorothea Hemans's other poems:
  1. Druid Chorus on the Landing of the Romans
  2. Taliesins Prophecy
  3. The River Clwyd, in North Wales
  4. Our Ladys Well
  5. Eryri Wen

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