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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Lines from ‘Gebir’

By Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864)

[The first passage here given was Shelley’s favorite.]

ONCE a fair city—courted then by kings,

Mistress of nations, thronged by palaces,

Raising her head o’er destiny, her face

Glowing with pleasure and with palms refresht;

Now pointed at by Wisdom or by Wealth,

Bereft of beauty, bare of ornament—

Stood in the wilderness of woe, Masar….

NOW to Aurora borne by dappled steeds,

The sacred gate of orient pearl and gold,

Smitten with Lucifer’s light silver wand,

Expanded slow to strains of harmony.

The waves beneath in purpling rows, like doves

Glancing with wanton coyness toward their queen,

Heaved softly; thus the damsel’s bosom heaves

When from her sleeping lover’s downy cheek,

To which so warily her own she brings

Each moment nearer, she perceives the warmth

Of coming kisses fanned by playful Dreams.

Ocean and earth and heaven was jubilee;

For ’twas the morning pointed out by Fate

When an immortal maid and mortal man

Should share each other’s nature knit in bliss.