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[188]

Religious Poems


The star of Bethlehem.

where Time the measure of his hours
     By changeful bud and blossom keeps,
And, like a young bride crowned with flowers,
     Fair Shiraz in her garden sleeps;

Where, to her poet's turban stone,
     The Spring her gift of flowers imparts,
Less sweet than those his thoughts have sown
     In the warm soil of Persian hearts:

There sat the stranger, where the shade
     Of scattered date-trees thinly lay,
While in the hot clear heaven delayed
     The long and still and weary day.

Strange trees and fruits above him hung,
     Strange odors filled the sultry air,
Strange birds upon the branches swung,
     Strange insect voices murmured there.

And strange bright blossoms shone around,
     Turned sunward from the shadowy bowers,
As if the Gheber's soul had found
     A fitting home in Iran's flowers.

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