The Vale of Cashmere

From “The Light of the Harem” WHO has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere, With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave, Its temples, and grottoes, and fountains as clear As the love-lighted eyes that hang over their wave? O, to see it at sunset,—when warm o’er the lake Its splendor at parting a summer eve throws, Like a bride, full of blushes, when lingering to take A last look of her mirror at night ere she goes!— When the shrines through the foliage are gleaming half shown, And each hallows the hour by some rites of its own. Here the music of prayer from a minaret swells, Here the Magian his urn full of perfume is swinging, And here, at the altar, a zone of sweet bells Round the waist of some fair Indian dancer is ringing. Or to see it by moonlight,—when mellowly shines The light o’er its palaces, gardens, and shrines; When the waterfalls gleam like a quick fall of stars, And the nightingale’s hymn from the Isle of Chenars Is broken by laughs and light echoes of feet From the cool shining walks where the young people meet. Or at morn, when the magic of daylight awakes A new wonder each minute as slowly it breaks, Hills, cupolas, fountains, called forth every one Out of darkness, as they were just born of the sun; When the spirit of fragrance is up with the day, From his harem of night-flowers stealing away; And the wind, full of wantonness, wooes like a lover The young aspen-trees till they tremble all over; When the east is as warm as the light of first hopes, And day, with its banner of radiance unfurled, Shines in through the mountainous portal that opes, Sublime, from that valley of bliss to the world!

1799
Sub Title: 
Descriptive Poems: III. Places

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