Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
680. On Lebanon
 
By David Gray
 
 
THOSE days we spent on Lebanon,
  Held captive by the sieging snow—
What bright things are forgot and gone,
  While these have kept their after-glow!
It seemed but monotone, in truth,        5
  That morning gaze o’er mountain mass,
Our council with the hamlet ’s youth,
  The daily sortie up the pass,—
And, last, your father’s fire o’ nights,
Sweet Maiden of the Maronites!        10
 
Sometimes the battling clouds would break,
  And from the rifted azure, fair,
We saw an eagle slant, and take,
  Broad-winged, the stormy slopes of air.
And once, when winter’s stubborn heart        15
  Half broke in sunshine o’er the place,
We held our bridles to depart,
  Eager and gleeful; but your face—
It did not mirror our delights,
O Maiden of the Maronites!        20
 
Bright face! how Arab-wild would glow,
  Through shifting mood of storm or calm,
Its beauty, born of sun and snow,
  Between the cedar and the palm.
Nor, as I watched its changing thought,        25
  Could alien speech be long disguise;
For ere one English phrase she caught
  I learned the Arabic of her eyes—
The love-lore of their dusks and lights,
My Maiden of the Maronites!        30
 
We parted soon, and upward fared,
  Snow-fettered, till the pass was ours,
And all beneath us, golden-aired,
  Lay Syria, in a dream of flowers.
Then spurred we, for before us burned        35
  White Baalbec’s signal in the noon,
And, ere to wayside camp we turned,
  ’Twixt us and you and far Bhâmdun,
All Lebanon raised his icy heights,
My Maiden of the Maronites!        40
 
Yet, still, those days on Lebanon
  As steadfast keep their after-glow
As if they owned a summer sun,
  And roses blossomed in the snow;
And when, with fire of heart and brain,        45
  And the quick pulse’s speed increased,
And wordless longings, come again
  Vision and passion of the East,
I dream—ah! wild are Fancy’s flights,
O Maiden of the Maronites!        50
 

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