The Moon of Ramadân

The sunset melts upon the Nile,
The stony desert glows,
Beneath heaven's universal smile,
One burning damask rose;
And like a Peri's pearly boat,
No longer than a span,
Look, faint on fiery sky afloat,
The Moon of Ramadân.

Our boat drifts idly with the Stream,
Our boatmen ship the oar;
Vistas of endless temples gleam
On either topaz shore;
And swimming over groves of Palm,
A crescent weak and wan,
There steals into the perfect calm
The Moon of Ramadân.

All nature seems to bask in peace
And hush her lowest sigh;
Above the river's golden fleece
The happy Halcyons fly.
And lost in some old lotos dream,
The pensive Pelican
Sees mirrored in the mazy stream
The Moon of Ramadân.

Black outlined on the golden air,
A turbaned Silhouette,
The Mueddin invites to prayer
From many a Minaret.
Our dusky boatmen hear the call,
And prostrate, man on man,
They bow, adoring, one and all,
The Moon of Ramadân.

Where Luxor's rose-flushed columns shine
Above the river's brim,
The priests with incense once, and wine,
Made sacrifice to Him,
The highest god of Thebes, and head
Of all the heavenly clan;
But now the Moslem hails instead
The Moon of Ramadân.

The gods have come, the gods have gone,
Yet wedded to their walls,
Winged with the serpent of the Sun
In mute processionals,
They stride from door to massy door,
Bound nations in their van,
Though Amon's Sun has waned before
The Moon of Ramadân.

Yea, even proud Egypt's proudest king,
Who chastised rebel lands,
And brought his gods for offering
Mountains of severed hands;
Who singly, like a god of War,
Smote hosts that swerved and ran,
Lies low 'neath Allah's scimetar—
The Moon of Ramadân.

And Isis, Queen, whose sacred disk's
Horned splendour crowned her brow,
While fires of flashing Obelisks
Flamed in the Afterglow;
And white-robed priests who served her shrine
Have turned Mahommedan,
And worship Him who wears for sign
The Moon of Ramadân.

The rosy lotos, flower and leaf,
Which wreathed each sacred lake,
With Nature's loveliest bas-relief,
Has followed in their wake;
Yea, with the last true Pharaoh's death,
The lotos leaves, grown wan,
Have changed to lily white beneath
The Moon of Ramadân.

The gods may come, the gods may go,
And royal realms change hands;
But the most ancient Nile will flow,
And flood the desert sands;
And nightly will he glass the stars'
Unearthly caravan,
Nor care if it be Rome's red Mars
Or Moon of Ramadân.

The sunset fades upon the Nile;
The desert's stony gloom,
Receding blankly mile on mile,
Grows silent as a tomb.
All weary wanderers, man and beast,
Hie, fasting, to the Khan,
While shines above their nightly feast
The Moon of Ramadân.
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