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Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Летиция Элизабет Лэндон)


Cafes in Damascus



"And Mahomet turned aside, and would not enter the fair city: ‘It is,’ said he, ‘too delicious.’"

LANGUIDLY the night-wind bloweth
    From the gardens round,
Where the clear Barrada floweth
    With a lulling sound.

Not the lute-note's sweet shiver
    Can such music find,
As is on a wandering river,
    On a wandering wind.

There the Moslem leaneth, dreaming
    O'er the inward world,
While around the fragrant steaming
    Of the smoke is curled.

Rising from the coffee berry,
    Dark grape of the South;
Or the pipe of polished cherry,
    With its amber mouth.

Cooled by passing through the water,
    Gurgling as it flows—
Scented by the Summer's daughter,
    June's impassioned rose.

By that rose's spirit haunted
    Are the dreams that rise,
Of far lands, and lives enchanted,
    And of deep black eyes.

Thus with some sweet dream's assistance,
    Float they down life's stream;
Would to heaven our whole existence
    Could be such a dream!

The Cafés of the kind represented in the plate are perhaps the greatest luxury that a stranger finds in Damascus. Gardens, kiosques, fountains, and groves are abundant around every Eastern capital; but Cafés on the very bosom of a rapid river, and bathed by its waves, are peculiar to this ancient city: they are formed so as to exclude the rays of the sun while they admit the breeze.



Letitia Elizabeth Landon's other poems:
  1. The Evening Prayer, or The Orphan
  2. Secrets
  3. Linmouth, or, The Country Retreat
  4. Piccadilly
  5. Hebe


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