Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TRAVELLER AT THE SOURCE OF THE NILE, by FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS



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THE TRAVELLER AT THE SOURCE OF THE NILE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In sunset's light, o'er afric thrown
Last Line: Thine own sweet paths in search of thee!
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, Felicia Dorothea
Subject(s): Africa; African Americans - History; Nile (River); Travel; Black Heritage; Journeys; Trips


IN sunset's light, o'er Afric thrown,
A wanderer proudly stood
Beside the well-spring, deep and lone,
Of Egypt's awful flood --
The cradle of that mighty birth,
So long a hidden thing to earth!

He heard in life's first murmuring sound,
A low mysterious tone --
A music sought, but never found
By kings and warriors gone.
He listened -- and his heart beat high:
That was the song of victory!

The rapture of a conqueror's mood
Rushed burning through his frame, --
The depths of that green solitude
Its torrents could not tame;
Though stillness lay, with eve's last smile,
Round those fair fountains of the Nile.

Night came with stars. Across his soul
There swept a sudden change:
E'en at the pilgrim's glorious goal
A shadow dark and strange
Breathed from the thought, so swift to fall
O'er triumph's hour -- and is this all?

No more than this! What seemed it now
First by that spring to stand?
A thousand streams of lovelier flow
Bathed his own mountain-land!
Whence, far o'er waste and ocean track,
Their wild, sweet voices, called him back.

They called him back to many a glade,
His childhood's haunt of play,
Where brightly through the beechen shade
Their waters glanced away;
They called him, with their sounding waves,
Back to his father's hills and graves.

But, darkly mingling with the thought
Of each familiar scene,
Rose up a fearful vision, fraught
With all that lay between --
The Arab's lance, the desert's gloom,
The whirling sands, the red simoom!

Where was the glow of power and pride?
The spirit born to roam?
His altered heart within him died
With yearnings for his home!
All vainly struggling to repress
The gush of painful tenderness.

He wept! The stars of Afric's heaven
Beheld his bursting tears,
E'en on that spot where fate had given
The meed of toiling years! --
O Happiness! how far we flee
Thine own sweet paths in search of thee!





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