Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS, by THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH

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THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Kind was my friend who, in the eastern land
Last Line: The patient christ, and mary at the tomb!
Subject(s): Christianity; Islam

KIND was my friend who, in the Eastern land,
Remembered me with such a gracious hand,
And sent this Moorish Crescent which has been
Worn on the haughty bosom of a queen.

No more it sinks and rises in unrest
To the soft music of her heathen breast;
No barbarous chief shall bow before it more,
No turbaned slave shall envy and adore.

I place beside this relic of the Sun
A Cross of Cedar brought from Lebanon,
Once borne, perchance, by some pale monk who trod
The desert to Jerusalem -- and his God.

Here do they lie, two symbols of two creeds,
Each meaning something to our human needs,
Both stained with blood, and sacred made by faith,
By tears, and prayers, and martyrdom, and death.

That for the Moslem is, but this for me!
The waning Crescent lacks divinity:
It gives me dreams of battles, and the woes
Of women shut in dim seraglios.

But when this Cross of simple wood I see,
The Star of Bethlehem shines again for me,
And glorious visions break upon my gloom --
The patient Christ, and Mary at the Tomb!

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