Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAST CRUSADER, by EDWARD GEORGE EARLE LYTTON BULWER-LYTTON



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THE LAST CRUSADER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Left to the saviour's conquering foes
Last Line: "the saviour's holy land is won!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Bulwer, Edward; Lytton Of Knebworth, 1st Baron; Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer, Lord
Subject(s): Crusades


LEFT to the Saviour's conquering foes,
The land that girds the Saviour's grave;
Where Godfrey's crozier-standard rose,
He saw the crescent-banner wave.

There, o'er the gently-broken vale,
The halo-light on Zion glow'd;
There Kedron, with a voice of wail,
By tombs of saints and heroes flow'd;

There still the olives silver o'er
The dimness of the distant hill;
There still the flowers that Sharon bore,
Calm air with many an odour fill.

Slowly THE LAST CRUSADER eyed
The towers, the mount, the stream, the plain,
And thought of those whose blood had dyed
The earth with crimson streams in vain!

He thought of that sublime array,
The hosts, that over land and deep
The hermit marshall'd on their way,
To see those towers, and halt to weep!

Resign'd the loved, familiar lands,
O'er burning wastes the cross to bear,
And rescue from the Paynim's hands
No empire save a sepulchre!

And vain the hope, and vain the loss,
And vain the famine and the strife;
In vain the faith that bore the cross,
The valour prodigal of life.

And vain was Richard's lion-soul,
And guileless Godfrey's patient mind --
Like waves on shore, they reach'd the goal,
To die, and leave no trace behind!

"O God!" the last Crusader cried,
"And art thou careless of thine own?
For us thy Son in Salem died,
And Salem is the scoffer's throne!

"And shall we leave, from age to age,
To godless hands the holy tomb?
Against thy saints the heathen rage --
Launch forth thy lightnings, and consume!"

Swift, as he spoke, before his sight
A form flash'd, white-robed, from above;
All Heaven, whose native air is love.

"Alas!" the solemn vision said,
"Thy God is of the shield and spear --
To bless the quick and raise the dead.
The Saviour-God descended here!

"Ah! know'st thou not the very name
Of Salem bids thy carnage cease --
A symbol in itself to claim
God's people to a house of peace!

"Ask not the Father to reward
The hearts that seek, through blood, the Son;
O warrior! never by the sword
The Saviour's Holy Land is won!"





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