Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
Introductory to Persia
Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)
WHERE is Gulistan, the Land of Roses?
      Not on hills where Northern winters
      Break their spears in icy splinters,
And in shrouded snow the world reposes;
      But amid the glow and splendor        5
      Which the Orient summers lend her,
Blue the heaven above her beauty closes:
There is Gulistan, the Land of Roses.
      Northward stand the Persian mountains;
      Southward spring the silver fountains        10
Which to Hafiz taught his sweetest measures,
      Clearly ringing to the singing
      Which the nightingales delight in,
      When the Spring, from Oman winging
Unto Shiraz, showers her fragrant treasures        15
      On the land, till valleys brighten,
      Mountains lighten with returning
      Fires of scarlet poppy burning,
      And the stream meanders,
      Through its roseate oleanders,        20
      And Love’s golden gate, unfolden,
Opens on a universe of pleasures.
      There the sunshine blazes over
      Meadows gemmed with ruby clover;
      There the rose’s heart uncloses,        25
Prodigal with hoarded stores of sweetness,
      And the lily’s cup so still is
      Where the river’s waters quiver,
      That no wandering air can spill his
Honeyed balm, or blight his beauty’s fleetness.        30
      Skies are fairest, days are rarest—
      Thou, O Earth! a glory wearest
      From the ecstasy thou bearest,
Once to feel the summer’s full completeness.
      Twilight glances, moonlit dances,        35
      Song by starlight, there entrances
      Youthful hearts with fervid fancies,
And the blushing rose of Love uncloses:
      Love that, lapped in summer joyance,
      Far from every rude annoyance,        40
Calmly on the answering love reposes;
      And in song, in music only
      Speaks the longing, vague and lonely,
      Which to pain is there the nearest,
      Yet of joys the sweetest, dearest,        45
      As a cloud when skies are clearest
On its folds intenser light discloses:
This is Gulistan, the Land of Roses.

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