Robert Ferguson (fl.1826-1847)

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"See where the pilgrim bound for Mecca's shrine"

See where the pilgrim bound for Mecca's shrine
Yon weary steps and way-worn robes proclaim,
Is not his pilgrimage akin to mine?
Is not our errand somewhat of the same?
For not even Mecca's venerated name
Nor yet Medina where the prophet lies,
Receives the homage, nor can boast the fame
Of those dim tombs that now before me rise.

Alas! proud city--and is this the sight
That first attracts the distant stranger's gaze?
Nor fort, nor palace, tells the Moslem's might;
Alone the giant tombs of other days,
Obscure and shadowy in the early light,
As clouds on the horizon he surveys.

The Saracen

And where is he who, like a raging flame,
"The Koran or the sword!" his battlecry,
From Mecca's shores with conquering Amru came?
In his own city here of victory
One only bears a heavier yoke than he;
What can that faith do for him in his need?
It teaches him to bear adversity
With patience that may shame a better creed.

See what he is! To know what he has been,
Go! view the tombs--ye shall not see them long--
Where the old Caliphs sleep--or climb his strong
Old fortress on the rock, and view the scene
Spread at your feet, and ye may picture then
The ancient glory of the Saracen.


Art's infant home, and learning's earliest school,
The world's great college, mystic wisdom's shrine,
Seat of the king-priest's more than regal rule,
Fair city of the sun! and what of thine
Remains to tell how glorious, how divine
Thy temples rose? one solitary stone
Surviving, a memorial and a sign,
Still points to him for whom thy temples shone:

Pause here! it is holy ground whereon we stand--
The Virgin with her Offspring, when she fled
From Herod's fury, laid her weary head
Beneath yon reverend tree--with gentle hand,
Ah! touch these frail traditions--for they shed
A ray round many a spot that else were drear and dread.

The Great Pyramid

Yes! yon stern lines do but embody one,
One stern, unchanging, omnipresent thought
That dwelt a deadly incubus upon
The builder's soul, and in his nature wrought:
With giant efforts all his life he sought
To fling the fearful burden from his mind
And left, at last, in visible shape behind
Its type, this load, the heaviest ever brought
By man upon the weary earth to press
In this stupendous form is tangibly
That thought portrayed! Eternity--no less!
Eternity mistaken! Never ye
Who do not faith, surpassing faith possess,
No--never look into eternity!


one solitary stone. A solitary obelisk, standing in a smooth and cultivated plain, marks the site of Heliopolis, the On of Scripture, the school where Moses became learned in the wisdom of the Egyptians. (author)

yon reverend tree. Near the neighboring village of Matarea, a sycamore is pointed out which is said to have sheltered the holy family, on their flight into Egypt. (author)