Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1841/Zagwhan

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1841-43-Temple and Fountain of Zagwhan.png


Artist: Sir Greenville Temple, Bart - Engraved by: J. Redaway


This fountain supplied the great Aqueduct of Carthage; and the Temple, now in ruins, was erected to the tutelar deity of the Spring. The country is singularly lovely, filled with gardens, brooks, giving motion to numerous mills, and white marabets, whose domes show to great advantage amid the dense green foliage.

Of the vacant temple
     Little now remains,
Lowly are the statues,
     Lowly are the fanes,
Filled with worshippers no more.
Heavily the creeper
     Traces its green line
Round the fallen altar,
     Now no more divine—

As it was in days of yore,
In the days of stately Carthage,

The ocean’s earliest queen.

Still the fragrant myrtle,
     And the olive, stand;
Still the kingly palm-tree
     Clothes the summer land.
Cool above the gushing rills
Still there flows the fountain
     From the silent cave,
Though no more in marble
     Is the silver wave

Carried o’er the distant hills,
For the halls of stately Carthage,

The ocean’s earliest queen.

Still there is remaining
     Something of the past,
Many a broken column
     Down to earth is cast,
Tangled with the long green grass.
Yet some graceful arches
     Green with moss and weeds,
Tell where stood the altar
     ’Mid the sighing reeds—

Sighing, as the night-winds pass,
For the doom of stately Carthage,

The ocean’s earliest queen.

Still the ground is haunted
     With those other days,
O’er which memory lingers,
     While the mind portrays
Mighty chiefs and deeds of old.
Mighty are the shadows
     Flitting o’er the scene;
Earth hath sacred places
     Where the dead have been.

Glorious are the names enrolled
On the page of stately Carthage,

The ocean’s earliest queen.

Still their solemn presence
     Is upon the air;
And the stars and moonlight
     Of the past declare—
So in other days they shone,
When the young avenger
     In the temple stood,
Calling on the midnight,
     To hear his vow of blood.

Rome nigh trembled on her throne
With the wars of stately Carthage,

The ocean’s earliest queen.

Yet the Roman poet
     Hallowed with his song,
Tales of olden warfare,
     Still have strife and wrong
Mourned man’s progress over earth.

But the poet lit the darkness
     With a gentle light,
Calling forth such beauty
     As the morn from night

Calls to sweet and sudden birth.
Such lingers around Carthage,

The ocean’s earliest queen.

In y'on twilight grotto
     Might the queen complain
Of the heart’s affection,
     Given—and in vain.
As she mourned will many mourn.
Why is it the poet’s sorrow
     Touches many a heart?
’Tis the general knowledge
     Claiming each their part.

Still those numbers sound forlorn,
Mid the stones of stately Carthage,

The ocean’s earliest queen.

Empire still has followed
     The revolving sun;
Earth’s great onward progress
     In the East begun—
Ruins, deserts, now are there.
Downfall waits on triumph:
     Is such fate in store
For our glorious islands?
     Will our English shore

Lie as desolate and bare
As the shores of fallen Carthage,

The ocean’s former queen?

L. E. L.