Archaeology Odyssey 3:4, July/August 2000

When People Lived at Petra

By Joseph J. Basile

It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,

By labor wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,

Eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,

Where erst Athena her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,

That crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn

That first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,

Which man deemed old two thousand years ago,

Match me such a marvel save in Eastern clime,

A rose-red city half as old as Time.

John William Burgon (1813–1888)

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