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MUMMY AT BELZONI'S EXHIBITION. 35
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.
I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,
Has any Roman soldier mauled and knuckled
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalmed,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Thou couldst develop—if that withered tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen—
How the world looked when it was fresh and young,
And the great deluge still had left it green;
Or was it then so old that history's pages
Contained no record of its early ages 2
Still silent incommunicative elf
Art sworn to secrecy 2 then keep thy vows;
But prythee tell us something of thyself—
Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house;
Since in the world of spirits thou has slumbered—
What hast thou seen—what strange adventures numbered?
Since first thy form was in this box extended
We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations;
The Roman empire has begun and ended—
New worlds have risen—we have lost old nations;
And countless kings have into dust been humbled,
While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.
Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
Marched armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread-
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis;
And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?
If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
The nature of thy private life unfold:
A heart has throbbed beneath that leathern breast,
And tears adown that dusty cheek have rolled;
Have children climbed those knees, and kissed that face?
What was thy name and station, age and race?
Statue of flesh—immortal of the dead
Imperishable type of evanescence 1
Posthumous man—who quitt'st thy narrow bed,
And standest undecayed within our presence 1
Thou wilt hear nothing till the judgment morning,
When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning.
Why should this worthless tegument endure,
If its undying guest be lost forever ?
O ! let us keep the soul embalmed and pure
In living virtue—that when both must sever,
Although corruption may our frame consume,
The immortal spirit in the skies may bloom
Cleopatra Embarking on the Cydnus.
After a Picture by Derby.
“The harge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water: the poop was bcaten gold:
Purple the sail; and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them: the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes.
LUTES in the sunny air
And harps in the porphyry halls
And a low deep hum—like a people's prayer—
With its heart breathed swells and falls
CLEOPA TRA OW THE CVDNUS. 37
And an echo-like the desert's call,—
Flung back to the shouting shores
And the river's ripple, heard through all,
As it plays with the silver oars 1–
The sky is a gleam of gold !
And the amber breezes float,
Like thoughts to be dreamed of but never told,
Around the dancing boat
She has stepped on the burning sand;
And the thousand tongues are mute:
And the Syrian strikes, with a trembling hand,
The strings of his gilded lute 1
And the AEthiop's heart throbs loud and high,
Beneath his white symar;
And the Lybian kneels, as he meets her eye,
Like the flash of an Eastern star !
The gales may not be heard,
Yet the silken streamers quiver,
And the vessel shoots—like a bright-plumed bird—
Away, down the golden river !
Away by the lofty mount
And away by the lonely shore
And away by the gushing of many a fount—
Where fountains gush no more 1
O for some warning vision there,
Some voice that should have spoken
Of climes to be laid waste and bare,
And glad young spirits broken l
Of waters dried away,
And hope and beauty blasted —
That scenes so fair and hearts so gay
Should be so early wasted 1
A dream of other days
That land is a desert now l
And grief grew up to dim the blaze
Upon that royal brow !
The whirlwind's burning wing hath cast
Blight on the marble plain,
And sorrow—like the simoom—past
O'er Cleopatra's brain
For like her fervid clime that bred
Its self-consuming fires,
Her heart—like Indian widows—fed
Its own funereal pyres 1
Not such the song her minstrels sing—-
“Live, beauteous, and forever !”
As the vessel darts, with its purple wing.
Away down the golden river !
HE banners of the world are met upon that wild blue wave, The sun hath risen that shall set upon an empire's grave; From tongues of many a land bursts forth the war-shout to the breeze, And half the crowns of all the earth are played for on the seas l
The ocean hath a tinge of blood,—a sound of woe the air;
Death swims his pale steed through the flood—O what doth
woman there 2
The shout of nations, in their strife, rings far along the lea,
And what doth Egypt's dark-eyed queen upon that battle-sea?
The Cydnus, hath it not the same bright wave and gentle
With which it stole to Tarsus, in those happy years ago,
When music haunted all the shores by which its waters rolled,
And she came down the river in her galley of the gold?
Her oars were of the silver then, and to her purple sails,
And in amid her raven hair, came only perfumed gales;
And Cupids trimmed the silken ropes along the cedar spars,
And she lay like a goddess on her pillow of the ctars.
Oh, the old city 1 and alas ! the young and blesséd dream
That fell into her spirit first upon its silver stream
The wild sweet memories of that morn still o'er her feelings float,
And love has launched this battle-bark that steered that golden boat.
And she is yet, to one high heart, through all this cloud of war, As in that city of the sea, its own and only star— The cynosure that shines as bright, across that place of graves, As first it rose upon his soul from o'er the Cydnus' waves.
O, love, that is so bold to dare, should be more strong to do,
Or what, O what doth Egypt there, with that soft, silken
And she should have a firmer soul who treads the battle-deck;
And passion, where it fails to save, is, oh, too sure to wreck