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Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Speak ! for thou long enough hast acted dummy;
Thou hast a tongue — come, let us hear its tune; Thou’rt standing on thy legs, above ground, mummy!
“Revisiting the glimpses of the moon;" Not like thin ghosts, or disembodied creatures, But with thy bones, and flesh, and limbs, and features.
for doubtless 'thou canst recollect -
Of either pyramid that bears his name?
Perhaps thou wert a mason, and forbidden,
By oath, to tell the mysteries of thy trade; Then say, what secret melody was hidden
In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise played ? Perhaps thou wert a priest; if so, my struggles Are vain - Egyptian priests ne'er owned their juggles.
Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,
Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass;
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
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 ?
Still silent, incommunicative elf?
Art sworn to secrecy? 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 hast 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,
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,
If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
The nature of thy private life unfold:
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 Alesh - immortal of the dead !
Imperishable type of evanescence! Posthumous man, who quit’st thy narrow bed,
And standest undecayed within our presence! 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? 0, let us keep the soul embalmed and pure
In living virtue; that, when both must sever, Although corruption may our frame consume, Th’immortal spirit in the skies may bloom !
Hymn to the Flowers.
DAY-STARS, that ope your eyes with morn to twinkle,
From rainbow galaxies of earth's creation, And dew-drops on her lovely altars sprinkle
As a libation !
Ye matin worshippers, who, bending lowly
Before the uprisen sun, God's lidless eye, Throw from your chalices a sweet and holy
Incense on high!
Ye bright mosaics, that with storied beauty
The floor of nature's temple tessellate,
What numerous emblems of instructive duty
Your forms create !
'Neath cloistered boughs, each floral bell that swingeth,
And tolls its perfume on the passing air, Makes Sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth
A call to prayer.
Not to the domes where crumbling arch and column
Attest the feebleness of mortal hand,
Which God hath planned,
To that cathedral, boundless as our wonder,
Whose quenchless lamps the sun and moon supply : Its choir the winds and waves; its organ thunder ;
Its dome the sky.
There, as in solitude and shade I wander
Through the lone aisles, or, stretched upon the sod, Awed by the silence, reverently ponder
The ways of God,
Your voiceless lips, O flowers, are living preachers; Each
cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book, Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers
From loneliest nook.
Floral apostles, that in dewy splendor
Weep without sin and blush without a crime, O, may I deeply learn, and ne'er surrender
Your love sublime !
“ Thou wast not, Solomon, in all thy glory,
Arrayed,” the lilies cry, in robes like ours : How vain your grandeur! O, how transitory
Are human flowers!
In the sweet-scented pictures, heavenly artist,
With which thou paintest nature's wide-spread hall, What a delightful lesson thou impartest
Of love to all !
Not useless are ye, flowers, though made for pleasure,
Blooming o'er fields and wave by day and night ; From every source your sanction bids me treasure
Ephemeral sages, what instructors hoary
For such a world of thought could furnish scope ? Each fading calyx a'"memento mori," — .
Yet fount of hope.
Posthumous glories, angel-like collection,
Upraised from seed or bulb interred in earth, Ye are to me a type of resurrection
And second birth.
Were I, O God, in churchless lands remaining,
Far from all teachers and from all divines, My soul would find in flowers of thy ordaining,
Priests, sermons, shrines.
A Song for St. Cecilia's Day.
From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began.
Of jarring atoms lay,