Struck with palsy, sere and old,
Waiting at the gates of gold,
Said he, with his dying breath:
“Life is done, but what is death?"
Then, in answer to the King,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray-
“Even this shall pass away.”

Theodore Tilton (1835-1907)


SOLE Lord of Lords and very King of Kings,
He sits within the desert, carved in stone;
Inscrutable, colossal, and alone,
And ancienter than memory of things.
Graved on his front the sacred beetle clings;
Disdain sits on his lips; and in a frown
Scorn lives upon his forehead for a crown.
The affrighted ostrich dare not dust her wings
Anear this Presence. The long caravan's
Dazed camels pause, and mute the Bedouins stare.
This symbol of past power more than man's
Presages doom. Kings look-and Kings despair:
Their scepters tremble in their jeweled hands
And dark thrones totter in the baleful air!

Lloyd Mifflin (1846–



HER eyes have seen the monoliths of kings
Upcast like foam of the effacing tide;
She hath beheld the desert stars deride
The monuments of power's imaginings:
About their base the wind Assyrian flings
The dust that throned the satrap in his pride;
Cambyses and the Memphian pomps abide

As in the flame the moth's presumptuous wings.
There gleams no glory that her hand shall spare,
Nor any sun whose rays shall cross her night,
Whose realm enfolds man's empire and its end.
No armor of renown her sword shall dare,
No council of the gods withstand her might-
Stricken at last Time's lonely Titans bend.


Sargon is dust, Semiramis a clod.
In crypts profaned the moon at midnight peers;
The owl upon the Sphinx hoots in her ears,
And scant and sere the desert grasses nod
Where once the armies of Assyria trod,
With younger sunlight splendid on the spears;
The lichens cling the closer with the years,
And seal the eyelids of the weary god.
Where high the tombs of royal Egypt heave,
The vulture shadows with arrested wings
The indecipherable boasts of kings,
Till Arab children hear their mother's cry
And leave in mockery their toy—they leave
The skull of Pharaoh staring at the sky.


Their mouths have drunken the eternal wine-
The draught that Baal in oblivion sips.
Unseen about their courts the adder slips,
Unheard the sucklings of the leopard whine;
The toad has found a resting-place divine,
And bloats in stupor between Ammon's lips.
O Carthage and the unreturning ships,
The fallen pinnacle, the shifting Sign!
Lo! when I hear from voiceless court and fane
Time's adoration of eternity,-
The cry of kingdoms past and gods undone,
I stand as one whose feet at noontide gain
A lonely shore; who feels his soul set free,
And hears the blind sea chanting to the sun.

George Sterling (1869


The Magic Mirror makes not nór unmakes, Charms none to sleep nor any from sleep wakes; It only giveth back the thing it takes.

It is the heart's own cheer that makes it glad,
And one's own bitterness will drive him mad;
It needeth not that other help be had.

The Mirror maketh none to rise or fall;
To him that hath not doth no portion call;
To him that hath is freely given all.

They see themselves who look in Fortune's face;
Unto the sad is sadness Heaven's grace,
And to the souls that love is love's embrace.

Henry Mills Alden (1836–


I WALKED beside the evening sea,
And dreamed a dream that could not be;
The waves that plunged along the shore
Said only—“Dreamer, dream no more!”

But still the legions charged the beach;
Loud rang their battle-cry, like speech;
But changed was the imperial strain:
It murmured—“Dreamer, dream again!”

I homeward turned from out the gloom,-
That sound I heard not in my room;
But suddenly a sound, that stirred
Within my very breast, I heard.

It was my heart, that like a sea
Within my breast beat ceaselessly:
But like the waves along the shore,
It said—“Dream on!” and “Dream no more!”

George William Curtis (1824-1892) THE KING OF DREAMS

SOME must delve when the dawn is nigh;

Some must toil when the noonday beams;
But when night comes, and the soft winds sigh,

Every man is a King of Dreams!

One must plod while another must ply

At plow or loom till the sunset streams,
But when night comes, and the moon rides high,

Every man is a King of Dreams!

One is slave to a master's cry,

Another serf to a despot seems,
But when night comes, and the discords die,

Every man is a King of Dreams!

This you may sell and that may buy,

And this you may barter for gold that gleams,
But there's one domain that is fixed for aye,-
Every man is a King of Dreams!

Clinton Scollard (1860–

MASQUERADE We dance with proud and smiling lips, With frank, appealing eyes, with shy hands clinging. We sing, and few will question if there slips A sob into our singing.

Each has a certain step to learn;
Our prisoned feet move staidly in set places,
And to and fro we pass, since life is stern,
Patiently with masked faces.

Olive Custance (18


The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the

plainsAre not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?

Is not the Vision he? though He be not that which He

seems? Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in


Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb, Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him?

Dark is the world to thee: thyself art the reason why;
For is He not all but thou, that hast power to feel “I am I”?

Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom, Making Him broken gleams, and a stifled splendor and


Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can

meetCloser is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

God is law, say the wise; O Soul, and let us rejoice,
For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice.

Law is God, say some: no God at all, says the fool;
For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool;

And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot

see; But if we could see and hear, this Vision-were it not He?

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)


I SHALL not say, our life is all in vain,
For peace may cheer the desolated hearth;
But well I know that, on this weary earth,
Round each joy-island is a sea of pain-

And the days go by.

We watch our hopes, far flickering in the night,
Once radiant torches, lighted in our youth,
To guide, through years, to some broad morn of truth;
But these go out and leave us with no light-

And the days go by.

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