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Speak!—for thou long enough hast acted dummy,
Tell us for doubtless thou canst recollect
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame ?Was Cheops, or Cephrenes architect
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-for priestcraft never owns its juggles!
Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,
Hath hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glassOr dropped a halfpenny in Homer's hat
Or doffed thine own, to let Queen Dido pass-
I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Thou couldst develop, if that withered tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
Still silent!—Incommunicative elf!
Art sworn to secrecy? Then keep thy vows! But, prithee, tell us something of thyselfReveal 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 nationsAnd 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,
If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
A heart hath throbbed beneath that leathern breast,
Statue of flesh!-Immortal of the dead!
Why should this worthless tegument endure,
If its undying guest be lost for ever?
In living virtue--that when both must sever,
PARADISE AND THE PERI.
(From "LALLA ROOKн.")
NE morn a Peri at the gate
Of Life within, like music flowing,
Through the half-open portal glowing,
"How happy," exclaimed this child of air,
Mid flowers that never shall fade or fall;
Though mine are the gardens of earth and sea, And the stars themselves have flowers for me, One blossom of Heaven outblooms them all!
Though sunny the Lake of cool Cashmere, With its plane-tree isle reflected clear,
And sweetly the founts of that Valley fall; Though bright are the waters of Sing-su-hay, And the golden floods that thitherward stray, Yet-oh! 'tis only the Blest can say
How the waters of Heaven outshine them all!
Go, wing thy flight from star to star, From world to luminous world, as far
As the universe spreads its flaming wall; Take all the pleasures of all the spheres, And multiply each through endless years,
One minute of Heaven is worth them all!"
The glorious Angel, who was keeping
From Eden's fountain, when it lies
Nymph of a fair but erring line!" Gently he said-" One hope is thine. 'Tis written in the Book of Fate,
The Peri yet may be forgiven
Go, seek it, and redeem thy sin—
Rapidly as comets run
And, lighted earthward by a glance That just then broke from morning's eyes, Hung hov'ring o'er our world's expanse.
But whither shall the Spirit go
But gifts like these are not for the sky.
And the Drops of Life-oh! what would they be
While thus she mused, her pinions fann'd