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By Veldt and Kopje   By: (1855-1943)

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By Veldt and Kopje By William Charles Scully Published by T. Fisher Unwin, London. This edition dated 1907.

By Veldt and Kopje, by William Charles Scully.



To Lieutenant General SIR WILLIAM FRANCIS BUTLER This Book is Inscribed

(Ecclesiastes, VII. 5)




Sphinx among continents, the Nations strive To guess my ancient riddle; Greece essayed She drooped to death; upon me Rome set gyve She sank in her own bonds. The Persian laid His life down 'mid my deserts. For a day I smiled on each, then tore them for my play.


The ghosts of buried cities scale the air When Day wakes my mirage. The lion keeps My iron hills. The bones of men lie bare Where my thirst sickle its rich harvest reaps. Time, like a little child, amid my sands Builds and unbuilds with feeble, listless hands.


The gods who dwell 'mid equatorial snows Bade Nilus cleave the waste, and I awoke. A giant, robed in mystery, I arose; The young world listened, breathless, when I spoke. My Sphinx Time's sister is; her brood lies hid Where dream the dead 'neath rock and pyramid.


Sidon sent forth her sons, her sons sent Tyre; The Desert's daughters bore a mighty race. The God whose brazen hands sloped to the fire Reared o'er me the red terror of his face. Rome, vengeful, trod me to the dust, and strowed With salt the site where once my powers abode.


The godlike Alexander wav'd his sword; Beneath its spell rose palace, mart and school, No gold so precious as my lightest word; My logos still the Faith of Man doth rule. Greek, Roman and Barbarian, East and West, Drank lore like milk from my most bounteous breast.


Time haled the great Globe from my aching back And hung it 'mid the stars. Content I rest, The ocean's murmured music at my feet, The foldless flocks of cloudland round my crest. Pan walks with Faunus through my dreaming woods, And Dryads pace my leafy solitudes.


A diadem of changeless snow lies light Upon my regal head; my locks I shake, And, straightway, living waters take their flight. The iron bonds of Ancient Drought to break. A virgin, new unveiled, I stand alone; Aeons will pass, but none unclasp my zone.


Hand seeking hand, a peerless sisterhood, We watched for dawn through dark of murd'rous years Our sky pure fringes mired with human blood, Our rain sweet wavelets salt with human tears. Our tideless glasses gleam resplendently High o'er the rockings of the restless sea.


Through jungles spawned from fever drunken sod Where, sleeplessly, the foul man hunters hide. The bitter lees from God's dread wine press trod By desperate feet, drain down my tepid tide. Leviathan there wallows in his wrath; There range the hordes of mighty Behemoth.


The spoils the sky had of the world wide main I bear, new gathered from ten thousand rills To where the thund'rous gates my steps enchain, Clogged with the wastage of a million hills. Thence, breaking forth in triumph, full and free, I render back my booty to the sea.


I housed the brood of Carthage; they the earth Deep rifled for its treasure. On me fell The hand of Doom. No rumour speaks my birth, No legend shrines my death. My citadel Glares at the cold fane of my obscene god, O'er which the feet of ancient ruin trod... Continue reading book >>

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