Tennyson’s Suppressed Poems


A Fragment

Alfred Tennyson

WHERE is the Giant of the Sun, which stood
In the midnoon the glory of old Rhodes,
A perfect Idol, with profulgent brows
Far sheening down the purple seas to those
Who sailed from Mizraim underneath the star
Named of the Dragon—and between whose limbs
Of brassy vastness broad-blown Argosies
Drave into haven? Yet endure unscathed
Of changeful cycles the great Pyramids
Broad-based amid the fleeting sands, and sloped
Into the slumberous summer noon; but where,
Mysterious Egypt, are thine obelisks
Graven with gorgeous emblems undiscerned?
Thy placid Sphinxes brooding o’er the Nile?
Thy shadowy Idols in the solitudes,
Awful Memnonian countenances calm
Looking athwart the burning flats, far off
Seen by the high-necked camel on the verge
Journeying southward? Where are thy monuments
Piled by the strong and sunborn Anakim
Over their crowned brethren ΟΝ and ΟΡΗ?
Thy Memnon, when his peaceful lips are kissed
With earliest rays, that from his mother’s eyes
Flow over the Arabian bay, no more
Breathes low into the charmed ears of morn
Clear melody flattering the crisped Nile
By columned Thebes. Old Memphis hath gone down:
The Pharaohs are no more: somewhere in death
They sleep with staring eyes and gilded lips,
Wrapped round with spiced cerements in old grots
Rock-hewn and sealed for ever.

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