Verse > Rupert Brooke > Collected Poems > I. 1905–1908 > 9. On the Death of Smet-Smet, the Hippopotamus-Goddess
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Rupert Brooke (1887–1915).  Collected Poems. 1916.
  
I. 1905–1908
9. On the Death of Smet-Smet, the Hippopotamus-Goddess
  
SONG OF A TRIBE OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS

(The Priests within the Temple)


SHE was wrinkled and huge and hideous? She was our Mother.
She was lustful and lewd?—but a God; we had none other.
In the day She was hidden and dumb, but at nightfall moaned in the shade;
We shuddered and gave Her Her will in the darkness; we were afraid.
  
(The People without)


She sent us pain,
        5
  And we bowed before Her;
She smiled again
  And bade us adore Her.
She solaced our woe
  And soothed our sighing;       10
And what shall we do
  Now God is dying?
  
(The Priests within)


She was hungry and ate our children;—how should we stay Her?
She took our young men and our maidens;—ours to obey Her.
We were loathèd and mocked and reviled of all nations; that was our pride.       15
She fed us, protected us, loved us, and killed us; now She has died.
  
(The People without)


She was so strong;
  But death is stronger.
She ruled us long;
  But Time is longer.       20
She solaced our woe
  And soothed our sighing;
And what shall we do
  Now God is dying?

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