Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
839. The Royal Mummy to Bohemia
 
By Charles Warren Stoddard
 
 
WHEREFORE these revels that my dull eyes greet?
These dancers, dancing at my fleshless feet;
The harpers, harping vainly at my ears
Deaf to the world, lo, thrice a thousand years!
 
Time was when even I was blithe: I knew        5
The murmur of the flowing wave, where grew
The lean, lithe rushes; I have heard the moan
Of Nilus in prophetic undertone.
 
My sire was monarch of a mighty race:
Daughter of Pharaoh, I! before my face        10
Myriads of groveling creatures crawled, to thrust
Their fearful foreheads in the desert dust.
 
Above me gleamed and glowed my palace walls:
There bloomed my bowers; and there, my waterfalls
Lulled me in languors; slaves with feather flails        15
Fretted the tranquil air to gentle gales.
 
O, my proud palms! my royal palms that stood
In stately groups, a queenly sisterhood!
And O, my sphinxes, gazing eye in eye,
Down the dim vistas of eternity!        20
 
Where be ye now? And where am I at last?
With gay Bohemia is my portion cast:
Born of the oldest East, I seek my rest
In the fair city of the youngest West.
 
Farewell, O Egypt! Naught can thee avail:        25
What tarries now to tell thy sorry tale?
A sunken temple that the sands have hid
The tapering shadow of a pyramid!
 
And now, my children, harbor me not ill:
I was a princess, am a woman still.        30
Gibe me no gibes, but greet me at your best,
As I was wont to greet the stranger guest.
 
Feast well, drink well, make merry while ye may,
For e’en the best of you must pass my way.
The elder as the youngster, fair to see,        35
Must gird his marble loins and follow me.
  Bohemian Club, San Francisco.
 

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