Prince Amadis: 251ÔÇô260


But the sounds and the scents floated into his being,
Not by hearing or smell, but a new kind of seeing,
Which brought all unbodied delights within reach,
And gave color and form to the beauty of each.


'Twas the same wondrous eyesight which o'er the earth cast,
Saw clear through the gauze of the Present the Past,
And the Future, which under old centuries lay,
Like a grave pre-existence, work up into day.


The cosmical meanings, the calmness and strife,
The intermutations of earth's ancient life,
He read off from her strata, strange ciphers and dread,
And great thoughts sang out loud in his soul as he read.


He sings funeral hymns over buried creations,
Or inaugurates epochs with grandest orations,
While the rocks at his bidding re-plant, re-adorn
Earth's secular landscapes e'er Adam was born.


The deltas all told him what history was theirs
White shells and black soil in alternate thin layers;
The dunes let him feel their slow pulses, dumb things
That can walk without feet and can fly without wings.


In truth it was strange and suggestive to see
The patience of earth's monotony,
How grand in its slowness the march of a law
That must work without tool and complete without flaw.


How slowly the desert stalked into the land,
And had powdered old Egypt with handfuls of sand,
And how calm and contented the pyramids were
To be buried so slowly by hair-breadths a year.


He saw how old history patiently waited
Her time under green mounds still unexcavated;
In unthought-of places he watched mortals treading
The graves of old grandeurs, unknowing, unheeding.


In Edom and Tadmor he staid to imbibe
The spirit of ruins, but found that the tribe
Of the great human race left a taint where it travelled,
Making earth's peaceful spells all bewildered and ravelled.
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