To The Sphinx

By John L. Stoddard

O sleepless Sphinx!
Thy sadly patient eyes,
Forever gazing o’er the shifting sands,
Have watched Earth’s countless dynasties arise,
Stalk forth like spectres waving gory hands,
Then fade away with scarce a lasting trace
To mark the secret of their dwelling place:
O sleepless Sphinx!

O changeless Sphinx!
The very dawn of Time
Beheld thee sculptured from the living rock!
Still wears thy face its primal look sublime,
Surviving all the hoary ages’ shock:
Still royal art thou in thy proud repose,
As when the sun on tuneful Memnon rose,
O changeless Sphinx!

O voiceless Sphinx!
Thy solemn lips are dumb;
Time’s awful secrets lie within thy breast;
Age follows age; revering pilgrims come
From every clime to urge the same request,-
That thou wilt speak! Poor creatures of a day,
In calm disdain thou seest them die away:
O voiceless Sphinx!

Majestic Sphinx!
Thou crouchest by a sea
Whose fawn-hued wavelets clasp thy buried feet:
Whose desert-surface, petrified like thee,
Gleams white with sails of many an Arab fleet:
Whose tawny billows, surging with the storm,
Break on thy flanks, and overleap thy form;
Majestic Sphinx!

Eternal Sphinx!
The Pyramids are thine;
Their giant summits guard thee night and day,
On thee they look when stars in splendor shine,
Or while around their crests the sunbeams play:
Thine own coevals, who with thee remain
Colossal Genii of the boundless plain!
Eternal Sphinx!

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