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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By Ramsay Morris (b. 1858)

[Born in New York, N. Y., 1858.]

[In the Metropolitan Museum of Art.]

TO-DAY you see me here in stone—

A pulseless queen,

A sculptor’s vain imagining

Of what I’ve been.

He gave to me a form of grace,

A regal air:

He fashioned me with artist’s skill

Beyond compare,

Yet hath he missed me for all that—

His art is cold;

His chiselled likeness halts at life,

Does not unfold.

I dream in this one attitude

Through all my days,

While countless eyes pause, where I rest,

With lingering gaze.

Could they but see me as I was

In Egypt’s land—

My queenly state, my ebon guards,

My armies grand,

The robes which draped my perfect form

With matchless grace,

The gems which flashed on all my limbs—

And, ah, my face!—

That face which conquered Anthony

With potent wile,

Which made me famed from end to end

The golden Nile,—

The eyes which poets sung were stars

Of glorious light,

Which wielded power greater far

Than warriors’ might!

Oh, sculptor, give me back my life,

To reign once more,

To lead my retinue along

Nile’s tawny shore.

To find again my Anthony,

To feel his arms,

To rest secure within their fold

From earth’s alarms.

Oh, change me from this icy thing

To living queen!

I long to show to all the world

What I have been.

Breathe soul into this shapely form,

Return my voice:

The multitude will praise your skill,

And loud rejoice.

Is it not sad that I, who ruled

By beauty’s right,

Should vanquished be by death, and roam

Through Stygian night?

I wander, desolate and lone,

Through midnight lands—

Oh, give me life, and Anthony,

And Egypt’s sands.