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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

The Sphinx of Ice

By Edgar Fawcett (1847–1904)

WITH dark, with frost, with silence for her shrine,

Girt by her ghastly realms of dearth, despair,

She reigns in solitude, contented there,

A goddess beautiful and saturnine.

Round her vast huddling bergs of frozen brine

Jut spectral from the bitter North’s gray air;

Above her, weird auroras leap and flare,

And like swords’ points the acute stars ever shine.

And venturous mariners, through weary years,

Push up their bold barks, eager to discern

Her great pale shape, her secret to entice,

Till wrecked, numb, doomed, with half insensate ears

They hear long terrible laughter pealing stern

In arctic mockery from the Sphinx of Ice!