Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

Introductory to Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia


By Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836–1907)

FANTASTIC Sleep is busy with my eyes:

I seem in some waste solitude to stand

Once ruled of Cheops: upon either hand

A dark illimitable desert lies,

Sultry and still,—a realm of mysteries;

A wide-browed Sphinx, half buried in the sand,

With orbless sockets stares across the land,

The woefulest thing beneath these brooding skies,

Where all is woeful, weird-lit vacancy.

’T is neither midnight, twilight, nor moonrise.

Lo! while I gaze, beyond the vast sand-sea

The nebulous clouds are downward slowly drawn,

And one bleared star, faint-glimmering like a bee,

Is shut in the rosy outstretched hand of Dawn.