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

Introductory to Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia


By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

(From The Pyramids of Egypt)

’T IS darkness all, with hateful silence joined—

Here drowsy bats enjoy a dull repose,

And marble coffins, vacant of their bones,

Show where the royal dead in ruin lay!

By every pyramid a temple rose

Where oft, in concert, those of ancient time

Sung to their goddess Isis hymns of praise;

But these are fallen!—their columns too superb

Are levelled with the dust, nor these alone—

Where is thy vocal statue, Memnon, now,

That once, responsive to the morning beams,

Harmoniously to Father Phœbus sung?

Where is thy image that in past time stood

High on the summit of yon pyramid?—

Still may you see its polished pedestal;

Where art thou, ancient Thebes?—all buried low,

All vanished! crumbled into mother dust,

And nothing of antiquity remains

But these huge pyramids and yonder hills.