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

Introductory to Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia

The Colossi

By Thomas Gold Appleton (1812–1884)

BENIGNANT, calm, majestically grave,

Earth’s childhood smiling in their lifted eyes,

While the hoar wisdom which the dead years gave

Upon each placid brow engraven lies—

Two on the plain and four beside the wave

Keep watch and ward above the centuries.

As is the sand which flies, our little lives

Glitter and whirl a moment and are gone;

A day it lives, then to Oblivion drives

The haughtiest empire and the loftiest throne:

Swiftly to all the appointed hour arrives,

Men, nations pass, but they remain alone,

Mute in the azure silence of these skies,

Immortal childhood looking from their eyes.