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

Introductory to Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia

The Pyramids

By Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)

(From The Burden of Egypt)

AFTER the fantasies of many a night,

After the deep desires of many a day,

Rejoicing as an ancient Eremite

Upon the desert’s edge at last I lay:

Before me rose, in wonderful array,

Those works where man has rivalled Nature most,

Those Pyramids, that fear no more decay

Than waves inflict upon the rockiest coast,

Or winds on mountain-steeps, and like endurance boast.

Fragments the deluge of old Time has left

Behind it in its subsidence,—long walls

Of cities of their very names bereft,—

Lone columns, remnants of majestic halls,—

Rich-traceried chambers, where the night-dew falls,—

All have I seen with feelings due, I trow,

Yet not with such as these memorials

Of the great unremembered, that can show

The mass and shape they wore four thousand years ago.