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

Introductory to Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia

The Sons of Cush

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

(From The Spirit of Discovery, Book II)

STILL fearful of the flood,

They on the marble range and cloudy heights

Of that vast mountain barrier,—which uprises

High o’er the Red Sea coast, and stretches on

With the sea-line of Afric’s southern bounds

To Sofala,—delved in the granite mass

Their dark abode, spreading from rock to rock

Their subterranean cities, whilst they heard,

Secure, the rains of vexed Orion rush.

Emboldened they descend, and now their fanes

On Egypt’s champaign darken, whilst the noise

Of caravans is heard, and pyramids

In the pale distance gleam. Imperial Thebes

Starts, like a giant, from the dust; as when

Some dread enchanter waves his wand, and towers

And palaces far in the sandy wilds

Spring up: and still, her sphinxes, huge and high,

Her marble wrecks colossal, seem to speak

The work of some great arm invisible,

Surpassing human strength; while toiling Time,

That sways his desolating scythe so vast,

And weary Havoc murmuring at his side,

Smite them in vain.