English poetry

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Mother and sphinx

(EGYPTIAN FOLK-SONG)

Grim is the face that looks into the night
Over the stretch of sands;
A sullen rock in a sea of white
A ghostly shadow in ghostly light,
Peering and moaning it stands.
“Oh, is it the king that rides this way
Oh, is it the king that rides so free?
I have looked for the king this many a day,
But the years that mock me will not say
Why tarrieth he!”

‘T is not your king that shall ride to-night,
But a child that is fast asleep;
And the horse he shall ride is the Dream-horse white
Aha, he shall speed through the ghostly light
Where the ghostly shadows creep!
“My eyes are dull and my face is sere,
Yet unto the word he gave I cling,
For he was a Pharaoh that set me here
And, lo! I have waited this many a year
For him my king!”

Oh, past thy face my darling shall ride
Swift as the burning winds that bear
The sand clouds over the desert wide
Swift to the verdure and palms beside
The wells off there!
“And is it the mighty king I shall see
Come riding into the night?
Oh, is it the king come back to me
Proudly and fiercely rideth he,
With centuries dight!”

I know no king but my dark-eyed dear
That shall ride the Dream-Horse white;
But see! he wakes at my bosom here,
While the Dream-Horse frettingly lingers near
To speed with my babe to-night!
And out of the desert darkness peers
A ghostly, ghastly, shadowy thing
Like a spirit come out of the mouldering years,
And ever that waiting spectre hears
The coming king!


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Poem Mother and sphinx - Eugene Field