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THE LION'S SKELETON, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: How long, o lion, hast thou fleshless lain?
Last Line: Have sifted out the substance of thy feet.
Subject(s): Animals; Decay; Lions; Skeletons; Rot; Decadence

How long, O lion, hast thou fleshless lain?
What rapt thy fierce and thirsty eyes away?
First came the vulture; worms, heat, wind, and rain
Ensued, and ardors of the tropic day.
I know not -- if they spared it thee -- how long
The canker sate within thy monstrous mane,
Till it fell piecemeal, and bestrewed the plain;
Or, shredded by the storming sands, was flung
Again to earth; but now thine ample front,
Whereon the great frowns gathered, is laid bare;
The thunders of thy throat, which erst were wont
To scare the desert, are no longer there;
Thy claws remain, but worms, wind, rain, and heat
Have sifted out the substance of thy feet.

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