Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NIMROD: 6, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NIMROD: 6, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Three days, above the plain, the setting sun
Last Line: The solemn beauty of that elder speech.
Subject(s): Nimrod (bible)

Three days, above the plain, the setting sun
Moved over Babel; and its thousand courts,
Ruined beneath the sky, lay silently
Like pools of blood. Its devastated domes
Shone forth no more but blackened on the ground,
Rent into shapes gigantic. Its vast walls,
Spread fearfully, lay swart upon the sand,
Cleft in deep chasms, gorges of dark bronze,
Black, wind-swept cliff and brassy precipice.
Its towers had ceased like thunder. Its temples huge,
Convulsed in mammoth shapes, crouched on the plain
Like anguished gods -- doomed and forever dumb.
For, with its spirits gone, what tongue can tell
The speechless agony of aching bronze,
The groanings and convulsions of strong stone.
Bed rock was heaved from earth. From dungeons deep
Emerged pale waters that, in mighty halls,
Spread glassy lakes beneath the shattered domes.
It seemed eternal ruin. No voice broke
That death-like stillness and not any man
Looked forth to query where his home had been.
But the gaunt wolf skulked slant-eyed from the plain,
And when the sun was set the jackal whined
Down empty echoing corridors of stone.
Under the roofless pillars the night owl
Flew among ruined arches and the wind
Sighed through disconsolate forests of black bronze.
But when upon the third night the full moon
Shone on the plain, a dark and awful shape
Loomed forth upon the rock and spread abroad
Its shadow in the waste. For a long time
It crouched, squat in the sand, nor moved at all,
But its huge bulk was like a bowlder cast
In the eternal idiocy of stone.
At length that sombre entity did move,
And with colossal labor without sound
Heaved up its groaning ruins; and the moon
Revealed the shaken semblance of a man.
With vague spread feet, gnarled knees and shaggy sides,
With bulging eyes and large, astonished face,
With matted locks of horror-whitened hair,
Gigantic in the waste he towered alone,
That once in Babel was a mighty King.
He stared abroad, as if a diver, lost
Beneath deep waters, gazed on a sunken town.
Then with a vacuous eye he seemed to search
As for a thing forgotten -- that being found
He would remember it. And he moved on,
Desolate in the silence -- and he saw
Unearthly crawling monsters of slow stone,
And buried in a sea of livid light
Black on the sand, unutterable shapes.
Through ruined vaults and roofless corridors
He moved with stealthy step. Sometimes he came
To empty chambers open to the sky
Whose lone inhabitant was the windy owl
Wheeling his ghostly shadow to and fro
With melancholy hooting. Much amazed
At these unearthly ruins he moved on,
Turning his steps along a corridor
That promised him the end he sought and seemed
As when along an insane countenance
A look of recognition strangely creeps.
But at the end it led him to a place
Made imbecile with ruin -- where not one thing
Preserved its ancient contour. Sometimes he beat
Against a barricade of rock or rushed
Like one gone frantic to some parapet
Or from a ruined casement stared far off
Upon a sea of moonlit waste. At last,
Not knowing where he went, he turned his steps
Among the ruins of that mighty hall
Where once great Babel held her festival,
And his bright warriors, shaggy as burning trees,
Blazed forth like conflagration. Nimrod strode
Under the sky and on that ruin gazed.
For lo -- those walls, graven with mighty shapes
Beautiful, old, occult, were spread abroad
In gorgeous devastation. And he gazed
On awful effigies of sculptured bronze.
Cast from their habitations they appeared
With frigid gestures to forbid or warn.
Carved out of purple marble, slit-eyed, straight -- lipped,
With gold set in their nostrils and their mouths,
With hands upon their knees, about to speak,
Yet dumb forever, stared swart images.
Hewn out of uncouth rock, old sacred beasts,
Elephants, lions, monsters terrible,
Dragons and birds that flew before the flood
With scaly wings of brass, grotesquely shaped,
Stared at him from those devastated walls,
Shaken with thunder each one from his niche
Of lawful meaning. As if the shining beasts
That rage with love and splendor about God's throne,
Beneath His hand unutterably good,
Being cast to earth returned to natural wrath
And whined or whinnied, bellowed, roared or screamed,
Each after his own kind, desiring flesh;
So these immortal symbols, fallen from grace,
Unspiritual, brutish, uttered death.
Monsters of twisted bronze, griffin or sphinx,
Strange mythologic beasts no eye had seen,
Beneath the moon, in effigies of hate,
That once in ordered harmony had choired
With golden mouths a psalmody of love,
Stared at him as he moved and with mad lips
Cried dissolute meanings that were not the truth.
Then his flesh cowered before old hieroglyphs
Of chronicles forgotten -- gods asleep --
That muttered forth sad dreams and vaguely spoke
Into his soul, dark, unimagined crime
And uncreated horror. Letters strange
Leered at him wildly and with insane eyes
Told tales abominable of an earth
They saw not well. But some were chastely made,
More lovely than the white and ancient moon;
But like the moon they ever turned away
An occult fire from the eyes of man.
Others of more intelligible shape
Seemed beautiful to him -- but oh, how dumb,
Like mouths of speechless angels -- lost syllables,
That had no meaning for him, yet did seem
To have that in them which should ease his grief
If his soul's eyes could read their outlawed script.
Adamic spellings, palely glimmering runes,
And broken shapes of ancient alphabets!
He seemed like one who argued with the speech
Of furious madmen -- for upon the night
They worked such images as with fearful shapes
Floated upon the air in horrors pale.
Insanities, that in the shadowy wind
Beat round his face like harpies and befouled
His spirit's sustenance! Contagious fear
Begot abomination where it was not,
And having sickened all things, on his soul
Cast off its trembling and diseased sweat.
Murder sat throned on emptiness, and hate
Was soured in the air's stomach till it spat
A living venom around Nimrod's feet.
Wrath shook his marrow. Floating idiocies,
Like watery jellies in voluptuous shapes,
Swam through his brain; and disembodied lust
Fearfully drifted towards his dreamy flesh.
Then panic seized him and on his body cast
Disintegration, till what time should do
By terror was accomplished. Palsy shook
The virtue from his bone. His flesh distilled
In unseen waters. He stretched forth withering arms.
With vacuous eyes, with horror-whitened hair,
He might have lived innumerable years.
Awful he stood, unutterably old.
But as he groped for some remembered sight,
His tranced eyes grew suddenly awake.
He came upon a crumbling arch, carved deep
With cunning skill and devious workmanship.
Beneath its shadowy arches, beating thick,
Bats throbbed athwart the darkness with shrill cries
Or in warm dusky garlands hung festooned.
Then gazing underneath that arch, he saw
A ruined marble stair, monstrous, snow white;
Upon the left, over the sunken steps,
A roaring torrent; shattered on the right
Huge fragments of a golden balustrade,
Wherefrom hung shining coils of mighty snakes;
And at the top a barred and brazen door.
Then Nimrod groaned. And plunging up besieged
With breast and hands that portal. It was carved
With haloes of bright angels and burnished red
With glowing ribs of deeply crudded wings.
And on the left a brazen cherub stood
With wings outspread. His pinions were blood red,
His breast of alabaster and his eyes
Of topaz, flaming fearfully. In his hand
He poised a jeweled spear before the Lord.
And on the right a brazen cherub stood
With wings outspread. His pinions were blood red,
His breast of alabaster and his eyes
Of topaz, flaming fearfully. In his hand
He poised a jeweled spear before the Lord.
Then Nimrod with huge clamor beat the door,
With shouts and speech of anguish; old great cries
He had not yet forgotten; Adamic prayers;
And prehistoric signals of the flesh
When it was pure in Eden; tribal calls
Of spirit unto spirit; ambrosial speech;
Curses that Cain once taught unto his sons
In his great city; Paradisal words
Ineffable to us, rich syllables
That fed the soul, calm as angelic milk,
With deep and immemorial tones of love.
And lo, beneath his violence that door
Groaned, yielded, gave, and fell, and its harsh sound
Echoed through the reverberating halls.
But Nimrod, gazing from a windy cliff,
Beheld the floating clouds and the dark sky.
Over a sunken ruin sailed the moon.
Cast far below he saw Bathsheba's towers
Flung forth in natural shapes, fantastic cliffs,
Caverns of bronze, or promontories steep;
And pale with ghostly splendor in their midst
The polished silence of a smoothed lake,
Until that night by no man ever seen,
Paved with such bitter whiteness of the moon
A brazen dragon well might dance thereon.
Then Nimrod turned. But now not with huge cries
He broke the stillness, but his glassy eyes
Rolled forth on nothingness. Round his large face
Floated vague locks of horror-whitened hair.
Down that great marble stair he swept as if
A temple fell and in the ruined hall,
Gorgeous in devastation, groped among
His monstrous images. Then suddenly,
Shaken with palsy, with a staring eye,
He pointed down among the shattered wings
Of crumbled brazen angels, and plucked forth
A slab of polished stone on which was writ
A name of might. This, seizing in both hands,
He raised high in the air, and on it shone
In letters bright, a disobedient word --
"Great Nimrod." Then he cast it in the dust
And raised to Heaven a primeval cry.
And at that cry dark shadows dimly stirred
From obscure places, and as snuffing hounds
Seek to the prey, vague human beings moved
Among the shaken ruins and appeared
From secret haunts where they in anguish hid.
Slowly from vaults and echoing corridors
They dolorously crept and were aghast
Seeing him white with age; and still they came
And huddled round him. But speechless through the night
Loomed the great King. Repulsed upon his lips
His words did sit like dark-browed effigies
In sculptured silence and he did not speak.
About their sombre chief they studded the dark
As when God's whisper spake into the sky
A thousand planets. So there appeared in sight,
In fearful resurrection, hosts of men.
And Nimrod lifted up his voice and spoke.
And from his lips his mighty arguments
Did lock their shoulders like great struggling gods
In the clear fierce arena of mid air.
For he alone of all that lived in Babel
Remembered the old God-like words nor yet
Had lost from off his tongue that ancient speech.
"Oh! Oh! Ye men of Babel! Wherefore then
Do ye stare round about with dog-like eyes
That beg the sop of charity from me?
There was a man that once on Shinar's plain
Built such a lordly city as not yet
Had Heaven looked upon;. I am not He;.
Oh! Oh! Ye men of Babel! Get ye hence,
Out of this ruined city to a strange land,
And build new towns upon a distant plain.
They said that Nimrod was a mighty man.
His garments were like thunder. His head shone
With fleeces of the sun, and his bright lips
Flashed javelins of persuasion; Where is He?;
Oh! Oh! Ye men of Babel! I say that God
Is terrible on earth, and if our speech
Shall make a stench in Heaven, we are cut off.
Obey the Lord; I would ye had a king!;
But if ye love me, if ye have no fear
Of mine affliction, lest I bring a curse
Upon your tents and lest your women's milk
Be dried from out their breasts because of me,
Then place chains on my wrists; and on my brow
Write 'slave,' and drive me with an iron scourge,
Bearing your burdens like the patient beast,
While ye shall wax like cedars in green plains.
If ye would have me with you, cry to me!
But if ye fear me, silently depart."
But they, with looks askance, heard Nimrod's speech,
Not understanding his great ancient words.
And, being full of wrath, thinking he said
Unnatural, grievous things -- with angry eyes
And sullen aspect they silently moved away.
That night they traveled forth upon the plain,
Nor unto Nimrod did his sons return.
But venerable Assher stayed with him,
The ancient, the white-haired, and his true friend,
That once had loved him for his bounteous youth.
And when he saw how health had left the King
And he had grown unutterably old,
The tears fell from his eyes; and Nimrod said,
Lo now, thou art my only and true friend."
But when he heard that speech, old Assher thought
The King was mad and answered unto him,
"How can I serve thee?" Then was Nimrod's mind
Bewildered utterly and he conceived
That Assher hated him and with a cry
Of wrath and anguish, lifted up his sword
And smote him in the breast. And Assher fell,
And the blood flowed. And Nimrod stared at him,
Fearing lest curses crouched in hostile eyes
Spring from their lair and slay him who had slain.
But Assher, raising vaguely on his arm
And breathing heavily, gazed up once more
In Nimrod's angry eyes, and ere he died
With a loud voice he cried an unknown word.
Then was great Nimrod shaken grievously.
And from the shadows moved a dreary shape
And settled mournfully at Nimrod's feet,
Unnoticed. For from Nimrod's anguished lips
Swept words like planets. Golden and full orbed
They rode the silence as the throbbing stars
Rehearse the centuries or foretell new days
Or move through Heaven prophesying woe.
"Spirit of truth! Oh, how shall I make peace
With thy enraged great nature? I am one
Who having bid his tribe unto the feast
Pollutes the bread. Have mercy upon me.
For lamentation seizes on my flesh
And in my soul there is a deep disease.
Ye purities that in the wind and rain
Shall dredge the air of foulness -- find out a way
To cleanse me! Never! Never shall I be clean.
Then cast me in the purging fires of Hell
And in eternal flames let me be burned.
Let me be damned. But oh, from out my soul
Let this ripe sickness somehow be consumed.
For if it were a horror of the flesh
That had unseasoned me -- how quickly then
Might Nature work in me her ancient cure.
Then she might rend my body off from me
And cast its fevers in the air, and turn
Its leprosies into the earth, and fling
My spirit forth, a creature clean and bold.
But this strikes deeper. When I die, my soul
Shall howl outside the citadel of God,
And with rent garments cry 'Unclean! Unclean!'
Thou happy flesh, that when distressed too far
Melts off in vaporish airs and is no more!
Oh, for some power that swiftly should unlock
The atoms of my spirit, that they might fly
Asunder once for all, and all my thoughts
Be cast abroad under the windy stars,
Blown off in gulfs of nothingness. Then no more,
Fixed in immortal entity of woe,
Should I ejaculate to mine own grief
That syllable of god-like torture -- 'I.'
What doom has come on me that I must go
Seeking mine own soul's death, yet find it not?
But still my spirit, breathed of God, must bear
Its ancient and intolerable shape.
Thou gaze of Truth, that, sphering forth my soul,
Still keeps me focusedfor one moment lift
That splendor from me! Then I'll plunge out in dark
And be no more a self; Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Who am I? What?; Once did I have a name? --
Ye blocks of nothingness that, hewn by me,
Built up in dungeons dreadful and unseen,
Immure my soul in darkness! I, no more,
Shall feel upon my spirit that sweet breath
Of ancient freedom. I, no more, shall plunge
Like droves of horses up my thoughts' steep plains
Nor in deep coverts hunt out mighty prey
Of fearful knowledge -- Huntsman before the Lord.
Nor perched upon some mighty spiritual cliff
Shall I snatch down the lightning out of Heaven
To be unto my sons a flaming sword.
When I was young and in my spirit's health,
I dreamed such deeds as great archangels dream,
Such that astonished cherubs plumed in flame
Bent down to listen to my murmuring sleep.
I plotted triumphs beautiful and great,
With battle calls and singing clamor sweet!
Then, like mellifluous pipes with silver sound,
By mine own soul my flesh was blown upon!
Where is my clarion? On what inner hills
Blows my shrill trumpet? When shall my host return?
And oh, ye sweet and many-voiced pipes,
To what harsh discord has your music gone!
I have so frightened nature that her milk
Has lost its sustenance, and when I turn
To her rich bosom she yields unto my soul
A food that palsies and a drink that kills.
Where shall I go? What shall I do? What hearth
Shall warm me now with flames? Is there a roof
To shield me from the tempest? No! No -- I say!
For I am not as one that being thrust
Out of an alien door goes forth alone
Cursing his hostile tribe, but in the plains
Habits in some dark cave with lynx or owl,
Befriended by nutritious earth! I am
A wandering vacuum by space cast out,
Abhorred by nature and by God accursed.
Oh thou appalling universe! Thou hast
No darkened cranny wherein I can hide
From mine affliction. What will ye do to me?
Ye crouching, hostile, savage entities
Of earth, air, water, wood, flesh, spirit, stone!
There's not one grain of sand upon the plain
But from its breast such furies are unleashed
As hound my spirit forth -- it knows not where.
Oh, while I live on earth, each thing that is
Shall scourge my soul with its identity,
Accusing, awful, unutterably real.
Ye fierce existing things, how shall I make
Peace with you ever! Brand upon my lips,
Thou Spirit of Truth, some burning word, so deep
Pain cannot shake it thence. Then I will go
Shouting it forth. But let my people turn
On me in wrath and scourge me for my speech!
Yes, stone me to the dust! Yes -- strip from me
My clamorous flesh and send mine outraged ghost
Breathing forth vengeance and a shout of truth!
So might ye be appeased, ye things that bear
A shape upon you and mine own soul might feel
A solace to its grief. It cannot be!
But when I die and leave this earth I'll go
An ancient wanderer through the universe,
Hounded by meteors, cast off by the stars,
Plunged into chaos. Oh ye musics huge
That deepen into splendors with rich suns
Or wane with dying moons -- never by you
Shall I be comforted but yet more damned
Because ye are so real. For I am one
With such deep contradiction in my soul
That when God to the void cried -- 'Let there be' --
I, unto groaning chaos, shouted, 'No.'
Ye giant harmonies that in deep space
Build up proud architectures -- not with you,
Shall I in sounding chambers of delight
Seek shelter from the intolerable waste.
Not in your shining palace may I dwell,
Who raised myself amid the howling waste
A small and evil tent of the unreal.
Ye powers that drive upon that failing roof
Your blazing weapons -- be merciless to me.
With your strong, glittering spears stab me clean through.
Let not my dangerous spirit rove at large.
Fix me forever on some shuddering orb,
Sad and for ages doomed. For if I go,
Sweeping through space my pale terrific ghost,
Against mine own deep will I shall afflict
The duteous orbits of the stars; shall drive
My hounds of fierce negation forth with howls,
Devouring living entities, until
The world shall reek with carcasses of thought.
Or I might snatch from Heaven its accuracies
That twist and wreathe and wonderfully bind
His seasons and His planets! Whirl them forth --
Shuddering, beautiful, voluminous, bright,
Then cast them hissing underneath my feet
With all their cunning gone! Then, then indeed,
God's whole creation fearfully shall rock!
Or if with spells of hate and mutterings deep
I snare his numbers forth from midmost air
So that his strong foundations crumble quite!
Think, think, ye angels! with what eyes of grief
Ye would survey your aching atmosphere,
If I should snatch their poles from the swift orbs
Or casting grief upon the air whirl forth
Great shrieking circles that my thought had flayed
Of their circumference -- or if my hand
Stripped time from off the stars -- then -- Send me peace!
Thou blasting light, shine not upon me so
That I should see the face of mine offense.
Thou burning Truth! How fearfully lit up
Is my own thought before me, as when dark crags
Jutting from off a mountain's thundering peak,
With blazing lightning sheeted in living flame,
Glow terribly apparent.
Oh, -- if from out my spirit there had sprung
Some great new virtue -- some unimagined good --
Such as the angels of the choiring spheres
Might gaze upon with love and breed it forth
For their delight -- like great melodious doves!
Then should this cruel splendor show me plain,
Set on time's promontory where men's eyes
Gazing upon me ever should behold
Eternal beauty on my breast. But now,
With haggard front and a bewildered eye,
With barren countenance and shaking bone,
They see me lifting in accursed hands
A fearful offering of archetypal woe,
Deep in my breast an everlasting shame,
And on my lips an immemorial lie.
Yet shine, shine on, thou awful Truth, and make
My deep affliction deeper. Let me know
Full well what I have done. Yes, let me sit
For centuries staring at this deed of mine,
So I may see on it thy fearful light
Nor wholly lose thee from mine eyes gone blind.
Increase my woe. Let me behold thee more.
Oh, not with slow recessional of light
Subdue my anguish in me. Ease me not
With lesser wisdom. But upon my soul
Beat down thy full and devastating light.
So I shall mourn for aeons, eternal, sad,
Original, disastrous, inventive, stretched
Upon the starry wheels of cosmic pain,
Tremendous and afflicted, huge, chastised,
Greatest among the anguished gods of wrong --
I will preserve my planetary throes --
Nor yield my nature unto smaller pains."
But lo, ere he was done, upon the peaks
Of his soul's mountains, thunder roared and shook
The hidden regions of his mind. The spears
Of multitudes of angels flashed and plunged
In his deep substance, as the fiery bolt
Buries itself in stone. Then from God's eyes
Swept forth a cloud of darkness, such as cast
His consciousness in foggy night. Bright thoughts,
Like stars in the deep heaven of his mind,
Tore their fixed bodies, screaming, from that sky,
And flashed away to emptiness. Oh, then
Was Nimrod seized with violent grief that shook
His giant limbs. He reared, he plunged, he bent.
He filled the air with such harsh cries as when
Wild horses deep in forest fires, raise
Upon the shuddering night, unearthly screams.
He swerved this way and that, and falling prone
Like a huge herd of cattle, beat the dust.
Then, raised aloft, he flung his groaning bulk
Into the air and dizzily swept through space
Circles of anguish as if a falling orb
Wheeled through the heavens on vast curves of pain.
Then, drawing back his thousand agonies,
His shakings, sweatings, terrors, dreads, despairs,
His furies, retributions, rages, griefs,
He bound them as the fearful hand of God
Locks fiery whirlwind into speechless stone.
Silent he spread, to helpless earth appalled,
And Babel's curse fell on great Nimrod's tongue.
Then, then, his spirit's golden bastions shook!
His starry dome of high philosophy
Flung down its meteors, and the columns huge
Of stately logic crumbled. In his soul
The shining architectures of sweet tone
Were spread in ruin. Down the corridors
Of his dark brain plunged wild and gusty shapes
Of syllables affrighted. Routed forth,
Flared great white faces of astonished words.
From chambers of music and deep vaults of sound
Where they had hidden, wild and lovely dreams,
Clothed in a virginal vesture of sweet song,
Went mad with discord. Then forgetfulness
Swept its slow fogs on mighty Nimrod's brain.
Awful aphasias, with their bleeding whips,
Scourged from its palace sweetly singing speech,
Beautiful symbols out of music made,
Syllables lovely, metaphors sweet shaped
That, floating brightly, danced before the Lord;
And from their altars many a priest-like word
They drove from ceremonials of high thought.
Then guiles and crafts, wreathing like thick black snakes,
Choked meaning like snared birds and creeping lies
Soft, thick and shining, monstrous and snow white,
Coiled palely round the struggling limbs of speech.
Then forth upon the air, not to return,
There leaped from Nimrod's lips terrific sounds
Driven by God's anger. Verbs like men at arms
Charged battling forth; and bold and blazing nouns
Like chariots, fury ridden; adjectives
That spread their fiery bellies in the sun
Till all their quivering wings as copper shone;
Ejaculations huge, deep tones of woe,
Thundering gutturals, hissing sibilants
Of fire-breathing serpents -- every sound
That once had ministered to dream or thought,
Plunged from his shouting lips and shook the air,
Blazed brightly on the shadowy gale and then
Swept up to Heaven. When Nimrod saw them go
He stood confounded, and upon him fell
Vacuity, that numbed with aching sleep
All he had ever known. Then did he seem
Like one whose will, in bitter conflict plunged,
Grapples with thought, but with a flaming shield
That Heavenly warrior to the Lord returns.
Then from those lips that once had moved the earth
And swayed God's ramparts with their prayers, there came
First accents of a speech before unheard;
Faint murmurings, and sighs and querulous breaths,
Mutterings, peevish whispers, babble wild,
Bewildered utterances and whimpering cries
Like those of bleeding curs. And fiercer notes
Of astonishment and wrath shook from his lips,
New fearful curses, shoutings of dismay,
Alarums, prophecies of dire events,
And wild deliriums of mongrel tones.
But when he strove to lift his voice to Heaven
And cast with splendor before the Golden Throne
His great and ancient prayers -- then his vague lips
Loose, stammering, uttered speech against his will,
Terrible laughter, crazy emptiness --
And a thick mumbling blurred great Nimrod's lips.
Then did he speak no more. But knowing now
What he had done before God's face, he stood
Refusing from his voice those lesser tones
That like the Titans had pursued the Gods
From his Olympian lips. Silent he grew,
Choosing instead to be forever dumb.
Thus Nimrod stood and the slow night wore on,
And her dark patience wasted into dawn.
But when that august silence on his lips,
Unbearable, unending, seemed to draw
Her soul up to him, as the old dead moon
Bids up the sombre tide, the huddled shape,
That had so long been crouched at Nimrod's feet,
Heaved heavily and underneath his eyes
Spoke syllables he did not understand.
But when upon his glassy eye there shone
The pale and awful beauty of her face,
Once more the tranced waters of his mind
Shone with the glimmering radiance of words,
Reflections of such thoughts as in the sky
Of his soul's Heaven hung like spiritual stars.
And a vast cry issued from Nimrod's lips,
A primal utterance and an ancient word.
Then did eternal silence seize his tongue
And there was heard no more upon the earth
The solemn beauty of that elder speech.

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