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First Line: Of all the gods I understand thee least
Last Line: The final beauty death has wrought on mine.
Subject(s): Abu Simbel, Egypt; Mythology - Egyptian; Rameses Ii, King Of Egypt; Temples; Mosques

OF all the gods I understand thee least,
Thou god whose altar is the heart of me;
Therefore I leave the Others to the priest
While I myself do reverence to thee.
Avails my worship aught? The incense mounts
In silent exhalation like a prayer
Made visible -- what sense of thine accounts
Acceptable its fragrance? Thou art -- where?
I call unto the Others, and they hear;
But thou -- I cannot tell. Thou art too near.

* * * * *

THE Sun I know: the lotus-bud of dawn
Through countless vigils have I seen unfold,
Veil after veil of green and rose withdrawn
Yielding at last the blinding heart of gold
To me expectant. I have known the Sun,
His kindness and his wrath, as I have known
The counsellor who sits at my right hand,
Yet thou to me art still the Hidden One.
The cold mysterious Moon, pacing alone
His jewelled house -- the restless golden sand
Forever changing, like another sea --
The fruitful River in its majesty,
Mother alike and father of our land --
These I can see, these I can understand.
What veil impenetrable shelters Thee?

* * * * *

THE Judges of the darkness and the dead,
Unhuman arbiters of heaven and hell,
Creatures whose face is not the face of man,
Creatures whose power of life and death began
With life and death, and shall with them be sped --
Unseen, I know them; yea, I know them well.
I call them each by name . . . but thou Unknown,
What name have I to call thee save mine own?

* * * * *

MINE own -- and yet I know thou art not I.
Here in this temple have I honoured thee
Where by the River, carven giant-high,
My fourfold image, eloquently dumb,
Sits dominating centuries to come.
I say it is thine Image -- do I lie?

* * * * *

ACROSS my proudest moments I have heard
Thy terrible hushed laughter; stranger still --
Sometimes amid the battle, as I fought
With a god's fury, plain as spoken word
Thy patient weary sigh revealed to me
My rage as futile as the prize I sought.
And often when my courage has been chill
With inward questioning, my languor caught
Fire of a sudden from thy smile unseen.
Again, when some flushed vision swift and keen
Struck music from my fancy, as the sun
From Memnon, came thy calm, unuttered scorn --
"So many lessons -- dullard, still untaught?"

* * * * *

THOU art a god, and I am but a king.
The people hail me god, and oft a glow
Responsive thrills me, till thy thought I know --
"Thou simple fool, thou perishable thing,
"'Tis I they worship -- thou art but the shrine."
Nay, I am more -- else could I know thee there?
I know that in some sort I am divine.
Yea, this I know -- and yet I know not how --
When the last mystery to me is bare,
The underworld shall show me on thy brow
The final beauty Death has wrought on mine.

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