Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 3. TWIN STATUES OF AMENOPHIS III AT THEBES, by EDWARD CARPENTER



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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 3. TWIN STATUES OF AMENOPHIS III AT THEBES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thousands of years
Last Line: "and placed them here—to last as long as heaven."
Subject(s): Statues; Thebes, Greece; Tourists; Travel; Journeys; Trips


THOUSANDS of years—
As now with the light of evening on their heads and featureless faces,
their bases wrapt in gloom—
All the hours before dawn or after sunset, in the clear circling of the
moon and stars, or through the long cloudless day, braving the terrific heat,
While the caravans of camels go by below, and the peasant ploughs with his
ancient plough, or reaps his clover and lupins—century after century;
And the flood-waters of the Nile wash up and recede again, and the sun
darkens in the occasional sandstorm o rarer shower of rain—
Thousands of years:

Like great rocks, human, colossal, part of the Earth itself,
Cosmic, wondrous, far-back allegories of the human soul,
They sit looking out over the world while the generations pass.

And the travelers come and gaze—and go away again, wondering what they
meant who made such things;
The philosophers of Greece come, and Alexander comes, and the Roman
Emperors come; and the Christian fathers and monks (fit successors of the
Egyptian), and the Mahomedan conquerors, and Napoleon, and the scientific men,
come—and go away again;
And the wandering Arabs come and light their campfires—and go away
again; and the Cook's tourist comes and goes away again;
And the river changes its course, and the mountains crumble in the heat of
the sun, and the sandhills shift, and villages are built and are buried;
But of him who placed the figures there these words do survive:—
"I, Amenhotep, have made the name of the king immortal, and no one has ever
done as I have in my works;
I made these two statues of the king—wondrous huge and high, forty
cubits, dwarfing the Temple front—
In the great sandstone mountains I made them, one on each side, east and
west;
And I caused eight ships to be built, whereon they were floated up the
river;
And placed them here—to last as long as heaven."





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