Alaric Alexander Watts

(1797-1864 / England)

Egypt Unvisited. Suggested By Mr. Roberts' Egyptian Sketches - Poem by Alaric Alexander Watts

The poetry of earth is fading fast;
It hath no region it can call its own;
The dim, religious light of old that cast
Mysterious beauty on its haunts hath flown!
Science, with eye of microscopic power,
And disenchanting lamp, from land to land,
With railroad speed continues still to scour,
Till scarce a spot on earth remains unscanned.
Even the vast Pyramid hath now become
A thing whose secrets all are known too well;
The Harp of Memnon is for ever dumb;
And even the Sphinx hath nothing left to tell!
The Nile, so long a river of the heart,
Hath now no mystic problem to unveil;
And its drear desert, once a thing apart
From common roads, we soon may cross by rail!
No green oasis now enchants the eye,
With its tall palms and fountains bubbling o'er;
The desert ship we loved in days gone by,
Is but a camel now, “and nothing more!”
Then why through Egypt should I seek to roam,
Fancy to feed with scenes that will but mock it;
With graphic Roberts for my guide (at home),
And Murray's trusty “Hand-Book” in my pocket.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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