Mother And Sphinx

A poem by Eugene Field

(EGYPTIAN FOLK-SONG)

Grim is the face that looks into the night
Over the stretch of sands;
A sullen rock in a sea of white--
A ghostly shadow in ghostly light,
Peering and moaning it stands.
"Oh, is it the king that rides this way--
Oh, is it the king that rides so free?
I have looked for the king this many a day,
But the years that mock me will not say
Why tarrieth he!"

'T is not your king that shall ride to-night,
But a child that is fast asleep;
And the horse he shall ride is the Dream-horse white--
Aha, he shall speed through the ghostly light
Where the ghostly shadows creep!
"My eyes are dull and my face is sere,
Yet unto the word he gave I cling,
For he was a Pharaoh that set me here--
And, lo! I have waited this many a year
For him--my king!"

Oh, past thy face my darling shall ride
Swift as the burning winds that bear
The sand clouds over the desert wide--
Swift to the verdure and palms beside
The wells off there!
"And is it the mighty king I shall see
Come riding into the night?
Oh, is it the king come back to me--
Proudly and fiercely rideth he,
With centuries dight!"

I know no king but my dark-eyed dear
That shall ride the Dream-Horse white;
But see! he wakes at my bosom here,
While the Dream-Horse frettingly lingers near
To speed with my babe to-night!
And out of the desert darkness peers
A ghostly, ghastly, shadowy thing
Like a spirit come out of the mouldering years,
And ever that waiting spectre hears
The coming king!

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