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A point at first Left by one tide and cancelled by the next;
It peered above those waves ; a point so small Egypt's dread wonders, still defying Time,
I just perceived it, fixed where all was floating ; Where cities have been crumbled into sand,
And when a bubble crossed it, the blue film Scattered by winds beyond the Libyan desert,
Expanded like a sky above the speck ;

Or melted down into the mud of Vile,
That speck became a hand-breadth ; day and night And cast in tillage o'er the corn-sown fields,
It spread, accumulated, and erelong

Where Memphis flourished, and the Pharaohs Presented to my view a dazzling plain,

reigned ; White as the moon amid the sapphire sea ; Egypt's gray piles of hieroglyphic grandeur, Bare at low water, and as still as death, That have survived the language which they speak, But when the tide came gurgling o'er the surface Preserving its deed emblems to the eye, 'T was like a resurrection of the dead :

Yet hiding from the mind what these reveal ;From graves innumerable, punctures fine Her pyramids would be mere pinnacles, In the close coral, capillary swarms

Her giant statues, wrought from rocks of granite Covered the bald-pate reef;

But puny ornaments for such a pile

As this stupendous mound of catacombs, Erelong the reef o'ertopt the spring-flood's height, Filled with dry mummies of the builder-worms. And mocked the billows when they leapt upon it,

Unable to maintain their slippery hold,
And falling down in foam-wreaths round its verge.
Steep were the flanks, with precipices sharp,
Descending to their base in ocean gloom.

Chasis few and narrow and irregular
Formed harbors, safe at once and perilous, Deep in the wave is a coral grove,
Safe for defence, but perilous to enter.

Where the purple mullet and gold-fish rove; A sea-lake shone amidst the fossil isle,

Where the sea-flower spreads its leaves of blue Reflecting in a ring its cliffs and caverns,

That never are wet with falling dew, With heaven itself seen like a lake below.

But in bright and changeful beauty shine

Far down in the green and glassy brine. Compared with this amazing edifice,

The floor is of sand, like the mountain drift, Raised by the weakest creatures in existence,

And the pearl-shells spangle the flinty snow; What are the works of intellectual man ?

From coral rocks the sea-plants lift Towers, temples, palaces, and sepulchres ; Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow; Ideal images in sculptured forms,

The water is calm and still below, Thoughts hewn in columns, or in domes expanded, For the winds and waves are absent there, Fancies through every maze of beauty shown;

And the sands are bright as the stars that glow Pride, gratitude, affection turned to marble, In the motionless fields of upper air. In honor of the living or the dead ;

There, with its waving blade of green,
What are they ? — fine-wrought miniatures ofart, The sea-flag streams through the silent water,
Too exquisite to bear the weight of dew,

And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen
Which every morn lets fall in pearls upon them, To blush, like a banner bathed in slaughter.
Till all their pompsinks down in mouldering relics, There, with a light and easy motion,
Yet in their ruin lovelier than their prime !

The fan-coral sweeps through the clear, deep sea ; Dust in the balance, atoms in the gale,

And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean Compared with these achievements in the deep,

Are bending like corn on the upland lea. Were all the monuments of olden time,

And life, in rare and beautiful forms, In days when there were giants on the earth.

Is sporting amid those bowers of stone, Babel's stupendous folly, though it aimed

And is safe when the wrathful spirit of storms To scale heaven's battlements, was but a toy,

Has made the top of the wave his own. The plaything of the world in infancy;

And when the ship from his fury flies, The ramparts, towers, and gates of Babylon,

Where the myriad voices of ocean roar, Built for eternity, though, where they stood,

When the wind-god frowns in the murky skies, Ruin itself stands still for lack of work,

And demons are waiting the wreck on shore, And Desolation keeps unbroken Sabbath ;

Then, far below, in the peaceful sea, Great Babylon, in its full moon of empire,

The purple mullet and gold-fish rove, Even when its “head of gold” was smitten off

Where the waters murmur tranquilly, And from a monarch changed into a brute

Through the bending twigs of the coral grove. Great Babylon was like a wreath of sand,


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