Page:The poetical works of James Thomson (1895), Volume 2.djvu/18

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8
A VOICE FROM THE NILE


Their dwellings, habitudes, and garbs, and tongues:
I hear strange voices;[1] never more the voice
Austere priests chanted to the boat of death
Gliding across the Acherusian lake,
Or satraps parleyed in the Pharaoh's halls;
Never the voice of mad Cambyses' hosts,
Never the voice of Alexander's Greece,
Never the voice of Caesar's haughty Rome:
And with the peoples and the languages,
With the great Empires still the great Creeds change;
They shift, they change, they vanish like thin dreams,
As unsubstantial as the mists that rise
After my overflow from out my fields,
In silver fleeces, golden volumes, rise,
And melt away before the mounting sun;
While I flow onward solely permanent
Amidst their swiftly-passing pageantry.


Poor men, most admirable, most pitiable,
With all their changes all their great Creeds change:
For Man, this alien in my family,
Is alien most in this, to cherish dreams
And brood on visions of eternity,
And build religions in his brooding brain
And in the dark depths awe-full of his soul.
My other children live their little lives,


  1. "and Nilus heareth strange voices.—"Sir Thomas Browne.