Page:The poetical works of James Thomson (1895), Volume 2.djvu/20

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
10
A VOICE FROM THE NILE


The goddess crescent-horned, the babe divine,
Then I flow forward some few thousand years,
And see new temples shining with all grace,
Whose sculptured gods are beautiful human forms.
Then I flow forward not a thousand years,
And see again a woman and a babe,
The woman haloed and the babe divine;
And everywhere that symbol of the cross
I knew aforetime in the ancient days,
The emblem then of life, but now of death.
Then I flow forward some few hundred years,
And see again the crescent, now supreme
On lofty cupolas and minarets
Whence voices sweet and solemn call to prayer.
So the men change along my changeless stream,
And change their faiths; but I yield all alike
Sweet water for their drinking, sweet as wine,
And pure sweet water for their lustral rites:
For thirty generations of my corn
Outlast a generation of my men,
And thirty generations of my men
Outlast a generation of their gods:
O admirable, pitiable Man,
My child yet alien in my family.


And I through all these generations flow
Of corn and men and gods, all-bountiful,
Perennial through their transientness, still fed