Skulls and Dust

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Skulls and Dust  (1929) 
by Robert Ervin Howard
First published in American Poet, May 1929.

The Persian slaughtered the Apis Bull;
     (Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And the brain fermented beneath his skull.
     (Egypt's curse is a deathly thing.)

He rode on the desert raider's track;
     (Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
No man of his gleaming hosts came back.
And the dust winds drifted sombre and black.
     (Egypt's curse is a deathly thing.)

The eons passed on the desert land;
     (Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And a stranger trod the shifting sand.
     (Egypt's curse is a deathly thing.)

His idle hand disturbed the dead;
     (Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
Till he found Cambysses' skull of dread
Whence the frenzied brain so long had fled,
That once held terrible visions red.
     (Egypt's curse is a deathly thing.)

And an asp crawled from the dust inside
     (Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And the stranger fell and gibbered and died.
     (Egypt's curse is a deathly thing.)