Mother and Sphinx
(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!
Eugene Field’s other poems:
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