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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 114 pages of information about Ballad of Reading Gaol.

The god is scattered here and there:  deep hidden in the windy sand I saw his giant granite hand still clenched in impotent despair.

And many a wandering caravan of stately negroes silken-shawled, Crossing the desert, halts appalled before the neck that none can span.

And many a bearded Bedouin draws back his yellow-striped burnous To gaze upon the Titan thews of him who was thy paladin.

Go, seek his fragments on the moor and wash them in the evening dew, And from their pieces make anew thy mutilated paramour!

Go, seek them where they lie alone and from their broken pieces make Thy bruised bedfellow!  And wake mad passions in the senseless stone!

Charm his dull ear with Syrian hymns! he loved your body! oh, be kind, Pour spikenard on his hair, and wind soft rolls of linen round his limbs!

Wind round his head the figured coins! stain with red fruits those pallid lips!  Weave purple for his shrunken hips! and purple for his barren loins!

Away to Egypt!  Have no fear.  Only one
God has ever died. 
Only one God has let His side be wounded by a
soldier’s spear.

But these, thy lovers, are not dead.  Still by the hundred-cubit gate Dog-faced Anubis sits in state with lotus-lilies for thy head.

Still from his chair of porphyry gaunt Memnon strains his lidless eyes Across the empty land, and cries each yellow morning unto thee.

And Nilus with his broken horn lies in his black and oozy bed And till thy coming will not spread his waters on the withering corn.

Your lovers are not dead, I know.  They will rise up and hear your voice And clash their cymbals and rejoice and run to kiss your mouth!  And so,

Set wings upon your argosies!  Set horses to your ebon car!  Back to your Nile!  Or if you are grown sick of dead divinities

Follow some roving lion’s spoor across the copper-coloured plain, Reach out and hale him by the mane and bid him be your paramour!

Couch by his side upon the grass and set your white teeth in his throat And when you hear his dying note lash your long flanks of polished brass

And take a tiger for your mate, whose amber sides are flecked with black, And ride upon his gilded back in triumph through the Theban gate,

And toy with him in amorous jests, and when he turns, and snarls, and gnaws, O smite him with your jasper claws! and bruise him with your agate breasts!

Why are you tarrying?  Get hence!  I weary of your sullen ways, I weary of your steadfast gaze, your somnolent magnificence.

Your horrible and heavy breath makes the light flicker in the lamp, And on my brow I feel the damp and dreadful dews of night and death.

Your eyes are like fantastic moons that shiver in some stagnant lake, Your tongue is like a scarlet snake that dances to fantastic tunes,

Your pulse makes poisonous melodies, and your black throat is like the hole Left by some torch or burning coal on Saracenic tapestries.

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