Then amid the smoke
That rose o’er burning cities, I beheld
White Khar-sak-kur-ra’s brow arise that held
The secrets of the gods—that felt the prore
Of Khasisadra’s ark; I heard the roar
Of battling elements, and saw the waves
That tossed above mankind’s commingled graves.
The mighty mountain as some sentinel
Stood on the plains alone; and o’er it fell
A halo, bright, divine; its summit crowned
With sunbeams, shining on the earth around
And o’er the wide expanse of plains;—below
Lay Khar-sak-kal-ama with light aglow,
And nestling far away within my view
Stood Erech, Nipur, Marad, Eridu,
And Babylon, the tower-city old,
In her own splendor shone like burnished gold.
And lo! grand Erech in her glorious days
Lies at my feet. I see a wondrous maze
Of vistas, groups, and clustering columns round,
Within, without the palace;—from the ground
Of outer staircases, massive, grand,
Stretch to the portals where the pillars stand.
A thousand carved columns reaching high
To silver rafters in an azure sky,
And palaces and temples round it rise
With lofty turrets glowing to the skies,
And massive walls far spreading o’er the plains,
Here live and move Accadia’s courtly trains,
And see! the pit-u-dal-ti at the gates,
And masari patrol and guard the streets!
And yonder comes a kis-ib, nobleman,
With a young prince; and see! a caravan
Winds through the gates! With men the streets are filled!
And chariots, a people wise and skilled
In things terrestrial, what science, art,
Here reign! With laden ships from every mart
The docks are filled, and foreign fabrics bring
From peoples, lands, where many an empire, king,
Have lived and passed away, and naught have left
In history or song. Dread Time hath cleft
Us far apart; their kings and kingdoms, priests
And bards are gone, and o’er them sweep the mists
Of darkness backward spreading through all time,
Their records swept away in every clime.
Those alabaster stairs let us ascend,
And through this lofty portal we will wend.
See! richest Sumir rugs amassed, subdue
The tiled pavement with its varied hue,
Upon the turquoise ceiling sprinkled stars
Of gold and silver crescents in bright pairs!
And gold-fringed scarlet curtains grace each door,
And from the inlaid columns reach the floor:
From golden rods extending round the halls,
Bright silken hangings drape the sculptured walls.
But part those scarlet hangings at the door
Of yon grand chamber! tread the antique floor!
Behold the sovereign on her throne of bronze,
While crouching at her feet a lion fawns;
The glittering court with gold and gems ablaze
With ancient splendor of the glorious days
Of Accad’s sovereignty. Behold the ring
Of dancing beauties circling while they sing
With amorous forms in moving melody,
The measure keep to music’s harmony.
Hear! how the music swells from silver lute
And golden-stringed lyres and softest flute
And harps and tinkling cymbals, measured drums,
While a soft echo from the chamber comes.