Writings by Susan Dickinson

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S.H.D. Commonplace Book (16:35:1),
Martha Dickinson Bianchi Collection,
John Hay Library, Brown University Libraries

Rests in Tomb Where He Was Laid 3,400 Years Ago.


In a spacious tomb chamber hewn out of the solid rock of a mountain near Luxor, Egypt, ancient Thebes, approached by a hall way cut for more than a hundred feet into the heart of the mountain which contains the tombs of the Kings, lies the mummy of King Amenophis II. in the stone sarcophagus in which it was laid more than 3,400 years ago.

An electric light at his head illumines the calm features and reveals the wreaths of flowers with which his body was decked for burial. When it is borne in mind that all of the important events of recorded history have happened since he was laid in his tomb, and that Moses, the great Hebrew leader, and Marenptah, the Pharoah of the Exodus, were yet unborn when Amenophis sat upon his throne it is impossible to look upon his impressive countenance without profound emotion.

Asleep in the mountain's heart, oh king
   Of Egypt's ancient line,
How strange would seem this later world
   To those sealead eyes of thine.

The Nile tide bringeth life and hope
   While countless ages roll,
But not three thousand years have solved
   The mystery of thy soul.

Three thousand years of dreamless sleep,
   God's cycles travelling fast,
Are but three yesterdays with Him,
   A night watch that is past.

How brief the span of human life,
   Earth's dynasties to thee,
Are fading names on shifting sands
   Of Time and Eternity.

The Jewish kings have turned to dust;
   The Persian's might is spent;
No more the naughty Syrian strides
   In pomp before his tent.

The Lion Heart and Saladin
   Have met on Judah's plain;
And round Marengo's marble chief
   The Mamelukes charge in vain.

Thou wert sleeping there when Bethlehem's Star
   Was blazing in the sky;
Still slumbering through the awful gloom
   Which hung o'er Calvary.

And thou must sleep till Gabriel's trump
   Shall sound above thy head,
For thou must stand, at last, before
   The Judge of Quick and Dead.

Then, if to duty thou wast true,
   In that far distant past,
The Christ who died for me and thee,
   Will give thee peace at last.

Luxor, Egypt, January, 1904.

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Transcription and commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith,
Laura Elyn Lauth, and Lara Vetter, all rights reserved
Maintained by Rebecca Mooney  <rnmooney@umd.edu>
Last updated on January 25, 2008

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