The Silent Races (1880, Dupre)

From Kook Science

The Silent Races.

By L. J. Dupre.

High oe'r the desert's scorching plain
Rises the Orient’s stately train
   Of strangely sculptured stone;
Grim sentries of a vanished race,
Guarding from ruin's stealthy pace
Dim records which their marbles trace.

The gaunt-eyed sphinx essays to speak;
Her moveless lip and hueless cheek
   Have found a human tone;
Over the hopes, the joys, the fears,
The tumult, of the rushing years,
The listening world her whisper hears.

Dark Egypt's lore of hearts and homes
Lies in her dust-crowned catacombs;
   Her pyramids of stone,
Like giant volumes in the sand,
Teem with the records of her land,
Writ by the marble's stony hand.

The nameless altars, rude and dark,
That worship of the Druid's mark,
   Ring with a monotone
Wild as the symbolistic line
That rose o'er Thor and Odin's shrine,
Where now the pallid moonbeams shine.

The ruined abbey's wind-rocked bell,
Whose elfin echoes rise and
   Swell, Like mighty Spirits moan —
The owl that watches in the tower —
The wind, a wandering troubadour —
Chant sad requiems o'er and o'er.

This western world her voice of might
Lifts up amid her dreamless night,
   With weird and wondrous tone;
For silent, vanished races sleep
Beneath her tossing forests deep,
Where hoary-headed ages sleep,
While restless murmurs round them creep.

Each nameless mound that plants its base
Within this mighty wilderness
   Speaks with a mystic tone.
Around each rude-shaped urn and vase
Flit dim shadows of a race
Whose voiceless story God can trace.

Whence came they? Whither did they go?
What myriad tales of joy and woe
   Resound with mingled tone
Above this consecrated ground,
That speaks with hollow, ghastly sound,
Its orator, a nameless mound.

And did they love? and did they hate?
Did they in pain and pleasure wait
   With human laugh or moan?
No answer comes, no music rings,
No Solon speaks, no Homer sings
Where Sleep and Silence reign as kings.

The dark-eyed maiden's liquid song
Ringing these limpid waves along,
   Has left no echoing tone.
In nameless graves, they slumber well,
Where Lethean billows ebb and swell
On shining shores of Asphodel.

Dupre, L. J. (Jan. 1880), "The Silent Races", The Oriental and Biblical Journal 1 (1): 8-9,