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ADDRESS TO A MUMMY.
And hast thou walk'd about, (how strange a story!)
In Thebes's streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
And time had not begun to overthrow
Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous.
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted Dummy.
Thou hast a tongue-come-let us hear its tune;
Thou’rt standing on thy legs, above-ground, Mummy!
Revisiting the glimpses of the moon,
Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures,
But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs and features. Tell us—for doubtless thou canst recollect,
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame?
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect
Of either pyramid that bears his name?
Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?
Perhaps thou wert a Mason, and forbidden
By oath to tell the secrets of thy trade,Then say what secret melody was hidden
In Memnon's statue which at sunrise play'd?
Perhaps thou wert a Priest—if so, my struggles
Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.
Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat,
Has hob-a-nob'd with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or dropp'd a halfpenny in Homer's hat,
Or doff'd thine own to let Queen Dido pass;
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.
I need not ask thee if that hand, when arm’d,
Has any Roman soldier - maulid and knuckled,
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalm’d,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled:
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Thou couldst develop, if that wither'd tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
How the world look'd when it was fresh and young,
And the great Deluge still had left it green
Or was it then so old, that History's pages
Contain'd no record of its early ages?
Still silent! incommunicative elf!
Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows;
But prythee tell us something of thyself—
Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house;
Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumber'd, What hast thou seen—what strange adventures number'd? Since first thy form was in this box extended,
We have, above-ground, seen some strange mutations. The Roman empire has begun and ended,
New worlds have risen—we have lost old nations,
And countless Kings have into dust been humbled,
While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.
Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, March'd armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,
And shook the Pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?
If the tomb's secrets may not be confess’d,
The nature of thy private life unfold:
A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern breast,
And tears adown that dusty cheek have rolld:
Have children climb'd those knees, and kissed that face?
What was thy name and station, age and race?
Statue of flesh-Immortal of the dead !
Imperishable type of evanescence!
Posthumous man, who quitt’st thy narrow bed,
And standest undecay'd within our presence,
Thou wilt hear nothing till the Judgment morning, When the great Trump shall thrill thee with its warning.
Why should this worthless tegument endure,
If its undying guest be lost for ever?
Oh ! let us keep the soul embalm’d and pure
In living virtue, that when both must sever,
Although corruption may our frame consume,