Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Africa
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV.  1876–79.
 
Introductory to Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia
The Witch of Atlas
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
(Excerpt)

BUT her choice sport was, in the hours of sleep,
  To glide adown old Nilus, when he threads
Egypt and Ethiopia, from the steep
  Of utmost Axumé, until he spreads,
Like a calm flock of silver-fleecéd sheep,        5
  His waters on the plain; and crested heads
Of cities and proud temples gleam amid,
And many a vapor-belted pyramid.
 
By Mæris and the Mareotid lakes,
  Strewn with faint blooms like bridal-chamber floors;        10
Where naked boys bridling tame water-snakes,
  Or charioteering ghastly alligators,
Had left on the sweet waters mighty wakes
  Of those huge forms;—within the brazen doors
Of the great Labyrinth slept both boy and beast,        15
Tired with the pomp of their Osirian feast.
 
And where within the surface of the river
  The shadows of the massy temples lie,
And never are erased, but tremble ever
  Like things which every cloud can doom to die,        20
Through lotus-paven canals, and wheresoever
  The works of man pierced that serenest sky
With tombs, and towers, and fanes, ’t was her delight
To wander in the shadow of the night.
 
 
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