EGYPT! how I have dwelt with you in dreams, So long, so intimately, that it seems As if you had borne me; though I could not know, It was so many thousand years ago! And in my gropings darkly underground The long-lost memory at last is found Of Motherhood—you Mother of us all! And to my fellow-men I must recall The memory too; that common Motherhood May help to make the common brotherhood. Egypt! it lies there in the far-off past, Opening with depths profound and growths as vast As the great valley of Yosemité; The birthplace out of darkness into day; The shaping matrix of the human mind; The Cradle and the Nursery of our kind. This was the land created from the flood, The land of Atum, made of the red mud, Where Num sat in his Teba throned on high, And saw the deluge once a year go by, Each brimming with the blessing that it brought, And by that water-way, in Egypt’s thought, The Gods descended; but they never hurled A Deluge that should desolate the world. There the vast Hewers of the early time Built, as if that way they would surely climb The heavens; and left their labours without name— Colossal as their carelessness of fame— Sole likeness of themselves—that heavenward For ever look with statuesque regard, As if some Vision of the Eternal grown Petrific, was for ever fixed in stone! They watched the Moon re-orb, the Stars go round, And drew the Circle; Thought’s primordial bound. The Heavens looked into them with living eyes, To kindle starry thoughts in other skies, For us reflected in the image-scroll That night by night the stars for aye unroll. The Royal Heads of Language bow them down To lay in Egypt’s lap each borrowed crown. The light of Asia was of Afric born; Africa, dusky Mother of the Morn; She bore the Babe-Messiah meek and mild, The Good Lord Horus, the Eternal child: The unhistoric Saviour,—hence divine— Buddha in India; Christ in Palestine! The glory of Greece was but the After-glow Of her forgotten greatness lying low. Her Hieroglyphics buried dark as night, Or coal-deposits filled with future light, Are mines of meaning; by their light we see Through many an overshadowing mystery. The nursing Nile is living Egypt still, And as her lowlands with its freshness fill, And heave with double-breasted bounteousness, So doth the old Hidden Source of Wisdom bless The nations; secretly she brought to birth, And Egypt yet enriches all the earth.