Like burnt-out torches by a sick man's bed
-trees stand round the sun-bleached stone;
Here doth the little night-owl make her throne,
And the slight lizard show his jewelled head.
And, where the chalice
flame to red,
In the still chamber of yon pyramid
Surely some Old-World Sphinx
lurks darkly hid,
of the pleasaunce
of the dead.
Ah! sweet indeed to rest within the womb
Of earth, great mother of eternal sleep,
But sweeter far for thee a restless tomb
In the blue cavern of an echoing deep,
Or where the tall ships founder in the gloom
Against the rocks of some wave-shattered steep.
-Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900