“The plain is covered with a many dead.
Glisten white bone and salt-encrusted head,
Glazed eye imagined, of a crystal built.
And see! dark patches, as of murder spilt.
Ugh! ‘So thy fellows of the quest are sped!
Thou shall be with them: onward, if thou wilt!’
So was the chilling whisper at my side,
Or in my brain.” [via]
“And the full moon shone,
A glory for God’s eyes to dwell upon,
A path of silver furrowed in the air,
A gateway where an angel might have gone.
And forward gleamed a narrow way of earth
Crusted with salt: I watch the fairy birth
Of countless flashes on the crystal flakes,
Forgetting it is only death that makes
Its home the centre of that starry girth.
Yet, what is life?” [via]
“Mine eyes had fixed them on the sphinx, the sky.
‘Is then this quest of immortality?’
And echo answered from some unseen caves:
Mortality! I shrink, and wonder why.
Strange I am nothing tainted with this fear
Now, that had touched me first. For I am here
Half-way I reckon to the field of salt,
The pillar, and the bones—it was a fault
I am cured of! praise to God!” [via]
“After a while he took the word again:
‘Go thou then moonwards; on the great salt plain;
So to a pillar. Adamant, alone,
It stands. Around it see them overthrown,
King, earl, and knight. There lie the questing slain,
A thousand years forgotten—bone by bone.
‘No more is spoken—the tradition goes:
‘There learns the seeker what he seeks or knows,’
Thence—none have passed. The desert leagues may keep
Some other secret—some profounder deep
Than this one echoed fear: the desert shows
Its ghastly triumph—silence. There they sleep.
‘There, brave and pure, there, true and strong, they stay
Bleached in the desert, till the solemn day
Of God’s revenge—none knoweth them: they rest
Unburied, unremembered, unconfessed.
What names of strength, of majesty, had they?
What suns are these gone down into the West?” [via]