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A Memorial of Africa


I.

Upon a rock, high on a mountain side,
Thousands of feet above the lake-sea's lip,
A rock in which old waters' rise and dip,
Plunge and recoil, and backward eddying tide
Had, age-long, worn, while races lived and died,
Involved channels, where the sea-weed's drip
Followed the ebb; and now earth-grasses sip
Fresh dews from heaven, whereby on earth they bide--
I sat and gazed southwards. A dry flow
Of withering wind blew on my drooping strength
From o'er the awful desert's burning length.
Behind me piled, away and upward go
Great sweeps of savage mountains--up, away,
Where panthers roam, and snow gleams all the day.


II.

Ah, God! the world needs many hours to make;
Nor hast thou ceased the making of it yet,
But wilt be working on when Death hath set
A new mound in some churchyard for my sake.
On flow the centuries without a break.
Uprise the mountains, ages without let.
The mosses suck the rock's breast, rarely wet.
Years more than past, the young earth yet will take.
But in the dumbness of the rolling time,
No veil of silence will encompass me--
Thou wilt not once forget, and let me be:
I easier think that thou, as I my rhyme,
Wouldst rise, and with a tenderness sublime
Unfold a world, that I, thy child, might see.


(1864)



George MacDonald