The stone lion has left his prints;
Here at the edge he stretched his claws,
Twitched his massive haunch and paused,
And leaped down lightly from the plinth.
See at the museum door the groove
Caused by his clawing at the wall?
Then down along the vaulted marble hall
Reconstruct his every move.
Toward the Nubian treasures, we supposed,
But no, the trail turned;
Then from the gravel spoor we learned
That by the jungle of Rousseau he posed,
And by the Ebla urn.
But unabraded, all stood as before,
Nor was one slender faience reed defiled;
And when, with one reverberating roar,
He called her from the Valley of the Nile,
The goddess, Selket, only turned and smiled.
NOTES for Students of English
Nubian Treasures – Nubia was an empire between Egypt and Ethiopia from the 6th to the 14th century.
Jungle of Rousseau – Refers to the French painter Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) whose works include many jungle scenes.
Ebla – A city of the ancient Near East.
Selket – An ancient Egyptian goddess who protected against bites and stings. She was often depicted with a scorpion headdress.