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Poem by Rupert Chawner Brooke


On the Death of Smet-Smet, the Hippopotamus-Goddess


Song of a tribe of the ancient Egyptians

  (The Priests within the Temple)
She was wrinkled and huge and hideous? She was our Mother.
She was lustful and lewd? -- but a God; we had none other.
In the day She was hidden and dumb, but at nightfall moaned in the shade;
We shuddered and gave Her Her will in the darkness; we were afraid.

  (The People without)
 She sent us pain,
  And we bowed before Her;
 She smiled again
  And bade us adore Her.
 She solaced our woe
  And soothed our sighing;
 And what shall we do
  Now God is dying?

  (The Priests within)
She was hungry and ate our children; -- how should we stay Her?
She took our young men and our maidens; -- ours to obey Her.
We were loathed and mocked and reviled of all nations; that was our pride.
She fed us, protected us, loved us, and killed us; now She has died.

  (The People without)
 She was so strong;
  But death is stronger.
 She ruled us long;
  But Time is longer.
 She solaced our woe
  And soothed our sighing;
 And what shall we do
  Now God is dying?



Rupert Chawner Brooke


Rupert Chawner Brooke's other poems:
  1. The Funeral of Youth: Threnody
  2. Sonnet: in Time of Revolt
  3. Sleeping Out: Full Moon
  4. Song (Oh! Love, they said)
  5. Song (The way of love was thus)


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