They cut it down, and where the pitch-black aisles
Of forest night
had hid eternal things,
They scaled the sky with towers and marble
To make a city for their revellings.
White and amazing to the lands around
That wondrous wealth of domes
and turrets rose;
Crystal and ivory, sublimely crowned
pinnacles that bore unmelting snows.
And through its halls the pipe and sistrum rang,
While wine and
riot brought their scarlet stains;
Never a voice of elder marvels
Nor any eye called up the hills and plains.
Thus down the years, till on one purple night
A drunken minstrel in
his careless verse
Spoke the vile words that should not see the light,
And stirred the shadows of an ancient curse.
Forests may fall, but not the dusk they shield;
So on the spot
where that proud city stood,
The shuddering dawn no single stone
But fled the blackness of a primal wood.