"An Enigma." by Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
YE philosophers hark!
My complexion is dark!
Reflection and silence my character mark.
No record on earth
Discovers my birth,
Long reigned I in solitude, silence and dearth.
I travel away,
In sombre array:
But my turban and sandals are silvery grey.
Majestic my mien,
And my dark form is seen
All sparkling in gems, like an African queen.
One pearl that I wear
Is more brilliant and rare
Than the loveliest gem in a princess's hair.
My stature is tall,
But at seasons I crawl,
Or shrink myself almost to nothing at all.
I traverse the world,
And o'er every land is my standard unfurled.
I silently roll
Round the icy-bound pole:
And long the wide region endures my control.
From earliest time
I was grave and sublime:
But often am made the accomplice of crime.
My intellect teems
With visions and dreams,
And wild tales of terror, my favorite themes.
Yet sorrow and pain
Oft welcome my reign,
And eagerly watch for my coming again:
For a handmaid of mine,
With aspect benign,
Deals out, at my bidding, a soft anodyne.
My sister down there,
Is transcendently fair,
But we never once happened to meet any where.
Her banners of gold!
Then I must away with my story half told.