The Escurial

Theophile Gautier

Set as a challenge at the mountain's side,
Afar the dark Escurial is descried.
Three hundred feet from earth uplifting thus
On its colossal shoulder firmly braced,
Hugo elephant, the cupola defaced,
Granite debauch of Spain's Tiberius.

Old Pharaoh built not for his mummy's tomb
On mountain-side a thing of greater gloom;
The desert's sphinx hath seen no more unrest.
In chimney-tops the stork is sleejjing now,
Through all the abandoned courts the grasses grow.
Of monks, priests, soldiers, courtiers, dispossessed.

All would seem dead, but that from everything.
Niche, cornice, fronton, hand of sculptured king,
The flocks of swallows consUiut flutter keep,
With their wild merriment and charming cries;
Teasing, with flapping wings to ope his eyes,
This drowsy giant of eternal sleep.