Nicholas Michell

One city yet, and Nile's time-hallowed shore
Our fondly-lingering step detains no more.
Domes, minarets, their spiry heads that rear,
Mocking with gaudy hues the ruins near;
Dim crumbling colonnades, and marble walls,
Rich columns, broken statues, roofless halls;
Beauty, deformity, together thrown,
A maze of ruins, date, design unknown, —
Such is the scene — the conquest Time hath won —
Such the famed city built by Philip's son.*
Ah, me! 'mid tottering towers, and regal tombs,
Tall sculptured columns, echoing catacombs,
How Turkish piles, and works of modern art,
Chafe with romance, and bid high dreams depart!

(Extract from Ruins of Many Lands)

Author's Note: * Philip's Son: Alexander the Great built Alexandria, b. c. 332. The architect whom he employed was Dinocrates of Macedonia. The remains of the ancient town, which was of far greater size than the modern, lie to the south, and cover a considerable extent of ground, being en closed by a wall flanked with towers. Palaces and temples, and all the grandeur of the Ptolemies, present now little more, with a few exceptions, than masses of confused and shapeless ruin.