The Colossi

Thomas Gold Appleton

BENIGNANT, calm, majestically grave,   
Earth’s childhood smiling in their lifted eyes,   
While the hoar wisdom which the dead years gave   
Upon each placid brow engraven lies—   
Two on the plain and four beside the wave           
Keep watch and ward above the centuries.   
As is the sand which flies, our little lives   
Glitter and whirl a moment and are gone;   
A day it lives, then to Oblivion drives   
The haughtiest empire and the loftiest throne:           
Swiftly to all the appointed hour arrives,   
Men, nations pass, but they remain alone,   
Mute in the azure silence of these skies,   
Immortal childhood looking from their eyes.

The colossal statues of ancient Pharaohs across Egypt do tend to have a remarkably serene countenance. These particular colossi are the great statues of Ramasses II at Abu Simbel near Aswan.

To save them from the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam, these gigantic statues suffered the indignity of being moved from the positions they had occupied for thousands of years. Still they have managed to retain their calm, benign expressions.

Main Location:

Abu Simbel Temples, Aswan, Egypt

The untroubled faces of the colossal statues of Ramses II at Abu Simbel