Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/267

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83
THE SACRIFICE OF ER-HEB

"And who am I to know the will of Gods?
"Taman hath called me—whither shall I go?"
The Chief in War, the Man of Sixty Spears
Howled in his torment fettered by the Priests
But dared not come to her to drag her forth,
And dared not lift his spear against the Priests.
Then all men wept.


There was a Priest of Kysh
Bent with a hundred winters, hairless, blind
And taloned as the great Snow-Eagle is.
His seat was nearest to the altar-fires,
And he was counted dumb among the Priests.
But, whether Kysh decreed, or from Taman
The impotent tongue found utterance we know
As little as the bats beneath the eaves.
He cried so that they heard who stood without;—
"To the Unlighted Shrine!" and crept aside
Into the shadow of his fallen God
And whimpered, and Bisesa went her way.


That night, the slow mists of the evening dropped,
Dropped as a cloth upon the dead, and rose

Above the roofs, and by the Unlighted Shrine