Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/270

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86
THE SACRIFICE OF ER-HEB

Broke like a flood across the Valley, washed
The mist away; but louder than the rain
The thunder of Taman filled men with fear.


Some say that from the Unlighted Shrine she cried
For succour, very pitifully, thrice,
And others that she sang and had no fear.
And some that there was neither song nor cry,
But only thunder and the lashing rain.


Howbeit, in the morning, men rose up,
Perplexed with horror, crowding to the Shrine,
And when Er-Heb was gathered at the doors
The Priests made lamentation and passed in
To a strange Temple and a God they feared
But knew not.


From the crevices the grass
Had thrust the altar-slabs apart, the walls
Were grey with stains unclean, the roof-beams swelled
With many-coloured growth of rottenness,
And lichen veiled the Image of Taman

In leprosy. The Basin of the Blood