Robert Graves

Manticor In Arabia

Poem by Robert Graves

(The manticors of the montaines
Mighte feed them on thy braines.--Skelton.)

Thick and scented daisies spread
Where with surface dull like lead
Arabian pools of slime invite
Manticors down from neighbouring height
To dip heads, to cool fiery blood
In oozy depths of sucking mud.
Sing then of ringstraked manticor,
Man-visaged tiger who of yore
Held whole Arabian waste in fee
With raging pride from sea to sea,
That every lesser tribe would fly
Those armed feet, that hooded eye;
Till preying on himself at last
Manticor dwindled, sank, was passed
By gryphon flocks he did disdain.
Ay, wyverns and rude dragons reign
In ancient keep of manticor
Agreed old foe can rise no more.
Only here from lakes of slime
Drinks manticor and bides due time:
Six times Fowl Phoenix in yon tree
Must mount his pyre and burn and be
Renewed again, till in such hour
As seventh Phoenix flames to power
And lifts young feathers, overnice
From scented pool of steamy spice
Shall manticor his sway restore
And rule Arabian plains once more.