It had done (perhaps too well) exactly what it was made to do.
Corn husks and freshly uprooted gourds in a rustle of twigs, dead oak leaves, and a faint whiff of myrrh.
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The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir’d before;
The winds were wither’d in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them — She was the Universe.
Bottled gloom; the essence of oblivion. Blackest opium and narcissus deepened by myrrh.
He Who Counts the Hearts, Jackal Ruler of the Bows, He Who Is In the Place of Embalming. Jackal-headed guardian, protector and psychopomp of Egypt’s dead, he guides souls to the underworld and holds steady the scales upon which the deceased’s heart is weighed against Ma’at’s Feather of Truth. He is the creator and master of funereal rites, He Who Opens the Mouth of the Dead, and is the sentinel that watches over the sanctity of tombs and the virtue and privacy of his charges.
His scent is a blend of holy myrrh, storax, balsam, and embalming herbs.
Rose amber, frankincense, myrrh, champaca flower, Peru balsam, cistus, palisander, cananga, hyssop, and narcissus absolute.
My well-beloved was stripped. Knowing my whim,
She wore her tinkling gems, but naught besides:
And showed such pride as, while her luck betides,
A sultan’s favored slave may show to him.
When it lets off its lively, crackling sound,
This blazing blend of metal crossed with stone
Gives me an ecstasy I’ve only known
Where league of sound and lustre can be found.
She let herself be loved: then, drowsy-eyed,
Smiled down from her high couch in languid ease.
My love was deep and gentle as the seas
And rose to her as to a cliff the tide.
My own approval of each dreamy pose,
Like a tamed tiger, cunningly she sighted:
And candour, with lubricity united,
Gave piquancy to every one she chose.
Her limbs and hips, burnished with changing lustres
Before my eyes, clairvoyant and serene,
Swanned themselves, undulating in their sheen;
Her breasts and belly, of my vine the clusters,
Like evil angels rose, my fancy twitting,
To kill the peace which over me she’d thrown,
And to disturb her from the crystal throne
Where, calm and solitary, she was sitting.
So swerved her pelvis that, in one design,
Antiope’s white rump it seemed to graft
To a boy’s torso, merging fore and aft.
The talc on her brown tan seemed half-divine.
The lamp resigned its dying flame. Within,
The hearth alone lit up the darkened air,
And every time it sighed a crimson flare
It drowned in blood that amber-coloured skin.
Skin musk and honey, blood-red rose, orange blossom, white peach, red apple, frankincense and myrrh.