"View of Antiquities under an Arch" by Robert Hubert‘Three Riddles’ by Rupert Palmer The Society September 6, 2019 Culture, Poetry, Riddles 11 Comments I. Half-man half-beast I seem to be A thousand years is naught to me For I watch kings and kingdoms die Who once were gods, beneath me lie In plundered graves they rest no more Yet still I stand, through plague and war My broken face hath robbed me not My majesty is ne’er forgot What am I? II. For countless years I worked the land The unrequited farming-hand They scarce gave thanks for all my toil Replacing sea-side sand with soil So I destroyed them, every thief, A king became, though of reign brief My wrath interred their wicked ways That Men upon their lives might gaze What am I? III. I’ve been a quarry and a fort, I’ve been a church, I’ve come to naught But ere my weary bones decayed I witnessed death and accolade I drank the blood of many slaves I bore the warships on my waves Accursed, my purpose lived full measure But I live on while pain brings pleasure What am I? See if you can guess the answers. Put your guesses in the comments below. Rupert Palmer, born 1988, lives in Benoni, South Africa where he is a consultant in the mining industry by trade. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 11 Responses Joe Tessitore September 6, 2019 #1. Purple mountain majesty? Reply Rupert Palmer September 6, 2019 No, I’m afraid not. Reply Joseph S. Salemi September 6, 2019 The first is the Sphinx near the pyramids in Egypt. Reply Rupert Palmer September 6, 2019 Spot on, Mr Salemi! Reply Joe Spring September 6, 2019 The second has me thinking of erosion or waves. I’m with the other Joe S on the Sphinx. The third is the Colloseum at Rome. Reply Joe Spring September 6, 2019 On second thought, my answer is worms for riddle number 2. Reply Rupert Palmer September 6, 2019 Bravo, Mr Spring. You are right about 1 and 3. Number 2 is definitely the trickiest. The answer is a proper noun; that much I will give away. Joseph S. Salemi September 10, 2019 In Poem II, some of the difficulty in guessing its meaning lies in the ambiguous antecedent of the participle “Replacing” in line four. Does it refer to the word “toil” or does it go with the word “They” at the start of line three? There would be no problem at all in Latin, where participial forms are declined to agree with their referents. The reader of Latin immediately sees what goes with what, on the basis of inflectional endings. But in English it is always best to place the participle in close proximity to its antecedent, so that there is no ambiguity or uncertainty. Reply Rupert Palmer September 10, 2019 You have a point. It is, in fact, related to the toil (which is to say, it is “I” who replaces sea-side sand with soil). I could offer the argument that this can be discovered through context, since replacing sea-side sand with soil is something a toiling farm-hand might usefully do, but then again, it would seem more obvious to me, as I already know the meaning. Nemo iudex in causa sua. Reply BenB September 11, 2019 #2 has to be Mount Vesuvius. Men today gaze on the lives of those destroyed at Pompeii. Job well done on all three. They really are a showcase of creativity and poetic skill. Reply Rupert Palmer September 11, 2019 Dead on! Well done, and thank-you, sir, for your kind words. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.