REH Word(s) of the Week: Apis Bull

(Procession of the Apis Bull by Frederick Bridgman)

noun

1. A sacred bull of the ancient Egyptians, acting as an intermediary between humans and Ptah, the Egyptian creator god and the deity patron of artisans

[origin: origin: 14th century; Latin, from Greek, from Egyptian ?p]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

The Persian slaughtered the Apis Bull;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And the brain fermented beneath his skull.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

He rode on the desert raider’s track;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
No man of his gleaming hosts came back,
And the dust winds drifted sombre and black.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

The eons passed on the desert land;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And a stranger trod the shifting sand.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

His idle hand disturbed the dead;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
Till he found Cambysses’ skull of dread
Whence the frenzied brain so long had fled,
That once held terrible visions red.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

And an asp crawled from the dust inside
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And the stranger fell and gibbered and died.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

[from “Skulls and Dust”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 175 and Echoes From an Iron Harp, p. 71]