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Hassan Ben Khaled lifted

up

his eyes To mine, a moment: then, in cheerful guise, He passed my threshold with unslippered feet.

III.

I led him from the noises of the street
To the cool inner chambers, where my

slave
Poured out the pitcher's rosy-scented wave
Over his hands, and laid upon his knee
The napkin, silver-fringed : and when the pipe
Exhaled a grateful odor from the ripe
Latakian leaves, said Hassan unto me :
“ Listen, O Man! no man can truly say
That he hath wisdom. What I sang to-day
Was not less truth than what I

before,
But to Truth's house there is a single door,
Which is Experience. He teaches best,
Who feels the hearts of all men in his breast
And knows their strength or weakness through his own.
The holy pride, that never was o'erthrown,
Was never tempted, and its words of blame
Reach but the dull ears of the multitude :
The admonitions, fruitful unto good,
Come from the voice of him who conquers shame."

sang

IV.

be

“ Give me, O Poet! (if thy friend may
Worthy such confidence,” ) I said ; " the key
Unto thy words, that I may share with thee
Thine added wisdom." Hassan's kindly eye
Before his lips unclosed, spake willingly,
And he began : “ But two days since, I went
Singing what thou didst hear, with soul intent
On my own virtue, all the markets through ;
And when about the time of prayer, I drew
Near to the Gate of Victory, behold!
There came a man, whose turban fringed with gold
And golden cimeter, bespake his wealth :
May God prolong thy days, O Hassan! Health
And Fortune be thy wisdom's aids!' he cried ;

Come to my garden by the river's side,
Where other poets wait thee. Be my guest,
For even the Prophets had their times of rest,
And Rest, that strengthens unto virtuous deeds,
Is one with Prayer.' Two royal-blooded steeds,
Held by his grooms, were waiting at the gate,
And though I shrank from such unwonted state
The master's words were manna to my pride,
And, mounting straightway, forth we twain did ride
Unto the garden by the river's side.

V.

Never till then had I beheld such bloom.
The west wind sent its heralds of perfume
To bid us welcome, midway on the road.
Full in the sun the marble portal glowed
Like silver, but within the garden wall
No ray of sunshine found a place to fall,
So thick the crowning foliage of the trees,
Roofing the walks with twilight; and the air
Under their tops was greener than the seas,
And cool as they. The forms that wandered there
Resembled those who populate the floor
Of Ocean, and the royal lineage own
That gave a Princess unto Persia's throne.
All fruits the trees of this fair garden bore,
Whose balmy fragrance lured the tongue to taste
Their flavors : there bananas flung to waste
Their golden flagons with thick honey filled;
From splintered cups the ripe pomegranates spilled
A shower of rubies; oranges that glow
Like globes of fire, enclosed a heart of snow
Which thawed not in their flame ; like balls of gold
The peaches seemed, that had in blood been rolled;
Pure saffron mixed with clearest amber stained
The apricots; bunches of amethyst

And sapphire seemed the grapes, so newly kissed
That still the mist of Beauty's breath remained ;
And where the lotus slowly swung in air
Her snowy-bosomed chalice, rosy-veined,
The golden fruit swung softly-cradled there,
Even as a bell upon the bosom swings
Of some fair dancer happy bell, that sings
For joy, its golden tinkle keeping time
To the heart's beating and the cymbal's chime !
There dates of agate and of jasper lay,
Dropped from the bounty of the pregnant palm,
And all ambrosial trees, all fruits of balm,
All flowers of precious odors, made the day
Sweet as a morn of Paradise. My breath
Failed with the rapture, and with doubtful mind
I turned to where the garden's lord reclined,
And asked, “Was not that gate the Gate of Death ? "

VI.

The guests were near a fountain.

As I came
They rose in welcome, wedding to my name
Titles of honor, linked in choicest phrase,
For Poets' ears are ever quick to Praise,
The • Open Sesamé !' whose magic art
Forces the guarded entrance of the heart.

Young men were they, whose manly beauty made
Their words the sweeter, and their speech displayed
Knowledge of men, and of the Prophet's laws.
Pleasant our converse was, where every pause
Gave to the fountain leave to sing its song,
Suggesting further speech ; until, ere long,
There came a troop of swarthy slaves, who bore
Ewers and pitchers all of silver ore,
Wherein we washed our hands; then, tables placed,
And brought us meats of every sumptuous taste
That makes the blood rich - pheasants stuffed with

spice;
Young lambs, whose entrails were of cloves and rice;
Ducks bursting with pistachio nuts, and fish
That in a bed of parsley swam. Each dish,
Cooked with such art, seemed better than the last,
And our indulgence in the rich repast
Brought on the darkness ere we missed the day :
But lamps were lighted in the fountain's spray,
Or, pendent from the boughs, their colors told
What fruits unseen, of crimson or of gold,
Scented the gloom. Then took the generous host
A basket filled with roses. Every guest
Cried, “ Give me roses !” and he thus addressed
His words to all: “ He who exalts them most
In song, he only shall the roses wear."

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