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And steadied with a careful hand
Its slow descent, upon the sand
At the Shekh's daughter's feet, I sped
A slender arrow, shaft and head
With breathing jasmine-flowers entwined,
And roses such as on the wind
Of evening with rich odors fan
The white kiosks of Ispahan.
A moment, fired with love and hope,
I stayed upon the yellow slope
El-Azrek's hoofs, to see her raise
Her startled eyes in sweet amaze -
To see her make the unconscious sign
Which recognized the gift as mine,
And place, before she turned to part,
The flowery barb against her heart.

VII.

Again the Shekh's divan I pressed :
The jasmine pipe was brought the guest,
And Mariam, lovelier than before,
Knelt with the steamy cup once more.
O bliss ! within those eyes to see
A soul of love look out on me —

A fount of passion, which is truth
In the wild dialect of Youth
Whose rich abundance is outpoured
Like worship at a shrine adored,
And on its rising deluge bears
The heart to raptures or despairs.
While from the cup the zerf contained
The foamy amber juice I drained,
A rosebud in the zerf expressed
The sweet confession of her breast,
One glance of glad intelligence,
And silently she glided thence.
“O Shekh !" I cried, as she withdrew,
(Short is the speech where hearts are true,)
“ Thou hast a daughter: let me be
A shield to her, a sword to thee !"
Abdallah turned his steady eye
Full on my face, and made reply:
" It cannot be. The treasure sent
By God must not be idly spent.
Strong men there are, in service tried,
Who seek the maiden for a bride ;
And shall I slight their worth and truth
To feed the passing flame of youth ? "

VIII.

“ No passing flame!” my answer ran ;
" But love which is the life of man,
Warmed with his blood, fed by his breath,
And, when it fails him, leaves but Death.
O Shekh, I hoped not thy consent;
But having tasted in thy tent
An Arab welcome, shared thy bread,
I come to warn thee I shall wed
Thy daughter, though her suitors be
As leaves upon the tamarind tree.
Guard her as thou mayst guard, I swear
No other bed than mine shall wear
Her virgin honors, and thy race
Through me shall keep its ancient place.
Thou’rt warned, and duty bids no more ;
For, when I next approach thy door,
Her child shall intercessor be
To build up peace 'twixt thee and me."
A little flushed my boyish brow;
But calmly then I spake, as now.
The Shekh, with dignity that fung
Rebuke on my impetuous tongue,

Replied : “ The young man's hopes are fair ;
The young man's blood would all things dare.
But age is wisdom, and can bring
Confusion on the soaring wing
Of reckless youth. Thy words are just,
But needless ; for I still can trust
A father's jealousy to shield
From robber grasp

the

gem concealed
Within his tent, till he may yield
To fitting hands the precious store.
Go, then, in peace; but come no more."

IX.

My only sequin served to bribe
A cunning mother of the tribe
To Mariam's mind my plan to bring.
A feather of the wild dove's wing,
A lock of raven gloss and stain
Sheared from El-Azrek's flowing mane,
And that pale flower whose fragrant cup
Is closed until the moon comes up,-
But then a tenderer beauty holds
Than
any

flower the sun unfolds, –

Declared my purpose. Her reply
Let loose the winds of ecstasy :
Two roses and the moonlight flower
Told the acceptance, and the hour —
Two daily suns to waste their glow,
And then, at moonrise, bliss

or woe.

X.

El-Azrek now, on whom alone The burden of our fate was thrown, Claimed from my hands a double meed Of careful training for the deed. I gave him of

my

choicest store No guest was ever honored more. With flesh of kid, with whitest bread, And dates of Egypt was he fed ; The camel's heavy udders gave Their frothy juice his thirst to lave : A charger, groomed with better care, The Sultan never rode to prayer. My burning hope, my torturing fear, I breathed in his sagacious ear; Caressed him as a brother might, Implored his utmost speed in flight,

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