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Mosada A dramatic poem

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Scene I.

A Little Moorish Room in the Village of Azubia.In the centre of the room a chafing dish.

Mosada. [alone] Three times the roses have grown less and less,As slowly Autumn climbed the golden throneWhere sat old Summer fading into song,And thrice the peaches flushed upon the walls,And thrice the corn around the sickles flamed,Since 'mong my people, tented on the hills,He stood a messenger. In April's prime(Swallows were flashing their white breasts aboveOr perching on the tents, a-weary stillFrom waste seas cross'd, yet ever garrulous)Along the velvet vale I saw him come:In Autumn, when far down the mountain slopesThe heavy clusters of the grapes were full,I saw him sigh and turn and pass away;For I and all my people were accurstOf his sad God; and down among the grassHiding my face, I cried long, bitterly.Twas evening, and the cricket nation sangAround my head and danced among the grass;And all was dimness till a dying leafSlid circling down and softly touched my lipsWith dew as though 'twere sealing them for death.Yet somewhere in the footsore world we meetWe two before we die, for AzolarThe star-taught Moor said thus it was decreedBy those wan stars that sit in companyAbove the Alpujarras on their thrones,That when the stars of our nativityDraw star to star, as on that eve he passedDown the long valleys from my people's tents,We meet—we two.

[She opens the casement—the mingled sound of the voices andlaughter of the apple gatherers floats in.]

How merry all these areAmong the fruit. But yon, lame Cola crouchesAway from all the others. Now the sun—A-shining on the little crucifixOf silver hanging round lame Cola's neck—Sinks down at last with yonder minaretOf the Alhambra black athwart his disk;And Cola seeing, knows the sign and comes.Thus do I burn these precious herbs whose smokePours up and floats in fragrance o'er my headIn coil on coil of azure.

[Enter Cola.] All is ready.

Cola. Mosada, it is then so much the worse.I will not share your sin.

Mosada.It is no sinThat you shall see on yonder glowing cloudPictured, where wander the beloved feetWhose footfall I have longed for, three sad summers—Why these new fears?

Cola.The servant of the Lord,The dark still man, has come, and says 'tis sin.

Mosada. They say the wish itself is half the sin.Then has this one been sinned full many times,Yet 'tis no sin—my father taught it me.He was a man most learned and most mild,Who, dreaming to a wondrous age, lived onTending the roses round his lattice door.For years his days had dawned and faded thusAmong the plants; the flowery silence fellDeep in his soul, like rain upon a soilWorn by the solstice fierce, and made it pure.Would he teach any sin?

Cola.Gaze in the cloudYourself.

Mosada. None but the innocent can see.

Cola. They say I am all ugliness; lame-footedI am; one shoulder turned awry—why thenShould I be good? But you are beautiful.

Mosada. I cannot see.

Cola.The beetles, and the bats,And spiders, are my friends, I'm theirs, and they areNot good; but you are like the butterflies....