THE KASÎDAH I
The hour is nigh; the waning Queen walks forth to rule the later night;Crownd with the sparkle of a Star, and throned on orb of ashen light:
The Wolf-tail* sweeps the paling East to leave a deeper gloom behind,And Dawn uprears her shining head, sighing with semblance of a wind:
* The false dawn.
The highlands catch yon Orient gleam, while purpling still the lowlands lie;And pearly mists, the morning-pride, soar incense-like to greet the sky.
The horses neigh, the camels groan, the torches gleam, the cressets flare;The town of canvas falls, and man with din and dint invadeth air:
The Golden Gates swing right and left; up springs the Sun with flamy brow;The dew-cloud melts in gush of light; brown Earth is bathed in morning-glow.
Slowly they wind athwart the wild, and while young Day his anthem swells,Sad falls upon my yearning ear the tinkling of the Camel-bells:
Oer fiery wastes and frozen wold, oer horrid hill and gloomy glen,The home of grisly beast and Ghoul,* the haunts of wilder, grislier men;
* The Demon of the Desert.
With the brief gladness of the Palms, that tower and sway oer seething plain,Fraught with the thoughts of rustling shade, and welling spring, and rushing rain;
With the short solace of the ridge, by gentle zephyrs played upon,Whose breezy head and bosky side front seas of cooly celadon;
Tis theirs to pass with joy and hope, whose souls shall ever thrill and fillDreams of the Birthplace and the Tomb, visions of Allahs Holy Hill.*
* Arafât, near Mecca.
But we? Another shift of scene, another pang to rack the heart;Why meet we on the bridge of Time to change one greeting and to part?
We meet to part; yet asks my sprite, Part we to meet? Ah! is it so?Mans fancy-made Omniscience knows, who made Omniscience nought can know.
Why must we meet, why must we part, why must we bear this yoke of MUST,Without our leave or askt or given, by tyrant Fate on victim thrust?
That Eve so gay, so bright, so glad, this Morn so dim, and sad, and grey;Strange that lifes Registrar should write this day a day, that day a day!
Mine eyes, my brain, my heart, are sad, sad is the very core of me;All wearies, changes, passes, ends; alas! the Birthdays injury!
Friends of my youth, a last adieu! haply some day we meet again;Yet neer the self-same men shall meet; the years shall make us other men:
The light of morn has grown to noon, has paled with eve, and now farewell!Go, vanish from my Life as dies the tinkling of the Camels bell.II
In these drear wastes of sea-born land, these wilds where none may dwell but He,What visionary Pasts revive, what process of the Years we see:
Gazing beyond the thin blue line that rims the far horizon-ring,Our saddend sight why haunt these ghosts, whence do these spectral shadows spring...?