“O lady!” he said, “’tis a
The Prophet himself might have rode a worse.
I felt beneath me his muscles’ play,
As he tore to the battle, like fiend, away.
I forgot him, and swept at the traitor weeds,
And they fell before me like broken reeds;
Dropt their heads, as a boy doth mow
The poppies’ heads with his unstrung bow.
They fled. The faithful follow at will.
I turned. And lo! he was under me still.
Give him water, lady, and barley to eat;
Then come and help me to fetter my feet.”
He went to the terrace, she went to the stall,
And tended the horse like a guest in the hall;
Then to the singer in haste returned.
The fire of the fight in his eyes yet burned;
But he said no more, as if in shame
Of the words that had burst from his lips in flame.
She left him there, as at first she found,
Seated in fetters upon the ground.
But the sealed fountain, in pulses strong,
O’erflowed his silence, and burst in song.
Of the vine
Is a feeble thing;
In the rattle
The true grapes spring.
Of the horse,
The arm flung abroad
The harvest of God.
Of the spear
Makes way for its blow;
And the faithless
The horse-hoofs below.
Round the breast,
Tosses sabres all red;
Is dumb to the dead.
From the top
To the sear heap below;
The infidels go.
Is the light
On the true-hearted breaking;
Bent for embraces,
Wait on his waking.
In his ears
The voice of the river,
Like a maiden,
Go wandering ever.
Of the vine
May lead to the gates;
But the rattle
Wakes the angel who waits.
Of the sword
Open it must;
Sits in the dust.
Of the gleams
Of their garments of white:
The maidens of light.
For the strong,
Who has burst through alarms,
Up, by the labour
Of stirrup and sabre,
Up to their arms.