“Oh! the wine of the grape is a feeble ghost;
But the wine of the fight is the joy of a host.”
When Saad came home from the far pursuit,
He sat him down, and an hour was mute.
But at length he said: “Ah! wife, the fight
Had been lost full sure, but an arm of might
Sudden rose up on the crest of the war,
With its sabre that circled in rainbows afar,
Took up the battle, and drove it on—
Enoch sure, or the good St. John.
Wherever he leaped, like a lion he,
The fight was thickest, or soon to be;
Wherever he sprang, with his lion cry,
The thick of the battle soon went by.
With a headlong fear, the sinners fled;
We followed—and passed them—for they were dead.
But him who had saved us, we saw no more;
He had gone, as he came, by a secret door;
And strange to tell, in his holy force,
He wore my armour, he rode my horse.”
The lady arose, with her noble pride,
And she walked with Saad, side by side;
As she led him, a moon that would not wane,
Where Midjan counted the links of his chain!
“I gave him thy horse, and thy armour to wear;
If I did a wrong, I am here to bear.”
“Abu Midjan, the singer of love and of wine!
The arm of the battle—it also was thine?
Rise up, shake the fetters from off thy feet;
For the lord of the battle, are fetters meet?
Drink as thou wilt—till thou be hoar—
Let Allah judge thee—I judge no more.”
Abu Midjan arose and flung aside
The clanging fetters, and thus he cried:
“If thou give me to God and his decrees,
Nor purge my sin by the shame of these;
I dare not do as I did before—
In the name of Allah, I drink no more.”
They were parted at last, although
Each was tenderly dear;
As asunder their eyes did go,
When first alone and near.
’Tis an old story this—
A trembling and a sigh,
A gaze in the eyes, a kiss—
Why will it not go by?
I lay and dreamed. The master came
In his old woven dress;
I stood in joy, and yet in shame,
Oppressed with earthliness.
He stretched his arms, and gently sought
To clasp me to his soul;
I shrunk away, because I thought
He did not know the whole.
I did not love him as I would,
Embraces were not meet;
I sank before him where he stood,
And held and kissed his feet.
Ten years have passed away since then,
Oft hast thou come to me;
The question scarce will rise again,
Whether I care for thee.
To every doubt, in thee my heart
An answer hopes to find;
In every gladness, Lord, thou art,
The deeper joy behind.