’Wake, yon purple peaks arise,
Jagged, bare, through saffron skies;
Now is heard a twittering sweet,
For the mother-martins meet,
Where wet ivies, dew-besprent,
Glisten on the battlement.
Now the lark at heaven’s gold gate
Aiming, sweetly chides on fate
That his brown wings wearied were
When he, sure, was almost there.
Now the valley mist doth break,
Shifting sparkles edge the lake,
Love, Lord, Master, wake, O wake!’
Ay, he wakes,—and dull of cheer,
Though this queen be very dear,
Though a respite come with day
From th’ abhorred flight and fray,
E’en though life be not the cost,
Nay, nor crown nor honour lost;
For in his soul abideth fear
Worse than of the Khalif’s spear,
Smiting when perforce in flight
He was borne,—for that was night,
That his weird. But now ’t is day,
’And good sooth I know not—nay,
Know not how this thing could be.
Never, more it seemeth me
Than when left the weird to dree,
I am I. And it was I
Felt or ever they turned to fly,
How, like wind, a tremor ran,
The right hand of every man
Shaking. Ay, all banners shook,
And the red all cheeks forsook,
Mine as theirs. Since this was I,
Who my soul shall certify
When again I face the foe
Manful courage shall not go.
Ay, it is not thrust o’ a spear,
Scorn of infidel eyes austere,
But mine own fear—is to fear.’
After sleep thus sore bestead,
Beaten about and buffeted,
Featly fares the morning spent
In high sport and tournament.
Served within his sumptuous tent,
Looks the king in quiet wise,
Till this fair queen yield the prize
To the bravest; but when day
Falleth to the west away,
Unto her i’ the silent hour,
While she sits in her rose-bower.
Come, ‘O love, full oft,’ quoth she,
’I at dawn have prayed thee
Thou would’st tell o’ the weird to me,
Sith I might some counsel find
Of my wit or in my mind
Thee to better.’ ’Ay, e’en so,
But the telling shall let thee know,’
Quoth the king, ’is neither scope
For sweet counsel nor fair hope,
Nor is found for respite room,
Till the uttermost crack of doom.
Then the queen saith, ’Woman’s wit
No man asketh aid of it,
Not wild hyssop on a wall
Is of less account; or small
Glossy gnats that flit i’ the sun
Less worth weighing—light so light!
Yet when all’s said—ay, all done,
Love, I love thee! By love’s might
I will counsel thee aright,
Or would share the weird to-night.’
Then he answer’d ’Have thy way.