An Eastern Apologue.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

(To E. H. P.)


Melik the Sultán, tired and wan,
Nodded at noon on his diván.

Beside the fountain lingered near
JAMÍL the bard, and the vizier--

Old YÚSUF, sour and hard to please;
Then JAMÍL sang, in words like these.

Slim is Butheina--slim is she
As boughs of the Aráka tree!

"Nay," quoth the other, teeth between,
"Lean, if you will,--I call her lean."

Sweet is Butheina--sweet as wine,
With smiles that like red bubbles shine!

"True,--by the Prophet!" YÚSUF said,
"She makes men wander in the head!"

Dear is Butheina--ah! more dear
Than all the maidens of Kashmeer!

"Dear," came the answer, quick as thought,
"Dear ... and yet always to be bought."

So JAMÍL ceased. But still Life's page
Shows diverse unto YOUTH and AGE:

And,--be the song of Ghouls or Gods,--
TIME, like the Sultán, sits ... and nods.

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