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An Eastern Apologue Post by :wildlife Category :Poems Author :Austin Dobson Date :October 2011 Read :2153

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An Eastern Apologue

(To E. H. P.)


Melik the Sultan, tired and wan,
Nodded at noon on his divan.

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

Old YUSUF, sour and hard to please;
Then JAMIL sang, in words like these.

Slim is Butheina--slim is she
As boughs of the Araka 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!" YUSUF 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 JAMIL ceased. But still Life's page
Shows diverse unto YOUTH and AGE:

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

AN EASTERN APOLOGUE.--Page 43.

The initials "E. H. P." are those of the late eminent (and ill-fated) Orientalist, Professor Palmer. As my lines entirely owed their origin to his translations of Zoheir, I sent them to him. He was indulgent enough to praise them warmly. It is true he found anachronisms; but as he said these would cause no disturbance to orthodox Persians, I concluded I had succeeded in my little pastiche, and, with his permission, inscribed it to him. I wish now that it had been a more worthy tribute to one of the most erudite and versatile scholars this age has seen.


(The end)
Austin Dobson's poem: Eastern Apologue

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