« AnteriorContinuar »
And yet the numbers crowded in his host
With cautious reverence from the outer gate, Slow stalks the slave, whose office there to wait, 655 Bows his bent head-his hand salutes the floor, Ere yet his tongue the trusted tidings bore: “A captive Dervise, from the pirate's nest “Escap'd, is here—himself would tell the rest." He took the sign from Seyd's assenting eye,
660 And led the holy man in silence nigh. His arms were folded on his dark-green vest, His step was feeble, and his look deprest; Yet worn he seem'd of hardship more than years And pale his cheek with penance, not from fears. 665 Vow'd to his God-his sable locks he wore, And these his lofty cap rose proudly o’er: Around his form his loose long robe was thrown, And wrapt a breast bestow'd on heaven alone; Submissive, yet with self-possession mann'd, 670 He calmly met the curious eyes that scann'd; And question of his coming fain would seek, Before the Pacha's will allow'd to speak.
“Whence com'st thou, Dervise ?"
“ From the outlaw's den, 675 "A fugitive”
“Thy capture where and when?” “From Scalanova's port to Scio's isle, 6 The Saick was bound; but Alla did not smile “Upon our course—the Moslem merchant's gains “ The Rovers won : our limbs have worn their chains. “ I had no death to fear, nor.wealth to boast, 681 “Beyond the wandering freedom which I lost; “At length a fisher's humble boat by night “ Afforded hope, and offer'd chance of flight: “ I seized the hour, and find my safety here- 685 “With thee-most mighty Pacha! who can fear?”
“How speed the outlaws ? stand they well prepared, “Their plunder'd wealth, and robber's rock, to guard ? “Dream they of this our preparation, doom'd “To view with fire their scorpion nest consumed ?" 690
“Pacha! the fetter'd captive's mourning eye “That weeps for flight, but ill can play the spy ; “I only heard the reckless waters roar, “Those waves that would not bear me from the shore; “ I only mark'd the glorious sun and sky, 655 "Too bright-too blue for my captivity;
" And felt—that all which Freedom's bosom cheers, “Must break my chain before it dried my tears. “This may'st thou judge, at least, from my escape, “ They little deem of aught in peril's shape; 700 “Else vainly had I pray'd or sought the chance “ That leads me here-if eyed with vigilance: 6 The careless guard that did not see me fly, “ May watch as idly when thy power is nigh: “Pacha!-my limbs are faint-and nature craves 705 “ Food for my hunger, rest from tossing waves ; " Permit my absence-peace be with thee! Peace “ With all around !-now grant repose-release.”
“Stay, Dervise! I have more to question-stay, “I do command thee-sit-dost hear?-obey! 710 “More I must ask, and food the slaves shall bring; “Thou shalt not pine where all are banqueting: "The supper done-prepare thee to reply, “Clearly and full-I love not mystery.”
'Twere vain to guess what shook the pious man, 715
The feast was usher'd in-but sumptuous fare He shunn'd as if some poison mingled there. For one so long condemn’d to toil and fast, 725 Methinks he strangely spares the rich repast. “ What ails thee, Dervise ? eat-dost thou suppose “This feast a Christian's? or my friends thy foes? “Why dost thou shun the salt? that sacred pledge, “ Which, once partaken, blunts the sabre's edge, 730 “Makes even contending tribes in peace unite, " And hated hosts seem brethren to the sight!"
“Salt seasons dainties—and my food is still " The humblest root, my drink the simplest rill; “ And my stern vow and order's (6) laws opposè 735 “To break or mingle bread with friends or foes; “ It may seem strange--if there be aught to dread, “That peril rests upon my single head ; “But for thy sway-nay more--thy Sultan's throne, “I taste nor bread nor banquet---save alone; 740 · Infringed our order's rule, the Prophet's rage “ To Mecca's dome might bar my pilgrimage."
“ Well-.-as thou wilt---ascetic as thou art...
“ Accursed Dervise!--- these thy tidings---thou 750 "Some villain spy--seize--cleave him--slay him now !"
Up rose the Dervise with that burst of light,