BETA

Recollections of the Arabian Nights.

When the breeze of a joyful dawn blew free1
In the silken sail of infancy,2
The tide of time flowed back with me3
The forward-flowing tide of time ;4
And many a sheeny summer morn,5
Adown the Tigris I was borne,6
By Bagdat’s shrines of fretted gold,7
High-walléd gardens green and old ;8
True Mussulman was I and sworn,9
For it was in the golden prime10
Of good Haroun Alraschid.11
Anight my shallop, rustling through12
The low and blooméd foliage, drove13
The fragrant, glistening deeps, and clove14
The citron shadows in the blue :15
By garden porches on the brim,16
The costly doors flung open wide,17
Gold glittering through lamplight dim,18
And broidered sofas on each side :19
In sooth it was a goodly time,20
For it was in the golden prime21
Of good Haroun Alraschid.22
Often, where clear stemmed platans guard23
The outlet, did I turn away24
The boat-head down a broad canal25
From the main river sluiced, where all26
The sloping of the moonlit sward27
Was damask work, and deep inlay28
Of breaded blosms unmown, which crept29
Adown to where the waters slept.30
A goodly place, a goodly time,31
For it was in the golden prime32
Of good Haroun Alraschid !33
A motion from the river won34
Ridged the smooth level, bearing on35
My shallop through the star-stown calm,36
Until another night in night37
I entered, from the clearer light,38
Imbowered vaults of pillared palm,39
Imprisoning sweets, which, as they clomb40
Heavenward, were stayed beneath the dome41
Of hollow boughs.—A goodly time,42
For it was in the golden prime43
Of good Haroun Alraschid !44
Still onward ; and the clear canal45
Is rounded to as clear a lake.46
From the green rivage many a fall47
Of diamond rillets musical,48
Through little crystal arches low49
Down from the central fountain’s flow50
Fall’n silver-chiming, seemed to shake51
The sparkling flints beneath the prow.52
A goodly place, a goodly time,53
For it was in the golden prime54
Of good Haroun Alraschid !55
Above through many a bowery turn56
A walk with vary-coloured shells57
Wandered engrained. On either side58
All round about the fragrant marge,59
From fluted vase, and brazen urn60
In order, eastern flowers large,61
Some drooping low their crimson bells62
Half-closed, and others studded wide63
With disks and tiars, fed the time64
With odour in the golden prime65
Of good Haroun Alraschid !66
Far off, and where the lemon grove67
In closest coverture upsprung,68
The living airs of middle night69
Died round the bulbul as he sung.70
Not he : but something which possessed71
The darkness of the world, delight,72
Life, anguish, death, immortal love73
Ceasing not, mingled, unrepressed,74
Apart from place, withholding time,75
But flattering the golden prime76
Of good Haroun Alraschid.77
Black-green the garden bowers and grots78
Slumbered : the solemn palms were ranged79
Above, unwooed of summer wind.80
A sudden splendour from behind81
Flushed all the leaves with rich gold green,82
And flowing rapidly between83
Their interspaces, counterchanged84
The level lake with diamond plots85
Of saffron light. A lovely time,86
For it was in the golden prime87
Of good Haroun Alraschid !88
Dark blue the deep sphere overhead,89
Distinct with vivd stars unrayed,90
Grew darker from that under-flame ;91
So, leaping lightly from the boat,92
With silver anchor left afloat,93
In marvel whence that glory came94
Upon me, as in sleep I sank95
In cool soft turf upon the bank,96
Entrancéd with that place and time,97
So worthy of the golden prime98
Of good Haroun Alraschid.99
Thence through the garden I was borne100
A realm of pleasance, many a mound,101
And many a shadow-chequered lawn102
Full of the city’s stilly sound.103
And deep myrrh thickets blowing round104
The stately cedar, tamarisks,105
Thich rosaries of scented thorn,106
Tall orient shrubs, and obelisks107
Graven with emblems of the time,108
In honour of the golden prime109
Of good Haroun Alraschid.110
With dazéd vision unawares111
From the long alley’s latticed shade112
Emerged, I came upon the great113
Pavilion of the Caliphat,114
Right to the carven cedarn doors,115
Flung inward over spangled floors,116
Broad-baséd flights of marble stairs117
Ran up with golden balustrade,118
After the fashion of the time,119
And humour of the golden prime120
Of good Haroun Alraschid.121
The fourscore windows all alight122
As with the quintessence of flame,123
A million tapers flaring bright124
From wreathed silvers, look’d to shame125
The hollow-vaulted dark, and stream’d126
Upon the moonéd domes aloof127
In inmost Bagdat, till there seem’d128
Hundreds of crescents on the roof129
Of night new-risen, that marvellous time,130
To celebrate the golden prime131
Of good Haroun Alraschid.132
Then stole I up, and trancedly133
Gazed on the Persian girl alone,134
Serene with argent-lidded eyes135
Amorous, and lashes like to rays136
Of darkness, and a brow of pearl137
Tresséd with redolent ebony,138
In many a dark delicious curl,139
Flowing below her rose-hued zone ;140
The sweetest lady of the time,141
Well worthy of the golden prime142
Of good Haroun Alraschid.143
Six columns, three on either side,144
Pure silver, underpropped a rich145
Throne o’ the massive ore, from which146
Down drooped, in many a floating fold,147
Engarlanded and diapered148
With inwrought flowers, a cloth of gold,149
Thereon, his deep eye laughter-stirred150
With merriment of kingly pride,151
Sole star of all that place and time,152
I saw him—in his golden prime153
The Good Haroun Alraschid !154