An Eastern Legend Versified,

From Alphonse de Lamartine’s Travels.

’Twas just when harvest-tide was gone,1
In Haroun’s golden days ;2
When deeds in love and honour done3
Were blest with royal praise :4
Two equal heirs of perch and rood,5
Two brothers, woke and said6
As each upon the other’s good7
Bethought him in his bed ;8
The elder spake unto his wife,9
Our brother dwells alone,10
No little babes to cheer his life,11
And helpmate hath he none :12
Up let us get, and of our heap13
A shock bestow or twain,14
The while he lieth sound asleep15
And wots not of the gain.”16
So up they gat, and did address17
Themselves with loving heed,18
Before the dawning of the day,19
To do that gracious deed.20
Now to the other, all unsought,21
The same kind fancy came ;22
Nor wist they of each other’s thought,23
Though moved to the same.24
My brother he hath wife,” he said,25
And babes at breast and knee ;26
A little boon might give him aid,27
Though slender boot to me.”28
So up he gat, and did address29
Himself with loving heed,30
Before the dawning of the day,31
To mate his brother’s deed.32
Thus played they oft their kindly parts,33
And marvelled oft to view34
Their sheaves still equal, for their hearts35
In love were equal too.36
One morn they met, and wondering stood37
To see, by clear daylight,38
How each upon the other’s good39
Bethought him in the night.40
So, when this tale to court was brought,41
The caliph did decree,42
Where twain had thought the same good thought,43
There Allah’s house should be !44