The Imperial mandate to Pekin1
Hath summoned every Tartar lord ;2
The highest place to Temujin,3
Who hath only fifteen summers seen,4
The Tartars yield with one accord.5
Whence doth this froward youth derive,6
His title to this high degree,7
We deemed it our prerogative,8
Precedence, honours, rank to give :9
Who is the youth—whence cometh he ?”10
For valour, skill, and enterprise,11
This Mongol boy is more than man ;12
The foremost e’er where danger lies,13
Amid your routed enemies, —14
The Tartar nation hailed him Khan.”15
So young, yet held in such esteem,16
He quarries at high game, forsooth !17
His years such honours ill-beseem :18
Dissolve we his ambitious dream,19
This very night arrest the youth.”20
In the Durbar with studied phrase21
Of deep duplicity and guile,22
The Emperor bids his peers give place23
To the brave youth of Mongol race,24
And greets him with most winning smile.25
The court dismiss’d, the youth retires,26
His tents are pitch’d beyond the walls ;27
No confidence that smile inspires28
The flattery suspicion fires ;29
To council all his friends he calls.30
This is no place for Temujin,—31
Saddle my horse, I must away ;32
To-night I sleep not in Pekin,33
For as I read the hearts of men,34
That king smiles on me to betray.”35
Escaped ! Shall we be baffled thus,36
And by a beardless Mongol boy ?37
Leaves he the court unbid by us38
It is a treason dangerous ;39
The snake while young we must destroy.”40
Proclaim’d a rebel with a price.41
Set on his head, young Temujin42
For life across the desert flies.43
Far in the west Mongolia lies ;44
Long is the road to Kra-Kooren.45
A maiden at a cottage door46
Sits plying hard her spinning-wheel ;47
Weak, weary, press’d by hunger sore,48
A youth appears the maid before,49
And asks the modest boon—a meal.50
With ready hospitality51
The maiden shares her humble store,52
Prepares the mess of Tsamba tea,53
Which while he swallows greedily,54
A bed she spreads upon the floor.55
Now, rest,” she saith, “and I will sit56
And watch that danger come not near ;57
Thou hast not travell’d with such heat,58
But for a cause,—I ask not it :59
A brother thou while resting here.”60
She quits her spinning-wheel and flies61
To mount the watch-tower’s signal mast ;62
There scans th’ horizon with keen eyes,63
Till in the distant mist she spies64
A band of horsemen riding fast.65
She hurries back to warn her guest,66
Waking him up from heavy sleep :67
If danger thou imaginest,68
Under my cotton creep and rest,—69
In yon dark corner lies the heap.”70
The strangers come : “ Say, maiden, say,71
We seek the rebel Temujin,72
His horse we found not far away,73
A carcase of wild wolves the prey :74
Hast thou the Mongol traitor seen ?75
Two warriors appear to be searching a room. A third warrior is hiding behind a pile of cotton, out of view of the other two men. One of the warriors is sticking his spear through the pile of cotton, slicing the third man’s shoulder. In the background, the door to the room is opened; a number of men stand just outside. 1/2 page illustration contained within a single-ruled border.
A price is set upon his head,76
Who shelter give his fate will share ;77
Show us the youth, alive or dead,78
And for thyself when thou shalt wed,79
A princely dower we can spare.”80
Here at my door I sit and spin,81
As simple Tartar maid should do,82
I know not rebels from true men,83
And never heard of Temujin,84
Whom thus ye cruelly pursue.”85
Simple she seemeth, but acute,86
This youth she never would betray :87
Dismount, my men, and search the hut ;88
Words we should waste to little fruit,—89
Simple were we to trust her say.”90
Two spearmen from their saddles leap,91
And rudely rush the hut inside.92
Ah ! will they search that cotton-heap,93
God grant my weary guest escape !—94
The thought and feeling she must hide.95
Ye do me justice, sirs,” saith she,96
Nor young nor old would I betray ;97
And yet it is small courtesy98
To search the house of maid like me :99
Ye merit not to find your prey.”100
The searchers from the cottage door101
Appear alone—their search was vain :102
Adieu, we trouble thee no more.103
Mount ! men, the country round explore !”104
And off they scour across the plain.105
Now, rouse thee, Temujin ! and tell106
Why follow these thy trace so hot ?107
Ah ! there is blood !— all is not well ;108
Say, honour’d guest, how this befel,109
And yet the searchers found thee not.”110
I am indeed proscribed, proclaim’d,111
The persecuted Temujin ;112
But be not of thy guest ashamed,113
A rebel only because named114
Great Khan, unlicensed from Pekin.115
These men pursue from avarice,116
For greed of gold their search is keen ;117
Here nothing ’scaped their prying eyes,118
They probed your cotton—pierced me twice, —119
Still lay I motionless unseen.120
The wounds are slight and need no care ;121
But had they pierced my very breast,122
Death I had taken from their spear,123
And ne’er betray’d that I was here,124
Lest thou had suffer’d for thy guest.”125
Ah ! hath thy spirit such control126
O’er nature’s impulse under pain ?127
Then wert thou born mankind to rule,128
And hast indeed the noble soul129
That Tartars look for in their Khan.130
But rest thee now till close of day,131
Thy fortunes I have made my own ;132
This night my father’s trusty grey133
Shall speed thee onward on thy way :134
But ’tis not fit thou go alone.135
Myself will be the trusty guide,136
To lead thee by the surest path ;137
Nor will I quit thy honour’d side138
Till safe where Mongol friends abide139
Thou mayst defy the tyrant’s wrath.140
Then, as thou wilt, or send me back141
To sit and spin in this my home,142
Or let me follow in thy track,143
And with thy Mongol kin partake144
Thy glorious destiny to come.”145
Nay, maiden, I accept not so,146
The proffer of thy service tried ;147
Already life to thee I owe :148
If thou’rt content with me to go,149
Thou goest as my destined bride.”150
The hosts of China gather’d are,151
The emperor is at their head ;152
For freedom fights the brave Tartar,153
Roused to resistance and to war,154
By Temujin to battle led.155
Conquest on his young banner waits,156
Bright opens on him glory’s dawn ;157
From China to the Caspian gates,158
The proudest kings and greatest states,159
Yield to the mighty Jungeez Khan.160
And she, the desert-given bride,161
Who in the weary fugitive162
The germ of this career descried,163
Bravely she sits her lord beside,164
And glories in her place of pride ;—165
Long shall her fame in story live.166