YE wanton KIDS that browse beside my bowers,
Sportive companions of my vacant hours,
That joyful follow where I love to stray,
That, doubly sweet, receive from ACHMED’s hand
The dewy branch, bedeck’d with flow’rets bland,
Breathing the fragrance of the new-born day.
Here, in assured tranquillity repose,
Here, dreadless of the fierce and hungry foes,
That o’er yon crags impel your sires to bound,
Or prowling thro th’ obscure of night, obtain
An aid that fearful vigilance in vain
Strives to elude:—but this is hallow’d ground.
Here but one steepy avenue remains,
By careful toil secured—this, ART maintains
With barriers that the WOLF’s approach defy:
The tender herbage then without a fear,
The fragrant thyme, the low-hung branches, here
Browse gaily—till obscures the evening sky.
Then shall the rock beside mine own retreat,
Yield to your slumbering hours a cavern’d seat,
A fold enshelter’d from the nightly dews:
There, while fierce whirlwinds o’er the desert sweep,
Or tempests rage around the lofty steep,
Shall sweet security a calm diffuse.
How blest the calm that ACHMED has enjoy’d,
A calm of PASSIONS, not that cheerless void
Which can at times absorb the sensual mind,
That from false friends and froward fortune gains
The respite of distaste—yet bears the chains
That unregenerate men ne’er leave behind.
Such will not, uncompell’d, these mountains range,
Nor quitting scenes of discord, seek to change
Their turbulence and cares for silent peace.
The greedy of the WORLD will far away
With POWER’s heaven-spurning vot’ries pass their day,
Where splendid wretchedness may find increase.
But why to you, sweet innocents! of these,
Of their dark councils, and detested ways,
That to the shrieking shades of ZACOUM* lead?
You ne’er saw cruelty without remorse
Exulting o’er a virtuous victim’s corse,
Mangled by treachery’s dirk—while Princes praised the deed.
With ACHMED, here remote from guile and crime,
’Mid rocks and woods—where NATURE reigns sublime,
And bloom the beauties of the lovely spring,
In harmless gay delight you pass your hours,
’Mid aromatic herbs and heathy flowers,
And where mild zephyr roves on wanton wing.
Blithe children of my care, whene’er I view
Your gambols, all my youthful hours renew.