Yet grieve not that I grieve, Soul of the Sea—
What is my heart that thou shouldst comfort it
With wine or song, with smile or dance or wit?
Dust of thy threshold is enough for me.
Yea, I will kiss the dust beneath thy feet,
Nor ask to share the wine-cup in thy hand;
I am a slave, who waits on thy command,
And lo, a slave who finds his bondage sweet!
Last night I tossed upon my bed of pain;
The fever of thine absence, like a flame
Consumed my soul—aloud I called thy name,
And all the night thy Vision did remain.
I sleep no more; but not as merchants wake,
For thought of wealth’s poor baubles that are lost—
I care no more for barter, venture, cost—
My wakefulness is all for thy dear sake.
As through a rose-tree, sick with wintertide,
Is seen the surging spring’s new ecstasy,
So in my wasted body thou may’st see
The pulse of this great love thou hast denied.
I found thy comb, and, nestled there, a hair,
And that I kissed until my soul was dazed;
I found thy mirror, into which I gazed,
Seeking some shadow of thy beauty there.
To quench my love in other loves I sought,
And sang my song unto a kinder ear
With words that burn as scarlet embers sear—
The fairest slave in all the mart I bought.
‘O Turkish slave of mine, with jasmine face,
’Twas Allah’s hand that shaped thy dainty mouth,
Sweet breath from gardens of the flowered South,
’Tis thou hast robbed the leopard of his grace.
‘The year that thou wast born in Turkestan,
Rare were red rose-leaves for such lips as thine
That are so small, so delicate, so fine,
Yet may not match thy waist of slender span.’
I sang my song in praises of her eyes;
Alas! thy tresses wound about my soul—
I could not tear, could not their curls unroll—
I cried: ‘Thou only art my Paradise!’