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Henry Austin Dobson

(18 January 1840 – 2 September 1921 / Plymouth)

A Persian Apologue


Melek the sultan, tired and wan,
Nodded at noon on the divan.

Beside the fountain lingered near
Jamil the bard, and the vizier ---

Old Yusuf, cross and hard to please;
Then Jamil sang, in words like these:

Slim is Butheina -- slim is she
As boughs of the Araka-tree!

'Nay,' quoth the other, teeth between,
'Learn, if you will -- I call her lean.'

Sweet is Butheina -- sweet as wine,
With smiles that like red bubbles shine!

'True. -- by the Prophet!' Yusuf said.
'She makes men wander in the head!'

Dear is Butheina -- ah! more dear
Than all the maidens of Kashmeer!

'Dear,' came the answer, quick as thought,
'Dear . . and yet always to be bought.'

So Jamil ceased. But still Life's page
Shows diverse unto Youth and Age:

And, be the song of Ghouls or Gods,
Time, like the Sultan, sits . . and nods.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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