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Normale Version: PARABLE SONNETS. (2)
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PARABLE SONNETS.
[Among the Bedouins a father in enumerating his children never counts his daughters,
for a daughter is considered a disgrace.]


1.

ILYAS the prophet, lingering 'neath the moon,
Heard from a tent a child's heart-withering wail,
Mixt with the sorrow of the nightingale,
And, entering, found, sunk in mysterious swoon,
A little maiden dreaming there alone :
She babbled of her father sitting pale
'Neath wings of Death 'mid sights of sorrow and bale
And pleaded for his life in piteous tone.
c Poor child, plead on,' the succouring prophet saith,
While she, with eager lips, like one who tries
To kiss a dream, stretches her arms and cries
To Heaven for help ( Plead on ; such pure love-breath,
Reaching the Throne, might stay the wings of Death
That, in the Desert, fan thy father's eyes.'


2.

THE drouth-slain camels lie on every hand ;
Seven sons await the morning vultures' claws ;
'Mid empty water-skins and camel-maws
The father sits, the last of all the band.
He mutters, drowsing o'er the moonlit sand,
Sleep fans my brow :"Sleep makes us all pashas" ;
Or, if the wings are Death's, why Azraeel draws
A childless father from an empty land.'
Nay,' saith a Voice, the wind of Azraeel's wings
A child's sweet breath hath stilled ; so God decrees ':
A camel's bell comes tinkling on the breeze,
Filling the Bedouin's brain with bubble of springs
And scents of flowers and shadow of wavering trees
Where, from a tent, a little maiden sings.
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