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Monsoor Pacha by George H. Boker


Monsoor Pacha, it is pleasant to meet

Here, in the heart of this treacherous town—

Where faith is a peril and courtship a cheat,

More false to the touch than a rose overblown—

With a soul that is true to itself, as your own.

Monsoor Pacha, as two gentlemen may,

Civilized, city-bred, link we our hands:

Now from the town to the desert away!

Ours is a friendship whose spirit demands

The scope of the sky and the stretch of the sands.

Monsoor Pacha, doff your courtier's garb;

We have given to courtesy all of its dues;

Spring to your throne on the back of your barb,

Shake to the breezes your regal burnous,

Wave your lance-sceptre wherever you choose!

Monsoor, my chief! ah, I know you at length!

King of the desert, your children are come

To cluster, like sheep, in the shade of your strength,

Or to strike, like young lions, for country and home,

When your eyes are ablaze at the roll of the drum!

Monsoor, my chief! now one gallop, to see

The land you have sworn that no despot shall grind!

Though sun-tanned and arid, by Allah! 'tis free!

Its crops are these lances: these sons of the wind,

Our steeds, are its flocks—a grim harvest to bind!

Monsoor, my chief! how we dash o'er the sand,

Hissing behind us like storm-driven snow!

Flash the long guns of your wild Arab band,

Brandish the spears, and the light jereeds throw,

As, half-winged, through the shrill singing breezes we go!

Monsoor, my chief! send the horses away:

The sports of your tribe I have seen with delight.

Now let us watch while the rose-tinted day

Fades from the desert, and peace-bearing Night

Shakes the first gem on her brow in our sight.

Monsoor, my host! lo, I enter your tent,

As brother by brother, hands clasping, is led:

I sleep like a child in a dream Heaven-sent;

For have I not eaten the salt and the bread?

And Monsoor will answer for me with his head.


CONSTANTINOPLE, Jan. 10, 1875.