The Mameluke, by Madison Cawein

I

  She was a queen. 'Midst mutes and slaves,
  A mameluke, he loved her.——Waves
  Dashed not more hopelessly the paves
    Of her high marble palace-stair
    Than lashed his love his heart's despair.—
  As souls in Hell dream Paradise,
    He suffered yet forgot it there
  Beneath Rommaneh's houri eyes.

II

  With passion eating at his heart
  He served her beauty, but dared dart
  No amorous glance, nor word impart.—
    Taïfi leather's perfumed tan
    Beneath her, on a low divan
  She lay 'mid cushions stuffed with down:
    A slave-girl with an ostrich fan
  Sat by her in a golden gown.

III

  She bade him sing. Fair lutanist,
  She loved his voice. With one white wrist,
  Hooped with a blaze of amethyst,
    She raised her ruby-crusted lute:
    Gold-welted stuff, like some rich fruit,
  Her raiment, diamond-showered, rolled
    Folds pigeon-purple, whence one foot
  Drooped in an anklet-twist of gold.

IV

  He stood and sang with all the fire
  That boiled within his blood's desire,
  That made him all her slave yet higher:
    And at the end his passion durst
    Quench with one burning kiss its thirst.—
  O eunuchs, did her face show scorn
    When through his heart your daggers burst?
  And dare ye say he died forlorn?