The Slave, by Madison Cawein

  He waited till within her tower
  Her taper signalled him the hour.

  He was a prince both fair and brave.—
  What hope that he would love her slave!

  He of the Persian dynasty;
  And she a Queen of Araby!—

  No Peri singing to a star
  Upon the sea were lovelier….

  I helped her drop the silken rope.
  He clomb, aflame with love and hope.

  I drew the dagger from my gown
  And cut the ladder, leaning down.

  Oh, wild his face, and wild the fall:
  Her cry was wilder than them all.

  I heard her cry; I heard him moan;
  And stood as merciless as stone.

  The eunuchs came: fierce scimitars
  Stirred in the torch-lit corridors.

  She spoke like one who speaks in sleep,
  And bade me strike or she would leap.

  I bade her leap: the time was short:
  And kept the dagger for my heart.

  She leapt…. I put their blades aside,
  And smiling in their faces—died.