Monday, November 24, 2014

The Regret and the Compassion.

The Regret Of The Ranee In The Hall Of Peacocks
By Laurence Hope

This man has taken my Husband's life
And laid my Brethren low,
No sister indeed, were I, no wife,
To pardon and let him go.

Yet why does he look so young and slim
As he weak and wounded lies?
How hard for me to be harsh to him
With his soft, appealing eyes.

His hair is ruffled upon the stone
And the slender wrists are bound,
So young! and yet he has overthrown
His scores on the battle ground.

Would I were only a slave to-day,
To whom it were right and meet
To wash the stains of the War away,
The dust from the weary feet.

Were I but one of my serving girls
To solace his pain to rest!
Shake out the sand from the soft loose curls,
And hold him against my breast!

Have we such beauty around our Throne?
Such lithe and delicate strength?
Would God that I were the senseless stone
To support his slender length!

I hate those wounds that trouble my sight,
Unknown! how I wish you lay,
Alone in my silken tent to-night
While I charmed the pain away.

I would lay you down on the Royal bed,
I would bathe your wounds with wine,
And setting your feet against my head
Dream you were lover of mine.

My Crown is heavy upon my hair,
The Jewels weigh on my breast,
All I would leave, with delight, to share
Your pale and passionate rest!

But hands grow restless about their swords,
Lips murmur below their breath,
'The Queen is silent too long!' 'My Lords,
--Take him away to death!'

The Compassion Of The Captive In The Hall Of Peacocks
By Simon Bucher-Jones

Our hands moved, our swords moved, the heads they fell,
The Rajah and his kin,
We had reasons to rise up, as the tide to swell,
As the moonlight to begin.

Yet why does the Ranee look young and unsure,
Who should for her dead stand fast?
Does she think I cry mercy? Oh Allah, how pure,
Is this Matyrdom come at last?

Her hair is wing black as the raven’s core,
And by diamonds her wrists are bound,
So young! and yet she afrights me more,
Than scores on the battle ground.

Would I were only a man to-day,
To whom it were right and meet,
To wish for the life that must pass away,
- for oh, still, that life is sweet.

The rising was just, and the fighting was just,
But if it had been her head!
To be cut in a moment to lie in the dust,
Would my hand not have trembled and bled?

Have they such beauty around their Thrones?
Do tyrants still love and weep?
Would God that I were the senseless stones,
Through which my blood must seep.

I will not give in, I will not bow down,
Having neither strength to stand nor betray,
But oh, I would show you my war-torn town
To charm its pain away.

I would take you away from the Royal bed,
To the rivers sweeter than wine,
I would show you the poor who long envied the dead,
In your tombs with the golden shine.

Your Crown may be heavy upon your hair,
The Jewels weigh on your soul,
If your family had learned, with delight, to share
Their bodies would still be whole.

The Court is full of the cowards’ sly breath,
Like the jackals that turn on the weak,
'My Lords, --- Take him away to death!’
The words, she had to speak.

If I could only rise so she could see,   
Forgiveness and love in my eyes!
Oh Allah, let no maidens wait for me,
In hope she comes at last to paradise.

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