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Hadramauti
by [?]


Who knows the heart of the Christian? How does he reason?
What are his measures and balances? Which is his season
For laughter, forbearance or bloodshed, and what devils move him
When he arises to smite us? I do not love him.

He invites the derision of strangers–he enters all places.
Booted, bareheaded he enters. With shouts and embraces
He asks of us news of the household whom we reckon nameless.
Certainly Allah created him forty-fold shameless.

So it is not in the Desert. One came to me weeping–
The Avenger of Blood on his track–I took him in keeping.
Demanding not whom he had slain, I refreshed him, I fed him
As he were even a brother. But Eblis had bred him.

He was the son of an ape, ill at ease in his clothing,
He talked with his head, hands and feet. I endured him with loathing.
Whatever his spirit conceived his countenance showed it
As a frog shows in a mud-puddle. Yet I abode it!

I fingered my beard and was dumb, in silence confronting him.
His soul was too shallow for silence, e’en with Death hunting him.
I said: ‘Tis his weariness speaks,’ but, when he had rested,
He chirped in my face like some sparrow, and, presently, jested!

Wherefore slew I that stranger? He brought me dishonour.
I saddled my mare, Bijli, I set him upon her.
I gave him rice and goat’s flesh. He bared me to laughter.
When he was gone from my tent, swift I followed after,
Taking my sword in my hand. The hot wine had filled him.
Under the stars he mocked me–therefore I killed him!

CHAPTER HEADINGS: THE NAULAHKA

We meet in an evil land
That is near to the gates of hell.
I wait for thy command
To serve, to speed or withstand.
And thou sayest, I do not well?

Oh Love, the flowers so red
Are only tongues of flame,
The earth is full of the dead,
The new-killed, restless dead.
There is danger beneath and o’erhead,
And I guard thy gates in fear
Of peril and jeopardy,
Of words thou canst not hear,
Of signs thou canst not see–
And thou sayest ’tis ill that I came?

This I saw when the rites were done,
And the lamps were dead and the Gods alone,
And the grey snake coiled on the altar stone–
Ere I fled from a Fear that I could not see,
And the Gods of the East made mouths at me.

* * * * *

Now it is not good for the Christian’s health to hustle the Aryan brown,
For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down;
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear: ‘A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.’

* * * * *

Beat off in our last fight were we?
The greater need to seek the sea.
For Fortune changeth as the moon
To caravel and picaroon.
Then Eastward Ho! or Westward Ho!
Whichever wind may meetest blow.
Our quarry sails on either sea,
Fat prey for such bold lads as we.
And every sun-dried buccaneer
Must hand and reef and watch and steer.
And bear great wrath of sea and sky
Before the plate-ships wallow by.
Now, as our tall bows take the foam,
Let no man turn his heart to home,
Save to desire treasure more,
And larger warehouse for his store,
When treasure won from Santos Bay
Shall make our sea-washed village gay.