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by [?]

“I swear by the Holy House, my head will I never wash
Till I filch his Pearl away. Fair dealing I tried, then guile,
And now I resort to force. He said we must live or die;
Let him die, then–let me live! Be bold–but not too rash!
I have found me a peeping-place; breast, bury your breathing while
I explore for myself! Now, breathe! He deceived me not, the spy!

“As he said–there lies in peace Hoseyn–how happy! Beside
Stands tethered the Pearl; thrice winds her headstall about his wrist;
‘Tis therefore he sleeps so sound–the moon through the roof reveals.
And, loose on his left, stands too that other, known far and wide,
Buheyseh, her sister born; fleet is she yet ever missed
The winning tail’s fire-flash a-stream past the thunderous heels.

“No less she stands saddled and bridled, this second, in case some thief
Should enter and seize and fly with the first, as I mean to do.
What then? The Pearl is the Pearl–once mount her we both escape.”
Through the skirt-fold in glides Duhl–so a serpent disturbs no leaf
In a bush as he parts the twigs entwining a nest; clean through,
He is noiselessly at his work; as he planned, he performs the rape.

He has set the tent-door wide, has buckled the girth, has clipped
The headstall away from the wrist he leaves thrice bound as before,
He springs on the Pearl, is launched on the desert like bolt from bow.
Up starts our plundered man; from his breast though the heart be ripped,
Yet his mind has the mastery. Behold, in a minute more,
He is out and off and away on Buheyseh, whose worth we know!

And Hoseyn–his blood turns flame, he has learned long since to ride,
And Buheyseh does her part–they gain–they are gaining fast
On the fugitive pair, and Duhl has Ed-Darraj to cross and quit,
And to reach the ridge El-Saban–no safety till that be spied!
And Buheyseh is, bound by bound, but a horse-length off at last,
For the Pearl has missed the tap of the heel, the touch of the bit.

She shortens her stride, she chafes at her rider the strange and queer:
Buheyseh is mad with hope–beat sister she shall and must,
Though Duhl, of the hand and heel so clumsy, she has to thank.
She is near now, nose by tail–they are neck by croup–joy! fear!
What folly makes Hoseyn shout, “Dog Duhl, Damned son of the Dust,
Touch the right ear and press with your foot my Pearl’s left flank!”

And Duhl was wise at the word, and Muleykeh as prompt perceived
Who was urging redoubled pace, and to hear him was to obey,
And a leap indeed gave she, and evanished for evermore.
And Hoseyn looked one long last look as who, all bereaved,
Looks, fain to follow the dead so far as the living may;
Then he turned Buheyseh’s neck slow homeward, weeping sore.

And, lo, in the sunrise, still sat Hoseyn upon the ground
Weeping; and neighbors came, the tribesmen of Benu-Asad
In the vale of green Er-Rass, and they questioned him of his grief;
And he told from first to last how, serpent-like, Duhl had wound
His way to the nest, and how Duhl rode like an ape, so bad!
And how Buheyseh did wonders, yet Pearl remained with the thief.

And they jeered him, one and all: “Poor Hoseyn is crazed past hope!
How else had he wrought himself his ruin, in fortune’s spite?
To have simply held the tongue were a task for boy or girl,
And here were Muleykeh again, the eyed like an antelope,
The child of his heart by day, the wife of his breast by night!”–
“And the beaten in speed!” wept Hoseyn. “You never have loved my Pearl.”