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In the honey-cells of his golden hive :
Never a prayer nor a cry nor a groan
Was heard from those massive walls of stone,
Nor again was the Kalif seen alive!
“When at last we unlocked the door,
We found him dead upon the floor;
The rings had dropped from his withered
His teeth were like bones in the desert sands;
Still clutching his treasure he had died ;
And as he lay there, he appeared
A statue of gold with a silver beard,
His arms outstretched as if crucified.”
This is the story, strange and true,
That the great captain Alau
Told to his brother the Tartar Khan,
When he rode that day into Kambalu
By the road that leadeth to Ispahan.
Sings the blackened log a tune
Learned in some forgotten June
From a school-boy at his play,
When they both were young together,
Heart of youth and summer weather ;
Making all their holiday.
And the night-wind rising, hark!
How above there in the dark,
In the midnight and the snow,
Ever wilder, fiercer, grander,
Like the trumpets of Iskander,
All the noisy chimneys blow!
Every quivering tongue of flame
Seems to murmur some great name,
Seems to say to me, “Aspire !"
But the night-wind answers, “Hollow
Are the visions that you follow,
Into darkness sinks your fire!"
Then the flicker of the blaze
Gleams on volumes of old days,
Written by masters of the art,
Loud through whose majestic pages
Rolls the melody of ages,
Throb the harp-strings of the heart.