A Sultan among
those who over a language reign,
Who where the flocks are pastured, there stretches their domain,
Was sleeping on the hillside, his head laid on his arm,
When came to him a vision that did his spirit charm:
He saw the moon that nightly across the heavens ranged
Turn from her wonted journey and to a maiden changed,
He saw her glide towards him, with lovely downcast head,
And there was sorrow in her eyes; but spring bloomed at her tread;
While all the forest trembled, so wondrous war her grace,
And a thrill of silver ripples ran o 'ER the water's face.
A mist like sparkling diamonds that did the vision daze
Lay on the earth enchanted, a bright illumined haze,
While the sound of whispered music sang through that wonderland,
And o 'ER the starry heavens a midnight rainbow spanned...
Her hair in raven tresses about her shoulders fell,
And taking his hand in hers, she these grave words did tell:
"Let be our lives united, my pain let yours enfold
That through your sorrow's sweetness my sorrow be consoled...
Writ was it through the ages and all the stars record
That I shall be your mistress, and you shall be my lord."
Now, as the Sultan marvelled, softly she withdrew
And he felt as if within him a wondrous tree upgrew;
A tree that in an instant raised loftily its head
And to the far horizons its thrusting branches spread;
A tree of such a stature that even at midday
The farthest lands and oceans under its shadow lay.
While at the earth's four corners rose up against the sky
Atlas, Caucasus, Taurus and the Balkan mountains high;
The wide Euphrates, Tigris, the Nile, the Danube old,
its boughs protecting their mighty waters rolled.
Asia, Europe, Africa and the desert stretching far,
The boats that on the lakes and seas and on the rivers are,
Billowing, boundless cornfields that tossed emerald locks,
And shores, and ships, and harbours with castles on the rocks,
All these spread like a carpet his vision did embrace,
Country next to country set, and race to race...
All these as in a mist of silver did he see,
A vast extending kingdom 'neath the shadow of a tree.
The eagle that aspires the sky does dawdle not
With lazy wings, nor in among the branches squat;
And now a wind of conquest the ancient forest fills
And shouts of Allah! Allah! echo among the hills,
As though a rising tempest does over the ocean roar
The deafening clash of battle, the thunderous clang of war;
Till loudly does the forest to that great gale resound
And bow before new Rome its branches to the ground.
The Sultan then awakened to find the moon again
Her wonted place had taken above Eskishehr plain,
And sadly to the dwelling of Sheik Edebali turned
And through the windows bars a girlish form discerned,
More lithesome than a hazel, a maid who gravely smiled,
Sweet Malcatun the beautiful, Sheik Edebali's child.
And then it was he understood his dream sent by the prophet,
As though a moment he had gained the presence of Mahomet;
He knew that born of this his love would there an empire grow
Of which the tides and boundaries only the sky would know.
Now, as the eagle rises the Sultan's dream came true,
And year by year invincible that gathering kingdom grew,
And year by year the emerald flame flew higher in the blast
As generations came and went, and as each sultan passed;