Oriental Romance I

Beyond lost seas of summer she
Dwelt on an island of the sea,
Last scion of that dynasty,
Queen of a race forgotten long. -
With eyes of light and lips of song,
From seaward groves of blowing lemon,
She called me in her native tongue,
Low-leaned on some rich robe of Yemen.

II

I was a king. Three moons we drove
Across green gulfs, the crimson clove
And cassia spiced, to claim her love.
Packed was my barque with gums and gold;
Rich fabrics; sandalwood, grown old
With odor; gems; and pearls of Oman, -
Than her white breasts less white and cold; -
And myrrh, less fragrant than this woman.

III

From Bassora I came. We saw
Her eagle castle on a claw
Of soaring precipice, o'erawe
The surge and thunder of the spray.
Like some great opal, far away
It shone, with battlement and spire,
Wherefrom, with wild aroma, day
Blew splintered lights of sapphirine fire.

IV

Lamenting caverns dark, that keep
Sonorous echoes of the deep,
Led upward to her castle steep....
Fair as the moon, whose light is shed
In Ramadan, was she, who led
My love unto her island bowers,
To find her.... lying young and dead
Among her maidens and her flowers.

Oriental Romance by Madison Julius Cawein