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قراءة كتاب Akra the Slave

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‏اللغة: English
Akra the Slave

Akra the Slave

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

scarce-baffled slumber,

Or, maybe, some unsleeping priest of Bel,
A lonely warder of eternity,
Who watches on the temple's seventh stage,
With the unslumbering gods.
Yet, may not she, the Queen,
Whose beauty, slaying my body,
Brings my soul to immortal birth,
Although she does not know
Of my last vigil on the peak of life--
Yet, may not she awaken, troubled
By strange, bewildering dreams,
With heart a little fearful of the dawn
Of day, yet unrevealed?
There is no sound at all,
Save only the cool plashing
Of fountains in the courtyard
Without my lonely cell:
For fate has granted to me
This last, least consolation of sweet sound
Though in the plains I perish,
I shall hear the noise of waters,
The noise of running waters,
As I die.
My earliest lullaby shall sing
My heart again to slumber.
And, even now, I hear
Stream-voices, long-forgotten, calling me
Back to the hills of home;
And, dreaming, I remember
The little yellow brooks
That ever, day and night,
Gush down the mountains singing,
Singing by the caves:
And hearkening unto them,
Once more a tiny baby,
A wee brown fist I dabble
In the foaming cool,
Frothing round my wrist,
Spurting up my arm,
Spraying my warm face;
And then again I chuckle,
As I see an empty gourd,
Fallen in the swirling waters,
Bobbing on the tawny eddies,
Swiftly out of sight.
And yet most clearly to remembrance comes
That far-off night, in early Spring,
When, loud with melted snow from Northern peaks,
The torrent roared and fretted;
While, couched within the cavern,
The clamour kept me wakeful;
And, even when I slept,
Tumbled, tumultuous, through my dreams,
And seemed to surge about me,
As the brawl of armèd men.
And once I sprang from slumber,
Hot and startled,
Dreaming that I felt
A warm breath on my cheek,
As if a jackal nuzzled me;
Or some dread, slinking foe
Made certain of my sleeping
Before he plunged the steel.
But nothing stirred within the glimmering cavern,
Where, all around me, lay my sleeping kindred;
And, when I stole without, with noiseless footsteps,
To rouse the smouldering watchfire into flame,
And cast fresh, crackling brushwood on the blaze,
I caught no glint of arms betwixt the branches,
Nor any sound or rumour, save
The choral noise of cold hill-waters,
Cold hill-waters singing,
Singing to the stars.
And so I turned me from the brooding night;
And, couched again upon the leopard-skins,
I slept, till dawn, in dream-untroubled sleep.
I woke to see the cold sky kindling red,
Beyond the mounded ash of the spent fire;
And lay, a moment, watching
The pearly light, caught, trembling,
In dewy-beaded spiders' webs
About the cave-mouth woven.
Then I arose;
And left my kindred, slumbering--
My mother, by my father,
And, at her breast, her youngest babe,
With dimpled fingers clutching at her bosom;
And, all around them, lying
Their sons and daughters, beautiful in sleep,
With parted lips,
And easy limbs outstretched
Along the tumbled bedskins:
And while they slumbered yet in shades of night,
I sprang out naked
Into eager dawn.
The sun had not yet scaled the eastern ridge:
And still the vales were hidden from my eyes
By snowy wreaths of swathing mist:
But, high upon a scar
That jutted sheer and stark,
In cold grey light,
There stood an antelope,
With lifted muzzle snuffing the fresh day;
When scenting me afar,
He plunged into the mist
With one quick, startled bound:
And, from the smoking vapour,
Arose a gentle pattering,
As, down the rocky trail,
The unseen herd went trotting
Upon their leader's heels.
And from the clear horizon
The exultant sun sprang god-like:
And on a little mound I stood,
With eager arms outstretched,
That, over my cold body,
The first warm golden beams
Of his life-giving light