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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: 3

might fall.

And thus, awhile, I stood.
In radiant adoration tranced,
Until I caught the call of waters;
And, running downwards to the stream,
That plunged into a darkling pool,
Where, in the rock was scooped a wide, deep basin;
Upon the glassy brink,
A moment, I hung, shivering,
And gazing down through deeps of lucent shadow;
And then I leapt headlong,
And felt the cloven waters
Closing, icy-cold, above me,
And, again, with sobbing breath,
Battled to the light and air:
And I ran into the sunshine,
Shaking from my tingling limbs
Showers of scintillating drops
Over radiant, dewy beds
Of the snowy cyclamen,
And dark-red anemone,
Till my tawny body glowed
With warm, ruddy, pulsing life.
And then again I sought the stream,
And plunged; and now, more boldly,
I crossed the pool, with easy stroke;
And climbed the further crag;
And, turning, plunged again.
And so, I dived and swam,
Till pangs of hunger pricked
My idle fancy homeward:
And eagerly I climbed the hill;
When, not a sling's throw from the cavern,
Stooping to pluck a red anemone,
To prank the wet, black tangle of my hair,
I heard a shout;
And looking up,
I saw strange men
With lifted spears
Bear down on me:
And as I turned,
A javelin sang
Above my shrinking shoulder,
And bit the ground before me.
But, swift as light I sped,
Until I reached the pool,
And leapt therein:
And he who pressed most hotly on my heels,
Fell stumbling after.
Still I never slackened,
Although I heard a floundering splash,
And then the laughter of his comrades:
And, as I swam for life,
Betwixt my thrusting heels,
Another spear that clove the crystal waters
Glanced underneath my body,
And in the stream-bed quivered bolt upright,
Caught in a cleft of rock.
With frantic arm I struck
Straight as a snake across the pool,
And climbed the further bank;
And plunging through deep brake,
Ran wildly onward,
Startling as I went
A browsing herd of antelope,
That, bounding, fled before me down the valley
And after them I raced,
As though the hunter,
Not the hunted,
Until the chase sang in my blood,
And braced my straining thews.
I knew not if men followed,
Yet, on I sped, impetuously,
As speeds the fleet-foot onaga,
That breasts the windy morning,
With lifted head, and nostrils wide,
Exultant in his youth.
So, on and ever on,
Scarce knowing why I ran--
Enough for me to feel
Earth beaten back behind my heels,
And hear the loud air singing
The blood-song in my ears:
Till, stumbling headlong over
An unseen, fallen branch,
I rolled in a deep bed of withered leaves;
And lay, full-length in shuddering ecstasy
Of hot, tumultuous blood that rioted
Through every throbbing vein.
But when again, I breathed more easily,
And my wild, fluttering heart kept slower beat,
Hot-foot, my thoughts ran, wondering, backward:
And I arose and followed them
With swift and stealthy pace,
Until I reached the stream.
Along the bank I stole with wary step,
Until I came to where the waters
Narrowed, raging through a gorge,
Nigh the threshold of my home:
And across the thunderous flood,
From crag to crag I leapt:
And then I climbed a cedar,
From whose close ambush I could watch
Who came or went about the cavern-mouth.
I lay along a level branch:
And, through the thick, dark screen,
I peered with eager eyes:
But no one crossed my sight.
The whole land lay before me, drowsing
In deepest noonday slumber:
No twig stirred in the breathless blaze;
And underneath the boughs no serpent rustled:
And, in the earth and air,
Naught waked, save one lone eagle, nigh the sun,
With wings, unbaffled, beating
Up the blue, unclouded heavens.
A dreamless, suave security
Seemed brooding o'er the valley's golden slumber,
Whence rang or flashed no hint of lurking peril.
I dropped to earth,
And crouching low,