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Would not alone have made him insecure,
But ended in his being found out and sack’d, And thrown into the sea. (1)– Thus Baba spoke Of all save Dudù's dream, which was no joke.
This he discreetly kept in the back ground,
And talk'd away-and might have talk'd till now, For
any further answer that he found, So deep an anguish wrung Gulbeyaz' brow; Her cheek turn'd ashes, ears rung, brain whirl’dround,
As if she had received a sudden blow, And the heart's dew of pain sprang fast and chilly O’er her fair front, like Morning's on a lily.
Although she was not of the fainting sort,
Baba thought she would faint, but there he err'dIt was but a convulsion, which though short
Can never be described; we all have heard, And some of us have felt thus “ all amort," (2)
When things beyond the common have occurr'd;Gulbeyaz proved in that brief agony What she could ne'er express — then how should I?
She stood a moment as a Pythoness
Stands on her tripod, agonised, and full Of inspiration gather'd from distress,
When all the heart-strings like wild horses pull
(1) [See ante, Vol. IX. p. 200.]
Taming of the Shrew.]
The heart asunder;— then, as more or less
Their speed abated or their strength grew dull, She sunk down on her seat by slow degrees, And bow'd her throbbing head o'er trembling knees.
Her face declined and was unseen; her hair
Fell in long tresses like the weeping willow, Sweeping the marble underneath her chair,
Or rather sofa, (for it was all pillow, A low, soft ottoman,) and black despair Stirr'd
and down her bosom like a billow, Which rushes to some shore whose shingles check Its farther course, but must receive its wreck.
Her head hung down, and her long hair in stooping
Conceal'd her features better than a veil ; And one hand o'er the ottoman lay drooping:
White, waxen, and as alabaster pale:
All that a poet drags into detail !
Baba, who knew by experience when to talk
And when to hold his tongue, now held it till This passion might blow o'er, nor dared to balk
Gulbeyaz' taciturn or speaking will.
At length she rose up, and began to walk
Slowly along the room, but silent still,
She stopp'd, and raised her head to speak — but
paused, And then moved on again with rapid pace; Then slacken'd it, which is the march most caused
By deep emotion :- you may sometimes trace A feeling in each footstep, as disclosed
By Sallust in his Catiline, who, chased By all the demons of all passions, show'd Their work even by the way in which he trode. (1)
Gulbeyaz stopp'd and beckon’d Baba :—“ Slave!
Bring the two slaves !” she said in a low tone, But one which Baba did not like to brave,
And yet he shudder'd, and seem'd rather prone To prove reluctant, and begg'd leave to crave
(Though he well knew the meaning) to be shown What slaves her highness wish'd to indicate, For fear of any error, like the late.
(1) [“ His guilty soul, at enmity with gods and men, could find no rest; so violently was his mind torn and distracted by a consciousness of guilt. Accordingly his countenance was pale, his eyes ghastly, his pace one while quick, another slow ; indeed, in all his looks there was an air of distraction.” – SALLUST.]
“ The Georgian and her paramour,” replied
The imperial bride—and added, “ Let the boat Be ready by the secret portal's side :
You know the rest.” The words stuck in her throat, Despite her injured love and fiery pride;
And of this Baba willingly took note,
“ To hear is to obey,” he said ; “ but still, Sultana, think
consequence : It is not that I shall not all fulfil
Your orders, even in their severest sense; But such precipitation may end ill,
Even at your own imperative expense: I do not mean destruction and exposure, In case of any premature disclosure ;
“ But your own feelings. Even should all the rest
Be hidden by the rolling waves, which hide Already many a once love-beaten breast
Deep in the caverns of the deadly tideYou love this boyish, new, seraglio guest,
And if this violent remedy be triedExcuse my freedom, when I here assure you, That killing him is not the way to cure you.”
“What dost thou know of love or feeling?— Wretch!
Begone!” she cried, with kindling eyes—"and do My bidding !” Baba vanish’d, for to stretch
His own remonstrance further he well knew Might end in acting as his own “ Jack Ketch;"
And though he wish'd extremely to get through This awkward business without harm to others, He still preferr'd his own neck to another’s.
Away he went then upon his commission,
Growling and grumbling in good Turkish phrase Against all women of whate'er condition,
Especially sultanas and their ways; Their obstinacy, pride, and indecision,
Their never knowing their own mind two days, The trouble that they gave, their immorality, Which made him daily bless his own neutrality.
And then he call'd his brethren to his aid,
And sent one on a summons to the pair,
And above all be comb'd even to a hair,
Enquiries after them with kindest care: