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THE CONVERT OF THE HAREM.
Perchè sempre v'ho amato, ed amo molto,
Orl. Fur. Canto. 41.
ZARA. “ I sought thee ;—'t was to say · Forget!'
Loved, Selim, as thou wast, and art,
Without one word 't was hard to part.
" Words like these
Or he is far too quick to fear.”
“ Then must I speak the word again;
Farewell, dear Selim! it must be-
That links to guilt, though guilt with thee.”
Guilt,- guilt and Zara, didst thou say?
Now by the Prophet's holy shrine
So joined by any lips but thine.
My garden's rose, my bosom's wife ?
To prize, guard, worship thee through life?
The rarest birds, the brightest flowers,
Torn trembling from the craven Giaours,
Obey thee! at thy feet I throw
Beside thee with less lustre glow.”
“ Alas! and canst thou deem my soul
So snared by riches or by power,
Here, in my own, my Selim's bower?
Could wound thee in the mere delight
And waywardness of woman's pride?
Oh, deem not, dream not thus to-night!
Thy playmate in life's joyous spring,
Thou canst not think so vile a thing.
By day, by night, more deeply fair ;
Thou canst not banish, wilt not share.”
“ Ha! saidst thou ?-hath another sought
The love I fondly fancied won ?
Ay, name him!-Oh thou glorious Sun!
To-morrow on the hill grows dim;
Than those my hate shall wring from him!
It rose for him she dares not name.
To slay were mercy ;-Live in shame!”
" Oh no,-not thus! it is above
The torn heart's strength!-it was my fate,
Kind Heaven, I cannot bear his hate!
Nay, frown not with those looks of light;
Thou shouldst be still my friend, my brother ;
How should I ever love another?
For her loved minstrel on the bough
Than I for thee, dear Selim! now."
“ I wronged thee, gentle one! I sinned
Madly, to doubt thee!—it is past :
Sweet! thou wilt pardon,-yea, thou hast!
Are oaths from one by passion driven;
It is such joy to be forgiven.
Of parting, and a long farewell,
To brighter charm, and purer spell.
" Oh no, no;
It was the truth, the blessed truth!
In our sweet paradise of youth,
While still to us affection's fount
Ran fresh, and all its streams were bliss, I loved thee!-needs it to recount
By what fond arts I whispered this? I worked the turban for thy head,
The belt where hung thy virgin sword; I spread thy board with dates; I led
The charger to his laughing lord:
To mock the rebel Bey's Amaun,
In prayer for him at dusk and dawn.
Within my bower's most secret shade, A hymn upon my ear came stealing,
Whose tones, you might have thought them made By those unearthly lutes of gold
Of which our sinless childhood dreamed; And as I listened, oh ! how cold,
How faint my own devotion seemed. Strange was that song; it told of joy,
Of vanquished death, of ransomed sin, Of treasures which no worms destroy,
Of gates where sorrow comes not in; And then of One who lived in pain,
In poverty, in scorn, on earth, Though Prophet lips foretold his reign,
And Angel lyres proclaimed his birth.