When all the panes are hung with frost,
Wild wizard-work of silver lace,
I draw my sofa on the rug,
Before the ancient chimney-place.
Upon the painted tiles are mosques
And minarets, and here and there
A blind muezzin lifts his hands,
And calls the faithful unto prayer.
Folded in idle, twilight dreams,
I hear the hemlock chirp and sing,
As if within its ruddy core
It held the happy heart of Spring.
Ferdousi never sang like that,
Nor Saadi grave, nor Hafiz gay;
I lounge, and blow white rings of smoke,
And watch them rise and float away.
The curling wreaths like turbans seem
Of silent slaves that come and go,--
Or Viziers, packed with craft and crime,
Whom I behead from time to time,
With pipe-stem, at a single blow.
And now and then a lingering cloud
Takes gracious form at my desire,
And at my side my lady stands,
Unwinds her veil with snowy hands,--
A shadowy shape, a breath of fire!
O Love, if you were only here
Beside me in this mellow light,
Though all the bitter winds should blow,
And all the ways be choked with snow,
'Twould be a true Arabian night!
Next: MY AFTER-DINNER CLOUD.
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