THE SMOKE TRAVELLER.
When I puff my cigarette,
Straight I see a Spanish girl,--
Mantilla, fan, coquettish curl,
Languid airs and dimpled face,
Calculating, fatal grace;
Hear a twittering serenade
Under lofty balcony played;
Queen at bull-fight, naught she cares
What her agile lover dares;
She can love and quick forget.
Let me but my meerschaum light,
I behold a bearded man,
Built upon capacious plan,
Sabre-slashed in war or duel,
Gruff of aspect, but not cruel,
With strong beer a little fuddled,
Slow in love, and deep in books,
More sentimental than he looks,
Swears new friendships every night.
Let me my chibouk enkindle,--
In a tent I'm quick set down
With a Bedouin, lean and brown,
Plotting gain of merchandise,
Or perchance of robber prize;
Clumsy camel load upheaving,
Woman deftly carpet-weaving,
Meal of dates and bread and salt,
While in azure heavenly vault
Throbbing stars begin to dwindle.
Glowing coal in clay dudheen
Carries me to sweet Killarney,
Full of hypocritic blarney,--
Huts with babies, pigs, and hens
Mixed together, bogs and fens,
Shillalahs, praties, usquebaugh,
Tenants defying hated law,
Fair blue eyes with lashes black,
Eyes black and blue from cudgel-thwack,--
So fair, so foul, is Erin green.
My nargileh once inflamed,
Quick appears a Turk with turban,
Girt with guards in palace urban,
Or in house by summer sea
Slave-girls dancing languidly,
Bow-string, sack, and bastinado,
Black boats darting in the shadow;
Let things happen as they please,
Whether well or ill at ease,
Fate alone is blessed or blamed.
With my ancient calumet
I can raise a wigwam's smoke,
And the copper tribe invoke,--
Scalps and wampum, bows and knives,
Slender maidens, greasy wives,
Papoose hanging on a tree,
Chieftains squatting silently,
Feathers, beads, and hideous paint,
Medicine-man and wooden-saint,--
Forest-framed the vision set.
My cigar breeds many forms,--
Planter of the rich Havana
Mopping brow with sheer bandanna,
Russian prince in fur arrayed,
Paris fop on dress parade,
London swell just after dinner,
Wall Street broker--gambling sinner!
Delver in Nevada mine,
Scotch laird bawling "Auld Lang Syne."
Thus Raleigh's weed my fancy warms.
Life's review in smoke goes past,--
Fickle fortune, stubborn fate,
Right discovered all too late,
Beings loved and gone before,
Beings loved but friends no more,
Self-reproach and futile sighs,
Vanity in birth that dies,
Longing, heart-break, adoration,--
Nothing sure in expectation
Save ash-receiver at the last.
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