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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

II. Descriptive and Narrative

Hassan’s Mother

(From The Giaour)

THE BROWSING camels’ bells are tinkling:

His Mother look’d from her lattice high,

She saw the dews of eve besprinkling

The pasture green beneath her eye,

She saw the planets faintly twinkling:

“’Tis twilight—sure his train is nigh.”

She could not rest in the garden-bower,

But gazed through the grate of his steepest tower:

“Why comes he not? his steeds are fleet,

Nor shrink they from the summer heat;

Why sends not the Bridegroom his promised gift:

Is his heart more cold, or his barb less swift?

Oh, false reproach! you Tartar now

Has gain’d our nearest mountain’s brow,

And warily the steep descends,

And now within the valley bends;

And he bears the gift at his saddle bow—

How could I deem his courser slow?

Right well my largess shall repay

His welcome speed, and weary way.”

The Tartar lighted at the gate,

But scarce upheld his fainting weight:

His swarthy visage spake distress,

But this might be from weariness;

His garb with sanguine spots was dyed,

But these might be from his courser’s side;

He drew the token from his vest—

Angel of Death! ’tis Hassan’s cloven crest!

His calpac rent—his caftan red—

“Lady, a fearful bride thy Son hath wed:

Me, not from mercy, did they spare,

But this empurpled pledge to bear.

Peace to the brave! whose blood is spilt;

Woe to the Giaour! for his the guilt.”