Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
From “With Sa’di in the Garden.” I. Mahmud and Ayaz: A Paraphrase on Sa’Di
 
Sir Edwin Arnold (1832–1904)
 
 
THEY mock’d the Sovereign of Ghaznin: one saith,
“Ayaz hath no great beauty, by my faith!
  A Rose that ’s neither rosy-red nor fragrant,
The Bulbul’s love for such astonisheth!”
 
This went to Mahmud’s ears; ill-pleas’d he sate,        5
Bow’d on himself, reflecting; then to that
  Replied: “My love is for his kindly nature,
Not for his stature, nor his face, nor state!”
 
And I did hear how, in a rocky dell,
Bursting a chest of gems a camel fell;        10
  King Mahmud wav’d his sleeve, permitting plunder,
But spurr’d his own steed onward, as they tell.
 
His horsemen parted from their Lord amain,
Eager for pearls, and corals, and such gain:
  Of all those neck-exalting courtiers        15
None except Ayaz near him did remain.
 
The King look’d back—“How many hast thou won,
Curl’d comfort of my heart?” He answer’d “None!
  I gallop’d up the pass in rear of thee;
I quit thee for no pearls beneath the sun!”        20
 
Oh, if to God thou hast propinquity,
For no wealth heedless of His service be!
  If Lovers true of God shall ask from God
Aught except God, that ’s infidelity.
 
If thine eyes fix on any gift of Friend,        25
Thy gain, not his, is thy desire’s end:
  If thy mouth gape in avarice, Heaven’s message
Unto Heart’s ear by that road shall not wend.
 

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