Bayard Taylor - Poems of the Orient – El Khalil
Type of Spiritual Experience
Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi: an 8th-century Muslim scholar best known as the author of Kitab al-'Ayn. He is on the site.
A description of the experience
I AM no chieftain, fit to lead
Where spears are hurled and warriors bleed ;
No poet, in my chanted rhyme
To rouse the ghosts of ancient time ;
No magican, with subtle ken
To rule the thoughts of other men ;
Yet far as sounds the Arab tongue
My name is known to old and young.
My form has lost its pliant grace,
There is no beauty in my face.
There is no cunning in my arm,
The Children of the Sun to charm ;
Yet, where I go, my people's eyes
Are lighted with a glad surprise.
And in each tent a couch is free.
And by each fire a place, for me.
They watch me from the palms, and some
Proclaim my coming ere I come.
The children lift my hand to meet
The homage of their kisses sweet ;
With manly warmth the men embrace,
The veiled maidens seek my face,
And eyes, fresh kindled from the heart.
Keep loving watch when I depart.
On God, the Merciful, I call.
To shed His blessing over all :
I praise His name, for he is Great,
And Loving, and Compassionate ;
And for the gift of love I give —
The breath of life whereby I live —
He gives me back, in overflow,
His children's love, where'er I go.
Deep sunk in sin the man must be
That has no friendly word for me.
I pass through tribes whose trade is death,
And not a sabre quits the sheath ;
For, strong and cruel as they prove.
The sons of men are weak to Love.
The humblest gifts to them I bring ;
Yet in their hearts I rule, a king.