In The Tents Of Akbar


In the tents of Akbar
  Are dole and grief to-day,
For the flower of all the Indies
  Has gone the silent way.

In the tents of Akbar
  Are emptiness and gloom,
And where the dancers gather,
  The silence of the tomb.

Across the yellow desert,
  Across the burning sands,
Old Akbar wanders madly,
  And wrings his fevered hands.

And ever makes his moaning
  To the unanswering sky,
For Sutna, lovely Sutna,
  Who was so fair to die.

For Sutna danced at morning,
  And Sutna danced at eve;
Her dusky eyes half hidden
  Behind her silken sleeve.

Her pearly teeth out-glancing
  Between her coral lips,
The tremulous rhythm of passion
  Marked by her quivering hips.

As lovely as a jewel
  Of fire and dewdrop blent,
So danced the maiden Sutna
  In gallant Akbar's tent.

And one who saw her dancing,
  Saw her bosom's fall and rise
Put all his body's yearning
  Into his lovelit eyes.

Then Akbar came and drove him—
  A jackal—from his door,
And bade him wander far and look
  On Sutna's face no more.

Some day the sea disgorges,
  The wilderness gives back,
Those half-dead who have wandered,
  Aimless, across its track.

And he returned—the lover,
  Haggard of brow and spent;
He found fair Sutna standing
  Before her master's tent.

"Not mine, nor Akbar's, Sutna!"
  He cried and closely pressed,
And drove his craven dagger
  Straight to the maiden's breast.

Oh, weep, oh, weep, for Sutna,
  So young, so dear, so fair,
Her face is gray and silent
  Beneath her dusky hair.

And wail, oh, wail, for Akbar,
  Who walks the desert sands,
Crying aloud for Sutna,
  Wringing his fevered hands.

In the tents of Akbar
  The tears of sorrow run,
But the corpse of Sutna's slayer,
  Lies rotting in the sun.

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.