This feast a Christian's? or my friends thy foes?
Why dost thou shun the salt? that sacred pledge,
Which, once partaken, blunts the sabre's edge,
Makes even contending tribes in peace unite,
And hated hosts seem brethren to the sight!"
"Salt seasons dainties—and my food is still
The humblest root, my drink the simplest rill;730
And my stern vow and Order's laws oppose
To break or mingle bread with friends or foes;
It may seem strange—if there be aught to dread
That peril rests upon my single head;
But for thy sway—nay more—thy Sultan's throne,
I taste nor bread nor banquet—save alone;
Infringed our Order's rule, the Prophet's rage
To Mecca's dome might bar my pilgrimage."
"Well—as thou wilt—ascetic as thou art—
One question answer; then in peace depart.740
How many?—Ha! it cannot sure be day?
What Star—what Sun is bursting on the bay?
It shines a lake of fire!—away—away!
Ho! treachery! my guards! my scimitar!
The galleys feed the flames—and I afar!
Accurséd Dervise!—these thy tidings—thou
Some villain spy—seize—cleave him—slay him now!"
But like a warrior bounding on his barb,
Up rose the Dervise with that burst of light,
Nor less his change of form appalled the sight:
Up rose that Dervise—not in saintly garb,750
- [Compare the Giaour, line 343, note 2; vide ante, p. 102.]
- The Dervises [Dervish, Persian darvesh, poor] are in colleges, and of different orders, as the monks.