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The Bird of Time/Songs of Love and Death/An Indian Love Song

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An Indian Love Song

Written to an Indian tune

He:
Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O Love, from the night of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.

She:
How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading, how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel, a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face.
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.

He:
What are the sins of my race, Beloved, what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrine, and kine and kindred, what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies, of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow that sullied a bygone age.