Poem: The World's Way by Anonymous

At Haroun's court it chanced, upon a time,
An Arab poet made this pleasant rhyme:

"The new moon is a horseshoe, wrought of God,
Wherewith the Sultan's stallion shall be shod."

On hearing this his Highness smiled, and gave
The man a gold piece. Sing again, O slave !

Above his lute the happy singer bent,
And turned another graceful compliment.

And, as before, the smiling Sultan gave
The man a Shekah. Sing again, O slave!

Again the verse came, fluent as a rill
That wanders, silver-footed, down a hill.

The Sultan listened, nodded as before.
Still gave the gold, and still demanded more.

The nimble fancy that had climbed so high.
Grew weary with its climbing by and by.

Strange discords rose, the sense went quite amiss;
The singer's rhymes refused to meet and kiss,

Invention flagged, the lute had got unstrung,
And twice he sang the song already sung.

The Sultan, furious, called a mute, and said:
"O Musta, straightway whip me off his head!"

Poets! not in Arabia alone
You get beheaded when your skill is gone.

First published in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 3 May 1887

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 10, 2010 9:29 AM.

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