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Of the hoofs of Iskander's steed, As forward he sprang with a bound.

Then onward he rode and afar,
With scarce three hundred

Through river and forest and fen,
O'er the mountains of Argentar;
And his heart was merry within,
When he crossed the river Drin,
And saw in the gleam of the morn
The White Castle Ak-Hissar,
The city Croia called,
The city moated and walled,
The city where he was born,
And above it the morning star.

Then his trumpeters in the van
On their silver bugles blew,
And in crowds about him ran
Albanian and Turkoman,
That the sound together drew.
And he feasted with his friends,
And when they were warm with wine,
He said : “ O friends of mine,
Behold what fortune sends,
And what the fates design!
King Amurath commands
That my father's wide domain,
This city and all its lands,
Shall be given to me again."

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Then to the Castle White
He rode in regal state,

And entered in at the gate
In all his arms bedight,
And gave to the Pasha
Who ruled in Croia
The writing of the King,
Sealed with his signet ring.
And the Pasha bowed his head,
And after a silence said :
“ Allah is just and great!

I yield to the will divine,
The city and lands are thine;
Who shall contend with fate?”

Anon from the castle walls
The crescent banner falls,
And the crowd beholds instead,
Like a portent in the sky,
Iskander's banner fly,
The Black Eagle with double head;
And a shout ascends on high,
For men's souls are tired of the Turks,
And their wicked ways and works,
That have made of Ak-Hissar
A city of the plague;
And the loud, exultant cry
That echoes wide and far
Is: “ Long live Scanderbeg !”

It was thus Iskander came
Once more unto his own ;
And the tidings, like the flame
Of a conflagration blown
By the winds of summer, ran,

Till the land was in a blaze,
And the cities far and near,
Sayeth Ben Joshua Ben Meir,

In his Book of the Words of the Days, 66 Were taken as a man

Would take the tip of his ear.”


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« Now that is after my own heart," The Poet cried ;

one understands Your swarthy hero Scanderbeg, Gauntlet on hand and boot on leg, And skilled in every warlike art, Riding through his Albanian lands, And following the auspicious star That shone for him o'er Ak-Hissar."

The Theologian added here
His word of praise not less sincere,

Although he ended with a jibe; « The hero of romance and song

Was born,” he said, “ to right the wrong;
And I approve ; but all the same
That bit of treason with the Scribe
Adds nothing to your hero's fame.”

The Student praised the good old times,
And liked the canter of the rhymes,
That had a hoofbeat in their sound;
But longed some further word to hear
Of the old chronicler Ben Meir,
And where his volume might be found.

The tall Musician walked the room
With folded arms and gleaming eyes,
As if he saw the Vikings rise,
Gigantic shadows in the gloom ;
And much he talked of their emprise,
And meteors seen in Northern skies,
And Heimdal's horn, and day of doom.

But the Sicilian laughed again ;
“ This is the time to laugh," he said,

For the whole story he well knew
Was an invention of the Jew,
Spun from the cobwebs in his brain,
And of the same bright scarlet thread
As was the Tale of Kambalu.

Only the Landlord spake no word ;
'T was doubtful whether he had heard
The tale at all, so full of care
Was he of his impending fate,
That, like the sword of Damocles,
Above his head hung blank and bare,
Suspended by a single hair,
So that he could not sit at ease,
But sighed and looked disconsolate,
And shifted restless in his chair,
Revolving how he might evade
The blow of the descending blade.

The Student came to his relief
By saying in his easy way
To the Musician : “ Calm your grief,
My fair Apollo of the North,
Balder the Beautiful and so forth;


Although your magic lyre or lute
With broken strings is lying mute,
Still you can tell some doleful tale
Of shipwreck in a midnight gale,
Or something of the kind to suit
The mood that we are in to-night
For what is marvellous and strange;
So give your nimble fancy range,
And we will follow in its flight.”

But the Musician shook his head ; “No tale I tell to-night,” he said,

While my poor instrument lies there,
Even as a child with vacant stare
Lies in its little coffin dead."

Yet, being urged, he said at last :
6. There comes to me out of the Past

A voice, whose tones are sweet and wild,
Singing a song almost divine,
And with a tear in

An ancient ballad, that my nurse
Sang to me when I was a child,
In accents tender as the verse;
And sometimes wept, and sometimes smiled
While singing it, to see arise
The look of wonder in my eyes,
And feel my heart with terror beat.
This simple ballad I retain
Clearly imprinted on my brain,
And as a tale will now repeat.'


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