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A poem by Charles Stuart Calverley

The Arab

Title:     The Arab
Author: Charles Stuart Calverley [More Titles by Calverley]

On, on, my brown Arab, away, away!
Thou hast trotted o'er many a mile to-day,
And I trow right meagre hath been thy fare
Since they roused thee at dawn from thy straw-piled lair,
To tread with those echoless unshod feet
Yon weltering flats in the noontide heat,
Where no palmtree proffers a kindly shade
And the eye never rests on a cool grass blade;
And lank is thy flank, and thy frequent cough
Oh! it goes to my heart--but away, friend, off!

And yet, ah! what sculptor who saw thee stand,
As thou standest now, on thy Native Strand,
With the wild wind ruffling thine uncomb'd hair,
And thy nostril upturn'd to the od'rous air,
Would not woo thee to pause till his skill might trace
At leisure the lines of that eager face;
The collarless neck and the coal-black paws
And the bit grasp'd tight in the massive jaws;
The delicate curve of the legs, that seem
Too slight for their burden--and, O, the gleam
Of that eye, so sombre and yet so gay!
Still away, my lithe Arab, once more away!

Nay, tempt me not, Arab, again to stay;
Since I crave neither Echo nor Fun to-day.
For thy HAND is not Echoless--there they are
Fun, Glowworm, and Echo, and Evening Star:
And thou hintest withal that thou fain would'st shine,
As I con them, these bulgy old boots of mine.
But I shrink from thee, Arab! Thou eat'st eel-pie,
Thou evermore hast at least one black eye;
There is brass on thy brow, and thy swarthy hues
Are due not to nature but handling shoes;
And the hit in thy mouth, I regret to see,
Is a bit of tobacco-pipe--Flee, child, flee!

[The end]
Charles Stuart Calverley's poem: Arab