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Poem by Edwin Arnold

With a Bracelet in the Form of a Snake

They tell of Arab maidens, who with singing low and sweet
Can tame the green and crested snake to cower at their feet,
And coil about them playfully in many a subtle fold,
Weaving them living bracelets, and chains of changing gold.

And they that Allah honours thus, through many rolling years
Can never taste of misery, shall never know of tears;
Unclouded loves and happy homes are theirs till life is past,
And a throne of flashing jewels in a Houri's heaven at last.

So may the serpent circle that I send thee ever be
A talisman of endless good, dear Emily, to thee;
In joy or sorrow, chance or change, one tale for ever telling,
How in a true unchanging heart thy memory is dwelling.

It will not lighten grief; but when the grief is hard to bear,
'Twill whisper low of one whose joy had been that grief to share:
It may not bring thee happiness like theirs, but yet the while
It may remind thee how I loved thy happy English smile.

I send thee not the ornament to do thy beauty grace,
Brighter that beauty could not be, nor fairer thy fair face;
Thou art too beautiful for gems, it is but as a sign
How thou hast tamed a tameless heart, how all my thoughts are thine.

When they are nigh whose souls to thee in worship never knelt,
Who know thee not as I have known, feel not as I have felt;
Then if it clasp thy rounded arm, and I am far from thee,
Oh! let its soft and constant touch plead silently for me.

Some other lips may speak with thee more eloquently low,
Some voices have a charm for thee which mine can never know;
It may be thus, yet sometimes let the thought come still and calm,
'My memory is in his heart, as his bracelet on my arm.' 

Edwin Arnold

Edwin Arnold's other poems:
  1. The Division of Poland
  2. The Rhine and The Moselle
  3. The Falcon-Feast
  4. The Alchemist
  5. The Marriage

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