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And here she summoned Baba, and required
Don Juan at his hands, and information Of what had past since all the slaves retired,
And whether he had occupied their station; If matters had been managed as desired,
And his disguise with due consideration Kept up; and above all, the where and how He had passed the night, was what she wished to know.
Baba, with some embarrassment, replied
To this long catechism of questions asked
His best to obey in what he had been tasked;
Which hesitation more betrayed than masqued;—
Gulbeyaz was no model of true patience,
Nor much disposed to wait in word or deed: She liked quick answers in all conversations;
And when she saw him stumbling like a steed In his replies, she puzzled him for fresh ones;
And as his speech grew still more broken-kneed, Her cheek began to flush, her eyes to sparkle, And her proud brow's blue veins to swell and darkle.
When Baba saw these symptoms, which he knew
To bode him no great good, he deprecated Her anger, and beseech'd she'd hear him through
He could not help the thing which he related. Then out it came at length, that to Dudù
Juan was given in charge, as hath been stated; But not by Baba's fault, he said, and swore on The holy camel's hump, besides the koran.
The chief dame of the Oda, upon whom
The discipline of the whole haram bore, As soon as they re-entered their own room,
For Baba's function stopt short at the door, Had settled all; nor could he then
(The aforesaid Baba) just then to do more, Without exciting such suspicion as Might make the matter still worse than it was.
He hoped, indeed he thought, he could be sure
Juan had not betrayed himself; in fact 'T was certain that his conduct had been pure,
Because a foolish or imprudent act Would not alone have made him insecure,
But ended in his being found out and sacked, And thrown into the sea.—Thus Baba spoke Of all save Dudù's dream, which was no joke.
This he discreetly kept in the back-ground,
And talked away and might have talked till now, For any further answer that he found,
So deep an anguish wrung Galbeyaz' brow;
As if she had received a sudden blow,
Although she was not of the fainting sort,
Baba thought she would faint, but there he erredIt was but a convulsion, which though short
Can never be described; we all have heard, And some of us have felt thus all amort,
When things beyond the common have occurred;Gulbeyaz proved in that brief agony What she could ne'er express—then how should I?
She stood a moment as a Pythoness
Stands on her tripod, agonized, and full Of inspiration gathered from distress,
When all the heart-strings like wild horses pull The heart asunder;—then, as more or less
Their speed abated or their strength grew dull, She sunk down on her seat by slow degrees, And bowed her throbbing head o'er trembling knees.
Her face declined and was unseen; her hair
Fell in long tresses like the weeping willow,
Or rather sofa (for it was all pillow,
Stirred up and down her bosom like a billow, , Which rushes to some shore whose shingles check Its farther course, but must receive its wreck.
Her head hung down, and her long hair in stooping
Concealed her features better than a veil; And one hand o'er the ottoman lay drooping,
White, waxen, and as alabaster pale;
All that a poet drags into detail!
Baba, who knew by experience when to talk
And when to hold its tongue, now held it till This passion might blow o'er, nor dared to baulk
Gulbeyaz' taciturn or speaking will. At length she rose up, and began to walk
Slowly along the room, but silent still, And her brow cleared, but not her troubled
eye; The wind was down, but still the sea ran high.
She stopt, and raised her head to speak—but paused,
And then moved on again with rapid pace; Then slackened it, which is the march most caused
By deep emotion :-you may sometimes trace
By Sallust in his Catiline, who, chased
Gulbeyaz stopped and beckoned Baba :-«Slave!
Bring the two slaves!» she said in a low tone, But one which Baba did not like to brave,
And yet he shuddered, and seemed rather prone To prove reluctant, and begged leave to crave
(Though he well knew the meaning) to be shown What slaves her highness wished to indicate, For fear of any error, like the late.
« The Georgian and her paramour,» replied
The imperial bride—and added, « Let the boat Be ready by the secret portal's side :
You know the rest. » The words stuck in her throat, Despite her injured love and fiery pride;
And of this Baba willingly took note,