The Modern Book of French Verse, ed. Albert Boni (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920): 116-20. Internet Archive
1 Town, tower.
2 Shore, deep,
3 Where lower
4 Cliffs steep;
5 Waves gray.
6 Where play
7 Winds gay, --
8 All sleep.
9 Hark! a sound,
10 Far and slight,
11 Breathes around
12 On the night:
13 High and higher,
14 Nigh and nigher,
15 Like a fire
16 Roaring bright.
17 Now on 'tis sweeping
18 With rattling beat,
19 Like dwarf imp leaping
20 In gallop fleet:
21 He flies, he prances.
22 In frolic fancies,
23 On wave-crest dances
24 With pattering feet.
25 Hark, the rising swell,
26 With each nearer burst!
27 Like the toll of bell
28 Of a convent cursed;
29 Like the billowy roar
30 On a storm-lashed shore, --
31 Now hushed, now once more
32 Maddening to its worst.
33 O God! the deadly sound
34 Of the Djinns' fearful cry!
35 Quick, 'neath the spiral round
36 Of the deep staircase fly!
37 See, see our lamplight fade!
38 And of the balustrade
39 Mounts, mounts the circling shade
40 Up to the ceiling high!
41 'Tis the Djinns' wild streaming swarm
42 Whistling in their tempest-flight;
43 Snap the tall yews 'neath the storm,
44 Like a pine-flame crackling bright.
45 Swift and heavy, lo, their crowd
46 Through the heavens rushing loud,
47 Like a livid thunder-cloud
48 With its bolt of fiery night!
49 Ha! they are on us, close without!
50 Shut tight the shelter where we lie!
51 With hideous din the monster rout,
52 Dragon and vampire, fill the sky!
53 The loosened rafter overhead
54 Trembles and bends like quivering reed;
55 Shakes the old door with shuddering dread,
56 As from its rusty hinge 'twould fly!
57Wild cries of hell! voices that howl and shriek!
58The horrid swarm before the tempest tossed --
59O Heaven! -- descends my lowly roof to seek:
60Bends the strong wall beneath the furious host.
61Totters the house, as though, like dry leaf shorn
62From autumn bough and on the mad blast borne,
63Up from its deep foundations it were torn
64To join the stormy whirl. Ah! all is lost!
65 O Prophet! if thy hand but now
66 Save from these foul and hellish things,
67 A pilgrim at thy shrine I'll bow,
68 Laden with pious offerings.
69 Bid their hot breath its fiery rain
70 Stream on my faithful door in vain,
71 Vainly upon my blackened pane
72 Grate the fierce claws of their dark wings!
73 They have passed! -- and their wild legion
74 Cease to thunder at my door;
75 Fleeting through night's rayless region,
76 Hither they return no more.
77 Clanking chains and sounds of woe
78 Fill the forests as they go;
79 And the tall oaks cower low,
80 Bent their flaming flight before.
81 On! on! the storm of wings
82 Bears far the fiery fear,
83 Till scarce the breeze now brings
84 Dim murmurings to the ear;
85 Like locusts' humming hail,
86 Or thrash of tiny flail
87 Plied by the pattering hail
88 On some old roof-tree near.
89 Fainter now are borne
90 Fitful mutterings still;
91 As, when Arab horn
92 Swells its magic peal.
93 Shoreward o'er the deep
94 Fairy voices sweep,
95 And the infant's sleep
96 Golden visions fill.
97 Each deadly Djinn,
98 Dark child of fright,
99 Of death and sin,
100 Speeds the wild flight.
101 Hark, the dull moan,
102 Like the deep tone
103 Of ocean's groan,
104 Afar, by night!
105 More and more
106 Fades it now,
107 As on shore
108 Ripple's flow, --
109 As the plaint
110 Far and faint
111 Of a saint
112 Murmured low.
113 Hark! hist!
115 I list!
116 The bounds
117 Of space
118 All trace
120 Of sound.
RPO poem Editors:
Data entry: Sharine Leung