Part 7, Chapter 13

Part VII

Chapter 13

‘IT is the second watch, my lord.’

‘So soon! Have I slept? I feel fresh as an eagle. Call Scherirah, boy.’

‘’Tis strange I never dream now. Before my flight my sleep was ever troubled. Say what they like, man is made for action. My life is now harmonious, and sleep has now become what nature willed it, a solace, not a contest. Before, it was a struggle of dark passions and bright dreams, in whose creative fancy and fair vision my soul sought refuge from the dreary bale of daily reality.

‘I will withdraw the curtains of my tent. O most majestic vision! And have I raised this host! Over the wide plain, far as my eye can range, their snowy tents studding the purple landscape, embattled legions gather round their flags to struggle for my fate. It is the agony of Asia.

‘A year ago, upon this very spot, I laid me down to die, an unknown thing, or known and recognised only to be despised, and now the sultans of the world come forth to meet me. I have no fear. My destiny is not complete. And whither tends it? Let that power decide which hitherto has fashioned all my course.

‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem! ever harping on Jerusalem. With all his lore, he is a narrow-minded zealot whose dreaming memory would fondly make a future like the past. O Bagdad, Bagdad, within thy glittering halls, there is a charm worth all his Cabala!

‘Hah! Scherirah! The dawn is near at hand; the stars still shining. The air is very pleasant. To-morrow will be a great day, Scherirah, for Israel and for you. You lead the attack. A moment in my tent, my brave Scherirah!’