Leigh Hunt


Jaffár, the Barmecide, the good Vizier,

The poor man's hope, the friend without a peer,

Jaffár was dead, slain by a doom unjust;

And guilty Hàroun, sullen with mistrust

Of what the good, and e'en the bad, might say,

Ordained that no man living from that day

Should dare to speak his name on pain of death.

All Araby and Persia held their breath;

All but the brave Mondeer: he, proud to show

How far for love a grateful soul could go,

And facing death for very scorn and grief

(For his great heart wanted a great relief),

Stood forth in Bagdad daily, in the square

Where once had stood a happy house, and there

Harangued the tremblers at the scimitar

On all they owed to the divine Jaffár.

"Bring me this man," the caliph cried. The man

Was brought, was gazed upon. The mutes began

To bind his arms. "Welcome, brave cords," cried he;

"From bonds far worse Jaffár delivered me;

From wants, from shames, from loveless household fears;

Made a man's eyes friends with delicious tears;

Restored me, loved me, put me on a par

With his great self. How can I pay Jaffár?"

Hàroun, who felt that on a soul like this

The mightiest vengeance could but fall amiss

Now deigned to smile, as one great lord of fate

Might smile upon another half as great.

He said, "Let worth grow frenzied if it will;

The caliph's judgment shall be master still.

Go: and since gifts so move thee, take this gem,

The richest in the Tartar's diadem,

And hold the giver as thou deemest fit!"

"Gifts!" cried the friend; he took, and holding it

High toward the heavens, as though to meet his star,

Exclaimed, "This, too, I owe to thee, Jaffár!"