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Sobbing: “O, Sheik, I cannot leave thee so;
I will repay thee; all this thou hast done
Unto that Ibrahim who slew thy son!”


"Take thrice the gold,” said Yussouf, “for with thee
Into the desert, never to return,
My one black thought shall ride away from me;
First-born, for whom by day and night I yearn,
Balanced and just are all of God's decrees;
Thou art avenged, my first-born, sleep in peace !"



Notes and Questions Where do you think the scene of To what tribes does the stranger

this poem was laid? Give the refer? reason for your answer.

What do you learn of Yussouf's What do you know of the habits character from the second and of people who live in tents ?

third stanzas? What virtues would men living in What emotions made the stranger's

this way most admireWhy? face “grand”? How do you think Yussouf had What do you suppose Yussouf's

won his title of “The Good ''f one black thought” had been To what does the stranger com How did he avenge his son?

When does Yussouf show himself What does the bending of the bow most noble ?

signify ?

pare himself

“prying day!

Words and Phrases for Discussion

enkindleth nobleness'
“for whom by day and night I yearn"


Sidney Lanier is a poet of the South who year by year appeals to a larger number of lovers of good literature. He was born in Georgia of Huguenot and Scotch ancestry and when only a small lad showed great talent and love for music. His mother encour

aged him in this, and from beginning with clapping bones it wag not long before he learned to play on the guitar, banjo, violin, and flute. On the Christmas when he was seven years old he was given a small one-keyed flute, and from that time on the flute became his favorite instrument. When he grew to manhood he became first flutist in the Baltimore orchestra. So passionately fond was he of music that he could scarcely decide between that and poetry as his choice for a profession.

He was graduated from a Georgia college at the age of eighteen, and in the following year, 1861, he enlisted in the Southern army. His younger brother, Clifford, of whom he was very fond, also enlisted, and when opportunities for promotion came to both they declined rather than be separated. They engaged in many battles, but Sidney Lanier found time, even during the war, to continue his study. In 1864 he was taken prisoner, while doing duty as a signal officer, and spent five months in Point Lookout prison. He came home from the hardships of war broken in health, so that from that time on his life was one fierce struggle against disease.

From the time when as a boy he spent hours in his father's library reading the tales of King Arthur, the stories of romantic chivalry were of absorbing interest to him. He understood and loved boys, for he had four of his own, and for these he has written “The Boy's Froissart,” “The Boy's King Arthur” and the "Knightly Legends of Wales.”

In 1879 he was appointed lecturer on English literature at the Johns Hopkins University, and his prospects were at last brightening when two years later he died. During the last seven years of his life, struggling ever with poverty and pain, he wrote his one volume of poetry. His poems show his great faith-indeed, his poem, “The Marshes of Glynn,” is religion set to music.



O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the vine,
While the riotous noonday sun of the June day long did shine
Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in mine;

But now when the noon is no more, and riot is rest,
5 And the sun is a-wait at the ponderous gate of the West,

And the slant yellow beam down the wood aisle doth seem
Like a lane into heaven that leads from a dream,-
Aye, now, when my soul all day hath drunken the soul of the oak,

my heart is at ease from men, and the wearisome sound of

the stroke 10 Of the scythe of time and the trowel of trade is low,

And belief overmasters doubt, and I know that I know,

And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within, That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of

Glynn Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore 15 When length was fatigue, and when breadth was but bitterness

And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain
Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,-
Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face

The vast, sweet visage of space.
20 To the edge of the wood I am drawn, I am drawn,
Where the gray beach glimmering runs, as a belt of the dawn,
For a mete and a mark
To the forest dark :-

So: 25 Affable live oak, leaning low,

Thus—with your favor—soft, with a reverent hand,
(Not lightly touching your person, lord of the land !)
Bending your beauty aside, with a step I stand
On the firm-packed sand,

30 By a world of marsh, that borders a world of sea.

Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shimmering band
Of the sand beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds

of the land.
Vanishing, swerving, evermore curving again into sight,

Softly the sand beach wavers away to a dim gray looping of light. 35 And what if behind me to westward the wall of the woods stands

high? The world lies east: how ample the marsh and the sea and the sky! A league and a league of marsh grass, waist-high, broad in the

blade, Green, and all of a height, and unflecked with a light or a shade,

Stretch leisurely off, in a pleasant plain, 40 To the terminal blue of the main. Oh, what is abroad in the marsh and the terminal sea ?

Somehow my soul seems suddenly free From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of sin, By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of

Glynn. 45 Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and

free Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea ! Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun, Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won

God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain 50 And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.

As the marsh hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God!
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the

skies :
55 By so many roots as the marsh grass sends in the sod

I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:
Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within

The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.

And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea 60 Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood tide must be:

Look how the grace of the sea doth go
About and about through the intricate channels that flow

Here and there,

Everywhere, 65 Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and the low-lying

And the marsh is meshed with a million veins,
That like as with rosy and silvery essences flow
In the rose-and-silver evening glow.

Farewell, my lord Sun!
70 The creeks overflow: a thousand rivulets run

'Twixt the roots of the sod; the blades of the marsh grass stir; Passeth a hurrying sound of wings that westward whir; Passeth, and all is still; and the currents cease to run;

And the sea and the marsh are one.
75 How still the plains of the waters be!

The tide is in his ecstasy;
The tide is at its highest height:

And it is night.
And now from the Vast of the Lord will the waters of sleep
80 Roll in on the souls of men,

But who will reveal to our waking ken
The forms that swim and the shapes that creep

Under the waters of sleep?
And I would I could know what swimmeth below when the tide

comes in 85 On the length and the breadth of the marvelous marshes of Glynn.


Notes and Questions What can you tell of the coastal At sunset what appealed more plain in Georgia 8

strongly to him What effect on the poet had the How does the poet account for his

"dusks of the oak” at noon? lack of fear of the marshes now!

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