Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
 
To a Persian Manuscript
 
Ida O’Neil
 
 
BEHIND the high white wall
There is always a garden—
A lawn, close-clipped and pale,
Studded with flowers;
There they have placed a chair        5
For the happy guest,
And slim high-bosomed maidens
Bring flesh and figs and wine
In bowls of peacock blue.
 
Beyond the minaretted gate        10
Go elephants in caravan,
And horsemen ride through forest tracery
Of gold and flowers
To cities
Arched and white against the sky.        15
 
These are windows
Opening on a golden world—
Blooming-islands on a sea
Of dim, dust colored vellum,
While the ripples—        20
Painted rhythms,
Sable characters—
Bear challenge to the wit
More potent still
Than half-guessed imagery        25
Of illumined page.
 
And as the traveller without the wall
Divines with thirsty heart
The hidden flash of fountains,
So to me, among these silent books,        30
Is borne the cadence of a desert tongue,
And beauty blossoms here
Upon my knees.

  The Nation
 

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