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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The Three Khalandeers
By James Clarence Mangan (1803–1849)
 
THE WAIL
La’ laha, il Allah!
Here we meet, we three, at length,
Amrah, Osman, Perizad:
Shorn of all our grace and strength,
Poor, and old, and very sad.        5
We have lived, but live no more;
Life has lost its gloss for us,
Since the days we spent of yore
Boating down the Bosphorus!
La’ laha, il Allah!        10
The Bosphorus, the Bosphorus!
Old time brought home no loss for us;
We felt full of health and heart
Upon the foamy Bosphorus!
 
La’ laha, il Allah!        15
Days indeed! A shepherd’s tent
Served us then for house and fold;
All to whom we gave or lent,
Paid us back a thousandfold.
Troublous years, by myriads wail’d,        20
Rarely had a cross for us,
Never, when we gaily sail’d
Singing down the Bosphorus.
La’ laha, il Allah!
The Bosphorus, the Bosphorus!        25
There never came a cross for us,
While we daily, gaily sail’d
Adown the meadowy Bosphorus.
 
La’ laha, il Allah!
Blithe as birds we flew along,        30
Laugh’d and quaff’d and stared about;
Wine and roses, mirth and song,
Were what most we cared about.
Fame we left for quacks to seek,
Gold was dust and dross for us,        35
While we lived from week to week
Boating down the Bosphorus.
La’ laha, il Allah!
The Bosphorus, the Bosphorus!
And gold was dust and dross for us,        40
While we lived from week to week
Boating down the Bosphorus.
 
La’ laha, il Allah!
Friends we were, and would have shared
Purses, had we twenty full.        45
If we spent, or if we spared,
Still our funds were plentiful.
Save the hours we pass’d apart,
Time brought home no loss for us;
We felt full of hope and heart        50
While we clove the Bosphorus.
La’ laha, il Allah!
The Bosphorus, the Bosphorus!
For life has lost its gloss for us
Since the days we spent of yore        55
Upon the pleasant Bosphorus!
 
La’ laha, il Allah!
Ah! for youth’s delirious hours,
Man pays well in after-days,
When quenched hopes and palsied powers        60
Mock his love-and-laughter days.
Thorns and thistles on our path
Took the place of moss for us,
Till false fortune’s tempest-wrath
Drove us from the Bosphorus.        65
La’ laha, il Allah!
The Bosphorus, the Bosphorus!
When thorns took place of moss for us,
Gone was all! Our hearts were graves
Deep, deeper than the Bosphorus.        70
 
La’ laha, il Allah!
Gone is all! In one abyss
Lie health, youth, and merriment!
All we’ve learnt amounts to this:
Life ’s a sad experiment!        75
What it is we trebly feel
Pondering what it was for us,
When our shallop’s bounding keel
Clove the joyous Bosphorus.
La’ laha, il Allah!        80
The Bosphorus, the Bosphorus!
We wail for what life was for us,
When our shallop’s bounding keel
Clove the joyous Bosphorus!
 
THE WARNING
La’ laha, il Allah!
        85
Pleasure tempts, yet man has none
Save himself t’ accuse, if her
Temptings prove, when all is done,
Lures hung out by Lucifer.
Guard your fire in youth, O friends!        90
Manhood’s is but phosphorus,
And bad luck attends and ends
Boatings down the Bosphorus!
La’ laha, il Allah!
The Bosphorus, the Bosphorus!        95
Youth’s fire soon wanes to phosphorus,
And slight luck or grace attends
Your boaters down the Bosphorus!
 
 
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