Or do I dream — so fer from youth
And joy removed that dreams seem truth !
But such sad talking let us leave —
I promised thee a tale this eve."
"First from my hair these pearls unbind ;
Thou say'st they are of wealth untold ;
In the bazaars, couldst thou not find
One that for them would give me gold ? "
"Thou hast thy mother's heart, fond child !
But speak no more, thy thought is wild.
List to me, rather, while I tell
What once an Arab maid befell."
"Nay, Gerda ! but when late we passed
Where o'er the dead the aloe blooms,
While they beneath are sleeping fast —
Thou bad'st me mark, among the tombs,
One called the Christian lady's grave —
Now tell me, was she, too, a slave ? "