Against each prince now she had held her own,
An easy victor for the seven years
O'er kings and sons of kings; Eddetma, she
Who, when much sought in marriage, hating men,
Espoused their ways to win beyond their worth
Through martial exercise and hero deeds:
She, who accomplished in all warlike arts,
Let cry through every kingdom of the kings: -
"Eddetma weds with none but him who proves
Himself her master in the push of arms,
Her suitor's foeman she. And he who fails,
So overcome of woman, woman-scorned,
Disarmed, dishonored, yet shall he depart,
Brow-bearing, forehead-stigmatized with fire,
'Behold, a freedman of Eddetma this.'
Let cry, and many princes put to shame,
Pretentious courtiers small in thew and thigh,
Proud-palanquined from principalities
Of Irak and of Hind and farther Sind.
Though she was queenly as that Empress of
The proud Amalekites, Tedmureh, and
More beautiful, yet she had held her own.

To Behram of the Territories, one
Son of a Persian monarch swaying kings,
Came bruit of her and her noised victories,
Her maiden beauty and her warrior strength;
Eastward he journeyed from his father's court,
With men and steeds and store of wealth and arms,
To the rich city where her father reigned,
Its seven citadels by Seven Seas.
And messengered the monarch with a gift
Of savage vessels wroughten out of gold,
Of foreign fabrics stiff with gems and gold.
Vizier-ambassadored the old king gave
His answer to the suitor: - "I, my son,
What grace have I above the grace of God?
What power is mine but a material?
What rule have I unto the substanceless?
Me, than the shadow of the Prophet's shade
Less, God invests with power but of man;
Man! and the right beyond man's right is God's;
His the dominion of the secret soul -
And His her soul! Now hath my daughter sworn,
By all her vestal soul, that none shall know
Her but her better in the listed field,
Determining spear and sword. - Grant Fate thy trust;
She hangs her hand upon to-morrow's joust,
A prize to win. - My greeting and farewell."
Informed Eddetma and the lists arose.
Armored and keen with a Chorasmian mace,
Davidean hauberk came she. Her the prince,
Harnessed in scaly gold Arabian, met;
So clanged the prologue of the battle. As
Closer it waxed, Prince Behram, who a while
Withheld his valor, - in that she he loved
Opposed him and beset him, woman whom
He had not scathed for the Chosroƫ s' wealth, -
Beheld his madness; how he were undone
With shining shame unless he strove withal,
Whirled fiery sword and smote; the bassinet
Rushed from the haughty face that long had scorned
The wide world's vanquished royalty, and so
Rushed on his own defeat. For like unto
A moon gray clouds have caverned all the eve,
The thunder splits and, virgin triumph, there
She sails a silver aspect, vanquished so
Was Behram by his blow. A wavering strength
Swerved in its purpose; with no final stroke
Stunned stood he and surrendered; stared and stared,
All his strong life absorbed into her face,
All the wild warrior, arrowed by her eyes,
Tamed, and obedient to lip and look.
Then she on him, as condor on a kite,
Plunged pitiless and beautiful and fierce,
One trophy more to added victories;
Haled off his arms, amazement dazing him;
Seized steed and garb, confusion filling him;
And scoffed him forth brow-branded with his shame.

Dazzled, six days he sat, a staring trance;
But on the seventh, casting stupor off,
Rose, and the straitness of the case that held
Him as with manacles of knitted fire,
Considered, and decided on a way....

Once when Eddetma with a houri band
Of high-born damsels, under eunuch guard,
In the walled palace pleasaunce took her ease,
Under a myrrh-bush by a fountain side,
Where Afrits' nostrils snorted diamond rain
In scooped cornelian, one, a dim, hoar head, -
A patriarch mid gardener underlings, -
Bent spreading gems and priceless ornaments
Of jewelled amulets of hollow gold
Sweet with imprisoned ambergris and musk;
Symbolic stones in sorcerous carcanets,
Gem-talismans in cabalistic gold.
Whereon the princess marvelled and bade ask,
What did the elder with his riches there?
Who, questioned, mumbled in his bushy beard,
"To buy a wife withal"; whereat they laughed
As oafs when wisdom stumbles. Quoth a maid,
With orient midnight in her starry eyes,
And tropic music on her languid tongue,
"And what if I should wed with thee, O beard
Grayer than my great-grandfather's, what then?"
"One kiss, no more, and, child, thou wert divorced,"
He; and the humor took them till the birds,
That listened in the spice-tree and the plane,
Sang gayly of the gray-beard and his kiss.

Then quoth the princess, "Thou wilt wed with him
Ansada?" mirth in her two eyes' gazelles,
And gravity bird-nestled in her speech;
And took Ansada's hand and laid it in
The old man's staggering hand, and he unbent
Thin, wrinkled brows and on his staff arose,
Weighed with the weight of many heavy years,
And kissed her leaning on his shaking staff,
And heaped her bosom with an Amir's wealth,
And left them laughing at his foolish beard.

Now on the next day, as she took her ease
With her glad troop of girlhood, - maidens who
So many royal tulips seemed, - behold,
Bowed with white years, upon a flowery sward
The ancient with new jewelry and gems,
Wherefrom the sun coaxed wizard fires and lit
Glimmers in glowing green and pendent pearl,
Ultramarine and beaded, vivid rose;
And so they stood to wonder, and one asked
As yesternoon wherefore the father there
Displayed his Sheikh locks and the genie gems?
- "Another marriage and another kiss? -
What! doth the tomb-ripe court his youth again?
O aged, libertine in wish not deed!
O prodigal of wives as well as wealth!
Here stands thy damsel"; trilled the Peri-tall
Diarra with the raven in her hair,
Two lemon-flowers blowing in her cheeks,
And took the dotard's jewels with the kiss
In merry mockery.

Ere the morrow's dawn,
Bethought Eddetma: "Shall my handmaidens,
Teasing a gray-beard's whim to wrinkled smiles,
For withered kisses still divide his wealth?
While I stand idle, lose the caravan
Whose least is notable? - My right and mine -
Betide me what betides."...

And with the morn
Before the man, - for privily she came,
Stood habited as of her tire-maids
In humble raiment. Now the ancient saw
And knew her for the princess that she was,
And kindling gladness of the knowledge made
Two sparkling forges of his deep dark eyes
Beneath the ashes of his priestly brows.
Not timidly she came; but coy approach
Became the maiden of Eddetma's suite;
And humbly answered he, "All my old heart!" -
Responsive to her quavering request -
"The daughter of the king did give thee leave?
And thou wouldst well? - Then wed with me forth-right.
Thy hand, thy lips." So he arose and gave
Her of barbaric jewelry and gems,
And seized her hand and from her lips the kiss,
When from his age, behold, the dotage fell,
And from the man all palsied hoariness;
Victorious-eyed and amorous with youth,
A god in ardent capabilities
Resistless held her; and she, swooning, saw
Gloating the branded brow of Prince Behram.