Song out of Midian


First Reading

A Song out of Midian
by Robert E. Howard


These will I give you, Astair:
an armlet of frozen gold,
Gods cut from the living rock,
and carven gems in an amber crock,
And a purple woven Tyrian smock,
and wine from a pirate's hold.


Kings shall kneel at your feet, Astair,
emperors kiss your hand;
Captive girls for your joy shall dance,
slim and straight as a striking lance,
Who tremble and bow at your mildest glance
and kneel at your least command.


Galleys shall break the crimson seas
seeking delights for you;
With silks and silvery fountain gleams
I will weave a world that glows and seems
A shimmering mist of rainbow dreams,
scarlet and white and blue.


Or is it glory you wish, Astair,
the crash and the battle-flame?
The winds shall break on the warship's sail
and Death ride free at my horse's tail,
Till all the tribes of the earth shall wail
at the terror of your name.


I will break the thrones of the world, Astair,
and fling them at your feet;
Flame and banners and doom shall fly,
and my iron chariots rend the sky,
Whirlwind on whirlwind heaping high,
death and a deadly sleet.


Why are you sad and still, Astair,
counting my words as naught?
From slave to queen I have raised you high,
and yet you stare with a weary eye,
And never the laugh has followed the sigh,
since you from your land were brought.


Do you long for the lowing herds, Astair?
For the desert's dawning white?
For the hawk-eyed tribesman's coarse hard fare,
and the brown firm limbs that are hard and bare,
And the eagle's rocks and the lion's lair,
and the tents of the Israelite?


I have never chained your limbs, Astair;
free as the winds that whirl, Go if you wish.
The doors are wide,
since less to you is an empire's pride
Than the open lands where the tribesmen ride,
wooing the desert girl.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.