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With action timing well the song,
His flagon flourished up in air,
The varlet of the isle so flung


His mad-cap intimation—there
Comic on Rolfe his eye retaining
In mirth how full of roguish feigning.
Ought I protest? (thought Rolfe) the man
Nor malice has, nor faith: why ban
This heart though of religion scant,
A true child of the lax Levant,
That polyglot and loose-laced mother?
In such variety he's lived
Where creeds dovetail into each other;
Such influences he's received:
Thrown among all—Medes, Elamites,
Egyptians, Jews and proselytes,
Strangers from Rome, and men of Crete—
And parts of Lybia round Cyrene—
Arabians, and the throngs ye meet
On Smyrna's quays, and all between
Stamboul and Fez:—thrown among these,
A caterer to revelries,
He's caught the tints of many a scene,
And so became a harlequin
Gay patchwork of all levities.
Holding to now, swearing by here,
His course conducting by no keen
Observance of the stellar sphere—
He coasteth under sail latteen:
Then let him laugh, enjoy his dinner,
He's an excusable poor sinner.
'Twas Rolfe. But Clarel, what thought he?
For he too heard the Lesbian's song
There by the casement where he hung:
In heart of Saba's mystery
This mocker light!—
But now in waltz


The Pantaloon here Rolfe assaults;
Then, keeping arm around his waist,
Sees Rolfe's reciprocally placed;
'Tis side-by-side entwined in ease
Of Chang and Eng the Siamese
When leaning mutually embraced;
And so these improvised twin brothers
Dance forward and salute the others,
The Lesbian flourishing for sign
His wine-cup, though it lacked the wine.
They sit. With random scraps of song
He whips the tandem hours along,
Or moments, rather; in the end
Calling on Derwent to unbend
In lyric.
“I?” said Derwent, “I?
Well, if you like, I'll even give
A trifle in recitative—
A something—nothing—anything—
Since little does it signify
In festive free contributing: