AND Ishmael crouched beside a crackling briar
Blinded with sand, and maddened by his thirst,
A derelict, though he know not why accursed.
And lo! One saw, and strung the dissonant lyre,
Made firm his bow unto the arrow's spire,
And gave him dates and wine. Then at the first
Flushings of dawn Ishmael arose, and burst
To triumphing freedom, ran, and eased desire.
His domain was the desert. None tamed him.
None bought or sold his spirit, though his hand
Dripped red against the dawn and sunset stain.
Thrones melted, kingdoms passed to the world's rim.
But Ishmael scourged the lion in Paran land,
And kept his faith with God. And he will reign.
- Herbert Edward Palmer
The riders of Babylon clatter forth
Like the hawk-winged scourgers of Azrael
To the meadow-lands of the South and North
And the strong-walled cities of Israel.
They harry the men of the caravans,
They bring rare plunder across the sands
To deck the throne of the great god Baal.
But Babylon's king is a broken shell
And Babylon's queen is a sprite from Hell;
And men shall say, "Here Babylon fell,"
Ere Time has forgot the tale.
The riders of Babylon come and go
From Gaza's halls to the shores of Tyre;
They shake the world from the lands of snow
To the deserts, red in the sunset's fire;
Their horses swim in a sea of gore
And the tribes of the earth bow down before;
They have chained the seas where the Cretans sail.
But Babylon's sun shall set in blood;
Her towers shall sink in a crimson flood;
And men shall say, "Here Babylon stood,"
Ere Time forgot the tale.
- Robert E. Howard
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