Page:The Corsair (Byron).djvu/51

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37
THE CORSAIR.


He sate him down in silence, and his look
Resumed the calmness which before forsook:
The feast was usher'd in—but sumptuous fare
He shunn'd as if some poison mingled there.
For one so long condemn'd to toil and fast, 720
Methinks he strangely spares the rich repast.
"What ails thee, Dervise? eat—dost thou suppose
"This feast a Christian's? or my friends thy foes?
"Why dost thou shun the salt? that sacred pledge,
"Which, once partaken, blunts the sabre's edge,
"Makes even contending tribes in peace unite,
"And hated hosts seem brethren to the sight!"


"Salt seasons dainties—and my food is still
"The humblest root, my drink the simplest rill;
"And my stern vow and order's6 laws oppose 730
"To break or mingle bread with friends or foes;
"It may seem strange—if there be aught to dread
"That peril rests upon my single head;
"But for thy sway—nay more—thy Sultan's throne,
"I taste nor bread nor banquet—save alone;