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PEARLS OF THE FAITH: 4. AL-MALIK, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: The sultan of damascus found asleep
Last Line: "we praise thee, ""mâlik,"" king of kings."
Variant Title(s): The Sultan And The Potter
Subject(s): God; Islam

Call Him "Al-Mâlik," King of all the kings,
Maker and Master of created things.

The Sultan of Damascus found asleep
The potter Ebn Solûl,
And bore him to the palace, where he waked
In garments beautiful.

Consider! if a king should call thee "friend,"
And lead thee to his court,
Roofed large with lazulite, and pavemented
With flow'rs, on green floors wrought;

If he should bid thee sit at meat; and spread
A table, served so fine
There lacked not any pleasant food or fruit
But came at call of thine;

If he hung high a glorious golden lamp
To shine where thy feet tread;
And stretched black 'broidered hangings, sown with gems,
For curtains to thy bed;

If for thy heats he bade soft zephyrs blow;
Sent, at thy thirst, sweet rains;
And filled the groves with minstrels, gaily garbed,
To charm thee with their strains;

If, past the confines of his palace-grounds,
He showed thee spacious seas,
Where, wafted o'er the dancing foam, might sail
Thou and thine argosies;

If, for society in that fair place,
He gave glad companies,
Kinsmen and friends and helpmates, and the bliss
Of beauty's lips and eyes;

With wisdom's scroll to study, and the ways
Of wondrous living things;
And lovely pleasure of all ornaments
That Nature's treasure brings:

Coral and pearl; turkis and agate stones
Milk-white or rosy-veined;
Amber and ivory; jade; shawls wove with gold,
Scarfs with sea-purple stained;

If the king gave thee these, and only wrote,
Upon his inner door:
"Serve me and honor me and keep my laws,
And thus live evermore

In better bliss, when ye shall pass here by,—
As surely pass ye must:—"
Who is there would not praise that monarch's name
With forehead in the dust?

Lo! but He doeth this—Allah our King,
His sky is lazulite;
His earth is paved with emerald-work; its stores
Are spread for man's delight;

His sun by day, His silver stars by night,
Shine for our sakes, His breeze
Cools us and wafts our ships; His pleasant lands
Are girdled with the seas

Which send the rain, and make the crystal bridge
Whereby man roams at will
From court to court of Allah's pleasure house;
Seeing that writing still

Upon the inner gate—which all must pass—
"Love me and keep my laws
That ye may live, since there is greater life
Beyond these darkened doors."

If Ebn Solûl, the potter, loved Him not
Whose kindness was so strong;
If Ebn Solûl kept not the palace laws,
Had not that Sultan wrong?

Oh, Sovereign Giver of good things,
We praise thee, "Mâlik," King of kings.

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