The Vision of Hamid Ali






This came to him by night—the ganja burnt
To powder, and the City sunk in sleep.
Azizun of the Dauri Bagh; the Pearl;
And Hamid Ali of the Delhi Gate
Were present, when the Muezzin called to prayer
At midnight from the Mosque of Wuzeer Khan,
Drinking the ganja, drowsy with its fumes
Above the dying chillam. I, the Scribe,
Was with them and the words I write are true;
(Albeit Hamid spoke against the Twelve
And Islam and the Prophet. God is judge
Whether the ganja moved him or his soul.)

Azizun's anklets tinkled when she turned
In slumber; and the Pearl of Courtezans
Laughed softly at some fancy of her brain,
Born of the ganja. Hamid Ali lay
As dead upon the cushions by the door
For half a watch; and then he cried to me:—
"The thing is hopeless and an idle dream!
I saw it even now. O Moulvie! write!"
(Before the Perfect Flower had dulled our brains,
Azizun; Hamid Ali; I; the Pearl,
Spoke of the Prophet and the other Christ
Our rulers worship; and men's minds in Roum;
And whether Islam shall arise again
And drive the Christ across the Western sea
As people hold shall be in two more years,
When from the North the Armies of the North
Pour like the Indus and our rulers fly,
And Islam and the Sword make all things clean.)
I wrote—my brain was heavy with the drug:—
"The Mosque has fallen. Hamid Ali saw
The kashi on the gateways peel and flake;
The domes sink inwards and the minarets
Break at the base and crumble like the dust:
The wind uplifts in Sind and leaves again
No bigger than an ant-hill. It has fallen.
I, Hamid, saw and knew the meaning. Turn,
Turn ye to slumber. Fold your hands and sleep.
Ours was an idle dream." The Pearl laughed low:—
"I dreamt no dream but ye. My breasts are real;
My lips; my love, O Hamid! Nothing else,
Nor Islam nor the Prophet nor the Twelve.
Turn ye to slumber. Fold your hands and sleep."
And Hamid answered:— "Fold your hands and sleep
Not yet till ye have heard the vision. Write!"
(I wrote and marvelled, as the Muezzin called.)
"Nor Islam, nor the Prophet, nor the Twelve,
Nor Christ, nor Buddha, nor the other gods
Avail us. Lo! The Mosque fell into dust;
And with it fell the Prophet and the Twelve;
The Banner and the Crescent rang below,
And with them fell the Cross, the Wheel, the Flowers;
Parvati broken at the waist, and He,
The calm-eyed Buddha, handless, crushed and maimed.
The Priests with these. I, Hamid, saw them fall
And knew our dream was hopeless. Never more
The Banner or the Cross will lift themselves.
(Write, Moulvie) Underneath the Seven Stars,
Blood red and golden, to the dark plain's verge
There swept the sharp edge of a monstrous sword
That lit the firmament as does the sun;
And blood was falling from the haft and point;
And where it fell the Mosques of all the lands
Fell also, burnt with fire; and the Priests
Cried to the Heavens that their gods were dead,
And none remained to feed their ministers
Or tend the altars; and the great sword fell
Above Mahomet and the other men,
And broke into ten thousand drops of blood
Before it faded and I woke to you,
Azizun and the Pearl. I, Hamid, saw
And read the meaning of the vision!"
Soft
The anklets tinkled as Azizun woke
Then Hamid hollow-eyed rose from the couch
And staggered doorward—but the Pearl withstood
And only laughed:—"Oh, Hamid, will you take
Me for your Prophet if I read the dream?"
And Hamid answered;—"Surely. It is writ"—
Whereat the Pearl laughed louder:—"Is it writ?
Who wrote, and wherefore? Let the vision go,
For I at least am real".
Then the dawn ...
Swept like a sea into the gully. I,
Still heavy with the ganja, held my peace
And marvelled that a man should so blaspheme ....
God grant it was the ganja. Otherwise
Hamid is lost for ever, with the Pearl.