In Russia’s far-off lands (she said),
there was a city, like a bride,
Made prosperous by its king, who had
a daughter reared with love; a maid
Tall as the cypress, rosy-faced,
seductive, with enchanting eyes.
Her beauteous face the moon outstripped;
sweeter than sugar were her lips.
Her suitors all were dazed with awe;
sugar and candles to her bowed.
Her sweet, small mouth made sugar less
than the slim circle of her waist.
Musk envied her dark locks; the rose
was by her basil sweet brought low.
Her fresh face sweeter than the spring;
fairer than idols’ her colouring.
The narcissus languorous for her love;
the beauteous eglantine her slave.
Her stature like the cypress straight,
her face than any lamp more bright.
Rose-water kissed her feet; the rose
girded itself her slaves to serve.
Her beauty and sweet smile apart,
she wore the ornament of art.
She’d every mode of wisdom learned;
of every art a page had turned;
Perused all books of magic; read
of sorcery and all things hid.
How can one peerless in her time
agree to wed? And when her fame
Had spread throughout the world—that from
far Paradise a hourî’d come;
The sun and moon had born a child;
Venus had given her Mercury’s milk—
Each one’s desire for her was warmed;
From each side soft entreaties came.