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Suleiman and Roxanne


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My 93 year old mother recited an Oliver Wendell Holmes poem from her elementary school days, and I went to the 'net and found it. While there I casually looked for a love letter addressed to the Magnificent One's favorite harem lady and while very eloquent seems not as eloquent as my memory on first hearing it. Maybe I heard an embellished version but here's what's in Wikipedia:



H?rrem Sultan (Roxolana)


Suleiman was infatuated with H?rrem Sultan, a harem girl of Ruthenian origin. In the West foreign diplomats, taking notice of the palace gossip about her, called her "Russelazie" or "Roxelana", referring to her Slavic origins.[45] The daughter of an Orthodox Ukrainian priest,[26] she was enslaved and rose through the ranks of the Harem to become Suleiman's favourite. Breaking with two centuries of Ottoman tradition,[26] a former concubine had thus become the legal wife of the Sultan, much to the astonishment of observers in the palace and the city.[46] He also allowed H?rrem Sultan to remain with him at court for the rest of her life, breaking another tradition?that when imperial heirs came of age, they would be sent along with the imperial concubine who bore them to govern remote provinces of the Empire, never to return unless their progeny succeeded to the throne.[47]


Under his pen name, Muhibbi, Suleiman composed this poem for Roxelana:


"Throne of my lonely niche, my wealth, my love, my moonlight.

My most sincere friend, my confidant, my very existence, my Sultan, my one and only love.

The most beautiful among the beautiful?

My springtime, my merry faced love, my daytime, my sweetheart, laughing leaf?

My plants, my sweet, my rose, the one only who does not distress me in this world?

My Istanbul, my Caraman, the earth of my Anatolia

My Badakhshan, my Baghdad and Khorasan

My woman of the beautiful hair, my love of the slanted brow, my love of eyes full of mischief?

I'll sing your praises always

I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi of the eyes full of tears, I am happy."[48]

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Yes, I have read "The Prophet" in my earlier years as well as Omar Khaayam in the English translation. Perhaps the Roxanne praises were in an alternative English translation -- I didn't read it, it was read aloud on the radio with dramatic passion, which is why it stayed in my mind for decades.


Anyway it seem you've got the knack. Looking forward to tracking down all your verses I may have missed 'till now. Cheers.

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