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"The future is here, it's just not well-distributed yet."
- William Gibson

"History is not a spectator sport."
- The Mars Society

Thy Dawn Oh Master of the World


For ages I've been trying to find where this piece of poetry comes from. It's said by Diana Rigg in On her Majesty's Secret Service as she looks out of the window of Piz Gloria at the sun rising over the alps - and with the incoming helicopters approaching.

Thy dawn, O Master of the World, thy dawn;
For thee the sunlight creeps across the lawn,
For thee the ships are drawn down to the waves,
For thee the markets throng with myriad slaves,
For thee the hammer on the anvil rings,
For thee the poet of beguilement sings.

I even wrote the opening line in the book on the top of Kilimanajaro as the sun rose.

I've finally found the source, courtesy of an excellent Bond/OMHSS site. It's derived from a play by James Elroy Flecker called The Story of Hassan of Bagdad and How He Came to Make the Golden Journey to Samarkand. A quick trip to Project Gutenburg provided the original text:

It is the Caliph's dawn.

Thy dawn, O Master!

Thy dawn, O Master of the world, thy dawn;
The hour the lilies open on the lawn,
The hour the grey wings pass beyond the mountains,
The hour of silence, when we hear the fountains,
The hour that dreams are brighter and winds colder,
The hour that young love wakes on a white shoulder,
O Master of the world, the Persian Dawn.

That hour, O Master, shall be bright for thee:
Thy merchants chase the morning down the sea,
The braves who fight thy war unsheathe the sabre,
The slaves who work thy mines are lashed to labour,
For thee the waggons of the world are drawn--
The ebony of night, the red of dawn!
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