Posted by Barbara Barrett on 1st September 2014
1. a plucked stringed instrument with a long neck bearing frets and a rounded body with a flat front that is shaped like a halved egg
[origin: 13th century; Middle English, from Middle French lut, from Old Occitan laut, from Arabic al-ʽud, literally, the wood]
Long golden-yellow banners break the sky,
And silver hoofs chime out a sharp refrain,
A thousand lutes lift up a cadenced strain;
And East, a purple dust-cloud billows high.
From golden window sills the women lean,
With strange exultant hawk-enamored cries;
Their ivory bosoms heave, their star-like eyes
Brood deeply; each begirdled like a queen.
Bab-ilu’s riders sweep across the plain
Returned from conquest and the hills of war;
On kingly foreheads gleams the sky-born star—
They come with captive kings and gold again.
My mallet wearies of the pavements—aye,
It longs to quench its thirst in blood and brain
When rulers die and women scream in vain,
Oh gods of Babel, haste the crimson day.
[from “The King and the Mallet”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 501 and Night Images, p. 60]