Orange Blossom

Melody -

Sax Rohmer, 1921

My little Orange Blossom - light of my life,
Sleep on, tender flower - sleep on!
Hist! - Wu Chang! - Greetings! greetings!
Ha! Wu Chang, long have I waited.
But that my friend would answer to my call
I had not fear. See, old friend, the tea awaits,
It is the famous Pekoe!

Sit! My friend, Wu Chang,
Wu Chang, my friend!
I love you for your heart of gold.
Alas! Wu Chang,
Much water's flown from Honan
To the Yellow Sea
Since you and I were playmates -
Playmates in the valley
Where the opium poppies grow.

The tea is to your liking?
Then we smoke.
You gaze 'round for my wife?
Ah! The little Orange Blossom.
I know you loved her well.
For my sake? Yes, Wu Chang, my friend!
Have Courage! Courage! Heart of gold!
It is the incense that you smell -
The little Orange Blossom's dead!

You start!
'Twas sudden? Yes!
She died at dawn. But let us smoke.
At dawn she lived,
Tonight her soul is free.
Her body lies in yonder.
Come! Come!
Wu Chang and kiss her. No?
Her red lips smile, her eyes are kind.
  So slender is the thread of life,
That even I, or you, Wu Chang,
Might die tonight! How pale you grow!
The tea is to your liking?
Is the incense so oppressive?
Well, the flowers are fresh.
For she, too, was a flower, Wu Chang,
A lily, slender white -
So frail a flower - my wife.

My journeys left her much alone.
But when I left her in your care,
My old and trusted friend, Wu Chang,
I deemed her safe, but see!
Your tea grows cold. Drink up!
Her lips were red, her heart was young,
How fair she was! and I so far away!

You shudder yet, your brow is wet,
Nor do you smoke.
Your face is grey, and how you twitch
And clutch with clammy fingers.
You thought me safe in far Honan! Yes!
So did the little Orange Blossom! -
Sit!! - Look well into your empty cup -
The same from which your mistress
Drank at dawn, Wu Chang - her last!

Your whispered vows, each stolen kiss,
All reached my ears!
I heard, I saw, my friend, Wu Chang!
In yonder room, the room where now
Our little Orange Blossom lies -
I lay concealed!
No, no! You have no strength
To raise your knife!
The poison cup has done its work.

Her lips were sweet? Her arms were soft?
You writhe, and why, your eyes are glazed!
'Twas so with her, at dawn,
As 'tis with you tonight.
Go sleep in hell-
In HELL! my friend, Wu Chang.

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