« PreviousContinue »
Though raves the gust, and floods the rain,
No hand shall close its clasp again.
On desert sands 'twere joy to scan
The rudest steps of fellow man;
So here the very voice of Grief
Might wake an Echo like relief-
At least 'twould say, ~ All are not gone;
There lingers Life, though but in one'
For many a gilded chamber's there,
Which Solitude might well forbear ;
Within that dome as yet Decay
Hath slowly work'd her cankering way
But gloom is gather'd o'er the gate,
Nor there the Fakir's self will wait;
Nor there will wandering Dervise stay,
For bounty cheers not his delay;.
Nor there will weary stranger halt
To bless the sacred « bread and salt." *
Alike must Wealth and Poverty
Pass heedless and unheeded by,
For Courtesy and Pity died
With Hassan on the mountain side.
His roof, that refuge unto men,
Is Desolation's hungry den.
The guest flies the hall, and the vassal from labour,
Since his turban was cleft by the Infidel's sabre ! +
I hear the sound of coming feet,
But not a voice mine ear to greet ;
More near-each turban I can scan,
And silver-sheathèd ataghan ;
The foremost of the band is seen
An Emir by his garb of green:
“Ho! who art thou?”—“This low salam ||
Replies of Moslem faith I am.
“The burthen ye so gently bear
Seems one that claims your utmost care,
And, doubtless, holds some precious freight,
My humble bark would gladly wait.”
“ 'Thou speakeg', sooth; thy skiff unmoor, And waft us from the silent shore;
Kay, leave the sail still furl'd, and ply
The nearest oar that's scatter'd by,
And midway to those rocks where sleep
The channeli'd waters dark and deep.
Rest from your task-so-bravely done,
Our course has been right swiftly run ;
Yet 'tis the longest voyage, I trow,
That one of-
Sullen it plunged, and slowly sank,
The calm wave rippled to the bank;
I watch'd it as it sank : methought
Some motion from the current caught
Bestirr'd it more,—'twas but the beam
That checker'd o'er the living stream:
I gazed, till vanishing from view,
Like lessening pebble it withdrew;
Still less and less, a speck of white
That, gemm'd the tide, then mock'd the sight;
And all its hidden secrets sleep,
Known but to Genii of the deep,
Which, trembling in their coral caves,
They dare not whisper to the waves.
As rising on its purple wing
The insect-queen of eastern spring, *
O'er emerald meadows of Kashmeer
Invites the young pursuer near,
And leads him on from flower to flower,
A weary chase and wasted hour,
Then leaves him, as it soars on high,
With panting heart and tearful eye:
So Beauty lures the full-grown child,
With hue as bright, and wing as wild ;
A chase of idle hopes and fears,
Begun in folly, closed in tears.
If won, to equal ills betray'd,
Woe waits the insect and the maid ;
A life of pain, the loss of peace,
From infant's play and man's caprice ;
The lovely toy so fiercely sought,
Hath lost its charm by being caught,
For every touch that woo'd its stay
Hath brush'd its brightest hues away,
Till charm, and hue, and beau:y gone,
'Tis left to fly or fall alone.
With wounded wing or bleeding breast,
Ah! where shall either victim rest?
Can this with faded pinion soar
From rose to tulip as before ?
• Tho bira-winged butterfly of Kashmeer, the most rare and beautiful of the sped.cs
Or Beauty, blighted in an hour,
Find joy within her broken bower ?
No: gayer insects fluttering by
Ne'er droop the wing o'er those that dia
And lovelier things have mercy shown
To avery failing but their own,
And every woe
a tear can claim, Except an erring sister's shame.
The Mind, that broods o'er guilty woen,
Is like the Scorpion girt by fire,
In circle narrowing as it glows,
The flames around their captive close,
Till inly search'd by thousand throes,
And maddening in her ire,
One sad and sole relief she knows,
The sting she nourish'd for her foes,
Wkose venum never yet was vain,
Gives but one pang, and cures all pain,
And darts into her desperate brain :
So do the dark in soul expire,
Or live like Scorpion girt by fire ;*
So writhes the niind Remorse bath riven,
Unfit for earth, undoom'd for heaven,
Darkness above, despair beneath,
Around it flame, within it death!
Bomewhat of this hail Hassan deem'd
But still so tond, so fair she seem'd,
Too well he truster to the slave
Whose treachery deserved a grave:
And on that eve had gone to mosque,
And thence to feast in his kiosk.
Such is the tale his Nubians tell,
Who did not watch their charge too well;
But others say, that on that night,
By pale Phingari's* trembling light,
The Giaour upon his jet-black sieod
Was seen, but seen alone, to speed
With bloody spur along the shore,
Nor maid nor page behind him bore.
IIer eye's dark charın 'twere vain to tell,
But gaze on that of the Gazelle,
It will assist thy fancy well;
As large, as languishingly dark,
But Soul beam'd forth in every spark
That darted from beneath the lid,
Bright as the jewel of Giamschid.'t
Yea, Soul, and should our Prophet say
That form was nought but breathing clay,
By Alla ! I would answer nay;
Though on Al-Sirat's #arch I stood,
Which totters o'er the fiery flood,
With Paradise within my view,
And all his Houris beckoning through.
Oh! who young Leila's glance could read
And keep that portion of his creed, S
Which saith that woman is but dust,
A soulless toy for tyrant's lust ?
On her might Muftis gaze, and own
That through her eye the Immortal shono;
On her fair cheek's unfading huo
The young pomegranate's blossoms strew |
Their bloom in blushes ever new; • Phingart, the moon.-B.
# The celebrated fabulous ruby of Sultan Giamschid, the embellisher of Istakhar; from Its splendour, named Schebgerag, " the Torch of Night ;" also, the “ Cup of the Sun," &c. In the first edition," Giamgchid” was written as a word of three syllables ; 80 D'Herbelot has it; but I am told Richardson reduces it to a dissyllable, and writes " Jamshid." I have left in the text the orthography of the oue, with the pronunciation of the other.-B.
Most writers now would prefii å ), which reconciles the Eastern with the Italian pronunciation.
Al-Sirat, the bridge of breadth, less than the thread of a famished spider, over which the Jussulmans must skate into Paradise, to which it is the only entrance ; but this is zot the worst, the river beneath being hell itselt, into which, as may be expected, the unskilful and tender of foot contrive to tumble with a “ facilis descensus Averni," not very pleasing in prospect to the next passenger. There is a shorter cut downwards to the Jews and Christians.-B.
A vulgar error: the Koran allots at least a third of Paradise to weli-behaved women Sut by far the greater number of Mussulmans interpret the text their own way, and excinde their moieties from heaven. Being enemies to Platonics, they cannot discern “any fitness of things" in the souls of the other sex, conceiving them to be supersedeu oy the Houries.-B.
An oriental simile, which V, perhaps, though fairly stolen, be deemed "plus Lrabe qu'en Arabie."-0.
Her hair in hyacinthine flow,*
When left to roll its folds below,
As midst her handmaids in the hall
She stood superior to them all,
Hath swept the marble where her feet
Gleam'd whiter than the mountain slest,
Ere from the cloud that gave it birth
It fell, and caught one stain of earth.
The cygnet nobly walks the water ;
So moved on earth Circassia's daughter,
The loveliest bird of Franguestan ! +
As rears her crest the ruffled Swan,
And spurns the wave with wings of pride,
pass the steps of stranger man
Along the banks that bound her tide;
Thus rose fair Leila's whiter neck :-
Thus arm'd with beauty would she check
Intrusion's glance, till Folly's gaze
Shrunk from the charms it meant to praise :
Thus high and graceful was her gait;
Her heart as tender to her mate;
Her mate-stern Hassan, who was he?
Alas! that name was not for thee !
Stern Hassan hath a journey ta'en
With twenty vassals in his train,
Each arm’d, as best becomes a unan,
With arquebuss and ataghan;
The chief before, as deck'd for war,
Bears in his belt the scimitar
Staini'd with the best of Arnaut blood,
When in the pass the rebels stood,
And few return'd to tell the tale
Of u hat befell in Parne's vale.
The pistols which his girdle bore
Wei e those that once a pacha wore,
Wb ch still, though gemm'd and boss'd with gold,
Even rolbers trembie to behold.
'Tis said he goes to woo a bride
More true than her who left his side ;
The faithless slave that broke her bower,
And, worse than faithless, for a Giaour!
• TIyaclalhine, in Arabic “ Sunbul;" as common a thought in the eastern poets ! us among the Greeks.-B.