Page images
PDF
EPUB

+

We to the cypress groves had flown,
And made earth, main, and heaven our own!
There linger'd we, beguiled too long
With Mejnoun's tale, or Sadi's song,
Till I, who heard the deep tambour +
Beat thy Divan's approaching hour,
To thee, and to my duty true,
Warn'd by the sound, to greet thee flew :
But there Zuleika wanders yet-

Nay, father, rage not-nor forget
That none can pierce that secret bower
But those who watch the women's tower."

IV.

"Son of a slave"-the Pacha said-
"From unbelieving mother bred,
Vain were a father's hope to see
Aught that beseems a man in thee.
Thou, when thine arm should bend the bow,
And hurl the dart, and curb the steed,
Thou, Greek in soul if not in creed,
Must pore where babbling waters flow,
And watch unfolding roses blow.
Would that yon orb, whose matin glow
Thy listless eyes so much admire,
Would lend thee something of his fire!
Thou, who wouldst see this battlement
By Christian cannon piecemeal rent;
Nay, tamely view old Stambol's wall
Before the dogs of Moscow fall,

Nor strike one stroke for life and death
Against the curs of Nazareth!

Go! let thy less than woman's hand
Assume the distaff-not the brand.
But, Haroun !-to my daughter speed:
And hark-of thine own head take heed-
If thus Zuleika oft takes wing-
Thou seest yon bow-it hath a string!"

V.

No sound from Selim's lip was heard,
At least that met old Giaffir's ear,
But every frown and every word
Pierced keener than a Christian's sword.

"Son of a slave !-reproach'd with fear!
Those gibes had cost another dear.
Son of a slave !-and who my sire?"

Thus held his thoughts their dark career;
And glances ev'n of more than ire

Flash forth, then faintly disappear.

Hejnoun aud Leila, the Romeo and Juliet of the East. Sadi, the moral post of Tersia.-B. Turkish drum, which sounds et sunrise, noon, and twilight.-B.

Old Giaffir gazed upon his son

And started; for within his eye
He read how much his wrath had done;
He saw rebellion there begun :

Come hither, boy-what, no reply?
I mark thee and I know thee too;
But there be deeds thou dar'st not do:
But if thy beard had manlier length,
And if thy hand had skill and strength,
I'd joy to see thee break a lance,
Albeit against my own, perchance."

As sneeringly these accents fell,
On Selim's eye he fiercely gazed:

That eye return'd him glance for glance,
And proudly to his sire's was raised,

Till Giaffir's quail'd and shrunk askance
And why-he felt, but durst not tell.
"Much I misdoubt this wayward boy
Will one day work me more annoy:
I never loved him from his birth,
And-but his arm is little worth,
And scarcely in the chase could cope
With timid fawn or antelope,
Far less would venture into strife
Where man contends for fame and life-
I would not trust that look or tone:
No-nor the blood so near my own.
That blood-he hath not heard-no more-
I'll watch him closer than before.
He is an Arab to my sight,"
Or Christian crouching in the fight-
But hark!-I hear Zuleika's voice;

*

Like Houris' hymn it meets mine ear:
She is the offspring of my choice;

Oh! more than ev'n her mother dear,
With all to hope, and nought to fear-
My Peri!-ever welcome here!
Sweet, as the desert fountain's wave,
To lips just cool'd in time to save-

Such to my longing sight art thou;
Nor can they waft to Mecca's shrine
More thanks for life, than I for thine,

Who bless'd thy birth and bless thee now."

VI.

Fair, as the first that fell of womankind,

When on that dread yet lovely serpent smiling,
Whose image then was stamp'd upon her mind--
But once beguiled-and ever more beguiling;
Dazzling, as that, oh! too transcendent vision

To Sorrow's phantom-peopled slumber given,

The Turks abhor the Arabs (who return the compliment a hundred-fold) even gon than they hate the Christians.-B.

When heart meets heart again in dreams Elysian,
And paints the lost on Earth revived in Heaven;
Soft, as the memory of buried love;
Pure, as the prayer which Childhood wafts above;*
Was she-the daughter of that rude old Chief,
Who met the maid with tears-but not of grief.

Who hath not proved how feebly words essay
To fix one spark of Beauty's heavenly ray?
Who doth not feel, until his tailing sight
Faints into dimness with its own delight,
His changing cheek, his sinking heart confess
The might the majesty of Loveliness?
Such was Zuleika-such around her shone
The nameless charms unmark'd by her alone;
The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the Music breathing from her face,
The heart whose softness harmonized the whole→
Ard, oh! that eye was in itself a Soul !

Her graceful arms in meekness bending
Across her gently-budding breast;
At one kind word those arms extending
To clasp the neck of him who bless'd
His child caressing and caress'd,
Zuleika came--and Giaffir felt
His purpose half within him melt:
Not that against her fancied weal
His heart though stern could ever feel;
Affection chain'd her to that heart;
Ambition tore the links apart.

VII.

"Zuleika! child of gentleness!

How dear this very day must tell,
When I forget my own distress,

In losing what I love so well,
To bid thee with another dwell:
Another and a braver man
Was never seen in battle's van.
We Moslem reck not much of blood;

• This is a mistake of poets and some theologians; a child's prayer is meaningless-ta worthiest prayer is from man in the prime of his vigour and intellect-no child's prayer can be compared to that of a Fénélon

This expression has met with objections. I will not refer to "him who hath not music in his soti," but merely request the reader to recollect, for ten seconds, the features of the woman whom he believes to be the most beautiful; and if he then does not.comprehend fully what is feebly expressed in the above line, I shall be sorry for us both. For an eloquent passage in the latest work of the first female writer of this, perhaps, ofany age, on the analogy (and the immediate comparison excited by that analogy) between "painting and music," see vol. iii. cap. 10, "De l'Allemagne." And is not this connection still stronger with the original than the copy,-with the colouring of Nature than of Art? After all, this is rather to be felt than described; still, I think there are some who will understand it, at least they would have done had they beheld the countenance whose speaking harmony suggested the idea; for this passage is not drawn from Imagination but memory, that mirror which Affliction dashes to the earth, and, looking down upon the fragments, only beholds the reflection multiplied !—B.

But yet the line of Carasman*
Unchanged, unchangeable hath stood
First of the bold Timariot bands
That won and well can keep their lands.
Enough that he who comes to woo
Is kinsman of the Bey Oglou:
His years need scarce a thought employ :
I would not have thee wed a boy,
And thou shalt have a noble dower:
And his and my united power
Will laugh to scorn the death-firman,
Which others tremble but to scan,
And teach the messenger what fate
The bearer of such boon may wait.+
And now thou knowest thy father's will,-

All that thy sex hath need to know:
'Twas mine to teach obedience still-
The way to love, thy lord may show."

VIII.

In silence bow'd the virgin's head;

And if her eye was fill'd with tears
That stifled feeling dare not shed,
And changed her cheek from pale to red,
And red to pale, as through her ears
Those winged words like arrows sped,

What could such be but maiden fears?
So bright the tear in Beauty's eye,
Love half regrets to kiss it dry;
So sweet the blush of Bashfulness,
Even Pity scarce can wish it less!

Whate'er it was the sire forgot;
Or if remember'd, mark'd it not;

Thrice clapp'd his hands, and call'd his steed,+
Resign'd his gem-adorn'd chibouque,§

And mounting featly for the mead,

With Maugrabee and Mamaluke, ||
His way amid his Delis took,¶

Carasman Oglou, or Kara Osman Oglou, is the principal landholder in Turkey; he governs Magnesia. Those who, by a kind of feudal tenure, possess land on condition of service, are called Timariots; they serve as Spahis, according to the extent of territory, and bring a certain number into the field, generally cavalry.-B.

When a Pacha is sufficiently strong to resist, the single messenger, who is always the first bearer of the order for his death, is strangled instead, and sometimes five or six, vue after the other, on the same errand, by command of the refractory patient; if, on the contrary, he is weak or loyal, he bows, kisses the Sultan's respectable signature, and is bowstrung with great complacency. In 1810, several of " these presents" were exhibited in the niche of the Seraglio gate; among others, the head of the Pacha of Bagdat, a brave young man, cut off by treachery, after a desperate resistance.-B.

Clapping of the hands calls the servants. The Turks hate a superfluous expenditure of voice, and they have no bells.-B.

§ Chibouque, the Turkish pipe, of which the amber mouth-piece, and sometimes the ball which contains the leaf, is adorned with precious stones, if in possession of the wealthier orders.-B.

Maugrabee, Moorish mercenaries.-B.

Delis, bravos who form the forlorn hope of the cavalry, and always begin the action.-B.

To witness many an active deed
With sabre keen, or blunt jerrced.
The Kislar only and his Moors
Watch well the Haram's massy doors.

IX.

His head was lent upon his hand,

His eye look'd o'er the dark blue water
That swiftly glides and gently swells
Between the winding Dardanelles ;
But yet he saw nor sea nor strand,
Nor even his Pacha's turban'd band

Mix in the game of mimic slaughter,
Careering cleave the folded felt*
With sabre-stroke right sharply dealt;
Nor mark'd the javelin-darting crowd,
Nor heard their Ollahs + wild and loud
He thought but of old Giaffir's daughter!

X.

No word from Selim's bosom broke;
One sigh Zuleika's thought bespoke :
Still gazed he through the lattice grate,
Pale, mute, and mournfully sedate.
To him Zuleika's eye was turn'd,
But little from his aspect learn'd:
Equal her grief, yet not the same;
Her heart confess'd a gentler flame:
But yet that heart, alarm'd or weak,
She knew not why, forbade to speak,
Yet speak she must-but when essay?
"How strange he thus should turn away!
Not thus we e'er before have met;,
Not thus shall be our parting yet."
Thrice paced she slowly through the room,
And watch'd his eye-it still was fix'd:
She snatch'd the urn wherein was mix'd
The Persian Atar-gúl's perfume,+
And sprinkled all its odours o'er
The pictured roof and marble floor ;§
The drops, that through his glittering vest
The playful girl's appeal address'd,
Unheeded o'er his bosom flew,

As if that breast were marble too.

• A twisted fold of felt is used for scimitar practice by the Turks, and few but Musan). man arms can cut through it at a single stroke; sometimes a tough turban is used for the same purpose. The jerreed is a game of blunt javelins, animated and graceful.-B.

"Ollahs," Alla il Allah, the" Leilies," as the Spanish poets call them; the sound is Ollah; a cry of which the Turks, for a silent people, are somewhat profuse, particularly during the jerreed, or in the chase; but mostly in battle. Their animation in the field, and gravity in the chamber, with their pipes and comboloios, form an amusing contrast.-B.

"Atar-gúl," ottar of roses. The Persian is the finest.-B.

The ceiling and wainscots, or rather walls, of the Mussulman apartments, are generally painted, in great houses, with one eternal and highly-coloured view of Constan tinople, wherein the principal feature is a noble contempt of perspective; below, arms, scimitars, &c., are in general fancifully and not inelegantly disposed.-B.

« PreviousContinue »