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said of Damascus, "It was too delicious;" 307 and here, in listening to the sweet voice of FERAMORZ, or reading in his eyes what yet he never dared to tell her, the most exquisite moments of her whole life were passed. One evening, when they had been talking of the Sultana Nourmahal, the Light of the Haram,808 who had so often wandered among these flowers, and fed with her own hands, in those marble basins, the small shining fishes of which she was so fond, the youth, in order to delay the moment of separation, proposed to recite a short story, or rather rhapsody, of which this adored Sultana was the heroine. It related, he said, to the reconcilement of a sort of lovers' quarrel which took place between her and the Emperor during a Feast of Roses at Cashmere; and would remind the Princess of that difference between Haroun-al-Raschid and his fair mistress Marida 810 which was so happily made up by the soft strains of the musician Moussali. As the story was chiefly to be told in song, and FERAMORZ had unluckily forgotten his own lute in the valley, he borrowed the vina of LALLA Rookh's little Persian slave, and thus began: —
THE LIGHT OF THE HARAM.
Who has not heard of the vale of CASHMERE,
With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave, Its temples, and grottos, and fountains as clear
As the love-lighted eyes that hang over their wave?
Oh! to see it at sunset, when warm o’er the Lake
Its splendor at parting a summer eve throws, Like a bride, full of blushes, when ling'ring to take
A last look of her mirror at night ere she goes ! When the shrines through the foliage are gleaming
half shown, And each hallows the hour by some rites of its own. Here the music of pray’r from a minaret swells, Here the Magian his urn, full of perfume, is
swinging, And here, at the altar, a zone of sweet bells Round the waist of some fair Indian dancer is
ringing 312 Or to see it by moonlight, — when mellowly shines The light o'er its palaces, gardens, and shrines; When the water-falls gleam, like a quick fall of stars, And the nightingale's hymn from the Isle of Chenars Is broken by laughs and light echoes of feet From the cool, shining walks where the young people
meet. Or at morn, when the magic of daylight awakes A new wonder each minute, as slowly it breaks,
Hills, cupolas, fountains, callid forth every one
And Day, with his banner of radiance unfurl'd,
Sublime, from that Valley of bliss to the world!
But never yet, by night or day,
With quicker spread each heart uncloses,
The Flow'ret of a hundred leaves,816
And every leaf its balm receives.
'Twas when the hour of evening came
Upon the Lake, serene and cool,
Behind the palms of BARAMOULE,817
All were abroad the busiest hive
And all exclaim’d to all they met,
So gay a Feast of Roses yet; -
So clear as that which bless'd them there;
Nor they themselves look'd half so fair.
And what a wilderness of flowers !
With the rich buds that o'er it lie, -
Had fall’n upon it from the sky!
And then the sounds of joy, — the beat
Handfuls of roses at each other. Then, the sounds from the Lake, the low whispering
in boats, As they shoot through the moonlight; — the dipping
And the wild, airy warbling that everywhere floats, Through the groves, round the islands, as if all the