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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: —




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
Out of darkness, as if but just born of the Sun.
When the Spirit of Fragrance is up with the day,
From his Haram of night-flowers stealing away ;
And the wind, full of wantonness, woos like a lover
The young aspen-trees,813 till they tremble all over.
When the East is as warm as the light of first hopes,

And Day, with his banner of radiance unfurl'd,
Shines in through the mountainous portal 814 that opes,

Sublime, from that Valley of bliss to the world!




But never yet, by night or day,
In dew of spring or summer's ray,
Did the sweet Valley shine so gay
As now it shines all love and light,
Visions by day and feasts by night!
A happier smile illumes each brow,

With quicker spread each heart uncloses,
And all is ecstasy

for now
The Valley holds its Feast of Roses ; 315
The joyous Time, when pleasures pour
Profusely round, and, in their shower,
Hearts open, like the Season's Rose,

The Flow'ret of a hundred leaves,816
Expanding while the dew-fall flows,

And every leaf its balm receives.

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'Twas when the hour of evening came

Upon the Lake, serene and cool,
When Day had hid his sultry flame

Behind the palms of BARAMOULE,817
When maids began to lift their heads,
Refresh'd from their embroider'd beds,
Where they had slept the sun away,
And wak’d to moonlight and to play.


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All were abroad the busiest hive
On BELA's 318 hills is less alive,
When saffron-beds are full in flower,
Than look'd the Valley in that hour.
A thousand restless torches play'd
Through every grove and island shade;
A thousand sparkling lamps were set
On every dome and minaret;
And fields and pathways, far and near,
Were lighted by a blaze so clear,
That you could see, in wandering round,
The smallest rose-leaf on the ground.
Yet did the maids and matrons leave
Their veils at home, that brilliant eve;
And there were glancing eyes about,
And cheeks, that would not dare shine out
In open day, but thought they might
Look lovely then, because 'twas night.
And all were free, and wandering,

And all exclaim’d to all they met,
That never did the summer bring

So gay a Feast of Roses yet; -
The moon had never shed a light

So clear as that which bless'd them there;
The roses ne'er shone half so bright,

Nor they themselves look'd half so fair.

And what a wilderness of flowers !
It seem'd as though from all the bowers
And fairest fields of all the year,
The mingled spoil were scatter'd here.
The Lake, too, like a garden breathes,

With the rich buds that o'er it lie, -
As if a shower of fairy wreaths

Had fall’n upon it from the sky!

And then the sounds of joy, — the beat
Of tabors and of dancing feet;-
The minaret-crier's chant of glee
Sung from his lighted gallery,319
And answer'd by a ziraleet
From neighboring Haram, wild and sweet;
The merry laughter, echoing
From gardens, where the silken swing 320
Wafts some delighted girl above
The top leaves of the orange grove;

Or, from those infant groups at play
Among the tents 321 that line the way, i wy117
Flinging, unaw'd by slave or mother,

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

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of oars,


And the wild, airy warbling that everywhere floats, Through the groves, round the islands, as if all the

Like those of KATHAY, utter'd music, and gave
An answer in song to the kiss of each wave.
But the gentlest of all are those sounds, full of feeling,
That soft from the lute of some lover are stealing, -
Some lover, who knows all the heart touching power
Of a lute and a sigh in this magical hour.
Oh! best of delights as it everywhere is
To be near the lov’d One, -what a rapture is his
Who in moonlight and music thus sweetly may glide
O’er the Lake of CASHMERE, with that one by his side!
If woman can make the worst wilderness dear,
Think, think what a Heaven she must make of CASH-

So felt the magnificent Son of ACBAR,


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